You just became my personal trainer. (FAT PICTURES!!!)

Oh wow.

My size 34 slacks are groaning in discomfort right now. And that’s because they’re being ruthlessly strangled by my growing fat rolls.

This is not pretty.

Have I mentioned that I used to be fat? And when I say fat, I don’t mean like, oh, look at that guy’s root-beer belly, he better watch out next time he’s served dessert fat. I’m talking fat like if I were caught sunbathing on a beach there might be wild-life rescue teams literally trying to shove me into the depths of the ocean because they’ve confused me for a beached orca fat.

300lbs. THAT fat.

You want pictures, don’t you? I can just hear the cynics now “if there’s no pic, it never happened” and “yeah, anybody can claim to have weighed as much as a new-born elephant, but where’s the proof?” and “please, for the love of all that’s good in the world, don’t post your fat pics, especially if they really are of you sunbathing your pasty white skin on a beach.”

All right all right naysayers, here you go:

Is that t-shirt tucked in? Yes. Is it stained with some white powdered substance? Yes. (Me shaking pre-Wife’s hand (arm’s-length away!)before leaving on my LDS mission to Venezuela where, after losing over 100lbs from walking and eating beans and rice, I was hit on by gross women constantly.)

Same day. Less grainy. More crooked. 
  Me and Grandma The Weed. (If this were a grandmother/grandson look-alike contest, we’d totally bring home the blue ribbon.)
The one thing freakier than having a deformed eye? Having a deformed eye while making this face.
  Is my childhood friend Heather (Boyack) Nuesmeyer laughing or screaming in terror at the monster to her right? Hard to say…

So yeah. As you can see, things weren’t pretty. Not just attractiveness-wise, but otherwise as well. I did not feel good about myself. I did not like how I looked. I wanted to punch myself in the face repeatedly. I felt trapped inside a fat-suit, and then when I touched the fat-suit, I realized it had nerves because it was my skin. And I was getting stretch marks and I wasn’t even pregnant.

I just looked a little pregnant from the side. And a little bit like a duplex resting on legs from the front.

(Man, it’s amazing how the “make fun of yourself” habit just re-ignites when talking about the fat days. I actually have great sympathy for those who struggle with weight (for obvious reasons) and I hope my taking jabs at my former self isn’t offensive.)

So, why am I busting out the fat pics? It’s because when I stepped on the scale this morning, it said something terrifying. 201.2

That might look like a tolerable weight to some. But for somebody like me who views food as a form of digestible entertainment and can therefore gain 10lbs in about a week if I’m not careful, this is not okay. Today it’s 201.2. Next week it’s 210. Next month it’s 230. Six months from now it’s 320. (Sadly, that sequence is not an exaggeration. That’s about how fast I went up to 300lbs when I was 19.)  Then, the next step after that would be me having to be hoisted out of my bed by a team of 12 men who carry me to a flat-bed truck so I can be transported to the hospital for my gastro-bypass which would start working for several months right before my heart gave out and I died leaving my wife and three daughters to fend for themselves. And that would just be uncomfortable for everybody.

Here are a couple more pics for comparative purposes.

This is me a couple of years ago when I weighed about 185. (We’re with our good friends Anni and Dan Beecher.)
 And this is me right now. At 201.2ish. On my way to 500.

To circumvent that eventuality I’ve decided to be real with all of you about my weight. Accountability to both strangers and friends is an amazing thing. It can really motivate. And we all know how well it’s worked for Oprah.

(Wait, what am I doing?)

No, but seriously, I’ve decided to come here to the World Wide Web of Shame and announce that I have been eating too many nachos and drinking a little too much sweetened condensed milk from the can (don’t hate. It’s delicious) and it has got to stop immediately.

I’m gonna get back in shape. And it’s gonna start tomorrow. And I need your help. I need you to tell me that I can do this, because truth be told, I’m slightly freaking out right now. (Once you’ve been the size I was in those pictures, it always feels just a few Red Robin cheeseburgers away.) And also I need you to congratulate me heartily when I get on here a month from today, June 1st, (so, on the 1st of July) and tell you how much weight I’ve lost. Because I need to have something to work towards. And being able to tell you, yes you with the hair, that I made progress is a powerful tool.

So, in other words, you just became my personal trainer.


Can you go get me some water and a towel to wipe down this treadmill? Thanks.

PS, in all seriousness how much weight do you think I should lose this month? And do you have any weight-loss tips or suggestions for me? I’m all ears… ears and excess body-fat…


  1. Now you have set your mind to it, you know you can do it. Exercise and portion control and little treats sometimes because life is still about living.
    I will be here in a month cheering you for sure

  2. This is probably very UNhelpful, but you didn't look that fat to me in those first pics – not compared to other people I've seen! However you looked AMAZING in the lower pics!

    I'd suck as a personal trainer, because I hate people telling ME what to do in the gym. I'm liable to tell them to…ahem…get lost. 😛

    The fattest I ever was was during/after my Honours year when I just constantly binged on food to get me through the studies. hehe

  3. I lost 165 pounds a couple of years ago (I resorted to gastric bypass surgery because I had The Diabeeeeeetus so severely I was probably going to lose a leg or my eyesight by 40). I've had 20 pounds creep back on over the past 9 months and I'm freaking to heck out about it.

    As for tips, you probably don't want them from someone who has recently gained 20 pounds. However, I find that circuit training works wonders–intersperse intense cardio with weight training (15 minutes of cardio followed immediately by 15 minutes of weight training with no resting, repeat cycle 2 more times). That way your heart rate stays up while you're strength training which equals higher calorie burn. I do know from several actual personal trainers that strength training is the best thing you can do. Sure, you need cardio as well, but resistance exercises will boost your metabolism and help you burn more calories for a longer time after you stop exercising.

    Good luck!

  4. You look great now, WEED. I need to lose some weight myself.

    I belong to a gym with TVs connected to the treadmills, so the cardio is easy, it's the weight lifting to build lean muscle that is hard to motivate for.

  5. First of all…you look awesome!

    Secondly, I understand 100% where you are coming from. I had my "fat days" also and after taking an entire year to get the excess weight off I find myself freaking out over a 5 pound increase in my weight. It's that slippery slope to the point where you end up exactly where you started. So I feel you…really.

    Third – While I am an exercise junkie and there's nothing better you can do for yourself, weight loss comes down mostly to what you put in your body. When I started viewing my body like a car that needs to be fueled to keep going, eating healthy food became easier. Out with the processed junk foods and in with the protein rich meals and vegetables. Make sure you eat first thing in the morning. Always eat your carbs WITH proteins and focus on having smaller meals that are protein rich with snacks in between.

    Seeing as this is the longest comment I've ever left you can probably tell I'm obsessive when it comes to health and fitness 😛

    But if you need ANYTHING: help, advice, someone to talk you off of a ledge when staring at some cookies or taco bell just drop me a line!

    Really…I'm extremely passionate about this and would be willing to help out however possible!

    P.S. – Currently studying for personal trainer certification…so I at least sort of know what I'm talking about 😛 (kinda).

  6. Sigh… I hear ya. Been there, done that, still struggling. I'd swear you copied your life story off of mine.

    In other words, of course you can do it. You already know how to do it. Lay off the condensed milk, for goodness' sake!

    And don't stop running. It will keep you from the flat-bed truck scenario.

  7. First off…when I read this on Twitter I thought you were asking me personally to be your personal trainer, and it kinda freaked me out because a puerto rican man in the gym said the same thing and I work at the front desk…actually he said I was his "coach"…one of my many fans…anyways, for some real advice?

    Weight train…only thing that will keep fat off longer than just strictly running. But don't freak if you gain weight because it's muscle (and it's fun to say that…you can be one of THOSE people…"oh it's just muscle")…but seriously, adding weight training will lower your fat levels and change the shape of your body in a good way.

  8. First of all I think your post title should be something along the lines of "Hi I'm an extra in the Twilight Movies" Pasty pasty white, geeze.

    Now my tips given that I'm a guru in all things fitness (sense the sarcasm or see my double chin) there's no magical formula (see Randy Jackson from AI) besides "diet" (and by that I don't mean caloric restriction or weighing food) and excercise. Was reading something from the P90x guy last night and he said, "We all know when we put crap in our bodies, we know that soda isn't good for us." Message stop putting crap in our bodies BUT don't freak out if you have a cookie. That's my 2 cents you have to go to the gym and "work" not just go through the motions (although that's better than not going at all) but push yourself and really work. That's my 2 cents. D

  9. Yo, right there with ya. I once gained over 100 lbs when pregnant with twins.
    That said, you have 3 small children: losing weight should not be a problem. lol
    If it is, may I suggest picking up sticks and raking? It works for me!

  10. OMG!! I can eat condensed milk with a spoon!! I used to be a bit fatter than I am now. I will not forgo food (it is my #1 form of entertainment) but I try to make up for treats with excersice, and remember that a treat is indeed a treat! I drastically cut down on my alcohol consumption and that made a HUGE difference for me, not only from the initial calories in alcohol, but also from the decrease in drunk-late-night eating and next-day-couch binging!
    You look great!

  11. Might I suggest a website? It's free. It's mostly awesome. OK totally awesome. You can plug in all your data (height weight activity level, etc) and it will give you an exact amount of calories to comsume daily/weekly, which will enable you to lose weight safely and healthily. I am currently losing about 1-2 lbs a week and am down 22 total since Jan. You can track both calories and exercise, and even "friend" people, like Facebook, to be your own support community. It's supercalifragilisticexpealidocious.

    Also, YOU CAN DO THIS. Totally!

  12. I do feel for you…because I have fat pictures too (remember the prom picture that was part of the slide show at the family reunion? Glorious, to say the least.). Steven didn't believe me (or somehow didn't remember) until I put a really fat picture of myself on the fridge a while back. When he got home he was like 'uh…when was this?' It was great. You're brave to post those pictures…and you should be proud of the comparison pictures! Here's my advice (although I don't deserve to give advice…I eat otter pops by the dozen): Go workout, then you'll feel better about yourself, and put on nice clothes (as opposed to sweats, which I do a lot…and it really doesn't make me feel like working out. Duh). When I feel better about myself, I eat better, and I want to workout. And…go lay in the sun….we all look better when we're tan. Ha! Good luck!


  13. Hey Weed! I also lost patience with myself and my weight issues, so I started to count calories. I'm not exactly melting away, but the control it's giving me feels great and I'm making healthier choices. I've lost about 4 pounds in three weeks, which I don't think it too bad. Anyway. Feel free to celebrate your success with me. I get the feeling. ^_^

    As for how much you should lose, google a bmi calculator to see.

    BTW, I subscribe to a wonderful website that gives lists of foods and calorie counts with the option of you adding your own foods too. They also have a forum and a buddy system. 🙂

    Best of luck!

  14. I'd say lets do a weightloss challenge but being that you're a MAN you'd probably blow me out of the water!
    I decided enough is enough yesterday too and forced myself to hit the gym which I have not done consistently since before my wedding….six years ago. After my first baby, nursing her was like a magical weight loss drug and I dropped all my pregnancy weight plus twenty pounds putting my at just 5 pounds heavier than my wedding day. Baby #2 was popped in the oven 13 1/2 months later along with all the weight I lost and about 20 more pounds. Not fun. Stressful pregnancy, stressful first month of life, post partum depression and some happy pills did not turn my mammary glands into the magical weight loss workers they were. Here I sit almost 50 pounds heavier than the day I got married. SICK.
    Maybe a contest of sorts is in order before I make an appointment with a bariatric surgeon!


  15. Alright, it's time to comment, and there is no better time to comment than 5.21am, right???

    So, first of all, my husband and I have been loving your blog. I haven't laughed out loud really before reading anyone's blogs, but geeze, you're so funny. And I'm from Germany – and still I find you funny. I think you made our decision to move to WA final. 😉

    Now, as for the serious stuff (weight is serious)…If you're determined, I think you could easily lose 15 lbs in a month. Of course, if you made some diet changes along with exercise, that'll help quite a bit, but may I just suggest two big things (that usually help me?): cut out any sodas or whatever other crap you're drinking and switch to water, and then do interval work-outs. So, instead of going for a 10-mile run that makes you crap your pants, opt for a 15-20 min. work out where you run intervals. I did those after I had a baby, and hardly any time or motivation and it melt the fat off like butter melts on a sunny day. Just run as fast as you possibly can for a minute, then walk for a minute, run for a minute, walk for minute etc. Do that for 15 minutes or so, and you'll be in good shape in no time. Especially if you quit drinking condensed milk and replace it with water. Yes.

    I'm sure you already knew all that, seeing how you roll with Ken Jennings and all…

  16. Go for it, Josh! I started on the "I can't stand being this big anymore" path in January and am down about 40 pounds. And I am not sure I'm done.

    If you are looking for some exercise to help shed the weight, let me make a suggestion: Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. Stop laughing at me and no I will not hand over my man-card. I've lost 40 pounds so I really don't care what mocking I may endure for using a chick's workout DVD.

    Keep us up to date on your progress!

  17. Holy crap you guys have left good comments. Thanks so much for your advice/tips/websites/encouragment/jokes.

    @Mynx–Thanks! I will not disappoint.

    @Trisha–Actually, in a weird way, that's good to hear. My old fat self thanks you, as does current self.

    @Brandi-165? Are you serious! Congratulations! That is so impressive–as is the fact that you've kept 145 off. You are inspiring. Thanks so much for the tips–they were very helpful.

    @Matthew–Hey, thanks man. I appreciate it. Also, TV at the treadmill? Check. I'm with you… seeking motivation for the heavy lifting. But I will find a way.

    @Christine–Wow, thank you so much both for the advice as well as the willingness to help keep me on track. You rock. I just got a big ol' comment from an actual trainer… awesome. Your advice about food intake is perfect. I'm trying to formulate the best plan, and your advice is very helpful. (Also, I really did marry up! No joke! (every reader seeing this is rolling eyes and saying "uh, we knoooow"))

    Su–I know, seriously. Have you taken the Meyers Briggs? Maybe we're the same, yo. INFP. REPRESEEEENT. (Also, thanks for the encouragement.)

    @Laura–Haha, that's awesome. You're like "Um, a. I work at the front desk. b. I'M IN THE CARIBBEAN." Thanks for the advice about weightlifting. I done joined a gym yesterday, and I'm gonna get jiggy with the weights, stat. (Wow my comments are devolving into stupidity.) Anyway, much thanks.

    @Lindsay–Excellent reminder.

    @Darin–Thanks man, excellent advice. I often just stay in my comfort zone when I work out, so I'm gonna try to really push myself. And it's true–we do know when we put crap into our bodies. I do it far too often. And finally, yes. I am a vampire which is why my skin in that picture looks reminiscent of an actual diamond blazing in the sunlight.

    All right, my response comment is so long that it broke blogger and can't even be posted as one comment so I'm dividing it into two comments. That's how much I appreciate you guys.

  18. @momiss–Okay, you gained 100lbs having twins. I think anybody could understand that. I gained 100lbs. because it was summertime and I got a little addicted to Carl's Jr. A bit less understandable, ha! Also, you're right, the kids are quite a workout!

    @Steph–Thank you my sweetened condensed milk comrade! The stuff is like heaven in a can. How are MORE people not into this??? Also, thanks for the compliment.

    @Melissa–First of all, congrats on your loss. That's seriously impressive. Second, I've been looking for a site like that to help keep me motivated and on track, so thanks. Third, when I sign up, I will friend the crap out of you. (Not literally.) Fifth, it's awesome that you named yourself after a rollerderby girl. The end.

    @Kayla–you're exactly right. Getting that feeling of "man, I'm feeling good about myself…" really does motivate one to take better care of him or herself. Also, fat pic? IF THAT'S YOUR IDEA OF A FAT PIC, YOU ARE INSANE. Also, that wasn't me yelling. It was just emphasis. Also, why do you guys live in Louisiana again? Because it sucks.

    Misha–Thanks a ton for the website and the advice, and congrats on your own loss. I think that's definitely something to be proud of. I am going to keep an eye on my caloric intake, especially initially, so I can retrain myself about portion sizes. (Wait, an entire bag of sun chips is too much? But they're made of whole grains!)


    @SJ–Um from what I hear there's some Maple Valley Biggest loser thing going on. You should check it out. (Not sure if I'm gonna do it.) But yeah, contests? Awesomely motivational. If you come up with something let me know so I can kick your trash. At the contest. Not physically assaulting you for creating a contest.

    @Franziska–Where have you been all my life??? Your comment made me genuinely LOL like three times. Especially when you were like "hey, interval train instead of going on a 10-mile run that makes you crap your pants" because that totally looks like a ridiculous use of hyperbole but we all know that it is not and that is hilarious. And then, your advice is all awesome and stuff too. Thanks for stepping out of the shadows and commenting! Loved it. Also, you will love WA! It's beautiful.

    @Ethan–Wow, 40lbs? Congratulations man. That's an impressive loss. And I don't judge you one bit. Jillian is a beast. I could see her ripping a person UP. I might try it.

    Again, thanks so much everyone for your support. I'm feeling very motivated and, little by little, my freak-out meter is calming down. I'm getting excited to do a post in a month to report how things are going.

    Also, as always, I didn't edit my comments, so sorry if I spelled a name wrong or wrote something really offensive or something. Have a good day everybody!

  19. Hi Weed –
    I think one of the easiest ways to feel a little better is to cut out ALL SODA (yes, even diet) and do water with lemon. Also, do you eat after 7pm? Stop doing that too.
    Force yourself to put your food on a small plate, and that's all you get. It's easier than counting calories, which takes a lot of time and I imagine with a job and 3 kids you don't have much of that.

  20. I need support too! We should make a Facebook page? Where we each write our goals and check in daily. EVEN if we are doing bad. Because accountability will help motivate to do better. Plus we can encourage each other and realize that everyone has bad days. Like today for me. I for real am probably going to make a page right now. Can't hurt right? Love you and you are still looking sharp. And boooo to you guys going home and Nate and I not being there. Lammme…

  21. You got this, Josh. I've been through the same obstacle course since 4th grade. I lose, I gain, I lose, I gain more than what I lost…

    At the moment, I hit the gym at least five times a week. I still struggle to get the results I want (probably because I justify a few extra calories after a workout). I'm all about the exercise; it's this diet word I don't care for that much. Plus, Italians are not meant for diets. God gave us carbs, man!

    In all seriousness, the best advice I can give you is not to break your cycle. Whatever plan you set up for yourself, stick with it. If I miss a day, it becomes an excuse to miss the rest of the week in my book. Use the time to rock out to music or plan out your next story. I like thinking of cardio as time to converse with my characters. Sure, people look at me funny; they think I'm talking to myself. I can't help it if they can't hear the voices in my head.

    Oh, and by the way, you look great. What you already accomplished is commendable. Don't let a few pounds set you back. I doubt you can see the difference, and I'm sure they'll come right off. (I also found I always gained most of my weight at the end of the academic year. There is probably some correlation between kids with spring fever and educator weight gain.)

  22. Okay, seriously. I will be yours if you will be mine–personal trainer, that is. I sat down with my friend, Daniel, who is studying to be a personal trainer and he told me "You're not a fatty" after announcing that I am easily 15-20 pounds over weight. So, you and I will be training together. Either really really OR cyber really. I don't care. Cuz when I ask if these pants make me look fat, I don't want people to say that my FAT is what makes me look fat. (And yes, it is REALLY about health, blah blah, blah…)

  23. OK Weed, first of all, way to go on deciding to get healthy. You sound super motivated so I have no doubt you will reach your goal. Plus, you've already been there, so you are ahead of the game as far as knowing what works for you. Advice wise, the best thing I can put out there is to (a) walk 30 minutes (or more) a day. Find a way, however busy you are. And (b) portion control. That's it. I don't necessarily think you need to DIET — just pay attention to portions, binging and overdoing it on carbs. I believe the rule of thumb for keeping it off is to not lose too much too quickly. Like 2 – 2 1/2 piounds a week.
    I am in your boat, and I've been doing those things above (advice from a nutritionist and dietician), and for the first time in like ever, I am actually dropping. Been working steadily at it for the last six weeks and have dropped about 25.
    Calories in, calories out. It's as simple as that.
    So anyway, after that super long-winded comment, I just want to tell you that you have a cheerleader in me!! I'll be on the sidelines. You can do it!!

  24. I love that in your 201 lb picture your body is entirely masked by pink and frills. That's what I do in every picture, find a child and shamelessly use them as a shield.

    I'm probably the last person who ought to give advice but being someone who has been on the weight loss roller coaster far too often I will say that it doesn't do any good to cut out the things you love entirely because you just end up feeling deprived. So if you love nachos try to plan your day so that you're eating the right amount of calories as well as the nachos or only eat them once a week. And if you love sweetened condensed milk maybe try putting it on fruit instead of drinking straight from the can. Sweetened condensed milk with fresh peaches and a little brown sugar is one of the greatest things ever.

    It looks like you don't have too much weight to lose so I'm sure with some little corrections you'll get back on track and that weight will come off in no time!

  25. So, a few more comments…

    1. Jillian WILL kick your trash – her work-outs are cruel. And my husband faithfully does them. Even though she promises him a chest like the Victoria Secrets girls, and I don't think he's aiming for that.

    2. My husband had the following two weight loss ideas: get a tape worm or see if you can get another colonoscopy.

    3. I'll send you a bar of German chocolate if you lose 10lbs in a month. That should motivate just about any human out there (who's living in America and can't easily get their hands on good chocolate).

    4. I'm sure we'll love WA, we already do. We just need to find a good job out there (or practice or something…so, let us know of any good optometry opportunities :).

  26. I'm going to take this opportunity to pimp and the Primal Blueprint book. I lost 30 lbs (most of it left over from my now 6 year old baby) pretty easily and got myself lower than my starving vegan weight by eating tons of fat and protein. (and MEAT. Your oldest would *love* this plan). My husband (an internist) and me (nurse practitioner in a former life) both read Gary Taubes' books and became converts to the low-carb way of life. My vegetarian Coke-swilling former self would never believe it. Check out the Mark's Daily Apple site for some quick and dirty info. Super easy and fun (and bacon!)

  27. I'm with Melissa and use I've lost 16 lbs so far (would be a lot more if I didn't loathe working out so much) but it works! Based on calorie counting, it's amazing how many calories we eat and just don't realize it until logging it. Feel free to friend me on there as well OBXGal. I've met some amazing people on there that are great at kicking your butt into shape 🙂

  28. I know this sounds simple, but just rub your stomach, i'm not kidding, just rub your stomach and drink water.

  29. I am in my 40s and never dieted in any fashion until a year ago. I had been putting on 5-10 pounds a year for the past several years and found myself bordering on a BMI of 30 (obesity) at 227 pounds. My doctor recommended the South Beach Diet due to my high triglycerides, which, as a side effect, also helps people lose weight.

    To make a long story short, I lost 12 pounds in Phase I (two weeks) and another 7 pounds in Phase II, which I stayed on for about a month. I was trying to be scientific about it, so I did not change anything else about my lifestyle. I never exercised and I never got hungry. I was totally shocked that it worked. It was all-you-can eat eggs, cheese, milk, fish, lean meats, vegetables, beans, and some soups. Phase II reintroduced fruits and whole grains. I even took one day off each week to eat anything I wanted (sugary cereal, chocolate). I never gave up diet soda either.

    Once I proved to myself it could work, the thrill of the experiment wore off and I put on ten pounds over the next year. Last month I tried it again and lost 10 pounds in Phase I (two weeks). I did not go to Phase II this time, but have maintained the loss.

    So, for whatever it is worth, the South Beach Diet, when applied, works and is pretty easy to follow since you do not count calories and you pretty much eat as much as you want.

  30. When you were building up about how hugely fat you were and then said 300 pounds, I kinda felt sorry for myself. I have been under 300 for probably 3 weeks out of the past 15 years, and about 2 months ago found myself at my heaviest ever – 349 – just 6 pounds less than my heaviest pregnancy weight. I don't mean to say that your struggles weren't valid or anything, but please consider that when you make fun of yourself for not being perfect, there are plenty of people out there who are worse off. Some may find your self-ridicule confirmation of their own self-hatred.

    That being said, I'm in the same place you were – hating the size, hating how it feels. I am actually doing something about it. Slowly and surely. Best advice I can give (because it's what actually works for me) is to make gradual life changes. Don't try to fix everything all at once. A little bit more water. A little bit more exercise. A little bit less junk. Just up the ante every week and you'll get to the best place you can be without going through shock.

    Unless you're like Brandi, who's a powerhouse and an inspiration. Know yourself and don't try to do it all overnight. And… good luck! Rooting for you!

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