It all started with some stairs.
I work on the third floor of an office building but I often have to go to the first floor to drop things off. One day a couple of months ago I walked down and then back up, but I heard this sound that startled me. I happened to be walking past the copier and thought it was having mechanical problems, but it was off. And that’s when I realized — in a fit of horror — what was making the noise.
It was me. And I was wheezing from being out of breath. Like a full-on, Fatty McGee wheeze.
I’ve always been on the heavy side. Three years ago I freaked out when I stepped on the scale and saw I weighed 246 lbs. So I talked to a few of my fat guy friends and we decided to do something about it. We each put down $100 and had ourselves a weight loss challenge. My friend Alex lost 70-some odd pounds and I shed more than 30 myself. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to maintain my weight because Will was born and there just didn’t seem to be enough time to go to the gym when new dad duties were calling.
So it was no surprise to me that I put on weight. I grew out of my large shirts and moved into the “XL” territory. You should know MJ buys all my clothes and therefore I don’t even know what size I am. I noticed my x-large clothes started feeling tight, but suddenly I had new clothes and they fit so much better. I naively thought maybe I had miraculously shed a few pounds without working out or changing my ABYSMAL eating habits. So imagine my shock when I looked at the tag and saw the “XXL” staring me in the face.
I won’t lie, that shook me. And it forced me to find an answer to a question I had been dreading for months and months. How much did I weigh? I hadn’t had the guts to get on a scale, but at this point I was beginning to get concerned for my health. I was in XXL clothes, couldn’t walk up stairs without requiring oxygen and could barely play with my own son for more than a couple minutes at a time. So I sucked it up and stepped on the scale to see…
If other people hadn’t been around at the time, I probably would’ve cried. Two hundred and eighty-one fucking pounds. I was disgusted, embarrassed and horrified. But more importantly, I was ANGRY. The anger is important because that’s what motivates me. I know I should want to lose weight for myself, for my family, to live longer and be a good role model — but that’s not gonna cut it. Horrible, I know. But it’s the truth.
Anger motivates me. So does competition. Knowing that, I contacted my friends Alex and Dave — two of my heavier friends — to see if they wanted to make some changes. They did. Suddenly emails were flying back and forth as we tried to come up with terms for a bet. This time, instead of money, we borrowed from the popular TV show “How I Met Your Mother” in which the characters on the show settle their friendly bets in a rather unorthodox way — the Slap Bet.
And that’s how FatSlap was born. Here are the rules:
We all weigh in on our own scales. You must use the same scale throughout the duration of the contest. The weight loss is measured by percentage. This is important since I’m actually the lightest guy, so it makes things a little more fair. Alex and I started the competition early at the beginning of January. Dave is going to join in starting Super Bowl weekend.
We have monthly weigh-ins and at each weigh-in, there will be slaps. The guy who has lost the most weight gets to open-hand slap the other two in the face. The second place finisher gets to slap the guy in third. Which means whoever finishes last will get slapped twice. Oh, and did I mention all of it will be on camera for people to enjoy on YouTube?
This will go on until the end of May. At the last weigh-in, slaps will still take place as usual. But as a bonus, the winner will get to have two “anytime” slaps. That means the winner will be able to slap the other two at any point with no restrictions. For example, if Alex wins and decides to wait until Will gets married and I’m making a speech at the wedding to smack me in front of everyone, then so be it.
Like I said, anger motivates me. OK, and fear as well. That’s why the mere thought of losing $100 in a bet won’t get me going. But lemme tell ya, the thought of my two huge friends with brute strength slapping the ever-lovin’ shit out of me multiple times gets my ass out of bed to run at 5 a.m.
And yes, I’ve been running. I was at 281 lbs and now I’m at 263. That’s 18 lbs in three weeks. Not bad. But Alex, who weighed in at 399 lbs, has lost 42 lbs in that time so I’m in some trouble. But I’ve been tracking every single calorie that’s entered my body and I completely changed my eating habits. I run 2.6 miles 3-4 times a week. It’s slow going but I’m doing it.
As for Alex, I’ll let him tell you his story in his own words. Be warned, he likes to talk even more than I do:
Well for starters, I’m fat. It may be stating the obvious, but that’s the most salient detail, isn’t it? In this context, that’s what people want to know more about anyway. Who cares about the other stuff?
There aren’t TV shows devoted to people losing weight so that the audience can find out that Fatty McFatterson is an avid reader and movie buff (as I am). The audience wants to know how many X’s are on the tag of his shirt- mine have four of them these days, though there are a few brands where a 3X is better. Fun fact: the size at which no men’s clothing can, under any circumstances, actually be said to “look good on you” is 4XL.
People aren’t interested in the fact that I travel 150-200 days and 125,000+ miles a year for a living. Not yet anyway. They want to know if I need one of those seat belt extensions on the plane- Believe it or not, almost never. However, there are a few planes that haven’t been refurbished since you could smoke on planes, flight attendants were called stewardesses, and many male stewards were called “confirmed bachelors.” On these planes I find one useful, but can get by without if I need to.
Who cares if I’m mid-thirties, single, with no kids? Folks want to know if I’m fat enough to break furniture- I am. Or more honestly, I have. It was patio furniture, sure, but that made it no less embarrassing. Oh, and one dining room chair, which I still maintain was of sub-par quality as it was probably 10 years ago and I was not that fat at the time (I weighed less than Aaron does now).
It’s okay. You can relax. I’m not bitter or angry. This isn’t where I snap and start typing in all caps, DO YOU WANT ME TO DANCE FOR YOU? YOU WANT FATTY TO DANCE? Um, more to the point I guess it is. Just not seriously. I just figured this is what most everyone would want to know. I’m fat enough to be the baritone in a barbershop quartet in Skokie, IL. I’m talking like orca fat. Told you- movie buff. (As I hope you already know the whole “barber shop/orca” thing is a Usual Suspects reference. If you haven’t seen it, stop reading this right now and go watch it.
As the fattest participant in this competition, I’m either the odds-on favorite or the underdog depending on who you ask. For the record, I should be the favorite. I’ve lost large amounts of weight before. On one of said occasions I whipped my friends in a competition similar to this one (money only, unlike this time around no actual whipping). Aaron was one of them. Dave was not. It can be done.
Here’s hoping I do it again.
Name: TheViking (I like to keep what comes up on a google search professional)
Website: www.mightyviking.com *
Twitter: @themightyviking *
Starting Weight: 399lbs.**
Weight loss method: Healthy low carb. There are lots of diets with lots of different names that all push the same thing. And they’re all corporate money sucking machines that try to sell you chemical-ridden “bars” and the like. So I won’t use brand names. Think eggs for breakfast, salad for lunch, grilled chicken or lean steak and lots of veggies for dinner, with nuts for snacking. And lots of water.
*The domain “themightyviking” was taken, as was the twitter handle “@mightyviking”. It’s a little confusing, but it’s also too late to fix, so there it is.
**This isn’t an asterisk where I explain I had a big meal or my shoes on (true, false). I can hem and haw all I want, at the end of the day I was a four hundred pounder (“was” because, being the procrastinator I am, I’m writing this after the original weigh-in. As of this posting I’m closer to 350 than 400. If you’re asking yourself “what’s the difference, you’re still huge?” good for you, you’re not fat- but there’s a difference. Also suck it, I’m working on it.) Either way, I’ve come to terms with 400. I own 400, so this isn’t an asterisk for that. This is an asterisk for those people who know me and are surprised to learn I weighed that much. This also goes for anyone who knows someone dieting (especially successfully). DO NOT TELL ME, NOW THAT I’M LOSING WEIGHT, HOW CONCERNED YOU WERE FOR ME (OR MY HEALTH, ETC…) AND HOW GLAD YOU ARE TO SEE ME DOING WELL LOSING WEIGHT. DO NOT REMARK ON HOW SURPRISED YOU WERE TO LEARN THE ACTUAL NUMBER. I plan to write about this in the near future, so I’ll save you the whys and wherefores right now. Just trust me on this. If you have to mention successful weight loss to anyone, tell them they look good (not better, good). I’ll leave it at that for now.
So there we are. Your first two participants. We’ll have Dave’s info when he joins us in a couple weeks. In the meantime, Alex and I are posting our “before” pictures even though it makes us physically ill to do so. Feel free to leave us comments (we appreciate the positive and we’ll feed off the negative) and we’ll post all the updates (and especially the slap videos) as they happen.
Alex & I in the dreaded “Before” pics: