Tag Archives: biggest loser

Living in an Angsta’s Paradise

I have officially become a tortured artist.

I had never believed in that crap before.  To me, the “tortured artist” was an anachronistic idea that allowed angst-ridden weirdo-artists to swath themselves in alcohol, drugs, and sex addiction.  Were their lives really that hard?  I doubted it.  

Then, I moved out to LA in my vain attempt to break into the writing world.  In all my vanity, I  had decided that it would take me two years, tops, to break into the TV writing biz, get on a show, convince network execs to give me a deal, and then write comfortably from the cold, unhappy winters of the East Coast, corrupting the minds of the 18-49 demo with intellectualized, comedic, drivel. 

I’m only three months in, but I’m already behind on my very-unrealistic two-year plan.

And so, every afternoon, as I toil through a corporate job which pays the bill but doesn’t get me any closer to the so-called “dream” of writing, I have the following (highly-annoying) conversation with myself:

OK, let’s set the stage for this little discussion.  Topic: my quarterlife crisis.  Yes, again.  Fine, this isn’t really a quarterlife crisis, unless I live to 100 – so if you want, we can probably call it a 30%-life crisis.  Well… then again, by the time I die, everyone will be living past 100 (hey, hey, healthcare).  That would make for a really long Happy-Birthday-from-Smuckers segment on the Today Show. Network television will be gone by then anyway.  Okay.  Get back on track.  We’ll call it a quarterlife crisis.  Although, “crisis” is much too overdramatic: perhaps it’s more of a “dilemma”?

Back to my dilemma.  Not that I’m freaking out, but… What am I doing here?  Am I doing the right thing?  If I want to write, shouldn’t I just quit my job and write?  But, it’s good to have a job.  And it’s not like I’m sitting on an unlimited pile of money.  Could there be alternative options, between this corporate life and the peripatetic, never-employed existence as a writer? (Is it weird that of all the writers I’ve met, 99% are men who wear Coke bottle glasses? Not even exaggerating).  Would I be better suited for advertising / journalism / magazine editing / or even academia? Should I settle on an existence that could take me back to the East Coast? Because although I could kick it in LA for 2 years, I’m not sure how I’ll feel about it after that.

Maybe I should get an MFA.  Or an MBA.  Or maybe I should just start a routine of lying in fetal position every few hours to facilitate the osmotic transfer of ideas?  My friends all have legitimate jobs with workable hours and fat salaries and the promise of steady employment.  I could do that too, if I wanted.  But I don’t.  Or do I?  Maybe I just don’t know what I want.  (Heightened panic.)  What am I doing with my life??!?

Let’s watch Where Are They Now? Clips from The Biggest Loser.  That makes me feel better.  At least I’m not on the verge of a hypoglycemic coma.

I ate six cookies today.  Maybe I am…

Let’s get to the denouement.  I’m extraordinarily lucky.  I have options.  That might not seem like a good thing now, but in the long run, it is.  I just need to make up my mind and choose… choose the path I want to go down… — Why can’t I do it all??!?! — Calm down, crazy.  Keep doing what you’re doing.  Stay in your job, and continue to write on the side.  — Even if I’m only writing educational finance parodies to ‘80s music??? — Sure.  Because, one day, you’ll have a breakthrough.  And if not, then at least you’ve tried, and you won’t ever regret it.

— Are you sure I won’t regret not selling out earlier?  Because the time value of money says I’ll regret it. —

You nerd.

Yeah, you’re right.


Filed under Careers, Life

My Halloween Costume

In honor of my favorite Tuesday night TV show, I will be dressing up as The Biggest Loser this Halloween.  I will be stuffing my Biggest Loser t-shirt with candy, which is appropriate because 1) it’s Halloween, and 2) it’s a metaphor for obesity.  Throughout the night, I will give away my candy (social message!) until I become skinny again.

biggestloserSomeone told me that the costume could be offensive.  But, it’s just Halloween… This is the night where ninjas, pirates, and sexy nurses come out in droves.  This is the night where 12-year olds can turn into their favorite promiscuous pop star.  So, I don’t think that dressing up as The Biggest Loser is offensive… just reflective of American society.  I won’t even give any lectures on Type 2 diabetes or the spread of childhood obesity.  All I plan to do is pass out candy from inside my belly.

Don’t hate me.

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It’s a Tough Choice Between Cankles and Friends

Yesterday, my friend Andrew sent me this article, “The Social Side of Obesity”, with a note: “We can’t be friends.”

The article, which claims “you are who you eat with,” cites research that followed 12,000 adults for 32 years.  Those with a friend who became obese were 57% more likely to become obese themselves.

obesityPart of me thinks this is great news — If you are obese, at least you can revel in your whale-like tubbiness with your best friend!  Biggest Loser Couples is always more interesting than singles.  And this ensures that big people can get love too… because unless you have a hippo fetish, most Americans will cruelly judge anyone packing lardy love handles.

The downside of course, is that obesity leads to heart disease, diabetes, multiple chins, ugly flab, arm jiggle, cankles, and premature death.  Since I’m not on the road to obesity (yet), it’s easy for me to downplay these effects, and to continue to write about my love affair with food (and The Biggest Loser).

But Andrew’s email yesterday was a wake-up call.  Clearly, the essence of life is derived upon restraint.  I have to change my food-loving ways: it’s unhealthy to dream about fajitas, and wake up gnawing on my pillow.  To control my voracious appetite, I’m going to start having a lunch of water and sugar packets.  And given that obesity is just the product of irresponsible and indulgent behavior (of course, DNA has nothing to do with it), I’m ditching all of my fat friends.  I don’t need their chub mentalities seeping into my head.  I don’t want their potbellies full of beer and cheesecake taunting me. 

I may become friendless, but at least I’ll be skinny.

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There’s an Icebox Where My Heart Used to Be

I have a confession: I cry at movies.  I cried buckets during The Dark Knight and Benjamin Button.  I obliterated the tissue box during My Dog Skip.  I even cried while watching last night’s Momma’s Boys finale on NBC.

But, the last time I cried in real life?  Can’t remember…

So why is it that Biggest Loser promos will make me tear up, while heartwarming wedding toasts will leave my cheeks dry?

jonkate8_s12Maybe my life just isn’t all that eventful.  I’m not aging backwards or being hunted by a psychopathic joker.  I didn’t pose for Penthouse and remorsefully reveal it on national television.  Maybe my life is just mundane compared to the melodrama happening on the screen.

Or maybe it’s because I feel more sorry for others than I do myself.  If I were getting chewed out for being massively obese, I’d probably respond with a stoic, “bite me” attitude.  However, when I’m watching others get called out, I’m in shambles.  Tissues can’t contain the waterworks.  It’s a mess.

My friends affectionately call me “icebox” for my inability to show a lot of emotion in everyday life… However, I think the true test of our empathy comes from our gut reactions to the travails of others.  The drama of movies and trashy reality shows brings out the crybaby in all of us.  Well… at least it does in me.  So if I don’t shed tears of joy at your wedding, please don’t hold it against me.  Just remember that the next time I cry during Jon and Kate Plus 8, some of those tears will be for you.

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A Reality Show That Inspires a Bigger and Better Reality

Throughout the fall, I’ve developed a steady workout routine. Every Tuesday, I rush home to watch my favorite reality show, The Biggest Loser. From my spot on the couch, I watch while quasi-attractive fat people work their way to becoming very attractive thin people. I cringe during the last chance workouts. I recoil from the trainers’ sharp tongue-lashings. I shudder at the suspense of the weigh-ins, complete with untimely cuts to commercial. The show has its soft side, with corny lines, tearjerker moments, and just the right amount of family drama. It has its hard side, with a lot of grunting, groaning, and heavy metal weights. The not-so-subtle product placement has enlightened me to the wonders of Extra gum and Jennie-O turkey. Then, of course, there is the sex appeal. (Although during this season of Biggest Loser: Families, it seems wrong to make eyes at the husbands and fathers, no matter how muscular they’ve become.)



While watching the Biggest Loser contestants hit the treadmill, lift weights, and eat lettuce wraps, you would think that this would encourage similar behavior from the viewer. At times I am compelled to do leg lifts or crunches, but more often I find myself fighting the urge to make cookies. Or cupcakes. Or sizzling chicken fajitas. And thus I usually end up exercising my gastrointestinal muscles, going at my food with an intensity that rivals Paula Dean digging into a country-fried steak. During last night’s show, I ate two fajitas, three cookies, half a bag of grapes, and a yogurt. I was thinking about heating up some meatballs and opening up a cantaloupe, but there just wasn’t enough time in between commercials.

Some might think it’s weird that The Biggest Loser has inspired my sedentary, food-filled Tuesday nights. But American Idol often compels me to belt out a little Mariah. So You Think You Can Dance encourages me to try some Irish tap dancing. Top Chef makes me want to explore non-microwave cooking possibilities. So why wouldn’t The Biggest Loser inspire me to get really fat just so I can get skinny again?

It makes sense to me. Fingers crossed that I’ll make it for The Biggest Loser: Rabid Fans in 2025.

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Like Wall Street, Making New Year’s Resolutions in October

Now that it’s October, I’d like to initiate a new tradition. Typically, we wait until January to start those dreaded New Year’s resolutions, which inevitably involve working out more and eating less. By mid-January (or February, if we are especially persistent), these resolutions are mostly forgotten. After all, it takes a lot of willpower to stick with something for an entire year, especially if it involves consuming less food.

So, I propose that we do away with our old, daunting, New Year’s resolutions… Instead, as earnings seasons kicks off today, let’s model our resolution revolution (sorry) off the vaunted financial world of Wall Street. As public companies begin reporting their quarterly results, this provides a perfect framework to think about our personal goals. By taking a short-term, myopic outlook, we may actually achieve some of our new “New Year’s” resolutions. So, I present:

My Q4 Resolutions

  1. Inspired by the Dow shedding 800 points at one point on Monday, and the fall launch of my favorite Tuesday TV show, The Biggest Loser, I aim to lose 5 lbs, mostly by working out more, not eating less… OK, I’d also be happy with 3.
  2. Lay off the gum habit… I’m a pack-a-day chewer. I’ll aim for two sticks, max, per day.
  3. Read a new book a month, AND finish Tom Friedman’s The World is Flat, which I’ve been trying to get through for the past two years. By December, I will actually finish it.
  4. Do one cultural activity a month… like go to a museum, national landmark, or nature tour. It will be something that does not involve TV, drinking, or mechanical bulls at Saddle Ranch.
  5. Save more money. As Buffett says: “Be greedy when others are fearful, and fearful when others are greedy.” The market may fall some more, but that extra cash isn’t doing much good under the mattress. If I put it in the market now and wait a few years, maybe I won’t have to work so hard when I’m 30. Or maybe I’ll have lost it all. I’m hoping for the former.

It’s also important to have some easy metrics in which to judge our progress. So, my guidance for Q4 is as follows:

A measuring stick (because this space needed a picture).

Q4 Guidance

  1. Weight: -3 lbs
  2. Cavities: 0
  3. Books read: +4 books
  4. Cultural stuff: +3 experiences
  5. Investments: +5% of income

I could continue this analogy to the point where we’re creating 10-Q progress reports on our weekly weigh-ins, and asking for government assistance in times of book-selecting crises. But, I’ll refrain from contemplating how SEC regulation may impact our jiggly love handles. All I know is that come December, if I don’t hit my numbers, I hope someone will bail me out.

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