War on Weight – Week Four

Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times.

John Quincy Adams lost seven elections before he became President.

Britney Spears shaved her head and attacked a SUV.

We all have setbacks.

***

That is what I started to write during my Metro ride home Wednesday night. I planned to continue to lament about how I had a setback on my weight loss journey and gained a few pounds last week. I had some good excuses too.

After a fateful bout with a bee last Wednesday, I had to take my bike into the shop.

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It’s been there for seven days now. Thus, I’ve only exercised once during the past week. It’s hard to find free non-commuting time these days to go exercise for an hour. I’ve also had some increased stress at work. With my bike in the shop, I’ve recently turned to food for comfort. That’s not ideal.

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I ate six Rice Krispie Treats in a row one night at 1:00am. I kinda regretted it, but those things are wicked good. I should have stopped at five.

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(That 54-pack box lasted less than a week.)

So I finally had my fateful meeting with the scale last night. I had already written out my “setback” post and was just going to plug in the number of pounds I gained. Although I was frustrated, I was ready to move on to a successful Week 5.

I weighed myself.

210 pounds.

The exact same as the week before.

I reset the scale.

I weighed myself again.

210 pounds.

I weighed myself again.

Still 210 pounds.

I was shocked. I was relieved.

I was also disappointed.

I had been down on myself for falling off the wagon, both with my eating and exercise, and I expected the worst. A button busting off of my pants at work yesterday didn’t help. Despite all the negative thoughts and fears, I gained zero pounds.

That was more exciting than any of my recent weight loss successes. I once had a bad week in 2006 and gained twelve pounds in five days. Last week, the scale didn’t move at all when I put exercise and healthy eating to the side. More importantly, seeing “210” on the scale for the second week in a row was an important reminder that I’m my own harshest critic and that things are rarely as bad as they seem.

220 and 210 (sadly, no pictures with me and a baby from this week):

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Awkward White Guy Rap – Britney Spears

We all have a Fountain of Youth, a Moby Dick, or a Holy Grail that seems unattainable, uncatchable, and unreachable.  It might be those last five pounds you just can’t shed, running a six-minute mile, or beating the fiftieth level of Candy Crush.

For me, it was performing a Britney Spears song.

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No longer.

Due to the help of one amazing singer (Jen!), a spirited violinist and his flashy blue violin (Jackie!), and two uber-cool brothers (Dave and Phil!) who make up one-half of an amazing band (The Unlikely Hero!), I found my Holy Grail this past weekend.

Thanks for watching!

A special thanks to Jen, Jackie, Dave, and Phil for making this video possible!  Huge thanks to Paul A. for letting us use his camera and for Capital City Church for letting us jam in the office to film this silly video.  Finally, thanks to Britney Spears for the inspiration.

Seriously, watch The Unlikely Hero video linked above.  They are so good.

Oh, and this video helps explain my Facebook post from Thursday:

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Thankful

Christmas and Halloween are pretty rad, but Thanksgiving is the Britney Spears of holidays.  

Thanksgiving is the best holiday.  Yo.

There is amazing food, endless football, and it’s not out-of-control crazy like Christmas.  Most importantly, it’s an amazing time of reflection and gratitude.

Our 2013 Thanksgiving Family Photo
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Things will look a little different next year.

Oh, and I can eat SO much pumpkin pie during Thanksgiving and not even feel that bad about it.

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Back to the “important” stuff.  Being thankful and junk.

Here’s what I’m most thankful for in 2013:

-A God who forgives.  I desperately need that.  All the time.

-A wife who is patient and doesn’t reject my pleas to help film “music” videos.

Awkward White Guy Rap - Lose Yourself - Eminem

-The dude(tte) who invented selfies.

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-Creative friends.

Bert and Ernie

-A little boy and a little girl.

Sonogram

Sriracha.  I put that stuff on everything.

-Jordans

Jordans

-Baby Jordans.

Baby Jordans

-The new fro-yo place by my office.

-The new fro-yo place by my house.

Justin Timberlake.  “Mirrors” was my jam this year.

-My new brother-in-law.  Now I don’t feel like a third wheel when Amanda and her sister hang out.

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-A job where I can be myself

-A church that encourages me to become a better version of myself

-Tom Brady.  Thanks for standing ten feet away from me in January.  It was fun hanging out with you.  (It counts.)

-Sparkling water

-The heroes who come to our Cap City Church small group.  Y’all are nuts, but you are encouraging and entertaining individuals who I don’t want to do life without.

-“Wrecking Ball.”  This was the best song of 2013.  Hopefully I didn’t ruin it.

-The Mexican and Peruvian restaurants by our house.

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-Razors

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Hannah M., Brian W., Matt C., Jon Acuff, and Taylor Swift.  You all inspired and encouraged me to start writing this blog.  Thanks.  Now, you must apologize to the rest of the world.

-The people who read this blog.  It means the world to me and I am so grateful for you.

-Red pants

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-My Virginia Beach friends.  Yes, our city can be a little cheesy.  Yes, it can be a little trashy.  However, it’s an amazing place to grow up.  Plus, it’s full of spectacular people.

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-All my friends.  Thanks for the encouragement and the laughs.

-My BFFs who decided to marry each other.

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-Beaches in winter

-The people who actually watch my dumb “rap” videos.  They have gotten 40,000 hits on YouTube over the past few months.  That makes me a little scared for humanity.  However, ease up on the mean YouTube comments.  We have feelings too!

-Kelly Kapowski

-Silly friends

Stop Yelling

Chubbies Shorts

-Cheesy baby stuff

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-My red Puma coat.  I’m biased, but it’s pretty dope.

Eric and Andrew

-Taco Bell.  I want you everyday.

-Getting every penny back from our trip to Toronto that was cancelled at the last second due to a blizzard.

-Going crazy for Amanda’s 30th birthday by building her a tower of 30 presents.

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-Being alive

-Powdered donuts

-Game nights

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-The Washington Nationals.  The 2013 season was disappointing, but we still had fun.

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-Haribo gummy bears

-Haribo everything else

-Our flower beds.  It was fun feeling like an old man each morning I watered the beautiful flowers and plants Paul, Eddie, and Chris planted.

Nando’s Peri Peri.  If you’ve never been, go immediately.  Eat everything.

Bonobos

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-UVA’s basketball team.  Thanks for helping me heal from a disastrous UVA football season.

-“Cruise” by Florida-Georgia Line and Nelly.  I love this song.  A lot.

-My bicycle

-Not crashing on my bike at all in 2013

-Family

-Sunrises

-Sunsets

-Chips and salsa

-Jack Link’s beef jerky

…and…most importantly…

My dog

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Oh, and Zack Morris.  Thanks for the inspiration, bro.

Life’s Toughest Decision

This week I’ve written about one of my heroes, what it means to be a man, the purpose of life, and identity issues.  Thus, I thought I’d keep up the trend of serious posts.

It’s time to talk about heaven.

It’s time to talk about Britney Spears.

My ladies:

Life's Toughest Decision

Theologians, scholars, and Presidents have all debated the important topic of which Britney song is best.  Well, President Obama, I have the answers you’ve been looking for.  Here’s the official list of the best Britney songs:

#5:  “Baby One More Time” – You will always remember and cherish your first love.  This song and, more importantly, this video were the greatest inventions of the 20th Century (computers, televisions, and slap bracelets are overrated).  Tragically, this song came out fifteen years ago.  That makes me very sad and a little depressed.  I miss TRL, Ricky Martin, $1/gallon gas, and not being in my 30s.

My classy high school notebook:

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#4:  “Piece of Me” – Britney kind of hit rock bottom in the mid-2000s.  That happens when the love of your life marries another woman.  However, she finally moved on from me and now Britney is back on top of the music world.  This song was her comeback anthem.  For that reason, if you are facing an obstacle in your life, you should listen to this song.  A lot.  If you’re not facing an obstacle in your life, you should still listen to this song.  A lot.

#3 – “Selfish” – I’m guessing that only those who are a bit too obsessed with Britney are familiar with this song.  Well, that’s a shame.  IT’S SO GOOD.  However, I love it for another reason too.  Within the confines of our homes, we all do weird stuff that we (hopefully) don’t do in public.  Well, when this song is played in our house, I change the lyrics to “Shellfish” and sing everything from our dog’s perspective.  I have no idea why, but it’s a family tradition.  Sometimes I feel sorry for our kids.

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#2 – “Toxic” – This was the peak of Britneymania (for me and the rest of the world).  THIS SONG ALSO WON A GRAMMY AWARD!  That proves to me that nothing is impossible.  That prestigious award and the music video for “Toxic” also confirms my long-held belief that Britney Spears is the greatest artist of our generation and probably the greatest in history (Michelangelo and Mozart are a close second and third).

#1 – Nope, it’s not “Dear Diary” or “E-Mail My Heart.”  Those songs are a little too deep for me.  Rather, it’s “Break the Ice.”  Again, this is a random choice.  However, I’m a history nerd and there’s a lot of history between me and this song.

In February 2009, I was still paying a lot of money to go to law school, we didn’t have much cash in savings, and the financial crisis was being mean to the entire world.  Plus, my future job was in limbo. Thus, we had to live frugally.  For Valentine’s Day, instead of jewelry or a spa day, I gave Amanda the (free) gift of dance.

Specifically, I put together an entire choreographed dance routine to this song and busted out a surprise performance on Valentine’s Day.  For two straight weeks, after Amanda went to bed, I’d go into our living room and practice my midnight dance moves.  On February 14, 2009, this once-in-a-lifetime (thankfully) performance went down.  There is a video.  However, it will not be posted here because (1) I can’t find it on our old computer and (2) it’s kinda creepy.  Alas, I’ve listened to “Break the Ice” more than any other song ever written.  Thus, it is Britney’s greatest.

THE performance (and our messy apartment):

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TGIF!  Have a blessed weekend! Thanks for reading.  Yo.

Don’t be Mean

Fat.  Stupid.  Crazy.  Ugly.  Annoying.  Weird.

Those are powerful words.  Words that tear people down, words that destroy hope, and words that leave a smoldering trail of painful memories.  Sadly, I imagine all of us have identified with at least one of those words or something similar.

I sure have.

I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life.  I had to buy “husky” clothes.  Kids laughed at me for being overweight.  Pull-up day in gym class was my annual nightmare.  I hated anything involving the beach or swimming pools.  A “funny” remark by a friend in college about my weight still cuts me today.  Ten years later.

Those kinds of memories are not easily forgotten.  Even though I lost a lot of weight five years ago, it is still a constant struggle.  Every single day.

Tragically, despite the condemning power of words like “fat” and “stupid,” we sure do use them a lot.  Whether we’re talking about celebrities, random people on the street, and, sadly, even our friends, hurtful words are way too common in our vocabularies.

We should change that.

Being mean and judging people sucks.  Not only are you ripping through someone else’s emotions, but you are also missing out on all the beautiful things that person has to offer.  If all you see is a “loser,” you won’t notice the gifts, talents, and abilities he or she has been blessed with.  Gifts, talents, and abilities that can bless you if you give that “loser” a chance.

For example, one of the most important heroes of history, Miley Cyrus, is stunningly talented.  She’s accomplished more in a few years than 99.99% of humanity ever will.  Sadly, I don’t think anyone on this planet has received more criticism during the past month than Miley Cyrus.  Not Congress.  Not Assad in Syria.  MILEY RAY CYRUS.  Yep, she shaved her head (kinda). Yep, she wears some skimpy outfits (or no outfits at all). Yep, she got kinda freaky at the VMAs. Yep, her new video is a little strange.

Don't be MeanOh well.  She’s human, and weird, just like the rest of us.  I thank God I’m not judged completely by my craziest and most unflattering moments.  Other than Tom, we all have our flaws.  Even some of history’s greatest legends had some screwups:  Moses killed a dude, Elvis was hooked on drugs, Martin Luther King had an affair, and Britney Spears made a song called “E-Mail My Heart.”  We’d miss out on all sorts of awesomeness if we only judged those heroes by their faults.

So please give Miley a chance, y’all.  A lot of people have called her some terrible things and labelled her an “idiot,” a “slut,” or much worse in recent weeks.  Yep, she has some issues, just like everyone else, but she straight up made the best song of 2013.

“Wrecking Ball”

I listen to this song at least ten times a day and I’m not even ashamed of it.  If you’ve written off Miley because of some of her antics, you’re missing out on a masterpiece that would make Mozart jealous.

So please don’t rob yourself of life’s riches.  Don’t be mean.  At least that’s what Taylor Swift told me.  And Jesus.

Beat Dat Addiction

We made it to the weekend.  Good job, world.  That is always worth celebrating.  I have something else to celebrate:

Victory

Baby news?  Nope.  Check back in 2-3 years.

Lost some weight?  Sadly, I’m moving in the wrong direction on that one.

New job?  Naw, dawg.  I like being able to wear purple pants to work.

More importantly, I have won my battle with Coke (to avoid confusion, please note the capitalized “C”).  It was a tough and lengthy battle, but like Britney Spears at the 2005 Grammy Awards, I won.

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I took the Virginia bar exam in July 2009.  It was a grueling summer and just like watching any recent Nicholas Cage movie, it is not an experience I want to repeat.  I studied 12+ hours a day.  The only way I stayed awake during prep classes so boring that they made soccer look exciting was by drinking Coke Zero.  Sadly, not one or two cans, but five.

(Just kidding, soccer fans.  Sorta.)

Four years later and I was still drinking five cans of that black and fake sugary goodness each day.  I’m not a nutritionist and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but I do know that’s not good for you.  So I finally decided to “quit” and today marks my one-month anniversary of semi-freedom from Coke Zero.  How are you going to celebrate?

If you feel as though you are in the inescapable grip of an addiction, you’re not.  Just like Michael Jackson, you’re gonna “Beat It.”  Here’s how:

1.  Don’t be dumb.  Set a realist goal.  If I tried to quit Coke Zero completely, I’d fail.  Be smart, set reasonable expectations, and then go from there.  Baby steps.

2.  Find a good substitute.  If you’re trying to rid your life of something, you’ve got to replace it with something else.  For me, it was sparkling water (and rap videos).  Sure, water with bubbles is not nearly as good as Coke, but it’s a lot healthier and does the trick.

3.  Accountability.  Addictions can crush us and we can’t fight them alone.  Get someone who can support you.  Amanda, of newfound rapping fame, was key.  She stopped buying Coke Zero.  That helped.

Good luck and TGIF!

Cursed

Some combinations are awesome:

-chicken and waffles;

Queen and David Bowie;

-Chuck Taylors and suits; and

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-Me and Britney.

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Others combinations are lame:

-Joey Lawrence and the 21st Century;

-Christina Aguilera and everything;

-DC tourists and Metro escalators; and

-Me and my friend Brian.

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You see, we’re good friends.  We hang out a lot.  We go to the same church.  We’re even working together to launch a new Capital City Church location in Virginia.  One problem: we’re bad luck.  Really bad luck.

Over the past two years, we’ve been to six Nationals games together.  We’re 0-6.  In non-Brian games, I’m probably 15-6.  You do the math.

We’re cursed.

We went to a huge game last night against the Braves.  Unsurprisngly, the Nationals lost in spectacular fashion.  This was partly due to the fact that the Nationals are a bad baseball team, but it was mainly our fault.

In short, do not invite us both to your wedding.  Or any important medical procedures.

You’ll probably die.

First playoff baseball game in DC in 70+ years.  Went with Brian.

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We lost.

Won sweet field passes.

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Still lost.

Met Bryce Harper.

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#lost

Brian’s 25th Birthday!

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Lost again.  (Duh.)

Maybe we’ll have better luck on $1 hot dog night?

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Nope. Like a weird island full of polar bears and smoke monsters, we LOST.

So instead of blaming our inept coach, underperforming players, or questionable management for the Nationals’ disappointing 2013 season, now you know the real culprit:

Brian.