By Bob Merrick
Out.com is proud to present the wacky and wild (and absolutely true�although some names have been changed to protect the guilty) adventures of a 30-year-old guy in Hollywood who just wants to lose a few (dozen) pounds. And find eternal happiness and fulfillment. Is that too much to ask?
Part One: Resolutions and Commitment
It was five minutes before midnight on New Year�s Eve. I could hear my heart thumping in my chest like a steel drum. The clock was rapidly ticking toward the moment that signifies how you will spend your next year. A stupid tradition in theory, but suddenly so significant as I glanced around the Hollywood Hills party I was attending, realizing I had no one to kiss. Sure, I could have lunged at Macaulay Culkin, who happened to be on my left, or across the room to Janice Dickinson, who could�ve swallowed me whole with her large mouth, but neither option seemed at all fulfilling. All I could think to myself was, �This wasn�t supposed to be how I was going to ring in 2005.�
One year earlier, I had made a promise to myself that I would lose some weight and look fabulous for my 30th birthday in June. I was confident that by looking fabulous, I would also find myself a boyfriend, get a new job, discover eternal happiness, and possibly create world peace. It seemed perfectly logical to me. When I pictured myself waiting for the ball to drop into 2005, I imagined me, in my new well-cared-for body standing next to a man eager to kiss me and to commit to a lifetime of love and romance. I was obviously drunk on New Year�s Eve 2003, because it�s just not the way my 2004 turned out.
To be fair, I did lose 30 pounds by my birthday in June, but the day after my blowout party, my spirit was deflated. Chalk it up to post-party depression. So I paid a visit to my number one fan and supporter. My friend who loves me unconditionally and gets me through all of my life moments: food. The chicken fingers with bleu cheese from Dalt�s, the French onion soup from Doughboys, and vats of ranch dressing. I could eat a fried tennis shoe as long as there was ranch dressing available.
I ate my way through July and August thinking I would gain control by the fall. By November, my joke had become that I was training for Thanksgiving. Turns out the joke was on me because not only did I reclaim the dreaded 30 pounds I had lost, but I added even more, bringing my 6�3� frame to an all-time high of 295 pounds. I am one Big Mac away from 300 pounds. A number that is as frightening to my mind as it is to my heart. According to my doctor, my weight should be in the 195-200 pound range, a weight I haven�t known since the early �90s.
But back to New Year�s. My friends began pairing up for the countdown. I was rapidly feeling like I was in the 4th grade again when no one wanted me on their team in P.E. Where I would be chosen last, usually after the kid in the wheelchair. Everyone began to chant backward from 10. With each shout, I hoped I would just pass out like Kathleen Turner in Peggy Sue Got Married and wake up 10 years earlier. And then one of my dearest friends, Wendy, a vivacious film producer who looks like she belongs in front of the camera instead of behind it, leaned in and said, �Happy New Year,� giving me my midnight kiss. Sure, it was a girl, but it was a special kiss nonetheless. It gave me a reprieve for the night. More importantly, it set the ball in motion.
The next morning, I woke up in my pajamas and spent the day alone with my thoughts. Something I haven�t done in months, thanks to my job as an assistant at a film studio and an overactive social life. I realized that it was time to put down the Ding Dongs and face the fact that the once-a-month I go out dancing at the local club Fubar doesn�t count as exercise.
I walked into the kitchen of my small Hollywood apartment and with a heavy heart said goodbye to the foods that brought me comfort and made me fat. With the same anguish as Dorothy saying goodbye to the Scarecrow, I audibly whimpered, �I�m gonna miss you most of all, Rosemary Olive Bread. So fluffy inside with your salty crust.� I actually felt a tear form in the corner of my eye as I discarded all of my pasta. �So long, Family Pack of Reese�s Peanut Butter Cups. You�ll always be one of my favorite post-Christmas clearance purchases.� As the final bag of chips hit the trash can, I felt a sense of empowerment mixed with grief.
On Sunday morning, I begrudgingly woke up early and headed for the gym. Hard to believe it had been six months since my last visit. Well, not so hard when I realized none of my gym clothes fit. My once baggy shirt now fit like a sausage skin and my sweat pants suddenly took on a spandex-like appearance. I couldn�t believe I was going out in public like that, so I just pretended I was Mr. Incredible discovering his super suit no longer fit. Some diligent work on the treadmill and I would be ready to fight crime in no time at all.
I walked like a hamster on that conveyor belt contraption for the longest 30 minutes of my life. Thank God for my mp3 player and the Black Eyed Peas. By the time I got off, my face was as red as a tomato and my outfit was officially glued to my body with sweat. I actually found a way to look worse leaving than arriving. I had intended to spend the day being productive: grocery shopping, laundry, and, should I be so brave, a haircut. But I couldn�t get off the couch. My legs throbbed and my body collapsed. I hadn�t known that kind of exhaustion since the time I tried to run a marathon after a night of pizza and beer. Or maybe it was after a marathon of pizza and beer.
Later that afternoon, as I dusted off my copy of The South Beach Diet, I realized the journey ahead was not going to be an easy one, but if I could stick to it, it would be incredibly worthwhile. My goal is to have my mind and heart in a space where, with or without a boyfriend next New Year�s Eve, I will want to kiss me. The mere thought of Janice Dickinson�s puckered lips should certainly prove frightening enough to keep me on track.
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