I am a very lucky man – I’ve got an amazing wife and am the father to three wonderful kids. Lylli was born on Halloween in 2008, Gracie was born November 2010 and although she only lived for 17 months, she will remain as much a part of this family as the rest of us, and Mickey Gray, our first son, was born in June of 2012. I’m not going to say that life has gone exactly as I would have wanted, but it is a good life and I am determined to make the best of it.

This blog is an attempt to document my quest to become a dad that my family can be proud of.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Done Being the Before Picture

I am one muffin away from weighing 300 pounds. Judging by some recent pics, I'd venture to guess its one of those mini muffins. If I was 8 feet tall, I wouldn't sweat it, but at 5' 9", that's another story. The affliction that me and my ex-college teammates jokingly refer to as PAS (Post Athlete Syndrome) has gotten out of control. I imagine my insides are almost as fragile and on the edge of bursting as the button on my jeans. This past year has really got me thinking about my mortality. I tried to get into shape last year by training for the Twin Cities 10 Mile – I must have upped my food intake, because despite burning a lot more calories, I didn’t hardly lose any weight – On the day of the race I felt terrible. I showed up, easily the heaviest guy there, having next to no sleep the night before, my eye was in so much pain that I pouted and walked a good portion of my run – I’m pretty sure if you turned the results over, out of the thousands of people in the race, I would have been in the top 10. I ran the inaugural Twin Cities 10 mile several years earlier in just under 90 minutes – I know that is never going to break any records, but I would give anything for a 9 minute mile these days. That said, as many of you know, I started the year with a very painful eye issue -- Although the squinty right eye, scraggly beard, and salty attitude would've made it easy to pull off the pirate look -- It was a far cry from the Johnny Depp kind of pirate -- much more like the fat drunken turkey leg eating slob in the background that gets his head chopped off in an early scene instead of walking the plank (probably because they're afraid it'll snap) The side effects of the medicines and lack of activity, due to being miserable, caused me to balloon up (even more than usual). I was honored to walk my sister down the aisle with my dad this last January. They call tuxes monkey suits, but mine was more of a silver back gorilla suit with the 5X shirt they gave me to accomodate my prednisone swollen neck. I looked and felt like 10 lbs of bleep in a 5 lb bag -- That was not the way I would have chosen to celebrate one of the best days of my little sister's life. My eye has since gotten better and I pray that the eye issues are behind me. There were many doctors visits, blood tests, and a lot of pain - Picture the worst eye headache you've had -- that's how I felt from Sept ’09 - April ’10 -- I was miserable and it really got me thinking about how life is precious and short and I would not be giving my wife and children the respect they deserve if I continue to kill myself, one Supersized meal at a time. As my daughter grows older, I find myself having difficulties getting down on the floor to play with her or fitting inside her play house, etc. The internal Rich is a lot more playful and fun than the Rich people see today and I'm afraid a lot of it has to do with my weight issues. I don't want my kids to think that their dad can't do something - I want my girls to know a dad that will jump in the water with them or get inside the playhouse, sit on the floor, and have a tea party if that's what they want me to do. Not too long ago, I had a moment where I watched across the room as my wife and daughter looked at some recent home videos that we recorded on our little flip camera. My daughter kept saying, "I want to see Daddy". As I sat there watching them repeat the part of the video that I was in, I envisioned myself being dead of a heart attack and that video being the only thing that my daughter(s) could look at to see her(their) Daddy. It made me very sad. I recently went to a wedding -- My wife has given me a hard time in the past about how I don't dress up for occassions as I should (my apologies to those that have seen me at their event wearing cargo shorts) - Looking back on it now, I guess its kind of a defense mechanism. It was a wedding for her side of the family, and I do understand her point, so in an attempt to do the right thing, I got a haircut, shaved, and attempted to clean myself up. I wanted to look my best for her. In preparation, I looked through all of my clothes and found that I really have nothing nice to wear that fits me anymore. I went to the same store that I used to get my shirts because my arms,neck, and shoulders were too big -- and the years of squatting made my butt and quads too big to find normal dress pants. This time I had very different issues with the clothes I tried on. I spent a bunch of money to have some very large clothing tailored to fit. The outfit I got was very sharp looking in the store. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed when I actually saw myself in it and spent the night continually trying to keep the dress shirt tucked in that was being untucked by my belly every time I moved. I find myself in many situations these days that are embarassing to me because of my weight and don't want to spend the rest of what would most likely be a short life if I keep this up, not enjoying things like I'd like to because I have gotten to this uncomfortable size. I want to be able to go into any store and buy clothes or at least back the way it was where I'd have to ask the girl working by the fitting rooms if I looked like "that guy" because the arms were too tight on the shirt I was trying on. I'm sick of being afraid of collapsing my neighbors lawn furniture! Not too long ago, I was the big guy, that continued lifting weights well into adult hood - strong as a horse. Somewhere along the way, its changed to where I'm no longer the muscular guy with a gut, but am now just "the fat guy". I don't want to spend my life like this anymore and its truly time that I do something about it.

Over the last several years, I have come up some crazy ideas to try and motivate me to lose weight -- some have worked a little, but most have just resulted in me giving up and feeling even worse than when I started. On Thanksgiving, we are expecting our second daughter, Gracie. There are many obstacles in her way due to the fact that she has some pretty significant heart issues - most likely as a result of her Down syndrome. She will be born at Abbott and rushed to the NICU at Children's Hospital where a team of doctors will check her out and see if there is anything that they can do to fix her. Because of all of the uncertainties involved in her arrival, I often think about how much our life will change. Actually, Our lives have already changed a lot. I hate to even say this, but we are very scared that the doctors will not be able to fix her (And have been told that is a possibility). My wife and I are both extremely fearful of what's to come in our near future - it will most likely be very trying time for both of us. I cannot put into words how much I love my wife. It is selfish and unfair of me to put us in a situation where she has to worry about me too. The pending arrival of Gracie has forced me to rethink a lot of things. I have changed and continue to change, I feel for the better, on the inside because of it -- I want/need to change on the outside too. This time, I am going to do it -- I have to. Ok -- this is the part where I ask for your help. Yes, this is probably another one of Rich's crazy ideas -- but I think I've thought of a good one this time -- Something to keep me very motivated to get healthy and lose the weight and at the same time, raise some money for a wonderful organization.

So here's the idea -- this plan will generate donations for the Down Syndrome association of MN. I vow to weigh 240 or less before my birthday, Sept 14th, 2011 -- that is actually over 50 lbs. I will pay $10 per pound for every lb that I do not lose. That is $500 dollars if I lose nothing, however, I would love to raise a lot more than that. I am asking for people to commit to pledge in one of a few ways:

1. A straight contribution to the Down Syndrome Association of MN

2. A per lb donation for every lb that I lose regardless of whether I reach my goal or not

3. Or a per lb donation made only if I meet my goal - I'm hoping those that choose this option will make a larger donation, because I'm sure you're confident that I won't meet the goal in which case you would be out nothing

Whether you hate me or love me, are impartial, on the fence, or don’t even know me and just want to help raise money for a wonderful organization, I hope that by creating this long note, sharing my insecurities, and offering it to anybody that will read it, that you can see how badly I want to do this. I know that all of the points I have made should be motivation enough, but to help in this journey, I ask that you please consider making a pledge - even a quarter a lb would help greatly (and really, lets be honest, if you know me, you know that I'll probably be asking you to donate to the walk next year anyway ;)). All that I am asking right now is to send an email (to daddythefatty@live.com) telling me what you will pledge and in return I will do my best to meet this goal -- I will not be collecting money until the end of summer 2011 For those of you that saw the site for Team Walking With Grace for the Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk this year - I intend to create another site next year for the walk and use that to gather my pledges from this challenge at that time. Thank you so much to those of you that donated recently to that site – please understand that I am not asking for money until this time next year – I am just asking you to pledge to this journey to be paid next year before the walk. My goal is to try and gather enough pledges to raise $100+ for every pound that I lose.

I am just in the inital stages of planning and I would really like to get the word out there -- I hope to get pledges from family and friends, but would love to also get pledges from corporations, friends of friends, etc -- so I ask that you please pass this along to anyone that may be interested in supporting this organization and/or help motivate this fat dad to get to a healthy weight so I can be there for a long time for my growing family.

I have a blog that I plan to use to document my progress - www.daddythefatty.blogspot.com (if you are reading this, you are most likely on it now) and have created a special email address for people to send what they plan to pledge as well as to send me notes of encouragement, etc. The email address is: daddythefatty@live.com . If anybody has any ideas that may help me meet this goal or an idea on how to get this out to the masses for more pledges, please do not hesitate to let me know.

I will start my end of this deal the moment that I receive my first pledge and not finish until I reach my goal

Thank you so much in advance from myself, my wife, my daughters and the DSAMN

Wish me luck,

Rich Delaney

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