Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Gathunk Draws Blood

As of my first weigh-in, I am down 3 pounds. Is that very significant? No. But they say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Anyway, if I managed to lose 3 pounds *every* week, I would be down to my target weight in a matter of a few months. So in a way, it's a good start. Whatever. I'm trying to remain optimistic and enthusiastic. Yesterday was a bummer, but I've consulted some wise people and I feel much better about the whole situation.

So! With a nibble of progress achieved, it's time to introduce Gathunk and the World of Warcraft. I have made a tiny start, and now so will he.

(If for some reason you'd like to see the pictures more clearly, simply click on them.)

Every Orc begins his career in the Valley of Trials, a walled off area of the country known as Durotar. It's a dry, Montana-looking place, full of scorpions and cacti and not a whole lot else. For whatever reason, the green-skinned Orcs feel right at home here, as it serves to toughen them up. Orc structures, made of leather and bone, dot what is otherwise a desolate and altogether shitty landscape. I don't see any water.

Gathunk appears in front of a helpful-looking Orc, identified as a Quest Giver by the gold exclamation point hovering over his head.

This Orc performs the illustrious duty of telling Gathunk to go talk to a different Orc, sitting next to that campfire. He shakes his head at the redundancy of Orc government and walks over to the campfire Orc, completing his first Quest in the process.

That's right, Quest. In WoW, every piddling task that can be assigned to you is labeled a Quest, even if there's nothing epic or glorious about it. Case in point, the campfire Orc gives Gathunk his first task as a mighty warrior of the Horde: Slaughtering docile, tame pigs for dinner.

Such is life in Durotar.

Gathunk jogs over to the Pig Farm and waves hello to the husband and wife whose livestock he's about to holocaust, then pulls out his axe. Let the grisly work begin.

Gathunk only has to kill six of the defenseless beasts, and prepares to quickly dispatch them as painlessly as possible. Much to our surprise, however, the oinking fiends fight back! They possess a skill called Angry Snort, which deals Nature-type damage to Gathunk and knocks him stumbling backwards. Bastards!

But Gathunk, however inexperienced, is a mighty Orc. Bellowing with... well, indignation, he raises his axe and murders eight of the savage creatures. The Experience Points from his victims adds up to Level Two.

Cool. Gathunk takes a few calming breaths, casts a warning look at the few remaining pigs, and returns to the campfire Orc to collect his reward. Which is a nice pair of chainmail gloves.

Campfire Orc then gives us our next assignment: Kill some Humans! There are invisible ninja spies from the nearby Human settlement Northwatch, and they're spying on the Valley of Trials. Obviously they need to die, and Gathunk the Pig Mutilator is just the Orc for the job.

He quietly sneaks up on a cloaked Human figure and prepares to strike!

Immediately it becomes obvious that these Humans are more dangerous than tame pigs. The scout counterattacks instantly, poking Gathunk with a pair of puny knives, throwing little knives all over the place, and generally just acting like a raging dickhead.

But he falls. They all fall. Several violent moments later, Gathunk roars atop the bodies of his enemies, and strikes down a final Human spy to reach Level 3.

And that's it for today. The journey has begun, and there's a long way to go for both of us. Hopefully our progress remains steady.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I really thought today was going well.

For breakfast this morning, I had a banana, an apple, and a bottle of Lipton green tea. Around ten, I ate a slice of pizza that my grandmother made me take home yesterday. Lunch was another bottle of tea and a bowl of miso soup, the kind with tofu and seaweed. Actually I think that's what makes it miso soup anyway.

Throughout the day, I snacked on apples. I think they were Gala, I just grabbed the yummiest-looking bag at the store.

After work, I went to the gym. 35 minutes on the elliptical machine, a brief cooldown, and some basic weight stuff. I took it easy because I plan on going tomorrow as well.

Dinner was a peanut butter sandwich on wheat, a serving of baked beans, and more tea.

I was hungry during my workout, but otherwise I was happy and energetic throughout the day.

As soon as I sat down to eat, in front of my laptop (I like to read the news when I have dinner) my day sort of crashed. Chat windows started popping up from various shapely friends of mine, each offering authoritative advice, dietary suggestions, and studies and statistics that each seemed to show that whatever I'm doing, it's absolutely fucking wrong.

And none of them seemed to agree on anything.

Eat more. Eat less. Drink more. Don't drink that much. Exercise every day. Oh, the gym's not that important. Fruit is good! Fruit is bad! Veggies are good! Veggies are a waste of time!

You need lots of carbs! Avoid carbs!

You need lots of protien! Be careful not to eat too much protien!

I'm eating less than I was before. I'm avoiding junk food entirely. I'm going to the gym.

And for the last twenty-three years, that was EVERYONE's advice. Eat right. Go to the gym. Takes care of itself. It's easy. Until the day I start down that path, what I had been told was the correct path. Until I start feeling good about this. I'm optimistic. I have this blog that I'm really excited about, and at least a few people seem interested. I'm sleeping better. Oh I dropped three pounds, incidentally.

Of course, that's good or bad, depending on who you ask. Seriously.

"You shouldn't be losing any weight yet."

Why? Was I pulled out of a mold yesterday, is there some reason I should remain static for some specific length of time? I've been going to the gym for months, attempting to eat better too. Only now that I'm writing about it, the contradictory advice and warnings are coming out of the woodwork. It's incredibly frustrating.

I considered not finishing my sandwich, since bread has carbs. Only someone else says I need another thousand calories for the day. Should I eat the whole loaf of bread, or what?

Eat less. Go to the gym. That's all there is to it.

Until you do that.

Weight: 312
Gathunk's Level: 1. I don't feel like playing tonight.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Hello and welcome.

Today is my first day keeping this blog, and I've said goodbye to my high-level (all Alliance) WoW characters. To resist temptation, I created Gathunk on a completely different server from my usual one, so he'll be the only guy who pops up when I log in.

That won't be for at least a few days, though. Obviously I need to get started on myself before I get started on Gathunk, that's the whole point.

I missed breakfast today, which I know is not good. I've just remembered that I have bananas, which are a commute-friendly fruit and quite tasty. I need to wake up a little earlier and make a habit of eating something decent, so I don't snack all morning at work.

With that said, I really reigned in the snacking despite being hungry. I had a few saltine crackers, nothing on them, much to my regret. Some strawberry preserves are *awesome* on saltines.

For lunch, I am making a ceasar salad. Price Chopper has these excellent salad kits, which come with whatever greens, dressing, croutons, and assorted garnishes like parmesean or cheddar or salami, depending on which kit you're going with. I figure I'll use like half of the little pack of dressing and come out ahead of the game.

Might have to go to the gym later in the evening today, I have dinner plans with Vanessa. Eating out is something I need to curtail as well. No matter what you get when you're dining out, it's probably bad for you. I always thought I was getting away clean with Olive Garden's soup salad & breadstick combo. Seems light, right?
Apparently the salad is hideously fatty, the soups are loaded down with salt, and the breadsticks are so unhealthy that the numbers would make you dry heave. You just can't win with restaurants.

So it's day one and I've already nailed down a few things I need to change.

-Wake up earlier and eat breakfast.
- Eat out less.
- Research restaurants if I do plan to go.

Is there any amount of Frosted Flakes that could be considered healthy, or am I going to have to move away from cereal? I've tried those breakfast bars and they taste like well-seasoned cardboard. It looks like fruit might be my best option.

Today's weight: still 315.
Gathunk's level: 1

We're just getting started, right?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Orking It Off

Hello and welcome to Orking It Off.

My name is Greg, and I am fat. That's probably a good place to start.

I also like to play the online multiplayer game World of Warcraft.

Whether or not those two facts are related is anyone's guess. I'd like to think that my rotundity is a direct result of playing too many video games. I could cancel my subscription, and that'd be that. No more sitting around watching monsters hit each other. Wouldn't that be nice? It'd be easy, certainly.

But it isn't easy. If it were easy to be in shape, I'd be in shape. I've always preferred the easy way out. I've always talked myself out of putting any effort into anything. I'm just going to die some day, right? Why try in school? Why go to college? Why look for a better job? Why improve myself? It's all temporary.

I let that attitude guide my life. And now, freshly twenty-three years old, I am tipping the scales at three hundred and fifteen pounds of slacker. Suddenly temporary seems like a long time.

Now, I'm not one of those horrific Dateline characters who don't wear clothes anymore because they don't make t-shirts to fit Volkswagens, I can walk through my door with relative ease. My body type is the same as every male in my family, tall and thick and strong. We have heavy frames, big shoulders, thick arms and legs and necks. If you cut every ounce of fat off my body, I'd probably still weigh at least two-forty.

With that said, why don't I just buckle down and do it?

Motivation. And that's what this blog is all about. I need to force myself to do the right things. Go to the gym *every* day, instead of just when I can get someone to come with me. Eat right. Admit it when I screw up. Accountability, and I daresay shame, is a motivating factor.

And in order to facilitate that, to make this fun for me and hopefully for my readers (if I ever get any), I'll be incorporating World of Warcraft into my weight loss goal. Meet Gathunk.

Gathunk is a level 1 Orc Warrior. He is my new gym buddy.

It works like this. Characters in World of Warcraft "level up" by killing monsters, completing quests, and performing other feats. The highest level a character can reach is 85, and each level takes longer to achieve than the one before it. It's an effort. It's a commitment of time, and if you slack off or don't know what you're doing, it can take ages. You may quit, you may get tired. I've completed the grind before, on my Mage character.

Why can't I apply that same mentality and devotion to improving myself, instead of improving a wizard made of pixels?

No good reason, that's why.

So I'll be shutting myself away from WoW, with the sole exception of Gathunk. For every pound I lose, Gathunk will be allowed to rise one level. As we grow together, I will be writing here about my own habits and how well or badly I am sticking to the plan, and about Gathunk's adventures in Azeroth. My faithful readers (should I ever have any) will follow me as I improve myself, and embark on an exciting fantasy quest.

I don't know if this is going to work. I am still going to have to put effort into this, even if I make a game out of it. I am going to have to be honest with myself and with you. It's going to be difficult. But I want it.

And if I can't win with an Orc on my team, I can't win at all.

Lok'tar Ogar!