Losing weight has helped …

When I started this journey, I was feeling fed up with myself.

I had just been through a rough year. It started with the loss of my mom on Nov. 1, 2015, and was capped off almost one year later by the loss of my job at the end of October 2016 during a corporate reduction in force.

I had been with the company for 16 years. Like many other journalists, I gave it much of my life. Nights, weekends, extra hours. In the end, it didn’t matter.

I spent the  next two and a half months funkified. I ate too much of not good for me food. I drank too much alcohol. And I got married to the couch. Never a small man, my weight shot up.

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It’s been a week since I stepped on the scales

Dear Mama,

Couple of things to tell you about this week.

I picked up my new glasses. They are progressive lenses. You know, the kind you couldn’t wear because they spaced you out. They seem to be doing OK for me. Going down steps is a little weird.

My old house is finally going to closing on Friday. Knock on the wood from 1849 that was used to build it. That will be a big weight off me, as you know.

So glad you were able to spend many Sundays of your last summer here at the new house. Picking crabs, swimming (or floating) with your kids, grandkids and Pops.


Mama Brenda floats in the pool with two of her granddaughters, Emily and Autumn, in the summer of 2015.

And speaking of weight, I climbed out of the dark hole I had been digging and started applying for jobs. Real jobs. Finally decided my search for treasure at the bottoms of bottles of Knob Creek wasn’t really working out for me — no matter how much I tried to convince myself it was.

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My topless days have long been over


My brother Stephen (left) and I play with water in the yard of our home in Grifton, N.C.,  during the summer of 1969. I was 3 here. Within 10 years, my topless days would be over.

Inside my ruggedly handsome shell of a body, beneath the hairy (insert body area here) and the layers of thick protection from the winter cold, a.k.a. fuel for that time I can’t get to the store for months, a.k.a. more bounce to the ounce, a.k.a. more Jeffrey to go around … Inside and beneath it all is a mind that has always been embarrassed by his weight and a heart that feels it.

I stopped swimming at public pools before my teens.  I rarely went in the ocean. Mainly because I would make such a great meal for a family of sharks, but there was also the taking off the shirt in public thing. I hate even the thought of using open public showers or locker rooms. Shirts and skins basketball game. Don’t even …

Describing it as anxiety may be putting it mildly.

I’ve told you before how it started with me. Now at 50 years old and looking for work, I feel it even more. Is a potential employer going to look at me and see a hard worker? A smart man who can set his mind to something and get it done? A person who can meet deadlines and work with others to do it?

Or are they going to see a lazy, overweight man who doesn’t even have it in him to maintain his own fitness to any kind of reasonable degree?

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