Getting off my ASS for the SSA

I have a little bet going with JT Eberhard, who you may remember as the brains behind Skepticon and the new high school organizer for the Secular Student Alliance. JT and I were discussing our dismay at the extra pudge we’ve put on, the holiday season definitely not helping despite our godlessness. Finding motivation to get off our butts is hard for two bloggers, but we came up with a good idea: Competition!

JT and I are both speaking at the SSA regional leadership conference in Southern California on February 19th. Starting on January 1st, whoever can lose more weight before February 19th is the winner. And to turn it into a good cause, we’re encouraging our readers to donate to charity to support our goal. If you want to be awesome, you can support me by using the widget below to donate to the SSA.

You can either donate a flat amount, or pledge (in the comments) to donate a certain amount per pound I lose. JT and I will post updates every Saturday, so you can either donate as we go along, or wait until February 19th in case you think I’m going to break down and gain it all back in a Day After Valentine’s Day Chocolate Sale moment of weakness.

And if you want to be less awesome, I guess you could always support JT by donating to Skepticon.

It wouldn’t be a bet without consequences. The loser has to buy the other drinks for the whole night at the conference. It’s kind of unfortunate that JT is going to spend a significant portion of his first paycheck from the SSA buying me alcohol, but oh well.

Anyway, I hope you’ll donate! The SSA and Skepticon are both great causes, and who doesn’t want their skeptics to adopt healthier lifestyles?*

*And in case anyone thinks a weight loss competition will just encourage unhealthy dieting or starvation… trust me, I like food way too much. I plan on cracking out DDR and EA Sports Active 2 every day. Yes, I will win this nerdily!


EDIT: JT thinks he has me beat with his plan to eat lots of pizza in order to gain weight before January 1st. Oh yeah? Well you know what I have to say to that?!?!Great minds think alike. (Yes, that’s the best Game Face I can come up with)


  1. says

    Hah! This is ridiculous. Hrmm, I wonder if I could do the same? I could certainly use some “get-off-my-ass” motivation! It could be a group thing in which anyone participating agrees to match other participants’ pledges.

  2. Amanda says

    question: what is your goal amount of lbs lost? I need some sort of a benchmark to consider for a pledge!

  3. says

    Well, there’s 7 weeks until the conference. I want to at least try to lose a pound a week, and at most 2… so anywhere between 7 and 14?

  4. asonge says

    We need pics and videos for the montage at the end. You must end with a montage. Eye of the Tiger, anyone?

  5. Azkyroth says

    If you’re seriously looking to chunk up to maximize your losses I recommend dulce de leche. Or the sweetened condensed milk it’s made from. One (8 oz? 10 oz?) can is like an entire day’s calories. O.O

  6. Greta Christina says

    So you know I adore you both, and think of you both as friends, and I kind of feel like I’m being a buttinksi and raining on your parade… but I wonder if you’d consider a little friendly advice from someone who’s been down this road. I’ve done a fair amount of reading about weight loss in my own efforts with it, and I’m concerned about whether this contest is a good idea. (Yes, I’m being a concern troll. Suck it up.)Everything I’ve read about weight loss and weight management says that losing weight too quickly is not very productive in the long run. Researchers aren’t quite sure why — it may have something to do with the body going into starvation mode and conserving fat more efficiently — but losing weight too quickly makes it harder to keep it off. And it’s not really a good way to retrain yourself into sustainable new habits, which is what you need to do for long-term weight management. (It can also be dangerous if you lose *way* too much weight too quickly, although it sounds like that’s not very likely.) Unless someone is very seriously obese — and neither of you is even the slightest bit close to that — people are really not supposed to lose more than 2 pounds a week. 1-2 pounds a week is a good, steady rate.If you’re attached to the idea of a race or a contest, may I suggest a super- skeptical, mega- evidence- based alternative? Don’t make it a contest for which of you can lose the most weight. Make it a contest for which of you can come closest to losing 1.5 pounds a week on average.Okay. Parade- raining buttinski concern troll mode off. Have a happy New Year, to both of you!

  7. says

    Greta,I THOUGHT WE WERE FRIENDS! :PAs Jen said, there’s no interest in doing anything silly. We both like food too much. We both plan to just eat ‘better’ (and by ‘better’ I mean less tasty) food and be more active. :)So pledge to me.JT

  8. Gus Snarp says

    If you really want to bulk up before the weigh in, food isn’t the way to go, you don’t have time. You need a salty diet to aid water retention, plus a lot of water. And as much water as you can manage right before the weigh in. Cut out the salt and drink a healthy amount of water after the weigh in, then give yourself a few hours without water for the weigh out, boom, you’ve lost a few pounds right there.

  9. Rob says

    Best of luck to you both!I think there’s a stereotype of atheists, agnotics, humanists, etc as out of shape nerds. It’s not true (I mean look at Lance Armstrong) but certain high-profile representatives (mostly on youtube for some reason) don’t help that perception.On a related note, a lot of churches in my area have running clubs that compete in regional races. Does anybody know if any secular clubs exist?

  10. says

    To be fair to Jen, she does say in an earlier Reply comment:Well, there’s 7 weeks until the conference. I want to at least try to lose a pound a week, and at most 2… so anywhere between 7 and 14?Which is about the rate you mention. But she doesn’t mention that in the OP, so I can see why you posted this.BTW, I enjoy your blog. :-)

  11. says

    I promise I’m aiming for exactly what you said. I’ll be shocked and worried if I lose more than 2 pounds a week. I just want to start the habit of exercising at least a half hour every day, and I’m cutting soda (mostly) out of my diet. This is just a lighthearted way to make sure I actually stick to my schedule.

  12. says

    Sorry Jen, but the extra pudge is your own damn fault. You could have gone into field biology (i.e., REAL biology), tramping through snake-infested rainforests or crossing vast savannas, climbing mountains, and occasionally running from bandits and paramilitary rebel groups (great cardio workout!). Not to mention the slimming effects of occasional malaria and dysentery. Hell, even doing a Steven Jay Gould and looking at snails in Bahama would at least get you outdoors and moving a little (not to mention improving on your deathly pallor). But instead you opted to park your ass at a florescent-illuminated bench and fiddle with DNA for the rest of your life. Well, young lady, you’ve made your bed…Look at, say, Dian Fossey. Then look at you.Ladies and gentlemen, I rest my case!

  13. says

    One would need to know “your area” to answer your question about running clubs. In my area (eastern burbs of Detroit) I know of a few secular running clubs, and I’m not even a runner (biking’s my thing).Look for running/fitness/outdoor rec groups in your area on for starters.

  14. Rob says

    Thanks! I move around a lot and I’m looking for some kind of national organization that has clubs around the country…although I can probably dig up enough home-grown clubs on meetup wherever I am.

  15. Jimmy Joe says

    I totally want to support your effort to get off (some of) your ass. I’m gonna go big, IMO, and pledge a whopping $10 per pound of godless fat you can get rid of. Do I just have to stay tuned or what?

  16. says

    That’s awesome! Yes, stay tuned. I’ll post an update every Saturday. You can either donate as I go, or wait til the end :)

  17. says

    To win the competition, you just need to get pregnant and have a miscarriage or abortion before SSA. Pregnant woman gains the most weight. Too bad that you don’t have time for this now.

  18. Azkyroth says

    Just as well. I mean, there are radical approaches – sodium hydroxide, for instance, will really melt the pounds away – but the side effects are often appalling. O.o

  19. Greta Christina says

    Okay. My concerns are allayed, and I withdraw my objections. Good luck to both of you!

  20. Azkyroth says

    And while you’re at it, try to donate blood on the last day of the challenge, if possible. I joke with the technicians that they should advertise it as “lose one pound in thirty minutes!”

Leave a Reply