I received an email at work the other day. It invited me to participate in a full court basketball game with some of my coworkers, which is exactly the sort of thing that I enjoy doing. So, did I respond to enthusiastically sign up?

No. I am too fat to enjoy myself playing basketball. I mean, sure, I could sign up and my coworkers would smile politely when I had to stop to wheeze instead of getting back on defense. They are a polite group. But, I would be frustrated and ashamed, and I’m not up for that.

However, the fact that I’m fat is not news. In fact, you’ve read this sort of thing before. Woe is me; I’m too fat to do stuff. I know, because I’ve written it before. So, just another essay expressing my determination to get on track and lose the weight – well, it would just sound hollow. Even to me. I need to raise the stakes.

I had been dropping some poundage for a while, before the end of 2008. That bout of effort started one night while I was lying in bed and wondering – if I had a heart attack, could the EMT’s carry me downstairs to the ambulance? That helped with the motivation, and I lost about 30 lbs. I was running every day, and got up to 3 miles at a stretch. Then, in December, around the holidays, I just stopped. Stopped going to the gym, stopped watching my diet, stopped paying attention. In fact, not only was I not paying attention to my diet, it seemed like I was going out of my way to eat poorly. Soon, I had almost gained all of the weight back.

Honestly, sometimes I think that being fat, mentally, is like being addicted to any other kind of drug, except that it is not possible to go “cold turkey.” If that’s true, I am a 70’s rock star-level addict, and I fully expect that to continue in this lifestyle will shorten my life.

I happen to be a big fan of my own life, so I have decided to try again – while helping others at the same time. I’m not going to do any crash diets, or starve myself. The point is for me to be healthy. I sent out the following email earlier this week, and I invite anyone who is interested to please contact me to help out:

I am ridiculously overweight. This is both a short term and a long term health concern for me. Additionally, many members of my immediate family have recently experienced their own significant health issues.

Both of these factors have highlighted my desire not to be buried in a piano box at the tender age of 40, as well as my desire to help others.

I have decided to combine both of these efforts and raise money for Why Me – a charity that provides children and their families with the emotional and financial support they need to fight cancer. Why Me has a personal connection for me, as they were a great help to my wife’s cousin after she was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 2.

Therefore, I am asking you to please sponsor me with a pledge of money for each pound I lose from February 8, 2009 through August 8, 2009. Your sponsorship will help children with cancer while helping me to improve my own health.

So, for example, if you pledge 1 dollar per pound, and I lose 50 lbs, your donation will be 50 dollars. I weighed in at 313 lbs. on Sunday, February 8th (at my local gym), and my ideal weight is somewhere around 180-190 lbs. Ideally, I would like to lose between 50-75 pounds, so please take that into consideration.

To sponsor me, please send an email to stged20@gmail.com. Please be sure to include your name and contact information in the email.

To donate to Why Me directly, or find out more about their organization, please go to www.whyme.org.

To follow my progress, please go to www.pathbeater.com.

Thank you for your time,

Tim McCaffrey