Herb's 5-Day Crash Weight Loss/Conditioning Program

Submitted into Contest #139 in response to: Format your story in the style of diary entries.... view prompt



Herb’s 5 Day Weight Loss/Conditioning Program


            Set goals (realistic): Lose 5 lbs; jog 1 mile (without stopping); develop healthy eating habits and structured, disciplined lifestyle; cut down on drinking (within reason).

             Preparation- Buy rugged, activewear jogging suit, a pair of Nike running shoes (on sale if possible) and an exercise mat; shop for healthy, low-calorie foods (ask someone at grocery store for guidance).

            Review Richard Simmons exercise video purchased at garage sale.

            Finalize detailed written workout schedule.

             Use time delay function on camera to take “before” selfie in underpants.

             Get to bed early to be able to hit the ground running tomorrow.

Day 1:

            6:00 AM: Wake up to the first day of my new life. Feel like a new man already; have a great positive attitude; ready to get moving.

            Stretching followed by several deep knee bends and toe shin touches; put on jogging suit and Nike running shoes (full price); visualize today’s workouts.

            Briskly walk down long driveway to get newspaper; return to house at normal pace.

            6:30 AM-breakfast: 2 egg whites, 1 slice of whole wheat toast (unbuttered), apple, 1 cup of decaffeinated coffee with artificial sweetener, and one (measured) cup of skim milk.

            7:00 AM- Place exercise mat on level spot in backyard; 10 shin touches, 5 sit-ups half-sit-ups, 1 pushup (half-way up), hold arms above head 10 seconds, rest, repeat arms above head exercise; make tight fist and hold for 5 seconds. 

            9:00 AM- Avoid distraction from pangs of hunger -1 slice of wheat bread (with jelly).

            9:15 AM: Nap. (Extensive research shows critical role recovery plays in building muscle mass.)

           11:00 AM: Jog to mailbox without stopping; feel unfamiliar strain in right hamstring- perhaps pushed too hard on first run; 5 knee bends at mailbox; planned jog back to house changed to walk back to house with noticeable limp; despite possible hamstring pull, can feel the confidence building.

           11:30 AM: Lunch- Can of tuna, 5 carrots, 4 celery sticks, Diet Coke.

            11:45 AM: 1 slice of whole wheat bread with (extra) jelly.

            Noon: Back to the exercise mat; 1 pushup (3/4 the way up), 7 shin touches, 3 knee bends, hold arms above head for 20 seconds without stopping.

            12:15 PM: Nap on exercise map in full sun to capture life nourishing rays of the sun- research underscores importance of Vitamin D.

            5:00 PM: Overslept; need to have quick dinner and get back on track; feeling some discomfort in all areas exposed to the sun.

            6:00 PM: Dinner- 1 can of tuna, salad with low calorie dressing, 1 can of peas, 1 Diet Coke, half a brownie for dessert.

            6:15 PM: Other half of brownie.

            6:20 PM: Two brownies.

            7:00 PM: Exercise in room- stretching, 3 half sit-ups, 2 knee bends, 3 shin touches (get as close to ankles as possible), 1 pushup (1/2 way up).

7:10 PM: Workout aborted due to increasing pain from sunburn; go to Walmart to buy Solarcaine spray, Tylenol, sunblock, and wide brim straw hat for protection from evil rays of the sun; take Tylenol and apply lavish amounts of Solarcaine to arms, legs, and face.

            8:00 PM: Burned a lot of calories today; need to maintain strength- 2 brownies.

            8:15 PM: Research ways to sell “Herb’s 5-Day Crash Weight Loss/Conditioning Program” on the Internet.

            9:30 PM: Snack- 1 apple, 1 banana, 1 (small) bag of potato chips, 1 Tootsie Roll, and a can of Dinty Moore beef stew.

            10:30 PM- Pain from sunburn intense; am running low on Solarcaine spray; 1 Miller Lite to help ease the pain.

             Midnight: Cannot sleep due to excruciating pain from sunburn; 3 more Miller Lites to help attain much needed sleep.

Day 2:

           7:00 AM: Restless night; had great difficulty sleeping due to persistent, severe sunburn pain; tried sleeping in many positions- on back, on stomach, on left side, on right side, and standing up; nothing brought relief; beginning to feel the positive effects of workout program- can already feel the body tightening up.

            7:10 AM: Stretching- shin touches replaced by knee slaps due to pain associated with movement; sit-ups ruled out for duration of program- working on suitable substitute; walk to end of Johnson’s driveway (200 steps past mailbox); wind on scorched face, arms, and legs has soothing effect; walk back to house (hamstring discomfort more noticeable, but not debilitating).

            8:00 AM: Breakfast- 2 scrambled eggs, 2 slices of whole wheat toast (buttered) with jelly, I cup of coffee (regular with real sugar), 1 (small) glass of orange juice. (Realize need for more fuel for journey- breakfast menu expanded.)

            8:30 AM: To Walmart to restock dwindling supply of Solarcain; purchase ice packs and Ace bandage for nagging hamstring discomfort.

            11:30 AM: Lunch- 1 can of tuna, 1 banana, and a cookie; 1 Diet Coke.

            Noon: 2 cookies.

            12:15: 2 cookies.

             1:00 PM: Planned, challenging long distance run to end of Larson’s driveway (200 steps past Johnson’s driveway) and back to house; take off from house- careful to pace myself for strong finish- feel hamstring tightening up at mailbox, but push on; feel like I’ve hit the wall at the end Johnson’s driveway, but dig deep and keep going; approaching Larson’s driveway-now running on sheer guts; alarmed as I see Larson’s snarling dog (Rottweiler) charging at me- am calmed by realization dog is on a chain; dog brakes chain, and hysterical Mr. Johnson screams for dog to stop; dog does not comply and attacks; 3 bites to leg and defensive wounds to both hands and both arms; Mr. Larson drives me to hospital ER.

            5:00 PM: Back from hospital; feel fortunate that face was sparred, and no vital organs were affected by dog attack; do some stretching and other maneuvers to evaluate possible restrictions on movements as result of dog attack; feel confident that program can continue with only slight modifications.

            5:30 PM: Unable to prepare meal due to bandaged hands; order from Dominoes- 1 large pizza (extra cheese), and an order of bread twists; Miller Lite with dinner.

            7:00 PM: Some restrictions in movement due to sunburn and dog attack; no floor exercises tonight- will focus on cardio; walk to end of driveway- turn left (away from Larson’s house and his dog); walk 150 steps to the end of the widow Jenkins’ driveway, and return to house.

             7:30 PM: Apply ice pack to hamstring; I Miller Lite to relax after day’s traumatic events.

             8:00 PM: Call from hospital; cannot confirm if Larson’s dog is up to date on necessary shots and dog ran away after attack and cannot be located; need to return to hospital to get 1st in series of rabies vaccine injections; drive to hospital for shot; shot is painful, but pain from shot helps keep mind off pain from sunburn and dog bites.

            10:00 PM: 2 Miller Lites to help ease pain now running rampant through body.

             11:30 PM: 3 Miller Lites to help attain much needed sleep.

Day 3:

              7:00 AM: alarm goes off- hit snooze alarm; alarm goes off again- hit snooze alarm again alarm goes off again- shut off alarm.

              8:30 AM- Hurts to get out of bed, but am dedicated to the task- almost halfway there, and I will not return to the old, slovenly ways. Mild stretching exercises; 10 knee slaps; hold arms high above head for 25 seconds (consider Rocky-like pose for promotional video), make fist for 10 seconds (both hands- employ “soft grab” technique due to dog bite injuries to both hands).

            9:00 AM: Still unable to prepare meal; go to Bonnie’s Bakery and take advantage of “Bonnie’s Baker’s Dozen”- 14 items: 3 chocolate donuts, 3 bear claws, 6 jelly filled pastries, and 2 Bismarks.

              9:30: Return home for breakfast-2 chocolate donuts, 1 bear claw, 2 jelly filled pastries and a Bismark, 2 coffees (cream and sugar), 2 large glasses of milk (1%).

              10:00 AM: Morning dedicated to the mental aspect of elite conditioning; sit out on mat (with straw hat on as it is a sunny day) and meditate- visualize self with toned body and rippling muscles; go inside and watch Richard Simmons video for inspiration.

              11:00 AM: Recovery nap.

              Noon: Lunch- Still unable to make anything due to bandaged hands; call Door Dash for delivery of Big Mac meal (supersized, substitute chocolate shake for soda).

                  1:30 PM: Scheduled endurance walk/run; route reconfigured due to recent unfortunate encounter with Larson’s dog; will walk to mailbox, run to end of the widow Jenkins’ driveway, walk 200 additional steps, run back to widow Jenkins’ driveway, walk home.

                  Visualize entire route.

                 Walk to mailbox; start run to the widow Jenkins’ driveway; hear angry dog barking; fear Larson's dog has returned; pick up the pace-terrified- run as fast as possible- turn to see if Larson’s dog is in pursuit, step in small pothole and go down- suffer road rash to entire right side of body and feel intense pain in right knee; recently purchased straw hat torn in 2 places; widow Jenkins is out in her yard watering flowers (petunias) and helps me to my feet; barely able to hobble around due to pain in knee; widow Jenkins offers me the use of walker used by her late husband; I accept offer and ease my way home behind walker.

                 3:00 PM; Evaluate long distance walk/run- am disappointed about not finishing, but feel pretty good about the effort up to point of nasty spill; knee does not feel right- will call hospital tomorrow to schedule appointment with orthopedic specialist; hopefully can see specialist on same day as next rabies vaccine injection-that would be sweet.

                 5:00 PM- Call Dominoes- order large pizza (extra cheese), 2 orders of bread twists and the Cinnamon Bread Twists with Baked Apple Dip; 2 Miller Lites.

                 7:00 PM: Revise planned workout due to recent knee injury; sit on edge of bed-hold arms out straight for 10 seconds- repeat 3 times; lift good leg 10 times; make fist (both hands- soft grab)- hold for 5 seconds- repeat exercise 3 times.

                 9:00 PM: Knee pain seems to be overshadowing pain from sunburn, rabies shot and dog attack; 3 Miller Lites to help ease combined elements of discomfort to body; review accomplishments up to this point of program and consider challenges ahead; confident all goals can still be met.

                 10:30 PM: 5 Miller Lites as sleep aid.

     Day 4:

                 8:00 AM: Breakfast- Dietary discipline kicks in and breakfast is limited to 1 chocolate donut, I bear claw, and 3 jelly pastries.

                  8:30 AM- Go to Walmart for Ace bandage for recently injured knee; purchase additional ice packs for hamstring, knee, and possible additional unforeseen injuries.

                 10:00 AM: Planned 1/2 mile run replaced with long power walk using the late Mr. Jenkins’ walker; cruise past mailbox with ease; right front wheel on walker seems to stick-make mental note to oil wheel when I get back to house; smooth sailing all the way to the widow Jenkins’ driveway- barely breaking a sweat; see the widow Jenkins wave to me from kitchen window- wave back and fail to observe same small pothole that tripped me up yesterday-wheel of walker hits pothole and due to rapid pace of power walk I flip over walker and hit pavement hard- blood in eyes obscures vision- come close to passing out due to pain in ankle on my good leg-the widow Jenkins drives me to hospital- mild concussion and only slight ankle fracture; 9 stitches to mend wound to forehead and cast on left leg; given crutches to aid in mobility; return walker to the widow Jenkins after oiling right front wheel.

                  1:00 PM: Lunch- despite recent spate of injuries, appetite is good; order a Burger King Whopper (extra cheese), large fries, and chocolate shake through Door Dash.

                 2:30 PM: Consider possible adjustments to workout schedule due to recent casting of leg; may have to cut back on cardio and focus on strength exercises; Internet search for best exercises on crutches.

                 3:30 PM: Crutch around patio in backyard to get hang of it; pleased with how well I adapt to crutches; with some adjustments, may still be able to complete long distance endurance event scheduled for tomorrow.

                 5:30 PM: Again, cannot cook because of injuries; call Dominoes- now on speed dial- order large pizza with the works and 2 orders of bread twists; consume pizza, bread twists, and the last Bismarck; 3 Miller Lites.

            7:00 PM: Severe limitations on choices of rigorous exercises; stand on one foot holding on to bed post with one hand while raising other arm high above my head 10 times; rest 1 minute, switch hands and repeat. 

            8:00 PM: Snack-1 bear claw.

            10:00 PM-1 jelly donut.

            Midnight: Pain is level 9; ER Doc wouldn’t give me the good stuff despite my pleas; six pack of Miller Lite and 2 shots of brandy to help with much needed sleep.

Day 5:

            9:00 AM: Everything hurts; am having great difficulty getting out of bed, but I also feel a lot of pride in all that I’ve accomplished- it has all gone so fast; despite current physical limitations, I have a great finale lined up for last day; weather reports suggest violent thunderstorms but that will not deter me.

            Sit on edge of bed and raise both crutches over head 5 times; crutch my way to mailbox; notice troublesome dark clouds rolling in; put newspaper in mouth and crutch my way back to house.

            9:30 AM: Breakfast- Send Door Dash to Bonnie’s Bakery for “Bonnie’s Baker’s Dozen”; make it simple for Door Dash guy- order 14 Bismarks; limit self to 1/2 of order-save rest for later.

            10:30 AM: Sit on edge of bed and hold arms straight out front for 10 seconds-repeat 3 times; make fist- moderate clenching) and hold for 10 seconds; repeat 3 times.

            Noon: Lunch- Call Door Dash-Big Mac, order of fries (large), chocolate shake (large); get same delivery guy-nice kid-tip him handsomely.

            1:00 PM: Nap.

            2:00 PM: 1 Tootsie Roll, 1 Hershey bar, 2 Mountain Dews (need energy for upcoming long distance crutch event).

            3:00 PM: Long distance crutch “run”- to end of the widow Jenkins’ driveway and back; visualize entire course; leave house as rain starts; sheets of rain pelt me in face as I pass mailbox; lightening strikes all around me, but I persevere; visibility is zero as I think I am approaching Jenkins house; am crutching into the wind; fierce rain pelts recent facial laceration causing intense pain; consider turning back but am committed to completing the course; wander off road, stumble into a mailbox, and fall to the ground; muddied but not beaten; conjure up images of other determined figures in history-Rocky Balboa answering the bell for the 15th round, El Cid (already dead) on mounted steed leading his army, and Willis Reed coming out of the tunnel- I locate my crutches, rise and continue; fierce wind drives sheets of rain into my face- I dig down deep and keep moving forward; blinded by the rain and with all attention focused on battling the elements, fail to observe or remember bothersome pothole in front of the widow Jenkins’ house; crutch catches pot hole; all attempts to maintain balance prove unsuccessful; spin around a couple of times before crashing to pavement in middle of the road; intense pain in left wrist; lie in middle of road contemplating next move; rain, though heavy, is warm and has a calming effect on me; realize I am in middle of road in blinding rainstorm so crawl to edge of the road; wait patiently hoping something good will happen; nothing good happens; have only one good limb to generate movement; dig fingers deep into the widow Jenkins’ lawn and drag myself to her front door with one arm; repeatedly punch her front door, but she is not home; drag myself to house next to the widow Jenkins and punch their door until fingers are bloody; unknown occupants are frightened and call police; police arrive and take me to hospital.

             6:30 PM- Arrive at home; left wrist is broken and in cast; declined pain pills as I was told I could not mix the pain pills with alcohol, and I prefer the alcohol.

             6:45 PM: Order family size pizza and 2 orders of bread twists from Dominoes; 3 Miller Lites.

             8:00 PM- Attempt to take “after” selfie in my underpants but cannot set time delay and move fast enough to get in picture; call the widow Jenkins to see if she will come over to take picture; she agrees.

            8:30 PM-The widow Jenkins arrives and takes an inordinate amount of time taking photographs of me in my underpants- several using her own camera; strike a number of poses as she directs; decline doing a video.

            10:00 PM: Post program analysis- All things considered, I think it went pretty well. I gained only 3 lbs. during the 5 days which is a decrease in recent previous rate of increase. I’m sure that once my injuries heal, I will feel healthier and reinvigorated. And the widow Jenkins has offered to prepare and serve all my meals while I am on the mend, provided I’m in my underpants. I am cautiously considering the offer.

            10:30 PM: 2 six packs of Miller Lite and 2 shots of brandy; fall asleep wrapped in the warmth of the satisfaction of a job well done. 

March 29, 2022 02:31

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01:18 Apr 08, 2022

This was great and very relatable! It reminded me of the start of each chapter in Bridget Jones's Diary.


Murray Burns
23:49 Apr 11, 2022

Thanks. I appreciate it.


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Kate Winchester
19:07 Apr 07, 2022

This is funny! I love your take on the prompt! I can relate to the MC as I can always justify eating something even when I’m trying to lose weight.


Murray Burns
23:51 Apr 11, 2022

Thanks. We need a little humor in our lives. The inspiration was my 3 brothers' weight loss challenge. The winner gained the least.


Kate Winchester
00:34 Apr 12, 2022

Hahaha, that’s great inspiration.


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Jay McKenzie
23:40 Apr 06, 2022

So funny! Thoroughly enjoyed this read. Reminds me of a friend of mine who used to order two dinners - but only one when trying to lose weight (plus dessert, obviously).


Murray Burns
00:37 Apr 07, 2022

Thanks. The inspiration was my 3 (overweight) brothers who worked in the same office, and who were a lot like your friend. The held a 30 day Weight Loss Challenge- they would set "candy traps" for each other- licorice sticks and Tootsie Rolls in pencil holders, Hershey bars in notebooks...they would even drive to each other's homes late at night and put candy bars in their mail boxes....The winner took the prize by gaining only 3 pounds.


Jay McKenzie
07:18 Apr 07, 2022

Wow! I do love getting inspired by those around us. What a fantastic resource they must be!


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Michał Przywara
01:25 Apr 04, 2022

Hahaha! That was hilarious. Man, I love the attitude the narrator has, just such a positive spirit. As soon as I saw: 6:15 PM: Other half of brownie. 6:20 PM: Two brownies. I knew this would be a good story. The compounding daily catastrophe was a nice touch, and each morning I found myself morbidly wondering what would happen today.


Murray Burns
18:01 Apr 04, 2022

Thanks. I try to keep the words of former college basketball Jim Valvano in mind. He was dying of cancer when he gave a speech at the 1993 ESPY awards. He listed a few things everyone should do at least once a day. (Catch it on You Tube.) First on his list was "laugh". We should all do our part. If nothing around me strikes me as funny, I do my best to humor myself by writing things like this...and even re-reading the stuff! Thanks.


Michał Przywara
20:57 Apr 04, 2022

Definitely great advice! :)


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Zack Powell
21:48 Apr 02, 2022

This is a fun one, Murray. I love how you wrote it, with the parenthetical asides and inclusion of times and the various strikethroughs. Love it. If nothing else, the narrator is very candid about the results of his program. Great humor, too. It's got a little of everything - callbacks, slapstick, irony, blue comedy. I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks for sharing! P.S. My favorite one-liner was: "need to maintain strength- 2 brownies."


Murray Burns
18:11 Apr 04, 2022

Thanks. I was able to draw inspiration from my (undisciplined) brothers' weight loss contests- the victor usually was the one who gained the least. I appreciate it. Thanks.


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16:51 Apr 02, 2022

Well, that escalated quickly, lol. I like the laundry list way you make the entries and keep each day documented as the day goes on. I could totally visualize what he was doing as well as the mishaps. I was rooting for him as he never gave up even with his honest accounting of his eating and drinking habits. Well done!


Murray Burns
17:01 Apr 02, 2022

Thank you. The inspiration for the story was a weight loss challenge my two overweight brothers had. They would set candy traps for each other- a Snickers bar in a mailbox or licorice sticks in a pencil holder etc. The victor took the prize by gaining fewer pounds than the other. Thanks.


17:19 Apr 02, 2022

Sabotage! Haha, it was my favorite story so far today :)


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