Losing It in Public

I am blessed with an amazing ability. I can eat the smallest amount of unhealthy food and have it instantly appear as fat somewhere on my body that is very noticeable. (How’s that for imagery to start a blog!) I have a co-worker who is, unfortunately, the exact opposite. She can eat an entire plate of french fries with mayonnaise and drink a bottle of wine and not feel the slightest pinch on her clothes. That just kills me.

For the record, I’m 5’6″ and, as of this morning, 194.6 pounds on the bathroom scale. Not great. My BMI is 31.4, which is “obese,” according to the people who say it is. If I get down to 185 lbs. then I’ll have a BMI under 30 and simply be “overweight.” To get to a “normal” weight, I would have to drop to 154 pounds — which just isn’t going to happen. I haven’t weighed that much since ninth grade. So – according to the powers that be — I’m likely to be at least “overweight” until I die.

Everyone finds their own motivation to lose weight. In early 2009, I lost 20 pounds by pledging to lose one pound each week and agreeing to donate $75 to a charity for each week I was behind pace. I ended up losing those 20 pounds and only contributing $75 in total. (For those of you interested, I used a site called Stickk that can help you do this in automated fashion. It’s really a great idea.)

The Look from Bob and Jillian: Not for Me

But during that diet, I realized that the $$ didn’t make the difference. I realized that the best way for me to lose weight is via the Biggest Loser method. No – not with Jillian or Bob kicking my ass. By the Biggest Loser method, I mean losing weight in public. I think a lot of people want to diet in secret. They want to do their thing and then hope that people notice. Doing that, however, is also protection against failing. If no one knows, then they can’t fail.

The $ motivation last year helped, but what really helped was telling people. On January 1, I sent an email to my closest coworkers and relatives telling them I was going on this diet and about the pledge to charity I had made. About three weeks later, I stood on a stage in front of 200 co-workers and spoke about it as well. By then, I had to succeed. Too many people knew. No way I was going to embarrass myself.

I’m not the first one to figure this out, nor am I the last. For example, I found this list of 50 “Inspiring Weight Loss Blogs.” All of the big diets have their own communities, from Weight Watchers to NutriSystem, and some other web sites have popped up like Project Weight Loss. These communities preach support, information and tools, but for me it’s as simple as embarrassment. If I don’t succeed, everyone will know.

It’s now time to go on another diet to see, somehow, if I can reach the coveted “overweight” designation. I want to go from 194.6 this morning to 175. I’m going to lose the weight the same way I always do, but eating fewer calories and exercising more. My diets are nothing fancy, but the kicker of everything is losing weight publicly.

So, going forward, I’ll report here on progress. I’ll see what I can add to this area with a once-a-week post. I hope you’ll watch and comment, so I can maintain the motivation.

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