Tuesday, March 24, 2009

In the beginning

No weight loss story is complete without a before and after picture.  That's me in 1997 (don't be upset about the cat, she didn't mind).  And that's me posing as Tarzan in a black and white photo.  

Life as a Before...

I was a "big" guy.  Not incredibly big, as it helps to be tall, but big nonetheless.  It all happened pretty gradually.  I couldn't gain weight all through high school.  Then I went to college and gained 40 lbs in about 3 days.  Mind you, that weight was about 30 lbs less than what's in the "before" picture on the left.  In hindsight, I would attribute having more than one chin to the cumulative effect of a multitude of bad food choices (Chinese food isn't low calorie!  It has chicken in it.), beer and a sporadic (generous adjective here) exercise regimen.  

At the time, I was working for Pepsico.  I viewed product sampling as an important part of my role, even though it technically had nothing to do with my job.  

I don't know that I cared all that much about my weight.  However, in 1999, my doctor read me the riot act when I had my physical.  High cholesterol.  High blood pressure.  A lifetime of prescription medicine awaited.  And I had too many chins (my diagnosis, not hers).  

I was a male Weight Watchers member

I had an opportunity to leave PepsiCo, and take a job at the newly formed startup, WeightWatchers.com, Inc.  It was a great opportunity to help envision the Weight Watchers concept in an online environment.  When I accepted the job, the thought was in the back of my mind that I might be able to lose a few pounds in the process.  

In an effort to learn a little more about Weight Watchers, I started going to Weight Watchers meetings.  One of the few proud men in my meeting, I started diligently following the program.  I learned about a whole range of interesting and foreign foods like fruit and vegetables.  After about three months, I noticed that I had lost about 25 pounds.  My health improved measurably, and medicine was no longer necessary.  

I went up and down in weight a few times over the next 7 years, but in 2008, I decided to try to lose the weight permanently.    


  1. Nothing you wrote surprises/shocks/me. However, everything you wrote makes me feel very fortunate because I work FOR WW; therefore, I work for someone who truly understands ME. That is extremely comforting. While I am sympathetic/empathetic with my members challenges ( I have gained and lost 85 +- pounds for many many many years of yoyoing,) I now find myself able to MAINTAIN my most recent 85 pounds for the past 6 plus years now thanks to WW. I have FINALLY FINALLY understood what LIFESTYLE CHANGE MEANS. It took me long enough. I paid lip service to that phrase far too many times. Now that I have EMBRACED the PROGRAM, SUCCUMBED TO IT, and if you will, am much much more able to WALK THE WALK and TALK THE TALK, I finally feel empowered. I AM THANKFUL, SO VERY VERY THANKFUL to PEOPLE LIKE YOU who TRULY UNDERSTAND. Thank YOU. A fellow WW.

  2. Part of losing and maintaining is to be kind to yourself. A sense of humor, like yours, will help me to maintain my own sense of humor and get over the "I just can't do this, so I'll have another and another and another helping, please and thank you very much!" while watching my pounds go up! Thanks for for writing so candidly and humorously. Maybe it will help me to "get over myself" and keep up the positive attitude that you exude!

  3. My doctor has read me the riot act about losing weight. My sister has said she doesn't want to lose me to ill-health. But, really...the reason I started Weight Watcher's four weeks ago has to do with a hiking trip I took on the Amalfi Coast. I spent five days hiking the beautiful coastline and saw more of people's backends (always being last in the group)than I did of the countryside. Sometimes one has epiphanies at odd times.

  4. It looks like this company is in good hands. Where do I invest?

  5. Well this dispells my theory of why WW rejected me as a group leader back in 1999 when I first lost my 85lbs and became Lifetime. I thought it was all about the fact I was male and WW appears (yes, present tense) a decidedly female oriented organization. It is very cool to have a guy as the CEO of WW and hopefully WW will become a little more guy friendly. BTW I am working on getting back to goal after having fallen off the wagon over the past 10 years. I believe I will hit goal in late January or early February, 2010. Who knows, they may accept me as a group leader.

  6. Good for you for working on getting back to goal after having fallen off the wagon!!! I too have fallen off the wagon but I can't let it roll over me. I felt so GREAT at my healthy weight and I WANT to get back there!!! Its true your body goes thru changes around 50 but I can still get back to goal! I'm putting back the pieces and I WILL SUCCEED. You go lifetime members...A Lifetime @ Goal is my goal!