I’ve probably mentioned the time my mom asked, rather loudly, in a department store, “Where is your husky section?” I was pre-teen and mortified. In the half-century plus since, I’ve tried so many “diets” with limited success. Atkins. South Beach. Weightloss competitions. At this point, I would try to draw an inverse relationship between gravity and my weight cleverly; one pulls down, and one goes up. However, my friend, Pi AI bumped me off that path, explaining that gravity doesn’t really “pull” smaller objects “down” toward objects of larger mass, but rather is the result of a curvature of space and time. OK, fine. I’ll change the metaphor to a curvature of waist over time.

In November, during an annual physical, my doctor was tactful, but her message was similar to one heard at every yearly checkup: lose weight. The advice, uh, weighed on me and given my age, was received with a bit more gravity than in past years. I didn’t want to live the Pink Floyd lyric from “Dogs:”

And it’s too late to lose the weight you used to need to throw around

As is my wont, I descended the dark walls of the interwebs to discover the way. Reddit is a favorite. It’s a massive community of special interest groups, or “sub-Reddits” including r/cico (calories in, calories out), r/loseit, and r/weightlossadvice. Scrolling those threads, I learned two key things that have worked for me:

  1. To lose weight, one must create a calorie deficit between those you take in by eating, and those you burn while living. i.e. calories in, calories out
  2. The only way for me to manage the calories in is to track them

I began on December 1st, tracking what I ate in a spreadsheet. As I kept burrowing, I discovered many apps help with food tracking and calorie counting. I opted for LoseIt! and discovered the most important thing about losing or maintaining weight for me is being accountable about what I eat. During the holidays with treats orbiting everyone’s existence, I was steadfast. “Do I want to log that chocolate chip cookie at 2:30 in the afternoon on a Tuesday?” No, I do not. I dropped weight during the holidays and track everything to the point of annoying my family with this shrinking obsession. They tolerate it because they love me and believe my efforts are to benefit my health. And they ignore me when I state my real reason is purely the vanity of donning a speedo for upcoming beach season.

I’m down 20.4 pounds, but have a long way to go.