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Week 9: Climbing Back on the Diet Wagon

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Inspired by the very public diets of Toronto's Ford brothers -- Mayor Rob and brother Doug -- a Huffpost contributor has decided to take up their Cut the Waist challenge, and shed 30 pounds by June 18. Our contributor will weigh-in at the beginning of every week (you can read his previous entries here and here) with his progress (including a photograph of his bathroom scales that morning). He would like to be less public, however, about his identity.

You start a diet, you do moderately well, and then you completely fall off the wagon at a bar mitzvah party. By the end of the evening you find yourself up on a moral's charge involving two underage slices of cake. Worse, a week later, you learn that that one night of debauchery has cost you an entire week's worth of weight loss. Then you come to find that the Ford brothers of Toronto, your inspiration for starting this parallel public weight loss challenge, have all but given up.

You might be thinking to yourself, "Weaklings! All of 'em!" Or you might be thinking, "Man, dieting is a lot harder than I thought." The person next to you might be thinking, "Why is that person next to me trying to read my thoughts?" But if you're like me, you're thinking one thing: Squirrel!

That's because I'm using my super powers of undiagnosed attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder to my advantage. Falling off the wagon at the bar mitzvah party? A vague memory. Am I going to mope around obsessing about gaining back a week's worth of weight loss (I'm at 234.7)? What's done is done. Instead, I'm going to do what I did the day after the party debacle: run another 10K.

I ran that day. Then I ran a few days after that. My trainer, Kickass, earned her namesake last Saturday by making me do step-ups starting with one foot on the ground and the other on the base of a kickboxing ring. Pulling on the ropes I hoisted myself up four feet and stood on both feet. Then one foot went down to the ground to start anew. Twenty reps on each foot, followed by a 20 push-up chaser. Rinse and repeat.

The next day I was, as Elvis Costello once wrote, stiff as hair lacquer. I walk like a bad John Wayne impersonation now but I like the constant reminder of having taken action. I flew to Philadelphia the next day and ran another 10K. In a few weeks I have been challenged to run up and down the famous "Exorcist steps" near Georgetown University in D.C. This challenge has been issued by a certain editor at Huffpost, who is expressing dismay with my progress thus far.

I'm now more determined than ever to get this weight thing licked. I'm doubling up on exercise and next I need to super-size my efforts of eating less food. My weight loss has been moderate thus far, a healthy steady decline that experts believe is the best for long term success, but I want more. (There is improvement in related areas though. My A1C is down 0.5 and Doc is pleased with my lipids. This does not go unreciprocated; my lipids are quite fond of him too.)

So let's talk about this effort to eat less. Oatmeal is a breakfast staple (the real stuff not mampy-pampy instant) that I don't want to give up. I can do better with other carbs. The first casualty will be Milton's whole-wheat bread. I can do without. Next up, I'm not eating enough vegetables and maybe too much fruit. Doubling up on veggies and dialing down to a few fruits a day sounds like a good idea.

Also, I can't seem to remember to chug the eight glasses of water. Strictly from a logistical point-of-view, the fat's gotta leave the body somehow and all that water will help provide the vehicle. I always read that decreasing coffee will help but that's just crazy talk. I'm determined, but not homeless guy at the off-ramp desperate.

Last week I solicited input from you, dear readers, and I got a lot of good advice about how to better plan ahead for a gala. Three repeating motifs to remember: 1) drink a lot of cold water prior, 2) avoid alcohol, and 3) learn to decouple the associations of pleasure from hanging out with friends versus the accompanying food and drink. Also, it was suggested that I wear bowling shoes.

So what can you suggest now, my support system, how to notch my diet up to the next level for more dramatic weight loss?