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Losing it: Time to play for keeps in losing weight

A year or so ago I thought I had it all figured out. It was almost like I was a teenager all over again. OK, I wasn't quite feeling THAT smart, but almost.

I thought I'd finally cracked The Dieter's Code that's puzzled me for three decades. This time I wasn't just on a diet — I was living the lifestyle like dieting gurus say you're supposed to do.

I thought I'd discovered permanent weight-loss success through consistent exercising and healthy eating. I thought I'd whipped obesity into submission. Sure, I was still overweight at 199 pounds, but that was a far cry from my all-time high of 371.

I thought my newfound love, er, like for running, biking, swimming and triathlons would help me avoid returning to my XXL days and ways.

Turns out, actions speak louder than words and thoughts.

While my mind was busy thinking about all the success my body had seen, my mouth was busy inhaling food (healthy and unhealthy alike) at rapid rates, and my body was not busy doing much of anything.

The result: I gained about 82 pounds in 14 months*.

That might be fine for a gestating elephant — but it's not so great for a human being, especially not for one who happens to write a weight-loss column (and for one who donated most of his larger clothes to charity!).

Let me repeat that in case you thought there was a typo: I gained 82 pounds. EIGHTY-TWO POUNDS!!!!! That's an average of about 1.3 pounds* gained per week and about what my two oldest kids weigh combined.

(*Results unfortunately typical for me.)

Now you might understand why it's been a couple of months since this column has appeared. I wrote previous versions — I just added some sugar and ate them. Truthfully, I've contemplated giving up this column and calling it quits.

After all, who wants to read a weight-loss column by someone who no longer loses weight, who quit exercising and trying, who struggles to follow through on lofty goals and promises and who can't control an insatiable appetite?

And why would that overeating and undermoving guy (me!) want to write that frustrating weight-gaining column after falling so hard?

What's that saying about it being better to try and fail than fail to try? That's why I'm trying to pick myself up, back away from the trough and get going again.

If I don't, I'll be flirting with the 300s and 400s instead of the low 200s and 100s.

I'm only 39 years old (just turned that age for the first time), so it's about time I get to the bottom of this physical and mental problem that just won't go away on its own despite my thoughts to the contrary.

It's been demoralizing to have gotten so close to my ultimate weight-loss goal only to let everything slip out of my grasp, but I'm determined to keep on trying.

So, here we go again — only this time, I'm playing for keeps.

Losing it with … Jody

All-time high: 371

Most-recent high: 281

Current weight: 278

Successes: Different days, different fruits for desserts — watermelon, cantaloupe and Splenda-covered strawberries; resumed exercising: walking on treadmill and around neighborhood for 30-plus minutes, rode stationary bike, swam 400 yards.

Struggles: Ate fatty pulled-pork sandwich with fries on date night; Hard to control portion sizes after having no limits; eat too many low-fat snacks.