Where There’s a Will, There’s a Weigh-In

With the motivation of a looming midlife birthday, my wife, Kristine, and I started to lose weight together on Feb. 1. Having a buddy to check in with was a good way to start.

I had felt for years that my unchecked eating was one of my main vices, so I had a powerful desire to prove to myself that I could control food and not have it continue to master me. Achieving that self-discipline has tremendously boosted my self-esteem, as I have now been successful at losing weight for the first time in my life.

My story is a testimonial that it doesn’t have to take forever. I lost 20 pounds in six weeks. I never would have believed that I could lose the weight so quickly. To do this I changed many things at once, so I can’t pinpoint which things were most crucial. Here’s a list of the modifications that worked for me:

1. I walk briskly for 30 to 60 minutes every morning. I ride an exercise bike for another 30 to 60 minutes later in the day two or three times a week.


2. I have cut down on my portion sizes. I still eat all of the foods I love, such as pizza, but I only have one or two slices and not four. Instead of no ice cream at all, I dish up a small scoop. After looking at the calories in peanut butter, I spread about a third of what I used to in making a sandwich. Controlling, not eliminating, portions has not made me feel deprived of any of my favorite foods.

3. I try to eat a lot more fruit, especially when I have a sweet craving.

4. I take an over-the-counter appetite suppressant midmorning. I also take a multivitamin and chromium picolinate, a so-called fat burner.

5. Instead of avoiding the scale as most people told me to do, I get on it regularly. As the pounds have come off, it has been a real momentum keeper to see the daily totals; it’s almost a competition with my self-will.

6. I drink a lot of water. I keep a 32-ounce container on my desk and refill it three or four times a day. At first, I erroneously feared that I would retain water weight if I drank so much, but it appears to have had the opposite effect.

Success breeds success. As people have noticed my weight loss, I have had more willpower to keep going. I have changed my eating and exercise habits, hopefully for good.


Vital Statistics


Name: Mark Matheson

Age: 41

Occupation: Investment executive

Old weight: 210


New weight: 190

Height: 6 feet

Time to Get There: Six weeks

Want to Share Your Success Story?


Losing weight is as individual as gaining weight. Do you have a story on how you got in shape and stayed there? If so, we’d like to hear from you with a 500-word essay listing what worked in terms of diet, exercise, encouragement / support as well as your emotional and physical changes.

We’d also like you to send us full-body color photos of you, before and after.

Send essay and photos to “How I Did It”, Health, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053, and include daytime and evening phone numbers. No phone calls, please. Submissions cannot be returned.

In addition to publication, winners will receive a Los Angeles Times gym bag.