On Sunday night, fiance and I were sitting in a Mexican restaurant when I noticed a man across the room. We were seated in the bar area and he was out in the dining room, so he couldn’t really see me, but I had a clear view of him and his partner. The man easily weighed 400 pounds.

He was directly in my line of vision, so I kept glancing at him occasionally and I kept wondering: Why was he so fat? Why had I been so fat at one point? Will I look like that again someday?

I thought about what would it be like to have a conversation with the man, if I could sit down and ask him why he was so overweight. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t know.

It might sound kind of silly, but I didn’t know why I was fat until I started to lose weight. I knew that I did not like being fat, but I never really made the connection between the foods that I so gluttonously loved and my weight. It was only once I learned the tried-and-true methods of weight loss — portion control and calorie counting — that I realized just how much I’d been eating.

It could be said that I am one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have any strings attached to my eating. I am not an emotional eater, and I do not have binging issues. For me, the “burn more than you take in” approach worked until I was diagnosed with insulin resistance and polycystic ovarian syndrome in September 2008. Then it became a matter of counting the right kind of calories.

Five years into my weight loss and I know why I was fat. Recently, I’ve been asking, Why can I not lose all of the fat? I wrote last week that I got really fit without losing all of the fat. And I’ve mentioned numerous times that I love cardio but am not really a fan of strength training. It kind of hit me this morning while I was doing a move from SELF magazine, the dolphin downsizer.


You start in the yoga dolphin pose and then extend one leg up for five counts, switch legs, and that’s one rep. It’s hard as hell and I felt it immediately in my core, legs and shoulders.

So, there I was in my living room, dripping in sweat and exhausted to a point I can no longer reach through cardio. And I realized: This is what I need to do.

To succeed at weight loss, you need to have this kind of conversation with yourself — and it’s something you’ll have to revisit on ocassion. But it’s a question only you can answer.