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No bad eating day goes unpunished. It was late 2005 when I dropped more than 30 pounds, a weight that had slowly crept on during my sophomore and junior year of college, and since then I've waged a near-constant war with weight gain. Sometimes I've been successful in my battles and other times not, while most often I'm locked in a bitter stalemate where I'm not exactly "fat" per se but still well above where I want to be. That's where I am now, a solid 12 to 15 pounds above my target weight; it's not that I want to be skinny, just a weight in which I feel comfortable, what I perceive to be a "normal" weight. Sometimes I voice these concerns to other people and they think I'm crazy -- it is partly a matter of perception, after all -- but I see myself in the mirror with my shirt off, I notice how the fat bunches around my waste when I'm sitting on the couch. I'm definitely not where I want to be.

Now I know I don't eat well by any stretch of the imagination. I rarely cook for myself and often eat too quickly, a habit that results in me passing my threshold for hunger before my stomach has the chance to tell my brain that it's full. But at the same time it's not as if I'm downing 4,000 calories a day; I've largely given up soda and sugary drinks and at least attempt every day to have reasonably-sized meals. If I could eat everything I wanted I'd pick up a bacon-and-egg omelet for breakfast, hit the buffet for lunch and end the day with a burger and a beer, and I don't do that -- I try my hardest to control my calorie intake with moderate success.

And I exercise a good bit. I walk to and from work every day -- a minimum of 3 miles -- and work out several times a week. I lift weights, I do yoga, I use my stationary bike at home. Once every Saturday I play ultimate frisbee, which involves sprinting up and down a field for two hours straight.

But I have my bad eating days, sometimes a couple times a week, and this is where my body is completely unforgiving. Any extra calorie just seems to navigate to my upper body, coalesce around my face, creep into my neck. My body is a well-oiled storage unit, trying to stash any ounce of fat as if I could be trapped on an abandoned island any second, foodless and forced to live off my own reserves.

I just don't know what to do. I'm 25-years-old and I don't imagine my metabolism getting any better as I age. I've pledged to myself that I won't ever give up, that I'll never let myself completely go like I did in college, but any small victory I win -- from time to time I will lose a lot of weight and hover within my comfort zone -- is only temporary, and before you know it I'm looking at tagged Facebook pictures of myself and thinking, "Do I really look that bad?" The statistics aren't exactly on my side -- most people who lose a lot of weight can rarely keep it off, and in some instances gain more weight than they lost.

I've always resisted the idea of a "diet" for this very reason. Most experts agree that if someone is to lose and keep weight off, he has to make a "lifestyle change," and this is something I've been striving for. But after 4+ years of battling my eating habits, I'm not sure this will ever be a war I can fully win.

Final days

This Friday -- just a few short days from now -- I will roll into my final day at work. Two weeks ago I walked into my boss's office, asked her about her weekend, and then delivered a two-line letter offering my two weeks notice. When I leave the office at the end of the week I will enter the realm of the self employed. Six months from now I will either look back and consider myself an exceptional entrepreneur or a victim of economic idiocy. After all, I'm about to leave a steady job while we're still in the midst of a recession.

It would be difficult to recount the series of events that led to this point, and even more complicated to adequately explain my strategic plan from here forward, but I'm not necessarily plunging from a cliff here. I've lined up at least a decent steady stream of income and I will be moving forward as a full-time blogger/online journalist.

I'm not nervous. I'm not scared. I've been waiting for this -- fantasizing about it -- since my days as a newspaper journalist (or, even more accurately, since my senior of college), and now I will finally be able to play out at least some version of that dream.

Weirdly enough, nearly everyone I've spoken to about this decision has been behind me. I've met virtually no challenges to my sanity, no doubts to my ability to move forward with this. Even my parents seemed to jump behind me with uncanny speed, something that would have been unheard of a year ago.

I think it's because we all understand what's going to happen here. We've all seen my ability. We know what I'm capable of. We have few doubts.

I just hope we're right.

First goal met

Let me just poke my head in here for a moment to note that I surpassed my first goal of losing about 20 pounds. I'm not sure why the introspective posts on weight loss have come to a halt, but in a way these eating habits have become just that - habit.

I'm not thin -- I certainly don't feel thin and purely from a weight standpoint I still likely clock in above what most physicians would call a "normal" weight, but I'm *thinner*, as evidenced by the fact that I've been getting comments on this very fact. Immediately upon meeting that first goal I set a new one to lose another 10. After I meet that, well, I will reassess my situation. I have an idea of what a target ideal weight would be, but when you calculate in factors like Body Mass Index it's not always easy to assign a simple number of pounds as being the "ideal weight."

So I'll keep going, I'll keep counting calories, I'll keep having to pick myself up from my failures (I've had one or two weeks in which I didn't lose any weight) and one day sometime soon I'll have a new wardrobe and a closet full of unused, oversized clothes.

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I feel like I have so much I need to say on here (most of it likely being under a friendlocked entry) and yet haven't had a chunk of time I could use to say it.

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I'm thinking of burning the candle at both ends again and conducting original reporting for bloggasm. This on top of my Pbs and day job work.

Simon on the radio

I recently wrote a feature piece for PBS exploring how dieters were able to utilize blogging -- and the community support built around it -- to maintain weight loss. I found it incredibly fascinating combing through the archives and speaking to these bloggers, some of whom have lost upwards of 60 pounds after launching their blogs.

A few days later I was contacted by a producer from a program on community radio in Sydney, Australia called "The Fourth Estate." She said she wanted to interview me about my piece, and you can listen to the interview on the program's website -- just click to listen to the March 12 episode and I'm in the very first segment.

progress

fatty foodthis might be borderline tautology but when you do your weekly weigh-in there is either a sudden high or a crushing low when the final digits come to rest and you find out whether you managed to squeeze out that last pound in overnight water weight. i've sometimes weighed as much as a pound and a half less in the morning than i weighed the night before.

anyway i clocked in at 3 pounds lost this week, which means that i've lost 15 pounds total. do i feel accomplished? somewhat, but i think my brain is wired around the end goal, leaving a minimal amount of pleasure for the increments in between. my mind is set on what i have to weigh to be "thin," so not being that weight simply means i am not thin and not much else.

still though, 15 pounds is a significant drop, and though i can't tell much of a difference i'm sure someone who hasn't seen me since before the weight loss could.

my goal is that by the end of april i'm hovering close to where i want to be. the end feels near.

My latest PBS article

By now, most of you likely know that the Dalai Lama Twitter account that popped up over a week ago was a fake, but that didn't stop it from gathering nearly 20,000 followers before Twitter pulled the plug. For my PBS article this week I interviewed one of the co-founders of Twitter, Fake Steve Jobs, and a journalist who had originally reported on the account to determine how Twitter and other social media platforms should battle these celebrity impostors: How Celebrity Imposters Hurt Twitter's Credibility