So the other day a friend, who happens to be a personal trainer, says, “You’ve lost more weight.” Well, I smiled the big smile that comes naturally with that comment, but it was a rather bloat-y day, truth be told, and I thought he was wrong. He cracked up because I think he read my reaction correctly.

Well today, a not so bloat-y day, I decided to get on the scale at the gym. This is something I do only a few times a year when the mood hits. As it turns out, I’ve lost four pounds since October. That brings me to 27 pounds since June of 2003. By most standards, this is a snail’s pace. By my standards, it’s a fabulously healthy, natural and perfect pace.

I find it ironic that this fun little milestone comes the day after I shared a huge cheese danish with a friend. I mean, that thing was coated in icing and the cheese was liquid-y soft. Yum. This is the key for me. Once I stopped dieting, which only made me think about food more, it became easier. Once I started thinking about why I was putting a sugar-y or starch-y concoction in my mouth and stopped using it as reward, comfort, salve, I started seeing weight just naturally come off.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s been a long and steady process, for sure. I read labels carefully and don’t buy many processed foods. I happen to love salads and devour them regularly, at least once a day. Most of my carb consumption is whole grain or whole wheat, including pasta. I occasionally indulge in dessert and don’t think twice about it when I do. I exercise at least three days a week and have a walking lifestyle.

What I found is this is not a big mystery. The answer is simple; the problem is its execution is not. It requires thought and baby steps and patience and persistence. Striving to live a healthier life works for me.

So after leaving the gym this morning, I went to a cafe to do some writing and enjoy a nice cup of coffee (with cream). As I left, I ran into the personal trainer friend and told him he’s a visionary. He smiled his big smile and went off to train his next client.