During my life I have learned a couple of things. One is how to control what foods and how much of them I consume. Another is to always watch what you say because you never know when it might come back to haunt you.

As a child I was very thin. In fact I was often referred to as a "beanpole" throughout my childhood. I distinctly remember teasing my older brother (in retaliation for some teasing which he initiated, I’m quite sure), who was a little on the chubby side, by sing-songing "Fatty, fatty, two by four, can't get through the kitchen door" at him. My mother said, "One of these days you're going to get fat and then you'll be sorry you said those things." I just laughed it off, but when puberty hit, my mother's curse came true. My brother joined the wrestling team, and became lean and trim, and I, even though I was on the tennis and basketball teams, began to gain ... and gain ... and gain.

For the past 25 years or so I have battled my weight. As a teenager I always dreamed of losing weight during the summer, and coming back to school new and improved and popular. One summer I gave it a shot. Back when infomercials first came out, there was an advertisement on television for a suit which would help a person lose weight. All you had to do was wear it and it was supposed to have the same effect as a sauna. So I quickly ran to the phone and ordered the suit, using my summer babysitting money to pay for it. When it finally arrived, I went to my babysitting job, donned the spaceman-like suit after the baby's mother left for work, and waited for the miraculous weight-loss to begin. The shiny, silver-colored suit had elastic around the ankles, waist, sleeves and neck in order to stimulate perspiration, which in turn was supposed to cause you to lose weight.

It really worked for a couple of hours. I could feel the weight melting away. Then, not more than two hours after donning my extraordinary suit, air filled the pants because there was no way for it to escape, and it had a blow-out. So too went my dreams of magically losing weight the fast and easy way.

My next attempt to lose weight came in the form of fasting. I went for two days without eating. When my mother informed me I wasn't going about it in a healthy way, I bought two grocery bags full of expensive diet foods. They lasted about a day. Once you've fasted for two days and you suddenly have food, it's sort of hard to stop once you've started.

In my 20s, I was desperate to get the weight off, yet still didn't use my head in finding a healthy way to go about doing it. My brother broke his jaw at work and it was wired shut. He started losing weight rapidly, so, it gave me an idea. I went to a dentist who agreed to wire my mouth shut. He applied what must have been similar to braces to my teeth, and next, attached a small rubber band between each tooth. Because I discovered how to remove the rubber bands enough to eat, I was simply out $100 (which was quite a lot at the time) with that venture.

I gave up trying to lose weight altogether, until my mid-30s. I started a diet using a popular diet drink, eating a sensible meal, and healthy snacks. I excersized every day, and then, and only then did the weight begin to come off. I lost 65 pounds and kept it off for two years, until stress began to take its toll on me and I began to go back to my old ways of eating and lack of exercise.

About four months ago, I decided to try it again and to be serious about it. Although I'm still too ashamed to admit what my weight was when I began the diet, I have managed to lose 50 pounds, which calculates to about three pounds per week. I am using the same system as I did when I lost the 65 pounds. I replace two meals a day, in my case, breakfast and lunch, with a SlimFast meal replacement drink and I eat a sensible meal early in the evening. With my busy life, I regret that I don’t have time for a daily exercise regime, but I set aside one day a week for some sort of exercise. I also get exercise climbing up and down the stairs at work, just to name a couple of things. And, most importantly, I don't allow stress to send me back to the trough. I find other ways of relieving stress, such as talking to my friends as opposed to using food as a stress reliever. The diet plan that I use may not be for everyone, but, whatever a person chooses to follow in order to lose weight, he or she must have will power, choose a healthy way to go about it, and get plenty of exercise.

People tell me now that I look "skinny," at which time I look at them with incredulity. Even though when I started I wore a size 18, and I am now down to a size 12, nearing a size 10, the fat person is still there looking out.

I will always have to watch my weight. Even after I hit my target, it won't stop there, or I will end up back where I started. A friend told me when she is dieting, she is always hungry. Yes, you're going to be hungry, until your body gets used to a new volume of food intake. It will taper off some. Dieting isn't easy, and I still fall off the wagon from time to time, or take an occasional weekend hiatus, but then I go right back to my diet.

Losing weight has given me more energy, and I do strange things now, such as parking where there's a parking spot and not circling around for 10 minutes waiting for a parking spot to open up near the front door. I turn down doughnuts coworkers have so kindly brought to everyone in the morning. I choose low-fat foods, which can be quite tasty. And one of the most interesting things I have found is, when you are dieting, food tastes so much better. Think about it. If you eat what you want when you want, things will tend to get boring and not that flavorful. But when you are dieting, it's a whole different world. Everything tastes good. But moderation and choosing the right foods are key.

I don't claim to know everything about weight loss. I only know what works for me. But I do know that losing weight was for me alone, and not for anyone or anything else. I have also learned that you should never say bad things about other people, because sooner or later you may have to eat your words, and they can be very fattening.