I need to report a lost dog. Not really. Don't get all worried. I've lost the equivalent of a dog. After 11 weeks of eating better and exercising more, I've dropped 25½ pounds — about the weight of a large Boston terrier. My brother had Bostons, so I can picture this weight-loss dog in my head. It's got big bug eyes and an underslung jaw. Its fur is patterned like a killer whale, and it looks as if it evolved from one of those deep sea fish with an outsized mouth and rows of needle-sharp teeth. It jumps up at me endlessly, either trying to bite me or convince me to pet it. Maybe both. Nothing against Boston terriers — or my brother, for that matter — but I never much liked his dogs. And the one I lost? I don't ever want to find it again. It'd be easy for me to find. It wouldn't take long. All I'd have to do is stop paying attention to what I eat. I could do that without difficulty, because I've done it before. Several years back, I signed up for Weight Watchers and followed that plan for a while. It's a good plan. Works for a lot of people. My doctor had recommended it to me. I did great for about four months. I dropped about 37 pounds, and I had less to lose then than I do now. Every time I ran into someone I hadn't seen for a while, they marveled at my weight loss. "How'd you do it?” they'd ask. "The hard way,” I'd reply, feeling smug. "Diet and exercise.” Then autumn rolled around. I'm from a cold weather state, and fall makes me hunger for rich, meaty dishes and apple cider. The early darkness left me tired, and the gym was much less appealing than stew, bread, a warm fire and a football game on TV. Thanksgiving is always a feast. Christmas shopping is easier on a full stomach. Doesn't all that cinnamon and nutmeg and gingerbread smell alluring? By the time the new year rolled around, I'd reclaimed each of those 37 pounds I'd worked so hard to shed. Half-hearted resolutions to get back in shape followed, with a predictable lack of results. Somehow I managed to blank out my mind most of the time. Even as I bought increasingly larger clothes, I told myself I wasn't that big. "I've got big shoulders,” I'd say. "With my frame, I carry it well.” In March, I weighed in at 307 pounds. Suddenly I couldn't ignore my weight problem anymore. I started this project on April 1, and in the weeks that followed, I chose more nutritious foods and sweated through cardio and weightlifting exercises. Slowly but surely, I shaved those 25½ pounds off my still-sizeable body. I lost that dog. But in the distance, I can hear it barking.