"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.