Me in 2000 as a 270-pound stand in for Bob's Big BoyBack in January 2006 when I was sitting very uncomfortably at 263 pounds, I signed up for a free account on Fitday.com and began monitoring and controlling the calories I put in and put out (by way of visual reference, the picture at right was taken in 2000 when I was closer to 270 at the time).

Six months later I stood on a scale that read 208 having removed 55 pounds.

It was inconceivable that I’d gotten down to a weight I hadn’t been at since my early 20s. But in hindsight what was more unbelievable was that I stopped so short of my then-original goal to lose 10 more get below 200 pounds for the first time since high school.

I shouldn’t say unbelievable because I know why I stopped. Getting down those last pounds to 208 had been arduous and frustrating. Losing the first 45 had been a relative breeze, but I’d hit the wall at 220, and losing that last 10 was real mental and physical work. Plus, I was rightfully proud of myself for getting to where I did — and I felt damn good about it.

What’s another 10 pounds, I rationalized.

Not much, really. Unless you start going back in the wrong direction, which I did, to about 215. I maintained that for well over a year but by 2008 I was back up in my 220s and eating a LOT of junk. The only thing that kept the rise in check was the 6,000 miles of bike commuting I was doing annually up until the middle of 2010, when I opted to start working from home. At that point, the biking literally evaporated and the weight really started to add up. In a couple months I was up into the mid-230s, and I briefly marshaled the resolve to diet my way back down to 220. By October 2010 I was there, but so was that wall again.

And back up I went. I was two-hundredfucking-forty when I struggled through the Rio Hondo physical agility test a year ago. Seven months later when I stepped on the scale at 234.8 on March 1, with the academy set to announce its start date on any day, I grabbed the reins and took control again. This time I didn’t even think about the wall. I welcomed the wall. I dared the wall to beat me.

Last week I hit 208. This morning the scale showed me 205. To counter the picture I led this post with, here I am July 10 at about 210:

This time, I’m not stopping until I get to 194 — the significance of which has to do simply with that number being about three-quarters of a pound below what the intractable Body Mass Index chart indicates as a “unhealthy” weight for anyone 6’2″ tall. I’m healthy now, but all my adult life I’ve winced at being categorized by the BMI as “obese.” Certainly at 263 or in that picture I was physically. At 208, statistically.

I won’t be anymore. Not physically. Not numerically.