My daughter was once married to a powerlifter, a big guy who along with his friends, she called fat boys, especially when she had to feed them. I, too, am a fat boy and have been all my life no matter what I weighed. I'm 5-foot-6 and have been a fat boy since I was twelve years old when I first started dieting. As an adult, I've weighed as much as 260 pounds and as little as 160 pounds. When I played football, I weighed 160 pounds as a small fullback and up to 210 pounds as a slow center and inside linebacker. I also played rugby, tennis, and racquetball at various weights. Articles written for the hard gainer are ones that I've never read. I never see articles for people like me, those who gain weight if they even think of food. Weight gain has been and continues to be a struggle for me.

I've tried every diet that I know of and they all work. Just like most powerlifting programs, they work if you stick to them. Paleo, Mountain Dog, Mediterranean, Atkins, Weight Watchers, Milkshake, Cabbage Soup: they all work. Dieting is a state of mind, somewhat crazy and produced by all sorts of motivations. Years ago, two other fat guys and I decided to try Weight Watchers. To make our motivation stronger, we each put up a sum of money. The one who lost the most weight by a certain date won the bet. After I collected their money, I modeled my new suit on my new body for them. When I was seriously playing team sports, I had the motivation to keep my weight within reasonable bounds. Again, it’s the mind and the motivation.

In undergraduate school, I devoted my free time to lifting heavy weights. Like powerlifters of old, I ate my way through plateaus. I wasn't concerned about my weight but only about the weight that I could lift. That was my motivation. That’s where my mind was. When I graduated, I weighed 260 pounds, way too much for my height and not healthy. Shortly thereafter, I went to an all you can eat buffet with my father, who weighed more than me, and a friend of his, who weighed more than he did. After we almost closed down the buffet, I made a wager with the friend. We wagered over who could lose the most weight by July 4th. I took his money, too. I had lost 36 pounds and was so motivated by my success that I kept going and going and going. I stopped at 100 pounds.

I didn’t know much about nutrition. I knew not to eat crap, fast food, sugar, and bread and not to eat too much of anything. My own undergraduate classmates didn't recognize me in law school. I was stupid. My lack of food made me dizzy when I stood up and lightheaded from time to time. When I finally got checked out by a doctor, I was anemic. I kept the weight off during law school. I didn’t lift very much, but I ran every day. It was my release and all I had time to do.

I didn't always diet pursuant to a bet, but the competition made for great motivation. I dieted from time to time as an adult when I could get my mind right and was sufficiently disgusted with myself and my weight. Usually, my lower weight lasted a few years, long enough to have spent a fortune on new clothes, which I enjoyed. After some years, I developed three wardrobes: medium, large, and too damn big.

About three years ago after hip replacement surgery, I tried to diet again on a few occasions. I couldn't get it done. At 247 pounds and unable to play racquetball, I was in a helluva pickle. I finally got up the courage to ask my doctor for help and embarked on my last diet. It involved high protein, low carbs, and good fats with moderate portions. I've always loved enormous portions, regardless of type or quality. This diet stressed moderation was a new concept to me. It was hard, but I did what I was supposed to do. I had to go to the doctor’s office once a week for a B-12 shot and to weigh in. The accountability of having to weigh-in once a week kept me on course.

Losing weight is also a great motivator to lose more. I started at 247 pounds in early October, and by the end of April, I was at 166 pounds. That weight leveled off to the mid 170s, where I've been the last few years. I was told to exercise during the diet. I couldn’t run and play ball anymore, so I began to lift again. At first, I used all the machines in the commercial gym. Eventually, I gravitated back to the free weights and began powerlifting. With the coaching of Donnie Thompson, reading books and articles on elitefts™, and attending and participating in powerlifting meets, I'm beginning to get the hang of it. I've finally developed a new way of life. A boring way of eating, but that's OK with me. As my knowledge of nutrition increases, I don’t intend to get crazy again and gain a ton of weight. I fully intend for this to have been my last diet.