Decreasing Diane


My Weight Loss Journey, battle by battle
Who I am today
I am Diane! I am woman, mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, career person, and human being, struggling in an often inhumane world.

I am mid 50's, happily married for over a quarter century to my best friend, soul mate, life partner, father of my child, overall pretty cool dude, Howard! That's us at a formal function in 2000. I am a native New York city girl, but have been transplanted, to Orlando, FL for the last 20 years.

Howard and I have a teen  son. His name is  Josh! Any of you who are also in this boat, you know what I mean when I say some days are a real challenge, but others are a pure joy!



About the Picture on the opening page...
The photo you see on the opening page, is me and my very sweet Golden Retriever, Buddy. Buddy must be the oldest living Golden in history. He is heading on towards his 17th birthday. That's HUMAN years. He has been an incredible friend to our family since he was 9 weeks old. My son grew up with him, and has never known life without Buddy. It will be a great loss, but a wonderful life memory when Buddy leaves us to go to the Rainbow Bridge.

Our Beloved Buddy left this earth on June 19, 2003. Our hearts are aching, but we will keep him in our hearts and souls forever. Buddy was so loved by so many and had a truly remarkable Golden life. We know our Buddy is at peace now at the rainbow bridge, and is romping and playing with all the other pets that dwell there.

On August 8, 2003 we brought home our new Golden Retriever baby dog. His name is Denali, named after the beautiful place in Alaska where we learned of the end of our Buddy. It seemed only fitting to name our new dog after this place, with beauty and memories. You can see Denali and watch his progress on his website:

On October 12, 2004 we brought home Autumn, our baby girl Golden

Diane's Story

My journey, My War, Battle by Battle

I was not born obese; it sorta just happened over time and life circumstances. I came into this world on September 2, 1950. By all accounts I had an idyllic childhood, full of love and support from my mom and dad, arguably, the two greatest humans god ever created. I was surrounded by love, and family and FOOD! I started out a rather adorable and precocious baby who from a very early age loved to eat. Here I am at a very innocent, 18 months old, before I discovered the joy of food.

The first few years went very well, I don’t remember the exact time I knew I had a lifelong battle ahead, but when I look back in pictures, this is the one that captures the beginning of Fat Kid Syndrome. I was 7 years old here.

I do remember spending lots of time in the kitchen from a very early age. Both my mom, and both grandmas were excellent cooks, and I learned about food and cooking from them all. There was always an abundance of food around, and it was not fresh fruits and vegetables. It was potatoes, and pastas, and noodles, and brownies, and homemade Danish, and rugele, and cupcakes, and pies, and yes, there were meats, roasts, with delicious rich, thick mushroom gravy. Fat was the base of our food pyramid. In fact, one of my dad’s favorite snacks was something that only if you grew up in a Jewish home you would either know, or appreciate. When I look at it now, it grosses me out. It was rendered chicken fat, which is called schmaltz, spread on rye bread, sprinkled with the grivenas, which are the crispy bits of fat that remain after the rendering process. Yes, that was a snack, fat on bread!!

So, that was my early childhood, love, family, and food. I never had any emotional issues, and to this day take offence when someone tells me I’m fat because I am suppressing some deep seated issues from my past. My past was happy, wonderful, and loving, just filled with an abundance of food. Food for us was just part of the family experience.

Now, by the time I was about 12, I realized I was heavier than the other kids, and had to buy clothes in the Chubby Department. What a horrid thing to call it. Around this time, my mom started to become concerned with my weight, and not knowing what else to do, she took me to the family doctor. Now, if I had to pinpoint the beginning of the end of me having any hope for learning to control my weight, and eat better, and have avoided this life of obesity, this was the defining moment. This doctor, put me, a 12 year old, pre pubescent child, on real live amphetamines! I was maybe 25 pounds overweight, and looked like this:


This was the start of my yo-yo ing weight for the next 40 years. I do not blame my mom; she was doing what she thought best. I don’t even blame the doctor, it was what he was trained to do at the time. It was just bad information, which had a profound effect on my life and my weight from that point on.
I lost some weight, but from what I remember, felt awful all the time. I was cranky and irritable, and as a 12 year old, I had enough hormones going on already, that adding a drug to that was just nitro and glycerin. When I was 14, and still battling my weight, a new weight loss group was starting where I lived, it was called Weight Watchers! I lived in Brooklyn, NY, and in Queens, NY, one of the other boroughs, a woman named Jean Nideitch, who also had grown up in a Jewish home, filled with food, and had a weight problem, started a weekly meeting of overweight people to talk about food, and weight loss. I attended the fledgling satellite meeting in Brooklyn and even got to meet Jean , eventually as she would come around the meetings in different areas. It was a very tough program back then. I stayed on it for about a year, and lost about 40 pounds. That summer at camp, I felt I was really getting somewhere, still the heaviest kid in my bunk, but feeling better with 40 pounds less. Here is a picture of the nubile summer Diane at that point:

Eventually the summer ended, I started High School and my eating and dieting efforts drifted away, and of course gained back all the weight.

When I graduated High School, I felt like the fattest kid in school, but in fact I was a mere 180 pounds, shown here in my cap and gown for graduation:


I was maybe 30 pounds overweight, but in those days, obesity was not near as omnipotent as it is now, so a 30 pound overweight girl in HS, to me seemed very heavy. In retrospect, Id kill to see 180 now!

Thru college, I went back to my old friends, amphetamines. In the late 60’s and early 70’s, the drugs flowed freely, and I could obtain any drug of choice just about at will, from the street. I went up and down about a range of 50 pounds or so. But, it was always a struggle,. I graduated college at a fairly acceptable 190,

The drugs helped keep my weight in check, but really played havoc with me. Looking back, I’m lucky I did not die.

The years between college and getting married were peppered with various other ways to try to control this beast. Liquid protein, fasting, slim fast, more rounds with amphetamines and Quaaludes, hypnosis, and any other alleged quick fixes that came along. Needless to say, the main missing ingredient was my real willingness to accept the fact that there was no easy answer, and that I had to commit to a lifetime of controlled, healthy eating. I was not ready to accept that, or the trade off of what I would have to give up accomplishing that for many years to come. The amazing thing about looking back, is what I perceived to be very heavy at the time, was just some 30-40 pounds of an annoying, and persistent excess weight. I had no idea at that time what was to come, and the incredible amounts of weight I was capable of gaining bit by bit over time and maturity.

After college, as a young independent single woman, I moved out of my parent’s house, and into my own apartment. OK, so it was only 20 blocks from my mom and dad, but I was working, supporting myself, and being in the single and dating scene, needed to keep my weight within some reason, to attract the boys. I never had trouble finding dates, or having relationships with guys. OK, so most of them were crappy losers, that I saw thru pretty quick, but I was pretty busy socially, and for a few years, my weight sorta stabilized at around 210 or so. Not thin, but not terribly obese, by today’s standards.

In 1973 I met a man who would become my husband, my friend, my life partner. We had a long courtship, 5 years. It took me that long to convince him marriage was not a death sentence <laughing>. I put on some weight during our relationship, feeling some of the pressure off about looking great to attract someone. He was already attracted to me, so I let my guard down. I gained about 50 pounds during our dating. When I saw how dangerous this was becoming I started to research the weight thing on a different level. I found a therapist who specialized in weight loss. She had lost 90 pounds, on something she called the “Freedom Diet” She used a list of just about all foods, and said I could have anything I wanted from the list, as long as it did not exceed so many calories for a day. The list was great, pizza, candy, ice cream, muffins, oh sure, salad and fruit too, but it enabled me to enjoy food and not feel deprived. Sound familiar? Like today’s WW program. Anyway, I saw her once a week for about a year, we talked one on one, about food, and food related issues, socially, and how to blend real life, into healthy eating. I got back down to about 180 before getting married. That year was probably my closest, before now, of really learning and accepting what it would take to keep my weight down. My wedding dress was a size 14 and I looked damn good! OK, here is me showing off being a blushing bride.

Unfortunately though, after getting married, and moving away from NY, to Florida, my weight REALLY ballooned to its worst degree of my life. I don’t know if it was the change in location, being away from home, knowing I had my man, and now could eat whatever I wanted, or just really loving the freedom of being on our own, we ate out, we bought cookies and donuts, and snacks all the time. The early years of marriage for us were just constant fun, and lots of food. After a year of marriage, I was already packing it on.

By our second anniversary I had gained close to 100 pounds and hovered very close to 300. By our 6th anniversary, I was looking like I would look basically for the next 20 years

Just a side note, the dog in that picture was Rusty, my beloved Golden before Buddy and two Goldens before Denali. This was a weight I would gravitate back to over the next 20 years, one way or another. During these first 6 years of married life, I tried, more slim fast, then Nutra-systems, more pills, Richard Simmons, Stillman (the original low carb pre Atkins) and whatever others I could find to try. Again, big missing element, was the big picture… I just did not “get it”. I had in my brain, that if I dieted, for a while and lost weight, I could be done with it, and go back to eating like I had before.

I had my son when I was 36, and my final pregnancy weight was 330. I did lose some after he was born, but the struggle continued over the next 17 years, with very similar patterns from before.

As I entered my 40’s, the weight became increasingly harder to lose, felt more miserable to get around, and that was the decade that I really felt like I had lost my life to obesity. I had to be careful where we went, what we did. I had to watch for the seating, or the arrangement of distances, or so many other things that debilitate an obese person. Once again, drugs played a role in my weight loss journey. In 1996 the then , noted miracle drug cocktail of Phen/Fen was making the headlines every day as the insulin for obesity. I had to work long and hard to find a doctor in my area who would work with me using them. But being the resourceful person I am, I found one. When he left the area, I convinced my family doctor to let me continue. I must say, with all the bad press, in the aftermath of phen/fen, I had only wonderful results. I was not as jumpy as with other types of amphetamines,. I was eating, but very small portions, and healthy. I joined a gym, and got into the habit of regular exercise. Over the course of a year I lost 90 pounds. I was down to a svelte 265. Then my world caved in, they took the drugs off the market and that coupled with a career change for me, that took me on a road of lots of travel, to great food cities, it all came crashing down. Again, because I had not really re-learned how to eat, and how to be in control,. Without the drugs, once the drugs were gone, and I was surrounded with food. I starting gaining, and gaining, and gaining. I expanded to a pathetic 360 pounds, a scary number for me to even write today. It got to a point where I had to by 2 plane tickets to fly, because I simply did not fit in one seat. In a word , I was miserable. Walking, even short distances was torture,. Walking in airports, was just awful. I would search for the cart, or sometimes would even get a wheel chair to get around large airports to make plane changes. I had no life, it was just a tortured existence. I could not breath, from walking 10 steps, I could not clean myself properly in the bathroom,. I had to squeeze my body, out of my shower, holding on to the door, because I could not pick one leg up, and have just one leg support my body. I looked awful and I felt worse. I made one attempt in about the year 2000 on Atkins, and believed the science, did the research, and thought this was an answer. For me, while I did lose about 30 pounds, and did not have physical cravings, as promised. I felt painfully deprived all the time. Then once the weight loss slowed down, and my deprivation continued, that too fell to the wayside and I gained back the 30 I had lost and an additional 40, to bring me just to the brink of 400, I was at 390 pounds. I get heart palpitations seeing that number now. I would always position myself behind someone, when taking pictures, to hide half my girth. I was fooling no one but myself.

On August 1, 2002 I believe my life changed forever. I say I believe, and I want to, and I tell myself this every day, but in reality, I do still fear failure. I walked into a Weightwatchers meeting. No real total Ahaa moment, just at the time I had 2 friends who were on WW, and who seemed to be doing well, and told me the program is different, better, easier, more choices. So, in I walked, all 390 pounds of me, and told myself Id give it a good honest try. I went into it ,somewhat skeptical, but felt I had to do something. I must say, in the beginning, I was adopting the fake it till ya make it philosophy, just going thru the motions, making the food, losing some weight and taking it day by day. Somewhere along the line, I felt like I had some real ingrained new habits and a new outlook. As ,my journey continued, I learned more and more about nutrition and food choices. Currently my general weight management plan is more of a South Beach/ Low Glycemic Index regime. While Weight Watchers was a great starting place, after losing significant  weight, I could no longer "get away" with the theory of eat within points and still lose. It had to become more about finding a healthy way of eating, that would strive towards better food choices and less empty carbs and processed foods.

What do I feel are the factors that have contributed to my success so far? Well, I think I can sum it up, but by no means, does this trivialize how incredibly difficult a battle it is and will always be;

1. JOURNAL, one thing I always poo poohed, but now know IS essential for real time, every day of the rest of my life, accountability.
2. WATER, I have always been an ardent water drinker, and believe this is a necessary fluid for life, for health and for weight loss
3.Exersize -  joining the gym, and making it my priority to get there at least 3-4 times a week, even when I don’t want to
4. Cooking! My old roots of food, and love of cooking have served me well in keeping my meals fresh, and new and interesting and good tasting. Just now, I don’t eat fat and bread sandwiches, I have adapted to a healthier way of cooking
5. Community Keeping active on message boards where there are others who face the challenges that I do, is comforting and empowering

But, if I had to come to one final realization, as to what has let me lose so far 165 pounds, and this did not come right away,. Id say it was a few months into it when the lightening bolt hit me.


Every single day I wake up and work at the task of reclaiming my life. I have to be aware, and vigilant every waking hour of what goes in my mouth, and how much I move. Some days are harder than others, but the rewards , the very pay off of all this effort is the way I look, and feel and just LIVE.

So, if you are still awake, that’s MY story, so far. I have a long way to travel yet, but feel with the tools I have developed, the friendships I have cultivated, the determination I have mustered, I hope, pray and believe I will get to my goal of not being an obese woman, but just a woman, vibrant, loving, full of life, health and happiness!!

With much love for every single one of you,