How I Lost 45 Pounds And Gained 15 Yards

By Butch Harmon Illustrations by Gary Taxali
April 25, 2013

'I look disgusting." That's what I said to Christy, my wife, two years ago when she showed me a photo of my best friend and me. It was the biggest I'd ever seen myself. A few days later I was on Weight Watchers. I've lost 45 pounds (Christy's done it with me) by changing only my diet. People I haven't seen in a while ask if I'm OK. Sometimes I show them the picture. I'm better now, thanks.

My car used to drive to Dairy Queen on autopilot, and I'd never met a hot dog--or three--I didn't like. When I was on the road at tour events, I used to drink soda all day, crunch on chips and frozen candy bars, and have a few beers before dinner. I was the guy who ordered the biggest steak on the menu, along with some glasses of wine, sometimes the whole bottle. Then I'd take five Advil to feel decent in the morning.

I'll admit, eating less was hard at first, but now it's my lifestyle. I still eat steak and ice cream and drink wine--I'm just smarter about it. For a guy turning 70, I feel damn good. My back pain is gone, and the arthritis in my hips is much better. Also, I've gained five miles an hour with the driver, which is about 15 yards. If that's not reason enough, a look back at the old me does the trick.


Then: Three fried eggs, crispy bacon, buttered toast, large orange juice, coffee

Now: Plain bagel, coffee


Then: Soup, cheeseburger, french fries, several Diet Cokes

Now: Mixed greens salad with oil and vinegar, one Diet Coke


Then: Three beers, bread and butter, New York strip steak, baked potato, sauteed spinach, a half bottle of cabernet, creme brulee, cappuccino

Now: One light beer, small appetizer salad, petit filet mignon, steamed spinach, one glass of cabernet


Then: A few hot dogs, peanut-butter crackers, chips, candy bars, several Diet Cokes

Now: Green grapes, pretzels, water, low-calorie sports drinks


Then: Big bowl of ice cream

Now: Grapes or a Weight Watchers ice-cream bar