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“Why are you doing this?”

“To maintain my health, mostly. And I want to look really good. Is that shallow?”

A new city, a new gym, a new trainer. The same conversation and the same little room where I talk about my fitness goals. I’ve been here before.

“I’m glad you acknowledge your health. And a lot of people are here to look good. It’s not shallow. It’s also about how you feel about yourself overall.”

I met with my new trainer last weekend and between polite chatter about his native Australia and its weather, he probed me about what I eat, how I like to move, and what weight loss success I’ve had in the past.

“How many pounds do you want to lose?”

I gave him the number flippantly. Why did I think that this time would be any different? After all, I’ve only been on some semblance of a diet since I was six years old. I can’t remember a time in my life where my weight wasn’t paramount to every other facet of my life, no matter how successful I became, regardless of how smart I was. So this weekend, like many other weekends before, I sat with a trainer in a little room flanked by scales, tape measures, and calipers and while he broke down how long it may take me to get to my target weight, I wondered quietly: Will I ever get this right?

Earlier this month, Oprah Winfrey sat down with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as part of her “Next Chapter” interview series. The two joked that David Letterman once called Oprah Mrs. Butterworth and that a tryst with Sara Lee and Betty Crocker would make for a Lewinsky-esque political scandal for the man many hoped would run for president. She asked Christie the very same question I asked myself. With all the things seemingly successful people seem to be able to handle well, why is weight the one thing we can’t seem to get together?

Calories in versus calories out. It’s math, not magic. Any overweight person who has accomplished some level of personal and professional success beats himself or herself up about their weight struggles — evidence of one human vice that cannot be hidden, a human vice no different than buying things we can’t afford or looking for love in all the wrong beds. Surely, it’s a lack of discipline, right? I mean, without discipline, how can one expect to rise through political ranks or own an eponymous television network?

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