Diet is a Four Letter Word

One of my approved meals. Frankly, it was easy to prepare.

I have been dieting for the past three weeks.

Dieting for the first time in my life.

I’ve always thought dieting was no big thing.

But now, I’ve come to the realization that diet is a four letter word.

In fact, I found the first three letters in diet is die. 🙂


Taken at the Yamato Museum in Kure, Japan, Nov. 2013 with my cousin Toshiro. I was near my peak weight then.  Notice my Packers shirt, not my belly, please.

In 2012, my oldest son Takeshi (who is now pursuing a doctorate in physical therapy) and I ventured to Japan, mostly to vacation but also to take the ashes of our Aunt Shiz back home to Hiroshima.  During our stay with our cousins, Masako always patted my stomach in fondness – implying I was Santa Claus.  Yes, for only being 5’6″ tall, I was the jolliest in all of skinny Japan.  I tipped the scales at 187 pounds.  Japanese people were taking bets if I could squeeze through the  train doors.

My son, however, could probably lift the whole bullet train – with one arm.  You should have seen the girls stare at him…  Well, they were really staring at my belly.

Body build
A recent pic of my oldest boy, Takeshi. Not one ounce of fat on him. I used to look like that, by the way.

…But to be fair to myself, this is me below when I was about 20…

toyota dorm
Can you guess which one is me? I’m on the right in the tall “geta”, or wooden sandals. I wore them to and from the tavern – drunk as a skunk and never tripped. Taken at the Toyota School dormitory in Tokyo. By the way, I was the arm wrestling champ at the school. Even kicked the teachers’ asses…but my son Takeshi laughs and still doesn’t believe me. Hmmph.


Two years ago, my great doctor – with whom I’ve been under his wonderful care since 1990 – asked me, “Do you exercise, Koji?”

“Um, no. Whyyyy..?”

“When you first came to me, you weighed 130 pounds…  You weighed 183 today.  You need to lose 50 pounds…”

I don’t think I heard him…  Men suffer from bad hearing, you know.


Long story short, about four weeks ago, my buddy invited me over to his beautiful home in Newport Beach for what I thought would be a cigar gig…  Instead, there were nothing but lovely ladies there… There to learn about a dieting system.  They described it as a way of life.

Egads…  Never did have that cigar.

Well, two days later, I signed up for a 30-day plan with a goal of losing ten pounds.  I was already down to 161 pounds – solely from cutting out breakfast burritos and enchiladas at lunch.  I also lost some pounds from being on Leyte for six days in July.

I started the 30-day plan on October 21st.  It was a strict plan.  Basically, only chicken, fish, turkey, green veggies, tofu, protein shakes and a potion that reminded me of Robitussin syrup of years ago.

Yes, it disallowed everything I loved: salami, mayo, beef, pork, Parmesan Reggiano, chili tamales, fettuccine Alfredo… 😢 I realized determination was key… like resisting the two Pringles leftover in your kid’s lunchbox.

My oldest daughter Robyn invited me over for Halloween, coinciding with her birthday.  There were cheeseburgers, homemade tamales… and a chocolate mousse birthday cake.  OMFG.  But I resisted.  I distanced myself from the deliciously smelling food by sitting against the walls.  I even resisted the bite-size Milky Way bar my little granddaughter Emi was waving in my face as I took her trick or treating.  Luckily, she dropped it somewhere along the way.


I took my Little Cake Boss with her friend to In-n-Out on the fourth or fifth day of my diet.  They both had Double-Doubles and those famous, wonderfully smelling, fresh French fries… but I didn’t even lick the wrappers.  I wanted to but she told me I’d be embarrassing her in front of her friend if I did.

And the toughest times were when the kids were with me; I had to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner for them.  I didn’t even TASTE TEST the food before I plated it up because of my diet.  It must have been OK since they ate my beef stroganoff, spaghetti al Limone, breakfast sandwiches before school, my famous pancakes from scratch smothered in real Grade A dark amber maple syrup with perfectly crisp BACON…  I even baked a classic pound cake from scratch for Brooke to take to school.

Oh, man.


The results after three weeks?

It is November 11 as I write.  Here’s my weight record from my doctor’s records although I haven’t seen him since April; started at 161 pounds on October 21st:


And here’s a pic of my fancy-schmancy scale today (notice my Green Bay Packers socks) – it’s 147-ish, about a 9% drop:


I guess it’s an OK result.

BTW, can you see that belt in the picture with my schoolmates in Japan?

I still wear that belt and it is on the first notch once again!  Don’t worry.  I won’t gross you out by posting a picture of my belt with my belly as a backdrop.

Moral to story: Son, you have competition… but first, I’m hitting Tommy’s Burgers.

Just kidding.

If I can do it, so can you.

It’s a mindset and with a little encouragement, you can attain your goals.

37 thoughts on “Diet is a Four Letter Word”

  1. When I told my new doctor that I didn’t eat enough food to create all the body I was toting around – she put me on the 6-mini-meal regime. So, I am losing, slowly, nothing like the dramatic change you made that for sure, but I eat all the time and such a variety – I think I could get used to this! (and I’ve been dieting ALL my life!) No wonder you’ve been a bit depressed – you’ve been on a diet!! 🙄
    Congrats, Koji!!!

  2. First I want to congratulate you on your wonderful progress. It’s not easy changing your eating habits. It takes a lot of attention and grit at the beginning before it becomes second nature. This was a great post. I love the way you write (and cook). The photos were wonderful to see. I loved the one taken at the school dorm! You son, of course has a great physique. I know how hard he works to keep himself in that kind of shape. As for you….Excellent job! Keep it up!

  3. Congratulations on the great success of your diet, Koji! It always feels so good to lose weight. I really enjoyed seeing the photo of you as a youth in Tokyo and it’s so cool that you still wear the same belt as in the photo. And your son looks to be in incredible shape—what an amazing physique he has (though as you say, he certainly has some competition now!). Staying fixed on your goal during your family get-together with so much tempting food around demonstrates your amazingly strong intention and focus. You are an inspiration. Kudos to you! :))

  4. I did not know u were a big packers fan – saw the ending of today’s game and sorry about that loss – pretty big win for lions –
    And congrats on your success – laughing pretty good at some of your sentences – hah! And those shoes are pretty awesome in that old pic-and u never tripped once huh? Pretty steady eddy!

    1. Nope… Never even stumbled… but the room spun for two days! I’ve been a Packers fan from when they won the first Championship… but ever since Ditka wore that Packers getup in the McDonald’s TV commercial, we’ve been jinxed!

      1. I did. It know about ditka’s commercial – but I do love the classic skit he was in – “who ordered the chicken wings – and the beer… Um – Da Bears…” Something like that.

  5. It’s not the only four-letter word to describe starving for all those foods I can no longer eat with abandon. In fact, I use these other four-letter words often when I’m preparing my dinner.

  6. I only had a weight problem once in my life, which is when I was trying not to have one. When I said to hell with it, and ate what I wanted, but only when I was hungry, is when the weight melted off. After age 35 or 40, rare is the man that can not have a ‘spare tire’ around the waist. The really unlucky ones have a ‘Dunlop Tire’ Because it done lopped over the I’ve only known one man who never had this problem. An uncle of mine who all they way up until he died at age 82, was tall and thin his entire life and ate whatever he wanted, but never finished an entire plate or bowl of food.

    1. The diet was the first time for me and having never experienced one, it was an unknown. Odd, but until recently, obesity was extremely rare in Japan. Yet, unlike many Americans who are “fadding” over “organic”, the Japanese invented instant ramen and still remained thin. ☺

  7. It seems to me you are being needlessly victimized for electing to carry your work-books under your sweater. As a veteran of many diets can I abjure you, don’t backslide! It’s not a case of seeing it through to the end so much as seeing it after the end…

  8. I so enjoyed reading your stories. I have more to read. Good job on the weight loss. I don’t have much willpower, but like my dad says, you’re not 300lbs” lol. I am looking forward to reading more, but have to sleep. 😉

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