If someone had told attorney William J. Marcum a year ago that his favorite meal would be salad, he might have laughed the person out of the room.
But it's true, and it's one of the reasons Mr. Marcum dropped 80 pounds, from 300 to 220, over the past year.
"I feel great. It's been an interesting trip," said the 58-year-old Columbia County attorney.
After a lifetime of being overweight, Mr. Marcum said he just got tired of it last year. He was suffering from high blood pressure and sleep apnea, and he was diagnosed as borderline diabetic.
And, he admitted, he had been a bad influence on his wife of 15 years. When she had had enough and started dieting last year, Mr. Marcum wanted to join her.
"She told me, 'I know how to do it, if you finally get serious about it,' " Mr. Marcum said.
Their approach has been simple mathematics, he said. They learned the calorie content of foods and count every calorie they take in, logging each one daily in a food journal.
They also concentrate on fruits and vegetables, chicken and fish, Mr. Marcum said. But they can eat whatever they want as long as the calorie level is maintained.
"I could go out and have a milkshake, but that would be all I could have today," Mr. Marcum said.
At 1,200 calories a day, Mr. Marcum hopes to lose 2 pounds a week and reach his goal of 185 pounds in seven to eight months.
When he makes it, it will mean 115 pounds gone.
"Everybody has noticed," Mr. Marcum said of the weight he has already shed. "Everyone asks me how I did it. It's really been positive feedback."
Attorney Randolph Frails, whose office is in the same building as Mr. Marcum's, said he realized his colleague had seriously shrunk about four months ago.
"He seems to be much happier. He acts healthier," Mr. Frails said.
He is healthy and happy, Mr. Marcum said. The health problems are gone, and everything physical is much easier to accomplish, he said.
Although the calories he takes in every day are limited, Mr. Marcum said he is less hungry now than when he was heavy and eating everything in sight. Junk food is a thing of his past. If he feels the need for a snack, it's fruit, especially green grapes, he said.
Now his wife, Taylor, is the good influence in the family. "She's very small now," he said.
And one of their favorite dinners is salad.
Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
FAMILY: Married nearly 15 years to Taylor Marcum, who influenced him to lose weight
QUOTE: "You can eat anything you want. You just have to be accountable for it."