gayle king
Gayle King, after 90 days.
PAGE 3
The Final Meeting: May 15

It's been three and a half months, and the results—no surprise to Jim—are mixed.

Gayle has lost 20 pounds. "I was hoping for 10, maybe 15," she says. "I found it all very tolerable. I'm not trying to be a skinny mini—I want to have some meat on my bones. I just want to look good in my clothes." As happy as she is with current results, she doesn't want to be overconfident about long-term effects. "I think the true test is going to be a year from now."

Cindy lost 11 pounds and wants to go for 6 more. "I saw results, and I didn't have to torture myself," she reports. "I liked my workout. I could feel my muscles. I used to watch the Food Network and get all creative with cooking. Now I flip right past it: click, click, click. I'm down 11 pounds, and I'm watching the Style Network."

Jim anticipated that at least one woman would remain at her starting weight, and that's true for Taryn. "I was the failure child," Taryn says with a resigned laugh. "I'd love to lose weight. I'm on my way to wanting it enough." All along, Jim's been preaching that they had to believe they could succeed, that they had to want it enough. Clearly he's embedded at least some of that philosophy in Taryn's brain.

"My goal," he says cheerily, "is to become a tape in your heads."

Jim summarizes: "Gayle took a role as leader. Cindy was right behind. Taryn didn't lose weight but she did lose inches." Taryn puts both thumbs up and says, "There is a god."

Jim expected one person to fall off the program, and that, more or less, is Pat's story. She e-mailed Jim that she'd lost ten pounds, but she missed three out of the four meetings and the project's final photo shoot. It's hard to tease out exactly how much her inability to follow the program was externally or internally caused.

Jim believes in his own program—it has benefited him and scores of clients—but he knows he's no miracle worker. And in the world of dieting, which so often is full of guilt and self-loathing, recognizing that people have to be ready before they can have success is perhaps the best sermon of all.

Lise Funderburg lifts weights but finds calorie counting too brutal.

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