In late June I announced that I planned to lose 20 pounds in 20 weeks. At that point, I was already about 5 weeks into my project and optimistic that success was possible. I wrote that together with a few friends and colleagues, we had launched the Social Diet. We cooked the Social Diet up for food lovers, not dieters, and we would be the guinea pigs. The Social Diet says that great food in modified portions, combined with exercise, will lead to a pound of weight loss per week. Well, my deadline was today, and this morning I was 21 pounds lighter than 20 weeks ago. So… success!

Next: The rest of my life.

Actually, I intend to lose 4 more, making it 25 pounds down, then tackle “maintenance.” I have a slight suspicion (in the way that one can be suspicious of one’s own motives) that moving the goalposts is a way of extending the game—that maintenance now seems more daunting than losing, so let’s lose some more.

That said, it’s been a fascinating and pretty much enjoyable experience, in good part because of the social aspect. We on the team simply bore everyone else around us by yakking about 10K step goals, “expecting more from our food,” motivation versus willpower, and other topics that have been explored in various blog posts.

But really: It’s been enjoyable. This was the big revelation. Those with experience losing weight often talk about the empowering feeling of being in control. It’s a feeling that can power you through plateaus, as can focusing on the exercise side of the equation. Running, for me, is not something to be endured but enjoyed. I’m as immersed in the subject of food and practice of cooking as I ever was, but seem to carry less psychic weight around about it.

For the January issue of Cooking Light I’m writing a feature article about the Social Diet, and we will be offering daily recipe plans online—with further offerings for readers in the future.

In the meantime—four pounds to go, four weeks to do it.

Then: The rest of my life.

Are you currently maintaining after losing weight? Share your advice! Comment here, email, and tweet @ScottMowb or @Cooking_Light using #SocialDiet.