The first time Ottawa resident Dave Campbell went down the weight-loss road was in 1995, when he dropped from 200 to 154lbs to get ready for his wedding. After that, he slowly but surely let himself go again.

“On Sundays I’d deep-fry two bags of frozen french fries,” he says.“I had a lot of bad habits, but that was the worst.”

By 2005, Campbell was back up to 203. "I wasn’t even 40 yet!" he recalls. "That’s when the light came on. I said to myself, 'That’s it'."

Campbell threw himself into dieting and running, and in under a year was down to 144. Twelve years later, he admits he lost too much too soon. “I’d never recommend anyone do what I did—I went cold turkey, cut out everything, deprived myself of even healthy foods. It was dangerous.”

Since then, he’s learned a lot about eating and working out right. Best of all, he hasn’t gained back the weight. Here, his tricks for keeping the bad weight off for good.

Don’t kid yourself—diets don’t last

"They’re just fads. Eat healthy—that lasts a lifetime."

Plan, plan, plan

"Every week I plan my meals just as I plan my wardrobe and my workouts. I enjoy cooking healthy, but I also pick a day to order pizza and share it with friends or family. I find it’s easier when you’re with people you love."

Don’t deprive yourself

"We’re humans, we need to enjoy life. I had some Jack on the rocks last weekend and half a glass of red wine last night. I have chips at times, too. You can’t cut everything."

Go with Joe

"I love black coffee. I have two cups before the gym in the morning, then come home and make more to take to work. I could quit alcohol. I could quit anything but coffee."

Exercise, but don’t obsess

"I work out pretty much six days a week in the gym—three days on, one off. When I lost all the weight, I was running 45 miles a week, then I realized I needed to regain some weight—I looked like a skeleton—and went back to the gym. Now I stick to weights."

Weigh yourself three times a week

"I find that’s enough. Anyway, I knew I was losing weight when my pants size went from 36 to 28–29. But I still like to wear a size 30—it forces me to use a belt and reminds me of how much I’ve lost."

Think about how hard you’ve worked

"Is there junk food in my house? Oh, yes. To stay away from it, I just get a mental picture myself, of what I looked like before and say to myself,  'Do you need those chips? You’ll be fine without them'.

"Also, on my desk I keep a picture of myself when I was heavy. One glance at that, and it keeps me in check!"

Dave Campbell's weight-loss stats

Age: 50
Residence: Ottawa, Ontario
Occupation: Logistics supervisor
Height: 5'9"
Starting weight: 203lbs
Current weight: 147lbs
Body fat then: 26-28%
Body fat now: 10.5%