You've probably seen those pictures in ads of people claiming dramatic weight loss and wondered if they're legit.Well, I know of at least one that is. I had the privilege of visiting with Scott Martin recently. He showed me a photo taken of himself 10 months ago when he weighed 287 pounds. As he sat before me telling his story last week, he's much leaner and trimmer, but more importantly, healthier, at his current weight of 165 pounds. That's 112 pounds!Few people lose that much weight. So what's Scott Martin got that everybody else hasn't?Nothing. All of us have it. But what is it?Scott says he was finally ready to make a change.We've heard that reference as a key for changing all sorts of behaviors. You have to be ready.In Scott's case, it wasn't his steady weight gain over a span of 10 or 12 years, or his high blood pressure, or the diabetes diagnosis he received several years ago that caused him to set a new course. Nor was it the chest pain that later developed, or even the emergency surgery to put a couple of stents in his heart."I dodged a bullet then, but my weight was still going up," Scott said very candidly.His decision to get healthier came as he discussed bariatric surgery with Vanessa Carter, registered dietitian over at Primary Care Partners, as a possible solution. She told him she would support him if that was the route he wanted to take. But then she suggested: "You know, you could also try and do this yourself."That's when Scott knew he was ready.Under Vanessa's guidance, he kept a careful log every day of what he ate; substituting nutritious, lower calorie foods for the rich, calorie-dense foods he used to cook up as an avid fan of the Food Network. He also started moving.He shifted his pattern from watching lots of TV to getting off the couch and simply walking. He started by walking a mile and a half a day, three or four times a week. A month later he had lost 15 pounds.He noticed his breathing was easier and so he gradually began adding more miles to his walks around his neighborhood. Now he's up to six-mile walks several times a week. (He can walk about four miles in an hour, so this doesn't take a huge chunk of his day.)Scott could remember a time when he was healthy and active. Then, gradually, he began doing less and less and his weight started to creep up until a health crisis forced him to take a closer look at where he was headed.A familiar scenario. What's not so familiar is the way Scott approached it."I was brutally honest with myself," he said. He kept close track of what he ate, looking at the good choices, but also the not-so-good ones without judging himself and letting that set him back. He simply focused on getting healthier, and he knew there was no other choice but to eat better and exercise more.He says it was simple. To the extent that this became a single focus and he had set a conscious intention to change his behavior, that is probably a true statement. But the point at which it became simple was when Scott finally realized that he was ready to make that commitment.Maybe being ready means you know at your core that making a change is now what is most important to you, and you finally really know the reasons why.Paula M. Anderson is a local writer who has done presentations on Eating Well throughout the community. She is author of "Eat Well, Be Well," a booklet for forming a healthy relationship with food. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.