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Ask a loser

I’m going to answer some readers’ questions today. They’ve been sitting in my inbox, making me feel guilty every time I check my e-mail, taking up precious kilobytes of memory. No more! If you asked me a question and the answer isn’t here, feel free to e-mail me again at halfofme at pastaqueen dot com so I can ignore you for a couple weeks and then write another guilt post.

1) Melissa asks “Can you give us an example of your daily menu?”

Several people have asked me this and I don’t feel comfortable posting that information. I’m not a nutritionist or a doctor. I don’t want to program other people’s menus. I think people need to figure out what works for themselves. Everyone has different dietary needs depending on their gender and current size and activities. I ate a lot more food when I was morbidly obese than I do now because my body simply needed more energy to run.

Everyone has different tastes too. As we discovered in my entry about the produce section many of you would trade your first born children for a sweet potato cooked in brown sugar. However some of you just weren’t into them at all and would prefer to hold out for a good offer on your offspring from a troupe of wandering gypsies.

I think you have to work your eating habits into your daily routine. If you work late hours, you probably can’t make dinner every night like I do. If you have to take clients out to dinner or go on social engagements with friends a lot, you’re going to have to figure out how to eat out without pigging out. Currently I’m making an effort to get more protein into my diet since I’m trying to build muscle, but if you’re not weight-lifting you don’t necessarily need to do that.

I think people put a bit too much emphasis on food when it comes to weight loss. It’s important to eat healthy, but it’s equally important to figure out tricks to make yourself eat healthy and enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy what you’re eating, you’re not going to stick with it. I wouldn’t want anyone to try eating exactly what I’m eating, have it not suit their tastes and then give up on weight loss forever thinking it’s impossible.

I don’t have a problem posting recipes I like, but this really isn’t a food blog, nor do I have a desire to make it one, so those posts are few and far between.

2) Cris asks “Have you ever felt trepidation or fear involving people’s reaction(s)to your thin body?”

Not really. If you are asking about people who knew me when I was fat, most of them witnessed the transformation as it happened or at least saw me every couple of months, so they are in awe but not taken completely unawares. I get congratulated a lot, but that’s not something I fear. It’s happened enough that I’ve learned to just say “Thanks!” and smile. When you think about it, many of our conversations in life are scripted like that. Someone says “How are you doing?” in the hallway and I say “Pretty good,” even if I wish I was still in bed drooling on my pillowcase.

I did recently run into an old college professor at a lecture event at my old school and was worried he wouldn’t recognize me. I don’t think he did either until I said my name. But that was mostly fun because it’s enjoyable to shock people and I didn’t even have to flash my tits to do it, which honestly are only shocking in their smallness. I also got to tell him that besides losing ton of weight I also had a book deal based on my blog. After this I thought to myself, “I have got to be making this shit up. I sound like a total liar. The past two years of my life have been an intense fever dream occurring in a diabetic coma after I finally ate too much frosting straight out of the jar.”

If you are talking about meeting new people, I am still feeling my way around social interactions where people are not repulsed by or pitying me. I was eating Cajun food at a restaurant with my brother a few weeks ago and I think a guy across the room was making eyes at me, but I kind of freaked out and wasn’t sure if I was imagining things, so I chowed down on my gumbo instead. I’m sure it will take time to adjust to the new way people treat me, but I feel pretty confident about myself in general and know I’ll figure things out. Mostly it’s just nice that people are nice to me, except for jerks in traffic who cannot use their turn signals.

I know we give other people a lot of crap about not being nice to us when we were morbidly obese, but I have to admit I am not immune to judging people on their looks. I have become a lot more aware of the fact that I’m doing it, but I still assign traits to someone because they’re bald or short or hairy or can’t be bothered to comb their hair or brush their teeth. I try to be open-minded and remind myself that I was not lazy when I was fat, so someone is not necessarily a serial killer because they have creepy eyes and arched eyebrows. However, I think part of the human brain will always be wired to judge people on their looks. I just work around it as best as I can. I cut people some slack if they do the same, but that doesn’t give them a free pass to be “looks”-ists either.

3) summer asks “I’ve never seen you do a ‘what is up with these jealous-ass heifers in my life’ post — have you experienced weird moments of jealousy?”

Not really. I have started to sympathize with priests and nuns though, because I’ve become a walking shame machine. People keep telling me they feel bad that they can’t lose 10 or 20 pounds. I’m sure the clergy can’t even buy a pack of cigarettes at the mini-mart without making the check-out clerk feel guilty for any sins they’ve committed. I’m now the go-to girl for dieting sins. I don’t know if I should empathize with these people and tell them the last 10 pounds are the hardest or if I should just pat them on the head and say “Oh, that’s too bad” or if they want me to give them tips. I’m certainly not going to gain weight again just to make them feel better. On the positive side, I know some people have said they’ve started exercising or dieting again because of my results, so there seems to be value in setting a good example.

As far as my friends go, I emphasize quality over quantity. None of them have tried to sabotage me with curly fries or milkshakes. I do have one friend who is probably as overweight as I was near the beginning. I was concerned about how my weight loss would change our friendship, but she has been very cool and supportive and goes out of her way to make sure we eat at healthy places, which is why she is my best friend to begin with. So if anyone is jealous of my achievements, they’ve been kind of enough to repress their feelings, burying them deep until someday they erupt in a fury at an unexpected moment, like at a driver who does not use their turn signal.

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20 Comments

Smissy • March 26, 2007 at 1:15 pm

I love that you have such a positive outlook on life. I feel like so many blogs focus on the negative parts of weight loss. As someone who has lost 30lbs and still has more to go, I definitely understand it is hard. However your positive, yet realistic, attitude always makes my day! Your attitude toward life is really similar to mine. Your positive without sugar coating life.

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PastaQueen • March 26, 2007 at 1:32 pm

Smissy – It’s funny that you say that because people regarded me as quite cynical in high school and college. They used to compare me to Daria because we both had brown hair, classes and the same cynical sense of humor. Maybe I have become more optimistic as I’ve aged. I dunno.

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Ellen • March 26, 2007 at 2:25 pm

PQ,

Great point about judging people on their looks. I know exactly what you mean — being so overweight has always made me very careful about judging people on appearances. But, sometimes I do catch myself doing it — even for other overweight people!! Like thinking I have more self control because I’m not as big as they are…sometimes I truly aggravate myself. Thanks for your perspective on this. BTW, your blog (and dietgirl’s) has inspired me to start documenting my own journey via blog…

~Ellen

(ps. arched eyebrows *always* equals serial killer)

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Smissy • March 26, 2007 at 3:57 pm

I loved watching Daria in high school – so we might have been friends. I can still hear your cynicism, but it comes out as funny – I think some cynicism is healthy. You can’t be a Pollyanna about – or I guess you could, but you’d be pretty d*mn annoying. You never play the victim, and you are very proactive in your life. As you’ve heard a million times, you’re very inspiring AND you seem like you’d be fun/funny to be around.

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Jonathan • March 26, 2007 at 4:53 pm

“I think people put a bit too much emphasis on food when it comes to weight loss.”

You’ve said a mouthful (so to speak). That is exactly why I never post my “menus” or share very explicitly (the crap in) my food log!

Weight maintenance to me is about constantly staying on top of the need to take care of myself without always resorting to food.

-J

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Chris H • March 26, 2007 at 5:07 pm

Great answers to great? questions.. I come up against those sorts of questions often, and pretty much have the same answers you have given. You are a clever girl! And I positively HATE people who don’t indicate too.. road rage hovers often!

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crankybee • March 26, 2007 at 6:29 pm

You know that last question made me laugh – my mum is a yoga teacher, and people are CONSTANTLY telling her their yoga sins!

“I’m going to start doing yoga…I know it’s so good for you.”

“I haven’t been to yoga in weeks, I feel so bad…”

And my mother is not even their teacher! She used to just smile and say nothing, but that got her into trouble, because people thought she was being sarcastic or judgemental! Now she just says “Oh, that’s good” and changes the subject…

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mac • March 26, 2007 at 6:37 pm

Your humor cracks me up!

That was a good question about whether people have tried to sabotage you. I read a book by a woman who had lost a lot of weight and her friends AND husband began to do that. “Oh, a little piece of cake won’t hurt you. I baked it just for you!” It looked to me as if they feared they wouldn’t have any mental control over her, or be able to feel superior to her and that they all needed her for that!

You are so lucky to have such good family and friends!

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Kari • March 26, 2007 at 7:00 pm

I had to laugh about your story about running into an old college professor. A few months ago, I also ran into an old college professor at a reading. He totally didn’t recognize me, and I had to tell him my name. Granted, it’s been 11 years, but still… His eyes widened in surprise; frankly, I was just happy that he remembered me. I think he said something like, “You look great!” It’s always nice to see people from the past, and to realize that so many (hopefully positive) things have happened since you last saw them!

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Marshmallow • March 26, 2007 at 8:41 pm

Wowness, I reckon this ‘Ask a Loser’ could be the new ‘Q&A Friday‘!

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Lose Weight With Me • March 26, 2007 at 9:39 pm

I love what you said about people putting too much emphasis on food when it comes to weight loss. That is so true.

I think the key to permanent weight loss is healthy eating habits and consistent exercise habits.

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BrightAngel • March 27, 2007 at 9:11 am

I agree with all your comments,

and I like your attitude.

(Especially since they reflect my own personal opinions and attitude.)

Let’s face it. I’m self-centered to the core.

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Les • March 27, 2007 at 10:42 am

I agree that food, while very important, is no more important–possibly a smiggin less important–than exercise.

http://weight-master.blogspot.com

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Mymsie • March 27, 2007 at 1:34 pm

“I think people put a bit too much emphasis on food when it comes to weight loss.” → Agreed, for sure. We (meaning me) too often forget to address the emotional issues behind overeating. They won’t go away simply with a change in diet.

P.S. Yats? Mmmmmm!

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Cris • March 27, 2007 at 5:08 pm

Thank you so much for your thoughtful answers! Not only did I find them hilarious (the professor bit really cracked me up!) but I think you’re making very rational, excellent points. As far as my question goes, I guess everything’s going to be a bit of an adjustment…and to feel good in my skin is a reward that will probably eclipse any remarks–good or bad–that come my way. Also, I appreciate the way you recognize that superficial judgements are an innate human quality. I too am sensitive of that and try to keep my snap assumptions about people in check…creepy comb-overs, Cro-Magnon eyebrows and all. Thanks again!

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NicoleW • March 27, 2007 at 7:20 pm

Ah, so you get the “Shame Repository” treatment too. I hate it when people follow up a compliment with “Oh, I need to lose weight.” I have no idea what to say to that. I usually just end up making clucky sympathetic sounds and saying that I know it’s hard.

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hwe • March 27, 2007 at 7:47 pm

here’s a pic of star jones’s hanging arm skin:

http://theskinnywebsite.com/site/2007/03/27/star-jones-eats-cake/

i don’t think it looks that bad, actually.

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summer • March 28, 2007 at 8:04 am

Yeah, I can see not wanting to post meal plans. I mean it’s simply calories-in, calories-out at the end of the day. I can imagine it would be annoying to post that you eat an egg in the morning and salad and chicken for dinner, etc. etc. just to have someone post “Well i followed that for a week and didn’t lose any weight!” all insanely.

What you could post about, that might be useful, is how you deal with the sensation of HUNGER. Like, say, it’s 9pm on a Wednesday, and you worked out at 7pm, and you’ve already eaten your daily allotment of whatever you eat. American Idol’s on, and you’re kind of hungry. What do you do, usually?

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PastaQueen • March 28, 2007 at 10:22 am

summer – I deal with hunger by eating.

I’m of the opinion that hunger is a form of pain and I’m not going to live my life in pain. I don’t really have an allotment of what I eat during the day, though I typically eat the same amount of stuff at the same times. But if it’s late and I’m hungry I’ll grab something low-cal and filling, like veggies. I portion it out carefully on a plate, eat what I’ve set aside and if I’m still hungry after 10 minutes or so I’ll grab some more.

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Country Chicken • March 29, 2007 at 5:01 pm

I was reading these comments and was reminded by a birthday party at work that happened exactly one year ago. It was the birthday of the director in my department. My manager bought a small cake and ice cream. I was the only person who did not eat any cake or ice cream. Not a touch. The cake ran out and another employee asked what happened to it. The director said I had three pieces. The employee said, “Really?” There were 20 people who were in the room and had cake and ice cream. I was the only obese person in the room. A year ago, I was 30 pounds down from my highest weight and the weight loss was noticeable and most people at work had expressed happiness for me.

Perhaps the director’s comments were meant to be a joke, only his tone didn’t make his words sound like a joke. I was surprised because he could have used anyone else in the room instead of my name, but he didn’t. The employee seemed to think the director was serious. So I dryly said, “Yeah, and I had three scoops of ice cream, too.”

The employee looked at me and probably assumed that because I was the only fat person in the room that I had indeed ate three slices of cake.

Today was the director’s birthday again and I went to the party, but I didn’t have any food. I should be happy that today is his birthday, but I sense that he’s not happy with my weight loss. As of today, I am 80 pounds down from my highest weight. I still have 50 pounds to lose.

I was prepared this year with a bunch of snappy sayings in case the director made another sarcastic remark.

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Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog JenFul.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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