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Weighing in on November

November was so insane that I forgot to weigh in on it until six days into December. Oops! And what a wacky month it was. First I discovered the common cold was the secret to losing those last two hundred pounds. Then I discovered the stress of which I cannot speak was a good way to gain back five. Then there was Thanksgiving. The net result? In November I lost and then regained about ten pounds. I’ve never ridden a roller coaster like that without wearing a seatbelt.

During the time I was excreting half my bodily fluids out my nose, I went four days without exercising, the longest period of non-activity I’ve experienced since the days when I had to rock back and forth to heave myself off the couch. When I was stressed, I ate about three pints of ice cream, the most dairy I’ve eaten in a week since I was breastfeeding. I didn’t eat much for Thanksgiving dinner, but made up for it during dessert by devouring several helpings of Dirt Cake, a delicious trifle with alternating layers of crumbled Oreos and cream cheese mixed with powdered sugar.

That’s not an apology. That’s life. I was fully aware of what I was doing and I’d probably do it again, though I may limit it to two pints of ice cream the next time. I don’t really care because through it all I stayed below or only slightly above 180 pounds. That’s the weight where I string up the yellow police tape that says “Danger! Danger! Do not cross!”

My biggest obstacle to getting to goal is that some days I don’t care about it that much. As long as I am under 180, I’m satisfied with my size. That is the magic weight where I no longer shop in the plus-size department and I can buy bras in brick and mortar stores instead of on the Internet. As long as I’m also exercising and eating well 90% of the time, I feel healthy and energized and life is good.

Some days I care a lot about getting to goal. I’d like to have a buffer of twenty pounds between my maximum weight limit and my current weight. I set a goal and I’d like to experience the pride of achieving it. I know knocking off another ten or twenty pounds would allow me to run faster and beat my personal record for the 5K and run a faster half-marathon.

Some days I see Dirt Cake and I don’t care how fast I can run.

I know some of you will suggest that I just let it go and name 180 as my maintenance weight and be done with it. I understand that point of view and maybe a year from now I’ll agree with you. But for now I’m going to keep working towards 160. I like having that goal. I like working towards it. If I were to reset my goal at 180, I might suddenly think 190 was okay and then 200 and then even my “fat” pants wouldn’t fit. Maybe it’s better to keep striving towards that asymptote line even it’s unreachable? Maybe it’s nice to have a dream?

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want out of life. For most of my existence, the first wish I would have asked of a genie in a lamp was to please, please, please make me thin. I got my wish. Now I have to figure out what to do with those other two wishes in my queue. My weight used to define me, but it’s become so much less important in my life that it’s time to issue a revised version of the dictionary. I’ll always have to watch my weight. I’ll always have to kick myself in the ass when I start skipping weight sessions like I have this month. The struggle will always be there. But it’s silent work that only the Internet and I know about.

So, I’m not giving up. I’m not pitching out my goal. But I’m admitting it’s not as important as it was when I started this trip. I’ve seen so much beautiful scenery on the way that I don’t quite remember where I thought I was headed when I started walking on that treadmill in the green exercise room of our old house three years ago. I doubt it really matters anymore. There are so many crossroads ahead, detours to take, and scenic routes to explore. As long as I’m happy, healthy and traveling with friends and family, I’ll go where life takes me. Some day it might even take me to my planned destination.

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27 Comments

Girl on a mission • December 6, 2007 at 8:08 am

I think your blog is a true inspiration. Its amazing how you can have a roller coaster month- but still manage to get back on track. I wish I had your motivation and will power…I’ve been trying to lose weight since August 22, 2007 and I lost 6pds and gained it back! Argh! Weight loss is a battle…I can even imagine what its like to lose it, and, then worrying about it going back on. I think- when I get to my “dream size” it’ll be like winning a million dollars….thing is….winning a million dollars is a lot harder than losing the weight- so I guess I should try eh?

Cheers to you and your great blog!

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Stephanie • December 6, 2007 at 9:24 am

I do WW, so they make you establish a weight. I decided to pick 40 lbs below my starting weight. Honestly and truly just because it was a nice round number. 40lbs. Sounds better than 43 or 92, right?

Once I hit my “goal” weight, I went into my maintenence phase in which I had a personal goal of 7 lbs lighter. So really my goal was 47 lbs. And if anyone ever asks, I always tell them that I lost close to 50. But I stick to that 47lbs. It is MY goal. It is what I weighed in high school and that is what I wanted to weigh again.

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chanda • December 6, 2007 at 10:47 am

Beautiful post! Your writing is an inspiration to me, and to many others Im sure. I wish I had found it when you started out way back when. You have a great attitude, and it’s the one Im trying to adopt for my journey (which, by the way, Im having trouble packing for! :)

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Kate • December 6, 2007 at 10:50 am

I think your totally right about your goal, you don’t want to give it up. I remember when I starting losing weight I picked a number, and it kept getting lower and lower, and now I’ve gotten to a point where I am happy where I’m at, but it doesn’t make me want that lower goal any less, it just makes me not so concerned about getting there fast. I’m comfortable in my skin.

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JEM • December 6, 2007 at 11:48 am

I think your attitude toward it all is healthy and wise. With the way you think, I am never worried about you. You didn’t just change your body, you changed your life…forever.

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kyle • December 6, 2007 at 12:46 pm

I feel like you went on an exploration into my mind and then documented your findings here in this blog.

I won’t go on, I’ll just say, I feel the same.

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Mia • December 6, 2007 at 1:03 pm

“But for now I’m going to keep working towards 160. I like having that goal. I like working towards it.”

Hmmmm. Maybe you need for me to send over my good friend “Ashley” (name has been changed to protect the innocent-hee!) to visit with you and tell you that you can’t do it. No way, no how.

Funny how that can work wonders.

Keep up the good work. You’re going great.

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Mia • December 6, 2007 at 1:05 pm

I should clarify, that I think you totally can and will reach 160. It’s just sometimes we need opposition to motivate us.

PQ – Don’t worry, I know what you meant! And yeah, sometimes someone’s negative comments can light a fire under your ass.

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Laura • December 6, 2007 at 1:44 pm

Great post, PQ. I totally identify with you. I’m 7 pounds from goal, and I’ve lost less than 3 pounds the past 2 months (after losing 55 since February). I wrote about it on my blog last week and used the analogy of “Pretty Woman”–the weight I’m at now is a “really nice offer for a girl like me,” like Richard Gere offers Julia Roberts the apartment in NY. But I want the fairy tale of reaching my goal weight. So I’m not giving up, but I sure am going to enjoy my life in the meanwhile.

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Elyse • December 6, 2007 at 2:26 pm

I picked a size, not a weight for my goal – Size 14 – able to shop in normal stores – I am currently a 16 (started at a 24) and so I have some ways to go – but I am much happier with this focus then with the numbers on the scale.

PQ – I always had a size 10 in my mind as a dream size. Right now I can fit into some size 12′s, depending on the manufacturer.

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Rah • December 6, 2007 at 2:50 pm

Your early posts, where you outlined what you wanted to do, the reasons why, and the method you would use, continue to be so helpful to me. When I have become “ungrounded” I have gone back and re-read them. I admire the way you set that all up mentally.

Your musings today suggest that your psyche is headed toward defining another of those remaining two wishes. We’ll be right there with you on your next journey if you wish to share!

p.s. Send that genie over my way, please.

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MB • December 6, 2007 at 3:37 pm

I can’t wait to hear about the other two wishes.

I think it is very wise to acknowledge that you are comfortable where you are but still want to achieve the goal weight you set.

That is the point where I always stumble and re-gain because I let myself relax about the food and exercise once I get to that magic goal weight. Maybe just constantly striving for it will keep you focused and help with the maintenance.

You are such an inspiration (ya, I know, I’m a broken record but it is so true)!

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kerry • December 6, 2007 at 4:02 pm

you summed up how I feel so well.

Jan 2nd 2007 I weighed in at 260.7lbs (118.5kgs)

My lowest recorded weight was the start of November when I got down to 158.8lbs

I’ve been struggling since then – I’m hovering (and have been for three weeks or so now) at 165lbs (75ish kgs)

Eventual goal is 130lbs

I’m babbling I realise… but what you said about it not being important – you’re so right (and so wrong as it were). I’m kinda ‘normal’ now – I can shop in ‘normal’ shops etc… I don’t stand out for any particular reason. Yet I still wanna get to 130.

Blah

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Queen Bee • December 6, 2007 at 4:17 pm

A friend of mine always says, “No friction, no genie.” I love that metaphor :)

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dietgirl • December 6, 2007 at 4:36 pm

Bravo PQ! only you can know what is best for you and you have such a freakin’ sane and healthy attitude towards all this Stuff :)

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Melanie • December 6, 2007 at 5:44 pm

I think others have already written everything I wanted to write so I’ll just say, YOU GO GIRL!

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Tia • December 6, 2007 at 5:58 pm

Awesome stuff. I try to think about my own weight loss goals the same way, especially since I’m headed down the homestretch, part of me is like “enough already” but most of me doesn’t like the idea of settling.

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Emily • December 6, 2007 at 6:04 pm

This isn’t really related to this post, because I was reading your archives and wanted to comment on one of the old ones. :)

You mentioned in a post that you thought you were successful in losing weight this time because your environment made it easier, and that had you been a mom taking care of others it might not have been so easy.

Well, I’m a mom taking care of two small children (2.5 and 10 months). I’ve got 15 more pounds of baby weight to get off (I’m only 5’4″ so that 15 pounds makes a real difference) and I’m staring down another pregnancy likely in the next 4-6 months. During the 10 months since I gave birth, I’ve been stymied by getting pregnant and miscarrying twice (and boy does that put a brick wall in the weight loss road.) Although I do have a gym membership, it is hard to get there regularly because I have to work it around two children’s naptimes, transportation only half of the week, and a husband who also wants some time with me (fancy that!)

Our general diet is healthy – I understand basic nutrition and work hard to plan good balanced meals. We could stand to eat more vegetables but we DO eat them. However, I know that I tend to eat for comfort when life at home with two children gets overwhelming. I know that, and yet I do it anyway.

I know there isn’t an easy answer other than eat less and move more. But for those of us who are in an environment that makes that hard…any tips?

I’m also just curious: do you have children? Have you dealt with the pregnancy/weight cycle?

PQ – Man, I don’t know what to say other than “Don’t stop trying.” You might try to find some exercise you can do around the house so you don’t have to get to the gym. If anyone else has better tips, shout them on out. As for kids, I don’t have any, so I haven’t had to deal with weight-gain during pregnancy.

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CookieMonster • December 6, 2007 at 6:06 pm

Excellent post.

Truly well said.

I agree. Don’t change your goal… even if it takes you another 5 years to get there. The real progress is in the journey, right?

Isn’t it funny when you make your wishes happen? The “now what” moment is terrifying and thrilling all at once.

Good luck with what’s next!

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Hiya • December 6, 2007 at 8:40 pm

Hello,

I love your blog and read it as a former heavy girl who lived through the struggle and now likes to route for others. My accomplishment was not nearly as big as yours — I lost 24 pounds during the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college, learned to love running and dropped eight dress sizes. My goal had been to lose 30, and at first, I kept up weighing myself every day, only to be frustrated by no change.

After about a year, I stopped weighing myself or worrying about it because frankly, it became boring to be so obsessed. I loved my life, I looked good, and I enjoyed exercise, and I decided that was enough. Four years later, while working long stressful hours at my first job, I found I didn’t have time for my regular exercise. I stopped running for a month. Devastated, and sure that I’d gained all of the weight I’d lost, I stepped on the scale for the first time in years, only to find that I’d dropped the last 6 pounds! Since then, and that was five years ago, I’ve stayed within 2 pounds of my ideal weight. I don’t run as much as I used to because I’m in law school, though I love to run when I can. I eat junk food sometimes when I stress. But the nice thing is, weight is now miraculously easy to maintain, because what I gain one day, I lose the next.

My point is, you might find, when you stop stepping on the scale each day, that the weight slips off when you least expect it.

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Megan • December 6, 2007 at 9:37 pm

I always read your blog but rarely post. However, this post inspired me to come out of hiding for a moment. I have to say you are mirroring me in a lot of ways. We have not lost the same amount of weight, but we are both the same height and ‘stuck’ a little bit less than 180. It was like you were reading my thoughts with this! Funny how that home stretch is so hard! Good luck to both of us!! And if we don’t make it, good for us on feeling good about ourselves. kudos! :)

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KBR • December 7, 2007 at 4:45 am

Breastfeeding…? Did you have a baby and neglect to mention it to your fan base?

PQ – No, I meant since I myself was breastfeeding, about 27 years ago.

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Srimash • December 7, 2007 at 5:43 am

PQ, I am 33 years old, mother of an adorable 6 year old and wife to an incredibly fit & handsome guy. I am smart, I have a great job that pays too well. I should be the happiest person in the world, right ? Nope – I’ve been FAT all my life & always seemed to think that all the other facets of life would mask this one, teeny weeny problem. I have never really seriously gone on a diet or exercised. Something “snapped” 10 days ago & I put myself on the cabbage soup diet. It worked !! For the 1st time ever I lost 4Kgs. I am on a 1200 calorie diet now (if you don’t count the mini toblerones & the choco chip cookies) & have been surfing to get “inspired”. Google threw up your blog as one of the best weight loss success stories & wow, your achievement is truly inspiring and more so the way you write ! I hate exercising & can’t really see myself joining kick boxing classes but tell me when did you actually start supplementing diet with exercise on your weight loss journey ? I weight 105Kgs now for a height of 5’7″ & I kid myself that just walking the 2 flights of stairs to my apartment is boosting my metabolism to burn off all the fat.

PQ – I actually started walking for a week before I even started changing what I ate. I didn’t want to do too much stuff at once. Good luck to you!

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vivi • December 7, 2007 at 9:07 am

mediterranean girl is back with her european view on calories!

PQ, when reading this entry I felt you’ve given up. It’s obvious you feel fine with your weight now and the scales are not a problem anymore for you. Shopping, apparently, isn’t a problem either. I must tell you something, I am 5 ft 7 and weigh 150 lbs and I wear the largest size of all in “normal” stores in Germany (or in Spain, where I come from). It can be worse: ZARA, for instance, doesn’t have my size for all trousers. As you see I’m not overweight and yet I am always the fattest anywere I go (friends, family, work…). This fact keeps me away from gaining weight because I don’t want to shop in plus-size stores. If I ever shopped there, there would be no upper limit for my weight. Now, PQ, imagine you moved here, or suddendly shops in the US go “european” and don’t sell your size anymore. Come on, you’ve lost a lot of weight, you can do better!!!

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VerseFameBeauty • December 7, 2007 at 11:09 am

You get 10 cents for using the ‘asymptote’. lol.

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Karri • December 7, 2007 at 2:57 pm

I just wanted to let you know that your blog is an inspiration to me, like many others. At 29 years old, I am 5’3″ and when I stepped on the scale three weeks ago I found myself weighing in my highest weight of my life: 202.2 lbs. I was devastated. I cried and made a vow at that very moment to finally do whatever it takes to drop the weight and make myself happier. I found your blog and have been reading it since that evening. In three weeks, I have dropped 16 lbs. I still have a long ways to go, and am hoping to get to my goal weight by May when my husband returns from Iraq (imagine his surprise when he wonders where half his wife disappeared to!). I am finally confident that I can do this, and the weight is dropping off. Even if I don’t quite make my goal by the time May rolls around, the weight I’ve already lost and will continue to lose will continue to make me strive toward that. I am confident that I can easily make it to a healthy BMI. I will continue to read your blog, and I thank you so much for putting it out there for all of us to read. It helps so much.

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KateG • December 7, 2007 at 3:07 pm

For what it’s worth, I think you are right on, Pasta Queen. At your current weight you are comfortable and you don’t have any health problems so it is not a bad place to hang out in. No, you are not at “goal” yet and you may still be overweight according to the BMI, etc. But you still eat healthy much more often than not and you get a lot of exercise. I am sure you are way more fit than a lot of people of your height who weigh 160 lbs. I recently had the experience of doing a 5K with a friend who has always been thin – even though I am about 30 lbs overweight still (but still on the way down!) I did way better than she did. There are LOTS of people out there who may be thin, but could never run a 9:30 mile. Even if they were being chased.

I do think it is good to keep the goal, for accountability and something to work toward. But not to beat yourself up over. Plus you have fitness goals that are not tied to a scale (the half marathon), which I think is good for your physical and mental health. That is why I really like your attitude!

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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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