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Living in a happier reality (with sex orgies)

When Carla told me she wasn’t going to apply to the geek summer camp I’d attended the summer before senior year because she’d heard it was a drugged-out sex orgy, I was befuddled. The only sex I remembered was between the squirrels.

“Where did you hear this?” I asked her.

“From George Johnson.”

And that explained it. George Johnson appeared to live in our universe, but actually existed in a parallel dimension where cars were Shinier! and girls were Prettier! than they appeared to those of us in this world. George Johnson never let reality get in the way of a good story, or he might have just seen reality bigger and brighter than the rest of us. (Or there might have actually been secret sex parties going on in the bushes that I was not invited to.)

However, George Johnson seemed to be pretty damn happy in his shinier, prettier, world, even if it wasn’t the reality that the rest of us were living in. I was thinking of him when I was sent this article on low leptin levels in people who’ve lost over 10% of their body weight for the third time this week and I thought of him when I deleted the link without reading the article again for the third time this week. I am grateful that people read the article, thought of me, and took the time and effort to share that information with me. I like that people share their stuff with me. I like to share my stuff with people too. So, I thank the people who sent me the link. However, I’ve decided that when it comes to articles and books that are going to tell me that I’m doomed to regain all the weight I’ve lost, I’m going to take the George Johnson approach and live in my own happier, fairyland instead. Fuck you, science!

It’s an odd approach for me to take because I love me some science. A friend of mine recently announced she is getting married at the Carnegie Institute of Science and it warmed my secular little heart. However, in this instance science isn’t necessarily my friend. I have a distinct goal: to maintain my 192-pound weight loss. To do this I have to think positively. I have to believe that I will do it. I don’t see any advantage to reading an article that is going to tell me all the reasons I am going to fail. If it’s true, all the things that are true in the article are going to affect my body whether I read the article or not. The only thing that will happen if I read the article is that it will bum me out and eat away at my self-confidence, self-confidence I need to be successful in my journey.

This is why I never read Rethinking Thin, a book by New York Times health writer Gina Kolata that was released last year. It debunked many dieting myths and explained why maintaining weight loss is so hard. I got a copy of the book to review, but it sat on my coffee cart for months, the pear on the cover sitting next to the window like a fake bowl of fruit. It taunted me for months and months, making me feel guilty that I hadn’t read this book that everyone was talking about. I would occasionally skim a few paragraphs before I’d find something far more urgent to do, like pick cat fur off the carpet. Eventually I stuck it out of sight on my bookshelf, where it sits today, virgin print not defiled by my eyes. I didn’t read it because I didn’t want to hear what it had to say.

I’ve come to realize, this isn’t always a bad thing. Sure, there can be dangers to shutting out differing opinions. If you get stuck in an echo chamber, you’ll only hear what you want to. That’s how we end up in endless wars in Iraq. But I’m not leading the armed forces here, just this army of one. I don’t have to be completely open-minded about every single issue in the world. When it comes to certain things, I can defend my personal boundaries and that’s okay. I lock my apartment door at night to protect my personal space and I can set up mental barriers to protect the internal areas most precious to me too.

That’s something I’ve come to realize about nasty comments. I used to read all the comments on my blog no matter what. I thought, “People have a right to their opinions. I am putting my thoughts out into the world so I should read theirs too.” This is total bullshit. Sometimes people leave comments to attack me. I have a right to defend myself. If I were sitting in a room and saw someone running towards me with a baseball bat, I would run the other way or throw a chair at them. A nasty comment is the same sort of attack, only with words instead of a Louisville Slugger. I can tell within a sentence or two if a comment is meant to harm me, and when I see that, I defend myself by stopping reading. I lock the door and don’t let those words into my house. I save the comment in my blog software in case I need it for legal reasons and then delete it from my email, never to be read. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen that often, but when it does I’ve learned how to defend myself.

When I wrote my acceptance speech I started to read one comment that had a sentence that said something like, “…I have to admit I was disappointed…” at which point I stopped reading it. I still haven’t read that comment and I have no idea what that person said. I decided I didn’t want that information in my head. My weight and my self-esteem are not up for a committee vote, and my decision was final. I decided the comment was irrelevant, it would only upset me, and it was better off left unread in my trash box.

I like having these boundaries. I like enforcing them. It’s made my life so much better. A couple years ago I vowed to stop going to web sites that annoyed me and to stop getting into stupid fights on the internet. And I did. And life is so much better. I highly recommend it to everyone.

Which is why I have not read the leptin article and I do not plan on reading the leptin article, unless there is a section in the article that tells you how the low leptin levels work to your advantage. I don’t need that stuff in my house. I will live in my happier reality. Keeping that stuff out of my house keeps my reality happier.

And I have George Johnson to thank.

Now where’s that sex orgy?

Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away
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69 Comments

Jen • July 9, 2008 at 7:22 am

Had you bothered to read my comment, you would have seen it was not an attack. It was my honest reaction to your post–my last sentiment in my comment was to wish you well. If you are not willing to consider other people’s opinions, then why leave your blog open for comments? If you want only “shiny, happy” posts, you should put that as a disclaimer. What a shame…I was really a fan of yours. I won’t be reading your blog anymore. Good luck living in your own “shiny” reality.

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Susan • July 9, 2008 at 7:26 am

Jennette, you are so cool. :)

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Jules • July 9, 2008 at 7:40 am

Exactly! I do the same with horrible news of murders and things on the radio. Just turn it down and don’t let it into my world. It’s your reality, you fully get to decide which little things you let in and which you keep out.

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Barb • July 9, 2008 at 7:58 am

Jen: Your parting line has a certain amount of flair but most dramatic people screw up their ‘famous last words’ by coming back to administer another dose. I entreat you to do the opposite! Make a strong statement now by saying nothing further. In other words, go take offense at someone else, somewhere else.

Cheers,

Barb

PS – Jeannette, you’re awesome. I think you should come to Canada and hang out here.

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dabaum • July 9, 2008 at 8:02 am

YOU ARE THE BEST! That other person sucks! The funny thing about opinions is that people mistake them for facts. PQ, you are entitled, and deserve to be happy. No one can define that for you. I am a big fan of yours for a lot of reasons, but I think the #1 reason I have stuck around for two years is because I appreciate your winning, survival attitude. You are a strong woman. I admire that so much. And, for the record, I have many, many friends who have lost a lot of weight and have kept it off for years. It is all about attitude – not science. Yours is the attitude that we should all try to attain. You have self-confidence with a little sass. I love it. And, that negative blogger can take her pissy attitude and go straight to hell. Eff her if she can’t take a “shiny” attitude!

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liz • July 9, 2008 at 8:07 am

Go to the article, close your eyes, page down to the bottom and read the last paragraph. Really. You’ll like it. It’s about you and very complimentary.

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Jill • July 9, 2008 at 8:31 am

I don’t watch movies or TV shows that are over the top with sex and/or violence. I don’t listen to music with profane lyrics. I’m so NOT a prude, but I prefer to not let those images into my head, because really, what good is it going to do me?

I think it’s great that you choose to filter out the crap when you can, because really, there’s enough crap that comes at you (and everyone else) out of nowhere when you don’t expect it.

Life is a lot easier when you surround yourself with Shiny Happy People who have Shiny Happy Thoughts. So you keep that shiny happy filter on – like you said, it makes life so much better.

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Hilary • July 9, 2008 at 8:58 am

You had me at “drugged-out sex orgy,” my dear PQ ;).

On a more serious note, I have struggled with the exact same issue–that of reading books on both sides of the fence. It seemed important to do so. And yet, it has made me really miserable. I’ve read Paul Campos’ work, and Gina Kolata’s (tangent: I always want that iced drink from Dunkin Donuts when I hear her last name), and a number of other dissenters in the name of health and science. And yet, and yet . . . inevitably, a big “Eff you!” rises up in my throat and I want to let out some version of a rallying battle cry.

Then of course, there are the numerous books on the pro-weight-loss side of the fence, some of them by very respected sources, like the Chair of the Dept of Nutrition at Harvard.

With so much evidence on *both* sides, I’m picking the side that uplifts me. But it isn’t always easy.

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mj • July 9, 2008 at 9:27 am

I am totally with you! Stay on the sunny side of the street! I did read that article -Here is the only thing you need to take in (the last sentence)

“Anybody who has lost weight and kept it off will tell you that they have to keep battling,” says Dr. Rosenbaum. “They have essentially reinvented themselves, and they are worthy of the utmost admiration and respect.”

I am maintaining a 20% weight loss (not nearly as impressive as you!!! I am in awe every day when I read your blog)- and I DID reinvent myself. DUH – if I go back to former sedentary life with carb loading as main hobby I will gain the weight back. But I make a conscious effort every day to make a different choice – and it is not easy and I know it will be the same tomorrow and the next day – but we are MORE than our genetics! People prove that every day!

Have a BRIGHT SHINY DAY!

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Karen • July 9, 2008 at 9:32 am

I think there are some people in the world who think it is their job to criticize, point out the “bad news”, rain on someone’s parade – whatever.

It’s a little more difficult to do those things in person -the internet allows the person with all the brilliant, worthy criticism to remain somewhat anonymous. They don’t have to take responsibility for the damage they do – even if it’s only a little damage. I guess they feel somewhat superior when they can tell someone why what they’ve done isn’t so great after all – take them down a notch or two. I used to tell my children that you don’t make yourself bigger by trying to make another person smaller.

I don’t see any benefit in allowing the negativity into our lives. Life is short and there are enough bad things we have to deal with, but unkind words from relative (or total) strangers isn’t one of them.

There is a vast amount of ugliness in the world, and I, like you, prefer the prettier, shiner things and purposely seek them out. Pollyanna had it right, you know :)

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Melissa • July 9, 2008 at 9:34 am

You have hit the nail on the head! What a smart woman you are. Thank you for putting something that was a vague fog in my brain into something that is concise and concrete to me. I love it when someone puts my thoughts (that are not so clear) into words (that are). :) Thank you for that. I will remember your words in my mind.

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The QH • July 9, 2008 at 9:37 am

Let’s all take a moment to mourn the loss of Jen, who won’t be reading your blog anymore………………..

…………….

Ok, on to the shiny happy orgy!

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Tangerine • July 9, 2008 at 9:45 am

Ha! Right on. I’m a long time lurker, and just have to come out of the ether to tell you that for each of those negative bozos who send you unkind comments, there are probably a hundred of us lurkers thinking how fab you are. We just don’t say so… we’re kind of shy, I guess.

Rock on, sweetie.

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Nina • July 9, 2008 at 9:56 am

You know what, fuck those people who say that you can’t maintain weight loss. I’ve kept off my 60lbs weight loss for five years, and I am NEVER going back. You’ll do the same thing because you have goals, and drive, and self control.

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PastaQueen • July 9, 2008 at 10:11 am

Hey, Jen. It’s good to know that comment wasn’t an attack, but I still don’t regret not reading it. It looked like it might be hurtful and I didn’t need to deal with anything like that on that particular post, so I decided not to read it.

And like I said in this post, I’m willing to consider other people’s opinions on a lot of issues, just not on everything. My happy weight is one of them.

PS – Let’s not turn this into the “Let’s all pick on Jen!” thread, okay? Everybody, cool?

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Sharona • July 9, 2008 at 10:14 am

You lock your door only at night?

Nothing wrong with choosing what to read or who or what to listen to.

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debby • July 9, 2008 at 10:20 am

Good for you, PQ! This was a good reminder to me that this is how I choose to live too!

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Chris • July 9, 2008 at 10:21 am

I love how you handle these negative thoughts about your goals – some of which come under the guise of “helpful articles you should read” or some that may even come from your own head at times!

When you started a blog that said, “I’m going to lose 200 pounds,” I’m sure there were a bunch of negative nellies out there sending you a bunc of so called scholarly articles saying “Yeah right! You’ll never do it!” or at least shaking their heads knowingly, as if to say, “Yeah right!” But you just kept on truckin and did it anyway.

During your journey, you wrote a beautiful blog, and got some notice from a publisher, and I’m sure some negative nelly either in your life or in your head was saying, “Book deal? Yeah right!” But you just kept on truckin and lo and behold, BOOK DEAL (something millions of people SAY they’ll do, but rarely accomplish – truly amazing).

Then as you surmounted THAT INCREDIBLE goal, you thought “half marathon” and negative nelly said “yeah right” and you kept on truckin and you DID IT ANYWAY.

And now, after a whole year of maintaining a healthy weight, negative nellie comes back: “keep weight off? Yeah RIGHT!” But you will just keep on truckin, and you’ll probably continue to achieve incredible goals, flying in the face of negative nellie every time.

Whether they are trolling your blogs, writing health commentaries for the New York Times like Ms. Kolata, or in your own head, the negative nellie is ALWAYS going to tell you why you can’t reach your goals. And unfortunately, negative nellie may never die.

The great thing about you is that you just shut her out, and keep on truckin, and reaching your goals ANYWAY. And that is why we all love you. You are not living in a shiny made up world. You are achieving your dreams and inspiring thousands to keep on truckin, just like you, one step at a time. Thank you Pasta Queen!!!!!

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ginna • July 9, 2008 at 10:31 am

You will not gain the weight back. Here’s how I know: You have clearly made an overall lifestyle change where you are enjoying the physical activity for it’s own sake and not just to burn up calories. That was obvious to me when I read your book. Letting go of “the number” is a big part of it too. The longer you live a healthy, active life, the easier and more natural it will become.

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deanna • July 9, 2008 at 10:41 am

Here! Here! I am stealing that philosophy and using as my own!!!!

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Laura • July 9, 2008 at 10:43 am

I was just going to post the good part of the article. Really, it’s right in line with your reality:

How do some people manage to overcome the leptin effect and keep weight off? Generally by watching their food intake very carefully and continuing to increase their physical activity. “Anybody who has lost weight and kept it off will tell you that they have to keep battling,” says Dr. Rosenbaum. “They have essentially reinvented themselves, and they are worthy of the utmost admiration and respect.”

You ROCK, Jennette!!!

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Merry • July 9, 2008 at 10:50 am

I’m fairly sure you have the right to choose who/what you let into your own reality. Not illegal yet.

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Abby • July 9, 2008 at 11:21 am

You have every right to protect yourself. I think it takes tremendous strength of character to know and set your own limits. This isn’t a random blog to spark trivial debates, it’s about you sharing a part of yourself, so in my opinion you can set whichever terms you’d like. It’s odd to me that not everyone sees it this way, but I guess this is the interwebs, where logic doesn’t always seem to apply.

Hope you’re doing well. :)

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suburbanhen • July 9, 2008 at 11:34 am

What a quality post. I shall learn from it. thank you :)

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victoria • July 9, 2008 at 11:34 am

Thank you for writing this post. It helps me to understand how you manage to be such a self-respecting and competent person.

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Catherine • July 9, 2008 at 11:40 am

“My weight and my self-esteem are not up for a committee vote, and my decision was final. ”

This statement is awesome. I had an honest to God epiphany when I read this. I am not rail thin anymore like I was in high school, but I am happy where I am. My mother is rather rude about my weight and how much I’ve gained since I was 17, and what I choose eat, and when I choose to eat it, and I’ve always just kind of…taken it, I guess would be the best way to put it. But why? You’re so right! She does not get a vote. It is not up for debate. You have changed my life with that one statement- thank you!

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Melsky • July 9, 2008 at 12:01 pm

Good for you, PQ

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Anna K. • July 9, 2008 at 12:14 pm

I am new to your blog, so I apologize if this has come up previously, but check out the National Weight Control Registry for inspiration. These are folks who have achieved long-term significant weight loss using a variety of methods.

The registry was started by researchers who realized we have very little data on people who successfully keep the weight off; one of the people who started the registry was astounded at how many people she found who had quietly accomplished this.

Website is here:

http://www.nwcr.ws/

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psychsarah • July 9, 2008 at 12:22 pm

I join the ranks of those who love this post! There is actually research to show that those who are suffering from clinical depression have a more “realistic” view of how much they control their lives, and those of us who are lucky enough not to experience this mental illness have what the researchers dubbed an “illusion of control”. What I take from this is, if a little illusion is necessary to keep us going on an even keel, so be it!

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Quix • July 9, 2008 at 12:31 pm

Whatever world you have to live in to make yourself happy, healthy, and sane, go there and don’t look back. I live in my version of there and I like it just fine, it suits me. Of course, working in video game development, alternate reality is sorta my job too.

And I love the committee vote line – besides the committee in my head which has to debate and negotiate everything, no one else has a say, you’re damn right.

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Stephanie • July 9, 2008 at 12:37 pm

I found it interesting you mentioned boundaries. When I started losing weight for the umpteenth time in August 2007 (so far I have lost 65 lbs only 4 more to go) a friend of mine lent me a book called Boundaries. It’s been really helpful. Like you, I also pick and choose what I listen to or read – I filter out the rest. I know I miss things, but once you have something in your mind, it’s very hard, if not impossible, to get it out. Better to just use what works for you and keep on keeping on. I have found that as long as I try to be the best person I can and do things with the best intent, I tend to feel better about things in general.

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Michelle • July 9, 2008 at 12:53 pm

*raising hand*

I lurk more than I post and it’s usually because I don’t want to merely say, “that totally rocked, PQ! You rock!” I try to actually have something to say….. Everyone else is so darn witty that I prefer to let them have the floor.

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Michelle • July 9, 2008 at 1:05 pm

Gawd love the George Johnsons of the world!! We need more of ‘em, in my not so humble opinion. We need more people who enforce personal boundaries, like you (and me), too.

I went from 190 to 150 and kept it off for ten years – EFFORTLESSLY! Because I did what you’ve done – I changed my lifestyle.

Keep on keepin’ on, Jeanette! You’re doing great!

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Nina_V • July 9, 2008 at 1:31 pm

I think, whether consciously or not, you are adopting the “Power of Positive Thinking” philosophy. I’m a believer. I think if you keep telling someone (or your self) that you will succeed at something, be it weight loss or anything else, they/you are more likely to do it. As opposed to bombarding someone with negative messages – it doesn’t matter how rational you are, in one way or another, it will get to you.

I was reading the “You on a Diet” book the other day and there is a chapter in there about the “Diet Mentality” and how it adversely affects all your dieting efforts. At the end of the chapter it pretty much tells you “we are telling you this so that you know, but we can’t tell you how to change this mentality”. Well, I’m paraphrasing shamelessly, but that’s the basic gist of it. I really wanted to take the damn book and throw it out the window when I read that.

When I first started looking for help on the bookshelves, I read everything and anything, but eventually I figured out that some books are better left unread.

P.S. Your book is still one of my favorites.

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merrem • July 9, 2008 at 1:54 pm

Good for you, PQ! I just ordered your book and can’t wait to read it! Boundaries are great, as I’m sure as you get more and more readers, the proportion of negative nellies gets larger just statistically speaking.

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Lisa • July 9, 2008 at 2:08 pm

Every time I come here I take something good away with me. I’m only sad there is nothing more originally appreciative I can tell you that hasn’t already been said, or better said. I just think you’re one of the most awesome ladies I’ve ever had the privilege to read and the people who’ve found this blog are lucky to have this wisdom in their lives. Me included, of course. Rock on.

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jae • July 9, 2008 at 2:34 pm

Thank you so much for this post. You’ve helped me make a big decision that I didn’t even want to think about. Thanks!! ~j

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Laura N • July 9, 2008 at 3:03 pm

Anna K, good suggestion…. I think, though, that PQ is actually a participant in the NWCR. Which is just too cool, yes?!

Great post, PQ. I love the idea that you don’t have to take in all the negative crap the world has to offer.

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maggieapril • July 9, 2008 at 4:41 pm

Amen, my sister! I declared to my mother just last week that I am no longer going to read so much negative news online. What gas price increase? What murder? What recession? What presidential election? (Just kidding on that last one.)

I just started my own blog (where you are mentioned today) and am learning that blogging is way harder than you make it look. Congats on your weight loss, your book, and on being your own person.

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Michelle • July 9, 2008 at 6:25 pm

Rock on Sister! They’re your thoughts, and thoughts lead to action, so keep ‘em positive and you’ll be alright. You are facing the toughest part of this journey, IMHO, as someone who’s gained weight back before but won’t be doing it again. You are a great example for us all.

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Demeron • July 9, 2008 at 9:07 pm

I looked at the article you quoted. Don’t be scared, it’s not all that bad :) The subjects lost weight on a liquid diet– I sure as hell would be eating everything in sight after losing 10% of my body weight on a liquid diet. The loss of leptin apparently eventually reverses (takes a while) and replacement leptin (can you get such a thing?) immediately counteracts the effect. I would be interested to see if there is the same leptin reduction in people like you who lost weight slowly on high-quality, high-volume diets. I personally know several people who have lost weight and kept all or most of it off, some for decades. There are plenty more in print. Jane Brody comes to mind. She didn’t diet– she just ate high quality food and exercised a lot. I am also skeptical of the “your genes are doomed” argument. No doubt some of us are programmed to be rounder than others, but our genes did not take a nosedive in the 1970s when obesity began to skyrocket. Our environments changed, not our genetics. Big fan of your blog. It’s funny and upbeat and self-castigation free. Great place to hang out.

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anji • July 9, 2008 at 10:07 pm

I went and read it for you… ’cause I’m nosy and wanted to see :P

It doesn’t matter what they said… because, that same person probably buys trash magazines and watches entertainment tonight and other papparazzi type things because she feels she has a right to know about everyone’s private life just because they’re in the public.

You don’t need to justify anything to anyone, except to yourself or to your family.

And 99% of us know and respect that… as should she. Take care PQ :)

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cindy • July 9, 2008 at 10:37 pm

Hi PQ,

You can love science and still live in happy, shiny land. Just remember that in science it is the EXCEPTION that proves the rule. And be the exception! You might as well, since you are already EXCEPTIONAL!

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Kate • July 9, 2008 at 11:31 pm

Hi PastaQueen,

I have maintained a 90 lb weight loss for 8 years, with 2 pregnancies thrown in. I’ve followed your approach- eating primarily healthy food in moderate quantities and exercising. I’ve had my share of back slides, but I’ve always recovered and stayed on track. I don’t mean to sound sanctimonious, and I don’t consider myself to be exceptional. I just offer my story as proof to the contrary.

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Joanne • July 9, 2008 at 11:45 pm

Hi PQ,

I’ve been lurking on your site ever since I read your book. NICE WORK! I really enjoyed your book and related to it on so many levels that I needed to read your blog from the start to finish.

Regarding this post, I think you are very kind and understanding. You were very eloquent in the way that communicated your need for filtering information/comments. I completely agree with you on this. I am fortunate that all the people I surround myself with are kind and have an optimistic view. This was not always the case and I have left some (sort of toxic) folks behind. I’ve never regretted this decision. Regarding information, I think reading that article would have been pointless. Those articles can be read if a person has gained back all their weight and want to know why, but to read it at a goal weight is emotional sabotage.

ps

I weigh 291.5, my prior weight was 319. I am being inspired by your amazing achievement. Thank you for your book and blog.

Joanne

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jancd • July 10, 2008 at 1:33 am

I must admit, I have commented on some blogs because they just seemed to scream–praise me, love me,recognize me. Now when I see this, I will go to my happy place and sit there silently.

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Ellen • July 10, 2008 at 1:41 am

Yay for life filters! PQ, excellent post!

My friends and I call them our “hedges” we build around ourselves and our families. Yes, there’s a lot of crap out there — people with negative attitudes and opinions, jerks, etc., as well as the truly horrible stuff that goes on in areas all around the world. While we acknowledge that this stuff is happening, we feel it is better to focus on what we are doing to make a positive difference — be it in our own lives or in the world. If we are happy with the impact we are having (again, in our own lives or in our communities and the world at large), then F*&# whatever other people are going to say as a critic. Maybe that’s a hard-line stance, but honestly, we do create our own realities. It doesn’t mean we are ignoring things, just choosing how we are going to participate.

Cheers for your boldness! I tried to buy your book tonight at the Barnes & Noble near my house and apparently none of the local stores have it in stock. WTF?! I think because it is so popular. I will be buying it online tonight, instead :)

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Anna • July 10, 2008 at 2:20 am

I couldn’t agree more with that attitude.

It’s your life, live it the way you want to.

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Janet • July 10, 2008 at 2:23 am

I can’t be certain but I seem to remember when I had read Jen’s post that it was positive overall. So it puzzled me when I saw that PQ couldn’t get past the word “disappointed.” For me, I’m not interested in reading offensive words like “fuck” and “shit” which are unnecessary to making a point so I’m with you, Jen, when it comes to moving on.

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EG • July 10, 2008 at 9:53 am

That’s just the reason I started listening to country music. I realized that without even thinking about it, negative music was affecting me. Not to say that I only listen to country music now, just that I understand controlling inputs into our lives.

Don’t know what leptin is (no thanks, that’s okay, don’t want the link) but I sure do appreciate your honest blog.

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Nice Jewish Fat Girl • July 10, 2008 at 10:52 am

I wasn’t going to look at that article, but I finally caved. Read about half of it and then quit. Do I need this? All that article did was implant a terrible thought in my mind- that even if I do lose weight, I won’t keep it off. I just hope it doesn’t become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I’m with you- filtering out the negativity is the way to go.

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scone • July 10, 2008 at 12:18 pm

I’ll bet the “sex orgy” title brought in some interesting… traffic. ;)

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Ashley • July 10, 2008 at 1:50 pm

Similar to the way a lot of you who have read the article (which I have not) say that while it’s depressing the last paragraph is encouraging, I will add my two cents and say that I have read Rethinking Thin in its entirety, and that it has some encouraging parts as well. It is also extraordinarily well-written and gives you some interesting things to think about such as why variation in certain physical characteristics (like height) is considered totally normal and expected and yet other characteristics (like weight) are expected to fall within a very narrow range. It also highlights some studies showing that certain behaviors generally associated with being overweight (emotional eating, for example) actually occur with equal statistical frequency in the average weight population as the overweight population. I am trying to maintain about a 30% weight loss, and I found stuff like this encouraging, not discouraging. As in, no, it’s really not going to completely ruin my health and happiness if I eat a pack of Oreos when I’m PMSing because lots of average weight people do this too.

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Different Jen • July 10, 2008 at 2:02 pm

I don’t understand how anyone could be disappointed with your achievement. Everyone is built differently and should be whatever weight they are comfortable with. As someone who is 5’0″ I should weigh about 110 pounds. If I actually did weigh that I would look like I was sick. I think you look great just the way your are. Because you no longer care about a random number you picked years ago is not something anyone should criticize and you absolutely have the right to tell people that you don’t care about their opinion.

What do they say opinions, that they are like a**holes everyone has one and they all stink.

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Natalie C @ Something Beautiful or Humorous • July 10, 2008 at 3:09 pm

I recently listed to an archived podcast of a public radio show called Radio Lab, where they talked about how they’ve done scientific studies about how people who lie to themselves are happier and tend to be high achievers, athletes, etc.

I love the goal of “lying” to myself more often. I’m TOTALLY with you, PQ!!!

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Princess Dieter • July 10, 2008 at 6:32 pm

People do what people need to do. I respect that in Jennette and others. We all need boundaries. I have friends who can’t read murder thrillers (they get upset) or read articles on specific topics cause they find it depressing.

I like reading even the negative dieting stuff, cause it just reminds me that I gotta be strong if i want to get to the success of people like Jennette–who is a success!!!! She doesn’t disappoint me one whit. She is inspiring and realistic.

Jen I thought THOUGHT she was being positive, but what I felt was a sort of weird “ownership.” I bought your book, I own you. That’s creepy. Jennette wrote a book about her journey. It didn’t lie. And I don’t own Jennette. I just own her book. She’s been honest here, on her blog, about her regain and her happy weight and showed her scale with her feet and her new number. How does that amount to hypocrisy? I dunno.

But we do what we gotta to keep our minds clear and our emotions up. And if that means skipping comments, so be it.

Feel free to skip mine. :D

The Princess

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victoria • July 10, 2008 at 7:08 pm

Oh, and another thing — one of the other things about your realistic and self-respecting blog is how you redefined your goal weight to be 180 — a weight that you can sustain, that makes you you look and feel great, that is healthy for you. You ignore the fashion magazines and refuse to hate yourself. This really is such an inspiration.

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Sammantha • July 10, 2008 at 9:28 pm

It seems that you’re embracing the notion that: Ignorance is Bliss…

But by being ignorant of TRUE health and weight issues you’re PERPETUATING lies, not even myths, but lies, untruths about why being fat for many is not a matter of choice but a matter of complicated biological nuances that in the end mean little to determining health.

Sorry, don’t mean to sound like a hater, but one thing is to keep your own head in the sand about the issue of fatness and another thing is to actively promote junk diet theories…

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Susan • July 10, 2008 at 11:01 pm

One more thing:

All day, I keep thinking, maybe there was some kind of communication mix up with your friend and George actually *did* go to a geek camp filled with drugged out orgies…

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BB • July 11, 2008 at 12:26 am

After reading your blog I realized that I guess I’ve been doing the same thing with bad news or even very negative people. It didn’t even dawn on me until I read your story. Well, good for all of us that are trying to maintain some kind of happy world. We can edit our own lives as we see fit.

PS Loving the book!

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Heather • July 11, 2008 at 10:02 am

Excellent post!!!!!!!!!

Now, I’m wondering if you read my comments when you first started running but were never going to be one of those “runners” that you sure were… because I was right. :D

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Rene • July 11, 2008 at 7:10 pm

You rock! I think that this is a really good idea! I myself find that the times I choose to live in MY fantasy world are the times I am a much happier and optomistic person. And the world needs happier oprtimistic people. ;-)

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Julia • July 12, 2008 at 9:33 am

I do that in my everyday life too. The other day I was thinking about something while I was paying at a cash register. When I realized I wasn’t paying attention I said to the saleslady “I’m sorry, I sort of live in my own little world sometimes”.

She smiled at me and said “Lucky you!”

Do whatever makes you happiest. Certainly ignoring negative comments has to be in the top ten.

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Kendra • July 13, 2008 at 1:27 pm

I think it’s admirable that you even browse all the comments left on your blog, that’s a big pile of email you must go through!

Editing what we read through and focus on is a really important thing and something I am trying to be better at. The key to being open minded is not stopping to read through every single opinion, it’s knowing when it’s important to listen so that you can do the right thing in real life. I think that reading a lot of negative material will more likely just put a person in a negative mood.

So cheers to you— I too think that optimism is a key to success.

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RG • July 13, 2008 at 10:39 pm

I’ve spent a few days mulling over this article. It’s an interesting point of view, and not one I can completely agree with. We’ve been having a similar kind of debate about a different issue; I’m in a profession where 10% “succeed” at reaching a certain level; not clear where people who don’t succeed land. Very few (if any) people entering realize what their odds are. The debate has been about publicizing those odds.

We don’t want to lose qualified candidates because of the scary stat, but I’ve personally seen people waste time/energy on this career with very little chance of success. It’s years of their lives that would better be spent elsewhere. And yet, I’ve also seen people who, don’t want to hear what they see as pessimism. There’s some realistic data that I think would help them, like the 10% number or time-frames for intermediate steps. If the process is expected to take 10 years but you take 2 years to do the initial step that most do in 2 months, are you prepared to step up your effort level?

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Flora • July 14, 2008 at 3:55 pm

That reminds me of my husband’s story about backpacking through Eastern Europe with a friend of his when they were students. One day they met another American student in their hostel and spent the evening partying with him. The next day they were rushing to make their train out of town, it wasn’t looking good, and all their new friend could say was “You’re never gonna maaaaaaaake iiiiit!” Well, they did make the train, and that line is now our little in-joke for dealing with pointless naysaying like that leptin article. Good for you for ignoring it. Rock on, PastaQueen.

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sl • July 16, 2008 at 1:31 am

I really enjoyed this post because I find myself thinking about this topic a lot. On one hand, you do own this blog completely and can do whatever you want with it. On the other hand, a part of me is screaming because I’m the type of person who HAS TO KNOW EVERYTHING. I have to know the good, the bad, and dig into every dark little corner. So I visit war museums, memorial parks, watch documentaries, read, read, read everything. Because, after looking at all the tragedies that’s happened due to ignorance, I can’t not look. I have to feel the shame of every tragedy so that I will never let myself look the other way.

Translated to dieting terms: I have to look at every package label, weight myself every morning…etc. I actually found this post interesting because I LOVE your post (one of your first) about looking at yourself in photos and videos, because as humans we rarely see our true selves (physically and figuratively).

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Linda • July 21, 2008 at 8:53 am

I read the article you are afraid of, and it said that replacement leptin can help reverse the changes caused by falling leptin levels. Knowing this can help scientists create strategies that will make it easier for people to lose weight and keep it off in the future. They are exploring that now. That’s another way of seeing this in a positive light.

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Marti • October 4, 2008 at 6:44 pm

I agree, wholeheartedly. We have to take responsibility for what we put into our heads, but I also think we should have those close to us that we trust to keep our thoughts, delusions, fantasies in check. A place to be safe, knowing we won’t be judged and at the same time will stop us from driving our cars off the cliff.

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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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