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A better version of me

The worst thing about weight loss is that I created a more perfect version of myself. When I reached my lowest weight of 170 pounds and looked in the mirror, my reflection spun herself off into her own world of possibilities where she still exists today. No matter how much I weigh for the rest of my life, I will always know that on one day in November of 2007 I was that thin.

I was never a skinny child. I never had a thin version of me to compare myself too. I only had the morbidly obese Jennette who spun herself into her own world of possibilities, one that exists in a parallel dimension from the skinny version. When I was losing weight, I would compare my current body to the fatter version of me. I could hang out with this fatter friend of mine in my mind where she made me feel skinny in her shadow. Even at 230 pounds I was 140 pounds lighter than the fattest me.

This year I’ve been dealing with chronic pain, the stress of a book release, and a variety of other happenings that are not ready for blogdom. Eating well and exercising shifted from being my top priority to being number four or five in my top ten life priorities, so I gained 20 pounds. On the way down I compared myself to the fattest version of me, but on the way up I compare myself to the thinnest version of me. Instead of seeing myself as 170 pounds lighter, I see myself as 20 pounds fatter.

I know this is silly. I know I’m not obese. I look in the mirror and think I’m pretty. I’m grateful that I can run and squat and cross my legs. I’m in better health than I’ve been for most of my life. But sometimes I resent making a slightly more perfect version of myself. I hate that I judge myself against her. I hate that other people compare me to her. I hate that I know I could be her again if I worked harder or cared more. I hate that she’s out there, existing as a possibility I one day made flesh, but faded out of reality and into the mirror world of what-ifs.

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59 Comments

Charlie Hills • November 18, 2008 at 8:03 am

I remember the first time I lost a good deal of weight (going from 205 to 170) all I could do was look in the mirror and see nothing but flab. I wasn’t imagining it. It was still there. And sure, there was a lot less of it at 170 than at 205. But all I could think was, “This is it? This is what I worked so hard to achieve?” It wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns when I hit goal. I was still … well, I was still me.

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Marla • November 18, 2008 at 8:10 am

Heh. You think gaining back 20 pounds is bad – welcome to AGING, baby, where every single day there is yet another better version of yourself left behind and lost for all time.

(I’m just yanking your chain; getting old isn’t quite THAT bad)

(actually yes it is).

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Helen • November 18, 2008 at 8:46 am

See, the problem is that once we reach our ideal, life interferes darn it!

What you’re now doing is what the rest of us do with pictures of our former thin/younger selves. The only difference is that your picture is only in your head. Use that better version of yourself for motivation! You know you can do it and you’ll feel better in the end.

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Jen • November 18, 2008 at 9:17 am

Oh, honey. I know how you feel. I’ve been there. I lose 100 pounds once. Except, I wasn’t quite where I thought I should be and couldn’t seem to lose any more weight. I got mad and gave up and now I weigh more than when I started. Now? I’d kill to be back at that weight even though it still wasn’t “thin.”

Keep going.

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Deb • November 18, 2008 at 9:28 am

You are more than your weight loss story. You are your unique, wonderful self no matter what you weigh. You will lose whatever you gain when you are ready, just like the first time. You will NOT “gain it all back!” You are still that better version of yourself. We love you no matter what, and I, for one, really appreciate your sharing and insights.

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Cherry • November 18, 2008 at 9:44 am

Weight loss is a battle for life. I know for me, I’ll never ever give up. I’ve been at a standstill for months now. I still workout and try my best with eating well but it’s cyclical. Somtimes, you have other priorities and there’s nothing wrong with that.

I just set a “OMG Reign it in girl” threshold that helps me keep from letting it run wild. I know that at some point, my vigor will be renewed and I’ll be able to knock it down another 20 pounds. Get used to it, hold it down, maybe gain a few pounds and then reign it back it.

It’s frustrating that’s for sure but I know I don’t want my eulogy read and only have it say “Wow, she sure was skinny.” Remember you’re losing weight to live, not the other way around.

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still reading • November 18, 2008 at 10:03 am

Wow, powerful post. I just turned 50, and I hear what Marla is saying. I don’t want to look back at what I’ve lost (youth, firm skin, lovers, a way of life, the list could go on and on) I want to look forward to what this part of my life is offering me..(perspective, wisdom, patience, a new way of life). There are challenges along the way, that never changes. What has changed for me is how I approach them. Oh, this is a long winded way of saying I hear you PQ, hang in there and don’t be too hard on yourself.

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tina • November 18, 2008 at 10:19 am

I think as long as you are aware of your weight gain and happy with yourself you will stay in control. It’s when you pretend it’s not happening that you get in trouble (like me)

Sometimes as a graphic designer I worry about “raising the bar”. If I give someone something really great, that’s my best work ever, they expect that all the time which is a lot of pressure :) I just always try to do my best. Isn’t that all we can really do?

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Jen, A priorfatgirl • November 18, 2008 at 10:30 am

Your grateful that you can cross your legs?!! hehe…me too! The simple things that them skinny girls take for granted!

Jen, a priorfatgirl

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Sheila • November 18, 2008 at 10:42 am

I spent two and a half years losing 50 pounds and the last year gaining 25 of them back. I took the bull by the horns and have dropped 2.5 of them. Yay! Weight control is a life long learning process but worthwhile. I’m healthier and more fit than I was the last time I was at this weight. Two steps forward, one step back IS progress.

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kyle • November 18, 2008 at 10:45 am

Everybody still loves you! And as you can tell we’ve all been there.

I am not jealous of my skinniest self’s body, which was 10 pounds lighter than I am now (please keep in mind that I am a short person so that still feels like a lot of have gained back sometimes). However, I am jealous of what my skinniest self’s body could do. I ran ten to twelve miles EVERY DAY for a whole semester straight. Last weekend I ran five miles and for the first time felt like I might be getting back to that goal of being super fit.

You’ll get your weight loss mojo back, don’t worry, it might take a while though. It’s been a year since I was at my skinny girl weight and probably three years since I was running that much. And I’m just now getting there again. And heck, even if you never do re-lose those twenty pounds, you still can do all the same stuff like run and lift weights and cross your legs that you could do at the skinny girl weight!

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Gigi • November 18, 2008 at 10:57 am

I lost about 120 pounds but a stressful summer full of job related headaches (the market, company mergers, layoffs etc.) caused me to jump on a different eating and less-exercise bandwagon. Its hard to get off of that and back on the right one. I often feel like the “fattest” me again though I certainly didn’t gain 120 pounds since June. Maybe its good that it didn’t take 120 pounds up for me to panic. I’m trying to get my head screwed on right again. Boy it’s not easy.

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Tami • November 18, 2008 at 10:57 am

You are more than your weight. You fought an incredible battle against yourself and you won.

The weight you are now may not be the weight you want to be, but I’ll bet you’re still satisfied. I’ll bet part of you IS still comparing you to the fatter you, is still proud of what you’ve accomplished in making yourself healthy.

Sometimes “healthy” includes mental health, and if you’re constantly agonizing over every pound, you lose some of that.

You’re a smart cookie – you won’t let yourself get back into truly unhealthy habits. A little up and down here and there is healthy, it’s normal, it shows that you know how to let yourself go as well as rein yourself in.

I don’t know if anyone here would ever think “Oh, look at her, gaining all that weight back, tsk, tsk” If they do, shame on them.

You aren’t a weight loss goddess, you’re a human. A funny, quirky, incredibly inspiring human at that.

And I know you KNOW all of that, but sometimes emotions aren’t as smart as brain cells, and sometimes it helps when other people say it to you. Confirms that your brain’s the one who’s right.

Also, I recommend picking up crocheting. I only know a single stitch (aaand I think it’s called the single stitch) and I make blankets. Heavy, colorful, awesomely warm and delicious blankets. They take months to make, and I crochet them mindlessly while I watch movies and tv.

It’s also impossible to snack while crocheting, ESPECIALLY any snacks that get your hands icky. Who wants a lovely blue blanket with orange cheezy poof powder embedded in it?

Gotta find ways to deal with stress that don’t involve eating, which is a real tough one for me. Crocheting is the only thing I’ve found so far, aside from reading books, which I don’t have as much time for as I used to.

Good luck! And remember to forgive yourself (without forgetting).

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Dawn • November 18, 2008 at 11:10 am

I soo get everything you said. Just remember how far you’ve come and don’t ever resent your accomplishments because no matter what size you are you will always be better for having gotten to 170 lbs and knowing what is possible. I think Tina said it best “I just always try to do my best. Isn’t that all we can really do?”. It’s just like you writing your book you wouldn’t want that accomplishment ever taken from you, it’s yours for life. It is part of what makes you who you are now.

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Lyn • November 18, 2008 at 11:11 am

Wow, are you in my head?

Although I am 50 pounds lighter than my heaviest, I am still 14 pounds higher than my thinnest. When I look in the mirror that’s all I can focus on. The extra weight I gained. It makes me sad, and I don’t like being sad. I guess we have to be more accepting, or something…

Anyway, having met you in person let me just say you are right: you’re a beautiful person, and you look fantastic. You are just a really nice person to be around, too. But you know that :)

Hang in there, whatever your struggles, you’ll make it through and create the life you want for yourself. Determination can get a girl a lot of things.

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anonymousreader • November 18, 2008 at 11:32 am

You said: “On the way down I compared myself to the fattest version of me, but on the way up I compare myself to the thinnest version of me. Instead of seeing myself as 170 pounds lighter, I see myself as 20 pounds fatter.”

You have NO idea how much I understand this! And, in talking to others, how common it is.

At my lowest I was 15 lbs lighter than I am now. At my heaviest I was 75 lbs heavier than I am now. Do I currently see myself as 75 lbs thinner? No, I see myself as 15 lbs heavier. And it’s causing me no small amount of mental issues!

The problem, I think, is time. A lot of time has passed. I was not recently 75 lbs heavier—it’s been over five years. So although I can remember being that heavy, I don’t really FEEL it anymore.

But I do remember being 15 lbs lighter, as it was only last year. And (as you’ll agree, I’m sure) at these lower weights 15 lbs makes a really, really big difference. How I look, feel, fit into clothes, etc., has changed greatly.

I am working hard to re-lose these 15 lbs because I am sick of being MORE obsessed with my body and my weight NOW than I was 75 lbs heavier!

I really, really get this.

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Rebecca Hoover • November 18, 2008 at 11:39 am

I think it’s a forever struggle. I have a new love in my life now that didn’t know me when I was fat (not that he can’t see the past, my body tells the tale); he cannot even begin to understand my issues with food. I work out regularly now, more than ever actually, but somehow 10 pounds snuck on (sabotage!) and it freakin drives me crazy, my pants are all too tight and I’m currently refusing to buy more. I will NEVER give up this fight again though, and neither will you. And I know when I’m ready, I’ll deal with those 10 pounds. Afterall, I dealt with 90, and you know if you want to deal with it, you will. Now, if I could only run that half marathon….. ;)

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Jen • November 18, 2008 at 11:39 am

I’m in the same 20 pounds heavier boat. It sucks. I have even skinnier mes to compare myself to, but mostly those are high school and college versions and I try to tell myself that anything before legal drinking age doesn’t count.

No advice (I’m sure you’re SoOOOOO disappointed, because everyone loves advice) but I just want to second that it sucks. All agreed, say “Aye?”

Motion carried. Gaining weight sucks.

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JEM • November 18, 2008 at 11:53 am

Great post. I never thought of it that way before. My thinnest was in 11th grade when I was on a starvation diet. I guess I do subconciously want to be her again and compare myself to what I was.

I also enjoy how honest you are, most people don’t call themselves out when they gain. I think its awesome to be able to read a real person’s journey through maintaince after a huge weight loss. I know its not easy, especially when life is so busy, but I know you will suceed over the long haul.

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Jen • November 18, 2008 at 12:03 pm

I’m sorry sweetie. I know you’ve had a rough year. It doesn’t seem very fair to work so hard and then be “rewarded” (pain) for it like this and then having to be so vigilant about weight on top of it.

Jen

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Kalyn • November 18, 2008 at 12:06 pm

Great post! In my thirties and early forties I taught aerobics and weighed 20 pounds less than I do now, so even though I’m not fat now I understand how you feel perfectly. Hope things will start to improve for you, but I do think you are beautiful just like you are now.

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emi • November 18, 2008 at 12:12 pm

oh man, me toooo. I’m almost exactly 20 lbs over my lowest weight, and i miss it.

i know that if this current weight was my lowest, i’d be happy with it. but I remember how I looked then, and I want that back.

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Amy • November 18, 2008 at 12:23 pm

I can’t really add anything that hasn’t already been said, but I think it’s pretty obvious that we’ve all been some version of there. Much like anonymous, I am currently 10 lbs heavier than my lightest adult self & almost 60 lbs lighter than my heaviest self, and I do not see myself as 60 lbs thinner – but 10 lbs heavier.

I do know, however, that I don’t want to see myself as 15 or 20 lbs heavier, and so I need to pull it together :)

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anji • November 18, 2008 at 1:08 pm

OhhhhhhOhhhhh….. I am wondering if this IS a graphic designer thing! Our obsessive tendancies to search for the perfection but NOT too perfect of a perfection, seeps into our regular life…. the fear of having to continually meet our newest perfect, always there…

“Remember the time you did that such and such? If you could do it again but only better this time!”

I really feel that our obsessive tendancies can both work for AND against us….

anji

aka, Graphiks Diva in a past life and who also gained weight… but a lot more than you!… with a chronic injury. I’m glad you noticed it at 20 pounds and not 100 pounds later like me!

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jennywenny • November 18, 2008 at 1:35 pm

Gosh, that is so true. I’m trying to hold on to the fact that I’m strong and healthy and that I have a great life, but its really hard. I think everyone lives with the idea of more perfect version of themselves waiting in the wings, whether it is a much thinner one or not.

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Esmeralda • November 18, 2008 at 1:42 pm

I have one of these too, and sadly, she’s TOO thin- but she is still the version that I idealize.

I don’t know if you’ve hit a universal nerve- but I would bet dollars to doughnuts you have.

I find myself shifting beween “I’ve lost 55lbs” to “I am 40lbs heavier than I was then” even though I am now in the normal weight range.

It’s a shify line, and there’s black ice all over the road. Be careful or you’ll find your bum bruised beyond recognition.

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Ginny • November 18, 2008 at 2:20 pm

It sucks that it’s so hard. I, too was never a skinny child, and the image that I compare myself to is one I achieved so unhealthily in my later years. (Cigarettes and caffeine is not a physician approved diet!) It just feels like sometimes life gets in the way.Hang in there, PQ!

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cloudy • November 18, 2008 at 2:32 pm

Beautifully said. Good luck with everything you have going on. I am ALMOST finished with your book and I love it.

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victoria • November 18, 2008 at 2:52 pm

I know exactly what you’re talking about. Since February, I’ve lost 50 lbs. But I still weigh 25 lbs more than my “ideal” weight, a number I last saw on the scale some thirteen years ago. And so even though I’m now a normal weight, and my health and appearance are fine, I still feel inadequate because I’m 25 lbs fatter than the slimmest me.

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Emily • November 18, 2008 at 3:15 pm

I have been following your blog for a couple of months now and this post really, really hit close to home. I’m in the same boat, kinda: I didn’t lose as much weight as you but I did lose a good amount about 4 years ago. And I kept it all off, until the end of last year when I became addicted to my prescription anxiety medicine. I screwed up my metabolism big time! Now I exercise 3-4 times a week (I never exercised before) and eat salad’s like they’re going outta style, but I just can’t lose this weight. It’s frusturating as hell! I know I’m in a better mental state than I was a year ago but damn it if I can’t just look like I did before. It sucks, it really does, but you know what? Be proud that you are one of the very few people who accomplished such a tremendous goal. And I can tell by your personality that you are going to fight back and not just let yourself slip back into your old ways. Sometimes you have to focus on other aspects of your life, they simply become more important, but you can always pick back up where you left off when the time is right. You did it once (lost weight) so you can do it again, right?!?

Whatever you do…don’t forget about the huge support system you have here in cyber space. You have been a huge inspiration to me to get off my ass and get moving again (I could never in a million years run a half marathon!) Stay strong!

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Deanna • November 18, 2008 at 3:40 pm

Yeah, the skinnest version of you might be out there looming in some other sphere, orbit, universe or whatever, but the best, rock-solid, witty, smart, beautiful from outside-in, inside-out is right before our eyes. Does it suck that she’s out there? It sure does, we all our skinnier versions whether its from college, highschool or a year ago what matters most is that she doesn’t get in your head – just realize that you rock, you’ve been there before and can get there again, it’s your decision to do that – and do what you want – and if you don’t than you don’t.

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txdona • November 18, 2008 at 3:57 pm

You took the words right out of my mouth. I’ve been in a funk over weight I’ve gained back the last 5 months and I cant seem to get a handle of it! It was insightful to read your post. :) It’s good to know we are all so much the same! I’m trying hard to get back on track so I can end the year on a good note! :) Thanks for sharing!

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anonymous • November 18, 2008 at 6:13 pm

What an incredibly well-written and honest post. Thank you for sharing that; I think it was probably hard to do so.

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K • November 18, 2008 at 7:17 pm

*hugs you*

I am in exactly the same boat and it is seriously frustrating. I’ve just bought myself some new jeans because realistically, I am not going to embark on serious weightloss efforts for a couple of months (priorities) and I’m not going to punish myself by insisting on being uncomfortable until then. And while I can tell myself that this is a sensible thing to do, the shopping expedition was more unpleasant than any I can recall. Probably I’ve blanked out the memory of trying to find jeans before I lost weight, but it does feel harder knowing that if I’d successfully maintained, there’d be no need for this.

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Tina • November 18, 2008 at 8:01 pm

PQ, Thanks for sharing ALL of your story with us. This and the post for Starbucks is the only thin to bring be out of lurkdom. I, too have been struggling with an extra 15 pounds that I can’t seem to shake. I get really frustrated and want to throw in the towel. The thin me is sometimes looking at me in the mirror – ofcourse I see the big fat me – the thin me is taunting me – I think she even resorts to name calling – that bit*h!

We are all work in progress!!

Tina

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Cari • November 18, 2008 at 8:07 pm

I hear ya. My old Skinny Self haunts me. I am still exercising because it makes me feel good, but lately I just want to eat that damn pizza, damnit, and I’m tired of working so hard to keep my weight down. But I feel so guilty because I know if I kept up, I could look good again. Yet I think I still look good now, I just weigh more. Arrrgh!

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steve@weightlossweapons.com • November 18, 2008 at 8:38 pm

Growing up I was in great shape and never worried about mt weight. I used that “perfect” version of me as my measuring stick for so many years.

Every 5 pounds I gained I’d say come on Steve enough, get it together!! nothing changed. I never got back to that version of me and I don’t want to. My life was different, I was different.

You know what? I’m better now. I may not be the old me but I wouldn’t go back even if I could.

I think it’s important to define what you want right now. Is it really to be that 170 lb women again? If it is you already know what it takes to get there.

I guess it’s a question of how bad do you want it?

Steve

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Lydia • November 18, 2008 at 9:03 pm

Thanks for your honesty. Me, I’ve got a 128-pound college girl in my head. I’ve got pictures. She haunts me, even though at this stage in my life, I know she’s gone for good.

Sometimes it’s tough to sort through what’s achievable and realistic in your life — you mentioned the top ten priorities that you’ve had recently — but you’ve shown such courage and perserverance, you’ll get to where you want to be again. I think we all have a lot of confidence in you.

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Pamela • November 18, 2008 at 9:49 pm

Jennette, I just wanted to send you a virtual hug, because I feel like I am in almost exactly the same situation you are. I’ll be thinking about you! Hang in there!

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cindy • November 18, 2008 at 9:57 pm

Thank you…

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Kathy • November 18, 2008 at 10:25 pm

My “thin me” was four years ago during my divorce. I was so stressed I couldn’t eat. I was not a healthy weight and people thought I was sick. But somehow I thought I looked great, and now no matter what I do or what I lose – it is not enough. That is my ideal. Thanks for sharing. Just keep going – that’s all we can do.

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Code Nutrition • November 18, 2008 at 10:49 pm

I know how you feel! In a way it’s natural to compare to the reference point that will drive the motivation to progress. As long as you don’t beat yourself up about it, just let it motivate. I laughed at some of the comments about getting older. I’ve had a hard time keeping weight off since I hit 30. That’s not supposed to be old, but it sure feels like it. Keep up the good work!

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KateG • November 18, 2008 at 10:51 pm

I totally sympathize – I had lost a fairly large amount of weight and was cruising along near goal, but then I switched jobs and have just a lot more stress in my life in general. And now I’ve regained 20 lbs. I am not happy about it, but I do feel like my more stressful job is actually a better fit for me professionally. So for now I am ok with the tradeoff. I am hoping as I get more used to new responsibilities I will be able to recommit to diet and exercise. But in the meantime, I am not going to beat myself up.

I really hope your headache situation improves soon. I’ve had issues with chronic headaches (now largely managed) and I know how much it sucks.

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s • November 19, 2008 at 12:39 am

i weigh more than i did at my absolute lowest weight, but eventually i realized that i wasn’t happy at that arbitrary low number because i was very sick at my lowest weight. and i’d rather be healthy and weigh a little more than have a small numbered weight.

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Greg • November 19, 2008 at 8:11 am

I liked the thinner you better. … Just kidding! What an honest and thought provoking post. You are an inspiration and no matter what you weigh, you will still be one to many of us on a similar journey. So go easier on yourself. Is your life harder because of the extra 20? I doubt it. Let’s try to forget perfection and go for real. it works every time.

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ToyLady • November 19, 2008 at 8:33 am

You can be pleased. . . but never satisfied.

That’s what my high school marching band director told us. I think I kind of took that a little too much to heart.

I can always do better. Try harder, put in more effort, whatever – I “should” do better.

It’s sort of a blessing and a curse. The blessing part – this is what makes you successful as, well, you. :) It’s driven you to the place you are right now – the weight loss, the cool blog (thanks for that, by the way!), the book – if you didn’t tend to be sort of a perfectionist, you’d never have accomplished all this!

But it’s also a curse. Do you see the gain of a couple of pounds as somehow a failure? It’s not, you know. Merely a . . . shift of focus. You know, rather than the existence (the memory?) of Slightly-Thinner-Jennette being something to resent, what if she is simply a goal that you have proven you can reach? You may not be exactly there right this minute, but you can get there – you’ve done it before, and you can do it again – once you decide to make it a higher priority. For now. . . Thinnest Jennette may just have to wait, that’s all. I’m sure she won’t mind. :)

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Karen • November 19, 2008 at 11:49 am

Oh my god — it’s like you reached into my mind and took my exact thoughts. I also lost a lot of weight about 4 years ago and I’ve mostly kept it off. My lowest weight known was also around 170lbs, though because I’m 5’4″ tall, I was a bit further from my ideal weight than you were (though because of my body shape I looked d@mn good). Anyway, in the last 2 years, I’ve regained about 20 lbs. and now I hover around 190lbs.

I hear what you’re saying about constantly comparing yourself to that thinner self — I looked so great at 170lbs. I was still a good 20 – 30 lbs over my healthy weight, but I looked VERY good. I am still obviously much thinner than I had been 4 years ago when I was almost 270lbs. You’re right in saying that on the way down, you compare yourself to your bigger self and are happy even at 240lbs. But on the way up, you compare yourself to your thinnest self and you feel like a loser.

I have also been dealing with a lot in these past two years — a fulltime, VERY sedentary job, a husband, beginning grad school — but I still feel like you do, like if I only worked harder, was more diligent with what I eat, etc. I could be that 170lb girl again. Granted, that 170lb girl was still in college, had more free time than my current self could even imagine,and no real responsibilities. But still, I feel like a loser.

I keep recommitting myself to losing weight and while I can MAINTAIN my weight, I just don’t feel like I have it in me to LOSE anymore. Will I ever be 170lbs again? Who knows. I hope so, but who knows? I do exercise, but apparently not enough and not as much as my 170lb self did, and I haven’t fallen back to my old, 270lb eating habits, but neither do I have the mental space to eat like my 170lb self. I’m just hungry and I feel fortunate when I can workout for 30 minutes. *sigh*

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Tina • November 19, 2008 at 3:20 pm

I hope you’re hanging in there. Feeling like crap physically seems to be the kryptonite for weight loss. You need to get that straightened out (as frustrating and answerless as it is) in order to get back to your skinny-ass self–if that’s in fact, what you want to do.

I was halfway through a 135 lb weight loss when I suffered an injury that cancelled any workout plans I had. It was originally diagnosed as a torn hamstring, but ultimately determined (months later!) that it was a severely herniated disk that required surgery. I’m still healing and limited to walking as my exercise, but the scale has gradually creeped up the past few months and it scares and frustruates me.

Unfortunately, the weight loss game is never over. Maintenance is the lifelong challenge, but you already have the tools to do it all. Life is just getting in the way for a little bit.

I hope you feel better and the docs figure out what’s going on so you can have some relief.

Thanks for blogging and keeping your life out there even when it sometimes might be more convenient or comfortable not to. (I’ve been reading you book and nearly peed my pants at your description of realizing your mom discovered your blog.)

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BrightAngel • November 19, 2008 at 6:54 pm

For the past 3 years, I’ve been working diligently to maintain inside the same 10 lb range after a large weight loss.

During my lifetime, I’ve lost and regained over 100 lbs three seperate times.

My body wants to regain lost weight,

and I have to continually battle my current appetite and my past behavior patterns to keep weight from coming back on.

This is my experience.

What I learned is that Maintenance is harder than the initial weight-loss.

There is no easy street, no time when the process is over.

I have learned that, for me, maintenance is gaining and losing the same few lbs over and over.

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Helen • November 19, 2008 at 10:41 pm

I TOTALLY FEEL YOUR PAIN (well, maybe not totally since I haven’t written a book and dealt with that attendant stress over gaining…Frances can be more helpful for you with that maybe). I was at my lowest this round (in June) at 170 (yikes, I never type my actual weight!) and am now closer to 180. That makes me feel bad even though I was 260 (at least) at my biggest. That one brief shining moment is always there…a clue, a curse, a goal…but mostly, I think, a WEIGHT. Hope I understand all this one day…

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Helen • November 19, 2008 at 10:41 pm

I TOTALLY FEEL YOUR PAIN (well, maybe not totally since I haven’t written a book and dealt with that attendant stress over gaining…Frances can be more helpful for you with that maybe). I was at my lowest this round (in June) at 170 (yikes, I never type my actual weight!) and am now closer to 180. That makes me feel bad even though I was 260 (at least) at my biggest. That one brief shining moment is always there…a clue, a curse, a goal…but mostly, I think, a WEIGHT. Hope I understand all this one day…

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nolafwug • November 19, 2008 at 11:49 pm

Wow, thanks so much for sharing. I am currently at the lowest weight I have ever been since grade school (135). I am also more healthy and fit than I’ve ever been. But I realize I am lucky and that it is a fragile state.

Tonight we were afraid for a while there that my son had broken his arm. I was rushing around trying to figure out symptoms and insurance and after-hours urgent care. He was crying, his brother was crying, I was trying not to cry. I realized I was hungry and there was no way I had time to cook what I had planned. And I started to think that Doritoes would be just the thing to ease my stress. That’s how easy it is to slide. Life happens.

I did end up grabbing something quick and healthy though. I am trying to figure out ways to keep it together when the you-know-what hits the fan before it actually does. I know I’ve been lucky and it can’t last because life happens. Plus I think I transferred my dang-that-was-stressful-you-deserve-a-treat thoughts from food to stuff. I went to the drug store to get him a sling and bought myself some early Christmas gifts. So I’ll be thin and broke. Oh well, as somebody else said – we’re all works in progress.

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Al Hardy • November 20, 2008 at 6:13 am

I have to keep exercise in my daily regime. I go to the gym every other day because I know that if I don’t I won’t feel as good. So I can sympathize with you when you say you put on weight when losing it slipped down your list of priorities.

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Dee • November 20, 2008 at 2:25 pm

This was my favorite post of yours since I’ve been reading your blog in recent weeks. I also love your book, and this post reminds me why: You have a great deal of insight into how perspective plays a role in how we view our size, and relate that view to our overall sense of self, self-worth, and/or beauty. The 230 lb version of you could fully appreciate how she looked; the post 170 version has momentarily (for some, enduringly) lost that power.

I also like that you consistently make the important point that a healthy lifestyle takes ongoing effort. Monotonous ongoing effort. No one in the fitness world really tells you that perhaps the hardest part of healthy living is maintenance.

I’m glad you drive home this important point, nestled in your unique brand of humor that makes it easier to digest!

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Linda • November 21, 2008 at 11:54 pm

Been there, done that. I lost 100 lbs at one point and gained it ALL back. Every. freaking. pound. But when I was in my late 40s, I decided to try once again. It took 2 1/2 years, but I lost it all, and have kept it off 1 1/2 years so far. Try to live in the day, and not think about 20 lbs. Live one healthy eating day at a time, and don’t look so hard at the finish line.

And getting old? I don’t really remember one day of being hot and firm, but I enjoy the current body that is not in pain when I walk up a couple of steps. I regret some lost opportunities, but I try to live in the now. Even if you weigh 20 lbs. more than you wish, I bet you are more pain-free, and enjoying your life more. Savor that.

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Kimberly • November 22, 2008 at 3:50 pm

You aren’t being silly. You are being human. We all want to be thinner versions of our former selves. And you did it. You achieved the seemingly impossible and that is very hard to let go of, even temporarily. Don’t beat yourself up about it. You will care later on and get back to that former version of yourself when you are ready.

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Melissa • November 22, 2008 at 10:53 pm

I can relate, even though my weight loss wasn’t NEARLY as incredible (I lost 35, and have kept off 25) and these 10 I’ve gained are driving me nuts. I’m torn between loving myself as I am and being happy I am toned and fit … and berating myself for gaining them at all. You’ve come so far, and you’re still you!!!

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Supple Mama • November 23, 2008 at 1:10 am

That is really deep…wow

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Vickie • December 27, 2008 at 10:49 pm

@Gigi -Sometimes it feels like I’m sliding down into a muddy pit and can’t find a place to grab onto. I lost 40 pounds recently and have just regained 12 of them..it’s like trying to stop a train sometimes. It’s good to know others are dealing with the same problems. Thanks for sharing your struggles with the rest of us. We will lose the weight, I know this because we are not satisfied where we are!

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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.

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