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The amazing interview with DietGirl – Part Deux

There is a girl who blogged about losing half her weight and wrote a book about it – and she’s not me! As far as I know there are only two people on the planet who fit this description, me and Shauna Reid, aka DietGirl (although she’s not a diet). I interviewed her last year when her aptly titled book The Amazing Adventures of DietGirl was released in the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. I imported a copy for myself, but only received it after the interview, leaving a fair amount of questions unasked.

Now Americans have a chance to buy Shauna’s book without paying for .01% of a tank of jet fuel because it’s recently been released in the USA. Or you can read to the end of this entry for details on how to win a copy. I checked in with Shauna to see how things have been going since she became a published author and how she went from blog to book in the first place.

PastaQueen:

Each edition of your book has featured a different cover. The British version has a cartoon of you in a superhero outfit. The Norwegian version features candies spelling out the title of the book. The American version has a picture of a curled-up tape measure. And presumably the German edition will have a different cover. What’s it like seeing your book dressed up in several different outfits? Do you have a favorite?

The US version The UK version The Norway Version

Dietgirl:

It’s a hoot seeing my ramblings translated into foreign languages but I feel bad for the poor translators. I took 5.5 years and 90,000 words to lose my weight – I’m sure they must have thought, “Just put down the chocolate and HURRY UP!”

As for the covers, I like the Norwegian one because those candies look 3D. I can’t understand the words between the covers but I like gawking at those candies. I’ve also really grown to love the American one – the cover paper has a lovely texture and I can’t stop stroking it. It’s a total fingertip massage.

PastaQueen:

I loved the flip animation that appeared in the lower right corner of your book and was happy to see it’s included in the American version too! How did that come about?

Dietgirl:

The flip-animation was a last minute brainwave by my UK editor, just before the book went to print. I haven’t read my book since it was published but I have done the flip thing about 1000 times!

PastaQueen:

What was the writing process like for the book? How long did it take?

Dietgirl:

The writing took fourteen months all up. I started writing the book in April 2006, squeezing in an hour after work each evening. Then in August 2006 when I was a quarter through a first draft, I found out that non-fiction book deals are done on proposals, not finished manuscripts. So I started working on a proposal instead. In September I got in touch with Transworld, who became my UK publisher. They gave me until June 2007 to finish the manuscript. It was like the biggest school project of my life – endless procrastination, brief bursts of inspiration; then a last-minute rush to the finish!

I have author friends who are also mothers and they liken the process to childbirth: it hurts like hell at the time, but the moment your little darling pops out into the world, the euphoria blocks out all the pain!

Basically the book took over my life in the months before the deadline – it was all I thought about. I didn’t hear a word anyone said to me; I was lost in Book World, re-writing sentences or freaking out about how/if a crappy chapter could be saved. I was snappy and weepy and couldn’t sleep. The best ideas always came at 3AM as I dropped off to sleep. I’d write on a notepad in the dark, so not to wake my husband. In the morning there’d be a blur of indecipherable scrawl which I’d spend half a day trying to interpret, so the snappy weepy insomniac cycle would start again! I look at the finished book today and still can’t comprehend how all that angst and Word documents added up to a finished product.

PastaQueen:

How did you decide to use a journal format for your book?

Dietgirl:

I spent the first two months trying to write Dietgirl novel-style, but it just didn’t work. I wanted the reader to feel like they were right there beside me as the action unfolded, witnessing the many ups and downs. The transformation was more about my mind than my body, so the journal format helped show how my thoughts changed over time.

PastaQueen:

It can be difficult going from a blog to book. Do you have any advice for bloggers who aspire to be published authors?

Dietgirl:

Write, write, write like the wind! Writing a book is a lot like losing weight: people are often waiting for the “right” moment to start. But there’s no right moment; just A moment when you pick up the pen or plop your fingers on the keyboard and begin. Don’t worry if what you write is complete rubbish – just get into the habit of doing it regularly. A blog is a great way to explore different styles, hone your voice and figure out what it is you want to say.

Once you’ve got your book or proposal done, find out which agents or publishers cover your kind of genre or topic so you don’t waste your time barking up the wrong tree. I recommend a great book called Is There a Book in You? by Alison Baverstock, which gives realistic and practical advice about the writing and publishing process.

Overall I’d say be passionate and patient with your writing, and try not to let any rejections destroy your soul! Let them fuel your determination :)

PastaQueen:

What was the editorial process like? What was your relationship like with your editor and your publishing house?

Dietgirl:

My original UK editor was great – she was there from the proposal stage to publication. I loved the editorial process because by the time my manuscript was due, I was so bloody sick of writing about myself . I was all, “Take it, please! Do your worst. Be ruthless!”

The changes we made were subtle but they really sharpened up the book. Nothing like a fresh pair of eyes!

PastaQueen:

What was the book promotion process like for you, particularly since you did it while working a full time job?

Dietgirl:

It was madness! My boss quit right before my book came out, so I was doing two full-time jobs and promoting the book at the same time. I was sneaking into empty offices to do phone interviews between meetings. But it was a fantastic experience. I was lucky enough to do a photo shoot with ELLE magazine, radio sessions at the BBC in London and even flew to Dublin to do interviews and drink Guinness with my Irish publicist. For someone who grew up on a farm in the middle of Nowhere, Australia it was surreal and unforgettable. If I ever have grandkids I’ve got a nice stock of stories to bore them with!

PastaQueen:

Have you received any particularly memorable emails or letters since your book came out?

Dietgirl:

It’s humbling to read letters and find that your ramblings somehow inspired people to make changes in their own lives. One woman even left a crappy marriage and decided to go traveling round the world! Another reader sent me some tea after reading about my tea obsession. It was her own special blend of leaves and she even sewed her own tea bags! It was delicious.

PastaQueen:

It was interesting to see what was “Americanized” for the US release of your book and what was not. For instance, “stones” and “kilograms” were converted to pounds, but they left the Australian/British sizing of clothes the same. I was happy to see they kept many of your familiar adjectives, like “lardy,” and that your mother is still your “mum” and not your “mom.” What was the Americanization process like?

Dietgirl:

For the US HarperCollins edition, my editor Jeanette Perez was fab – least of all because she didn’t want to change the book! I’d heard nightmare stories from British authors saying the life and blood had been drained from their precious words but mine barely changed at all. British crisps became American chips, but that was fine by me because I’m Australian and we call them chips anyway!

PastaQueen:

Now that you’ve been through the process of writing a book, is there anything you wish you’d known beforehand that you know now?

Dietgirl:

I don’t think it would have been half as much fun if I’d known what was in store. I’ve lived on adrenaline and panic for about two and half years now – life has never been so exciting! But seriously, I wish I’d done some sort of media training so I’d have felt more confident and prepared for promoting the book. I still feel uncomfortable with tooting my own horn… but if you don’t toot, nobody hears about your book :)

PastaQueen:

How is your life is different now that you’ve published a book?

Dietgirl:

Life goes on much the same – I still work full time and do all the same things. Sometimes I almost forget I ever wrote it! But I reckon the greatest thing about having a published book is that it takes on a life of its own and travels on without you. I’ve had emails from people saying they found the book in Dubai and Singapore and my hometown library back in Australia and that kind of thing makes my day, because I didn’t do anything… I’m just here sitting on my butt at the office, staring into space, and that book is moseying around all over the place. I feel very lucky.

Thanks, Shauna, for taking the time to thoughtfully answer my questions! Now, about that free book…Today Shauna is appearing on every radio station in America (and a couple in Canada). Please pray for her and hope the telephone cord is long enough to stretch to the bathroom and the fridge, otherwise she might not survive. To win a free copy of the book, please leave a comment on this entry by 11:59pm on Friday, January 9th with the title of a song you think the DJs should dedicate to Shauna. A winner will be randomly chosen. US entrants only please.

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

Karen • January 6, 2009 at 8:20 am

“Saved the best for last”.

Looking forward to reading a second book about losing half your ass or arse in this case!

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Cheryl D. • January 6, 2009 at 8:47 am

“Shining Star”

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Princess Dieter • January 6, 2009 at 8:52 am

“Skinny Girls” by Alan O’Day

It’s perky and a fat-blasting superheroine can fly at a good clip to it. :D

:)

The Princess

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Jen W • January 6, 2009 at 9:01 am

“Rock Your Body”

Tehe

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Jac • January 6, 2009 at 9:20 am

“I’m just a girl”

by No Doubt

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Amanda • January 6, 2009 at 9:23 am

“Fat Bottomed Girls” by Queen

Jennette, I’m reading your book now, it’s featured on my blog this week. Check it out!

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PastaQueen • January 6, 2009 at 9:26 am

@Amanda – Thanks for featuring me, Amanda! I hope you enjoy the book.

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Rachel • January 6, 2009 at 9:28 am

I think the DJ should dedicate “I Will Survive” to her because she’s done such a great job of pushing through no matter what!

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Marie • January 6, 2009 at 9:40 am

I just recently discovered theses blogs, about losing weight, and I love it. It’s such a good motivation! It’s really inspiring.

Regarding your giveaway, I was wondering if Canadians can enter too.

Keep up the good work! :o)

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Jill • January 6, 2009 at 9:43 am

I”m going to go with Big Country by Big Country.

I love love love this song and get really proud and pumped whenever I hear it.

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BrightAngel • January 6, 2009 at 9:46 am

I did it my way.

by Frank Sinatra

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Karoline • January 6, 2009 at 9:50 am

“Viva la Vida” by Coldplay, since the literal translation of the title is “live the life,” which is exactly what she is doing!

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Stephanie M. • January 6, 2009 at 9:56 am

“Weigh” by Phish.

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WILLIAM BASTIAN • January 6, 2009 at 9:59 am

SUPERMAN–

WRITTEN BY RAY DAVIES AND PERFOMED BY THE KINKS

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psychsarah • January 6, 2009 at 10:06 am

I can’t win, because I’m in Canada (I got to read the UK version of the book months ago-yeah for the commonwealth!) but I thought I’d be silly and suggest “I come from a land down under” Congrats to DG! She totally rocks!!

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Dawn • January 6, 2009 at 10:06 am

Beautiful by Christina Aguilara

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scfrogprincess • January 6, 2009 at 10:22 am

I think they should dedicate “I Feel Good” by James Brown to Shauna.

It is pretty cool to have three different covers like that for the book!

Thanks for the opportunity of a free book!

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Marie • January 6, 2009 at 10:26 am

I think they should dedicate the song “I love myself today” from Bif Naked to DG.

:o)

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PastaQueen • January 6, 2009 at 10:28 am

@Marie – Sorry, Marie. I am not mailing the book and it is open just to US people.

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Kim • January 6, 2009 at 10:33 am

You’re the Inspiration – Pete Cetera

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Ellie • January 6, 2009 at 10:42 am

How about Cracker’s “I Ride My Bike”? Although it doesn’t talk about a chain flying off. Hee.

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Angie Burchfield-Solis • January 6, 2009 at 10:47 am

Jennette, as per usual, you rule! I received Shauna’s book on New Years Eve, (I had pre-ordered it from Amazon) and I devoured it in 3 days. (pardon the eating reference) It is fabulous! You and Shauna both have described the process in two totally different, but complelely hilarious ways.

So needless to say, I don’t need to win a copy, but I still want to vote for:

“Lose Yourself” by Eminem

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Jennifer • January 6, 2009 at 10:55 am

The first thing that popped into my head was I will Survive, but that just seems so cliche.

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Nicky • January 6, 2009 at 11:34 am

The Best is Yet to Come.

Thanks for your blog and your book!

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Suzanne Appel • January 6, 2009 at 11:36 am

“Celebrate Good Times” by Kool & Gang

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debby • January 6, 2009 at 11:37 am

Simply the best. I think I used this song on another blog, but that’s all I can think of right now!

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ben's mom on a diet • January 6, 2009 at 11:39 am

Get Ready (cuz here I come) – by fergie. I’m not a Fergie fan per se, but that song always makes me move my butt on the treadmill…

Great interview!

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Quix • January 6, 2009 at 11:42 am

I’ll have to pick “Control” by Poe. It’s all about taking control – and if I play that song enough times I feel ready to conquer EVERYTHING. ;)

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Sarah Fowler • January 6, 2009 at 11:45 am

All or Nothing, by Athena Cage

I can’t wait to get a chance to read the book!

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Amy • January 6, 2009 at 11:47 am

What about ‘Changes’ by David Bowie? To me, the song sounds like a personal reflection about how some things have changed, and others haven’t. Weight loss certainly has had that effect on my outlook of myself, and how I think others see me.

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sarah • January 6, 2009 at 11:48 am

sexy back by Justin Timberlake!

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elife • January 6, 2009 at 11:53 am

I’m going old school with Haddaway’s “Life will never be the same.”

Great interview!

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Annie • January 6, 2009 at 11:53 am

“Gotta Be” by Desiree.

Great job on your weight loss!

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Neena • January 6, 2009 at 12:00 pm

“Walking on Sunshine”! (woo woo, and don’t it feel good!)

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Kimberly • January 6, 2009 at 12:03 pm

I can’t wait to read it. I ordered a copy from Amazon on Sunday night.

I love reading the experiences of those that have been there and done the impossible. It helps me in my own journey (is there another word for this process? I use that one an awful lot).

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Megan • January 6, 2009 at 12:06 pm

How about “Flashdance… What a Feeling.” Take your passion, make it happen…

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Emily • January 6, 2009 at 12:07 pm

“Sexy Results” by MSTRKRFT. SO much fun to run to, and the title speaks for itself! I’d love to win this book, can’t wait to read it!

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Sheila • January 6, 2009 at 12:09 pm

“Diamond Girl”, changed to “Dietgirl”!

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Denise • January 6, 2009 at 12:10 pm

Superwoman by Alicia Keys :-)

Hey Jennette – I saw your book in Barnes & Noble yesterday. I was 3 chapters in before I realized I must buy it and bring it home before the clerks start giving me the evil eye. It’s inspiring me to get back on track with my own weight loss goals!

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girliefriend • January 6, 2009 at 12:19 pm

“I Can” by Johanna Stahley

I can if I think I can!

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Tiffany Stevenson • January 6, 2009 at 12:26 pm

“Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” by Fleetwood Mac

(It’s the first thing that popped into my head and you did say you were picking randomly, right?)

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MaryFran • January 6, 2009 at 12:39 pm

“Feelin’ Stronger Every day!”

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Becca • January 6, 2009 at 12:44 pm

I would love to read this book. I’ll put it in my Amazon cart in case I don’t win.

DJ dedication – “I Want it All” by Queen.

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fat bridesmaid • January 6, 2009 at 1:04 pm

I pick “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey!

Awesome interview ladies! Two thumbs way up!

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Maggie • January 6, 2009 at 1:08 pm

I want one!

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Suzie • January 6, 2009 at 1:33 pm

“Big Girl You Are Beautiful” by Mika

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muzna • January 6, 2009 at 1:36 pm

“Diva” by beyonce

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Erin • January 6, 2009 at 1:43 pm

I can see clearly now – Jimmy Cliff

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Kathy • January 6, 2009 at 2:11 pm

‘Cuz I can – by Pink

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Karen B. • January 6, 2009 at 2:27 pm

The theme from Rocky.

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emi • January 6, 2009 at 2:47 pm

dedicated to you & Shauna,

WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS by queen

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Kristan • January 6, 2009 at 2:54 pm

“Let the River Run” – Carly Simon

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Lindsey • January 6, 2009 at 2:56 pm

“Working in the Coal Mine” by Lee Dorsey… day to day life, hard work.

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Melissa • January 6, 2009 at 2:58 pm

‘Not going back’ by Eli

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Esmeralda • January 6, 2009 at 3:06 pm

absolutely and hands down the rocky theme.

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lori • January 6, 2009 at 3:18 pm

‘Brick House’… of course!

:-)

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amy • January 6, 2009 at 3:40 pm

Feeling Good by Nina Simone

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Liz • January 6, 2009 at 4:14 pm

Sounds weird but RuPaul’s “Supermodel (You Better Work)” is great. I love working out to it, no matter what machine I am on…and it sorta sums up the dieting wars and how you feel when you have accomplished a goal (aka strutting your stuff and tooting your own horn)

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Chrissy • January 6, 2009 at 4:14 pm

Cry for you (Never see me again) by September

To tell those fat pants… You’ll never see me agaiiiiiiiiiiiiinnn

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cms • January 6, 2009 at 4:34 pm

“you’re just what I needed” by the cars

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Ashley • January 6, 2009 at 4:46 pm

“So What” by Pink. This is a great workout song, and always makes me feel better when I feel like the rest of the world is comprised only of super models.

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Calidaho • January 6, 2009 at 5:18 pm

Sea Lion by Feist–

This is a song which was originally written in the 1930s as a dittie to keep time for rope jumping (think of Cinderella, dressed in yella). I imagine getting the book done and promoting it was hectic and hard to keep pace.

The rhythm to the song goes “She likes coffee, she likes tea” which is appropriate for our tea loving Brit who is coming to coffee crazed America.

There is a darker edge about “killing the man” but maybe that could just be the fat she was offing!

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Ms. Turtle • January 6, 2009 at 5:19 pm

I really enjoyed reading this interview—great questions, and DG was D-lightful as always. I won’t enter the contest because I already bought the book, but I will suggest that the DJ dedicates “Drop Dead Gorgeous” by Republica to Shauna, because it’s badass and so is she.

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skaakiko • January 6, 2009 at 5:22 pm

“Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor. You can accomplish anything with that song!

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Liz B. • January 6, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Awesome interview PQ! One would think you’ve done this a million times!

“Gonna Fly” (Rocky Theme) or “Greatest Love” Whitney Houston

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Liz B. • January 6, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Awesome interview PQ! One would think you’ve done this a million times!

“Gonna Fly” (Rocky Theme) or “Greatest Love” Whitney Houston

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Liz B. • January 6, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Awesome interview PQ! One would think you’ve done this a million times!

“Gonna Fly” (Rocky Theme) or “Greatest Love” Whitney Houston

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Liz B. • January 6, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Awesome interview PQ! One would think you’ve done this a million times!

“Gonna Fly” (Rocky Theme) or “Greatest Love” Whitney Houston

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Liz B. • January 6, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Awesome interview PQ! One would think you’ve done this a million times!

“Gonna Fly” (Rocky Theme) or “Greatest Love” Whitney Houston

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Tiffany • January 6, 2009 at 5:39 pm

Lots of great suggestions…. I like Beautiful- Christina Aguilera

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Andrea • January 6, 2009 at 5:52 pm

Freebird…

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dietgirl • January 6, 2009 at 6:22 pm

@Calidaho – That is brilliant, with a touch of retro class! :)

lovin’ these tunes, your readers have good taste PQ

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John's Weight Loss Blog • January 6, 2009 at 7:23 pm

Great follow-up interview!

I’m thinking “Always With Me, Always With You” by Joe Satriani.

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Melissa • January 6, 2009 at 7:42 pm

I’ve been wanting to read this (and your book!) for awhile… too bad new books are not in my budget right now!

“stronger’ by B.Spears came to mind first!

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Meg • January 6, 2009 at 8:12 pm

As a long time reader of Shauna’s blog, I’m incredibly stoked that her book is being released in the U.S.

Great interview ^_^

-Meg

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Liz B. • January 6, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Awesome interview PQ! One would think you’ve done this a million times!

“Gonna Fly” (Rocky Theme) or “Greatest Love” Whitney Houston

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Katie R • January 6, 2009 at 11:44 pm

The classic song “Pretty Woman” would be quite fitting for Shauna :)

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Theresa • January 6, 2009 at 11:53 pm

I’m Lucky by Joan Armatrading. An old (oldie) but goodie.

Great interview.

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Mary • January 7, 2009 at 12:25 am

Scotland the Brave!

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Inny • January 7, 2009 at 4:00 am

Unwritten by Natasha Beddingfield

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Vanessa Richins • January 7, 2009 at 5:11 am

Rupaul – Looking Good, Feeling Gorgeous

It’s a fun song, indeed. Thanks for the contest – your book was ahhhmmaaazing and I’d love to read a similarly great book.

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Amanda • January 7, 2009 at 11:44 am

@PastaQueen – I am loving your book so far. My weight currently is 302 and i am trying to get down to 200 before I start to try to have children.

But seeing you at 180ish and still slimming down has given me so much inspiration. I have been fat for so long, you kinda get used to the idea of always being the fat girl. Even though losing 100 pounds is an amazing feat (that i know i can accomplish as you did) I would still weigh 200 and be considered obese based on my BMI. But you have given me the courage to go further, and really allow myself to think i could be the skinny girl once and for all.

All the things you discuss in your book: avoiding the image of yourself in the grocery store security cameras, being judged by the grocery clerk by what you have in your cart, supporting the fast food industry with all those dollars you have spent through and window… I have done. It’s like you have already written the story of me. But I’m glad you did, because i know the ending and i know i can reach my goal of 200 and even further; Just as you did and continue to do.

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Francina • January 7, 2009 at 11:47 am

“How Do I Look?” – Ru Paul

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Maggie • January 7, 2009 at 11:52 am

Annie Lennox – Sisters are doing it for themselves!

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maxie • January 7, 2009 at 12:20 pm

Didn’t read the comments, so don’t know if anyone else suggested this:

Flashdance-what a feeling

That song always makes me feel like I can do ANYTHING!

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Kathy • January 7, 2009 at 12:54 pm

Elton John’s Island girl, easily converted Weird Al stlye to Diet Girl

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Allison • January 7, 2009 at 1:59 pm

My vote for a song for Shauna is “Short Skirt, Long Jacket” by Cake. I figure she probably did use a machete to cut through red tape and lose all the weight she did. :)

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Les~ • January 7, 2009 at 4:15 pm

“Stronger” by Kanye West

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lee • January 7, 2009 at 4:53 pm

“the land down under” by men at work!

love both of you guys!

i’d love to win a book!

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Beth • January 7, 2009 at 5:35 pm

“Weighed Down” by Jars of Clay.

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Lydia • January 8, 2009 at 2:36 am

“Isn’t She Lovely?” —– LOVE that song! Stevie Wonder talking about his little girl, but we’re all lovely in our own way.

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Star • January 8, 2009 at 1:34 pm

I like “eye of the tiger” and i cant wait to read the book

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Robyn • January 8, 2009 at 5:25 pm

“Sweet Escape” — Gwen Stefani

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Shar • January 9, 2009 at 12:52 am

“Beautiful”

Great post!

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Heather • January 9, 2009 at 11:20 pm

“Dancing Queen”

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Laura Brandon • January 10, 2009 at 1:23 am

crap, i’m in mountain time, is it too late???? if not, i want in!! i vote for stronger by britney spears. except, you know, instead of a man she’s leaving behind, it’s the fat.

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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.

Man looking into telescope

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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