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Bye, Bye, Beck and other realizations

I’d like to present my new doorstop!

Beck Diet Solution

I know many of you were waiting to hear about my experiences on week three of The Beck Diet Solution, but after putting off the entry for longer than it would have taken to complete the first three weeks over again, I realized I have no desire to continue the plan. I think it has some merit, but I don’t want to spend that much time thinking about my weight, my food, and my fitness every week. Not right now, anyway.

Beck burnout seems to have occurred to other people before. It makes me wonder if there is a secret chapter in the middle featuring a wonderful surprise. I heard of a software company that offered a free $100 bill to the first person who actually read their terms of service to find the offer. Dr. Beck might give away free ponies in chapter 32! I’ll never know. If you’re looking for someplace to discuss the book, it looks like Prior Fat Girl has a discussion page set up.

After ditching Beck, I read my One More Time in 2010 post again and thought, “Man, I was really fired up! Did you see how fired up I was?!” That’s all good, but I’ve simmered down from the fireworks and transitioned into a slow burn instead. I am content to do it the slow way, or even the super-slow way. I was listening to the Two Fit Chicks podcast this weekend, and Shauna, aka DietGirl, mentioned that she spent five years reaching her goal weight. That made me stop and look at my iTunes for a few seconds thinking, “If it takes me five years to lose fifty pounds, that’s fine. As long as I keep heading in that general direction, I don’t care how much time it takes.”

Back when I hit 235 pounds in 2006, which is a bit higher than my current weight, but not by much, I wrote:

“I could never lose another pound and I would honestly be happy with my body. Wow. There are girls who look 10 times better than I do who wouldn’t be able to say that.”

And amazingly enough, that’s still true. My current size doesn’t limit my lifestyle. I can buy clothes. I can walk around without getting winded. I probably have a higher risk for diabetes and other obesity-related diseases in the long term, but, well, no one’s perfect and I have to die of something. I’m going to hold the line and slowly push towards a lower weight, but it CANNOT be the sole topic on my mind night and day. And lately, it has been on my mind way more than I’d like for it to be.

When I first lost weight, I was doing it for myself, to make my life better. This go round however, it’s been more about other people. There was a man at my old workplace, Joe Anonymous, who had lost a few hundred pounds via weight loss surgery, but had recently gained back seventy of those pounds. A few of my coworkers and I passed him as he got off the elevator. As soon as the doors closed, one person said, “That was Joe Anonymous. He had weight loss surgery, but he’s gained a lot of weight back.” Immediately, I felt sorry for Joe Anonymous, not just because he’d gained back some weight, but because I doubted we were the first group of people to talk about him in the elevator. He wasn’t morbidly obese anymore; he was much thinner, but evidently not thin enough. I didn’t want people to talk about me that way in elevators, focusing only my body and comparing it to how big or small it’s been before.

The only bad thing about my current weight is all the time I spend thinking about what other people think about my weight. It’s a problem caused only by itself, like a snake eating it’s own tail. It’s a cyclical worry cycle, and I’m getting dizzy spinning around and around in my head all the time. I’ve wasted so many hours worrying about food, the scale, what I ate, what I should eat, and nagging myself to exercise, all because I’m worried people might be disappointed about how big I am if they meet me. Aaaaaaah!! It hasn’t been about about me and my health, it’s been about other people.

That’s why when I’ve gained a few pounds, I freak out a bit and feel like I should do something drastic, because WHAT WILL PEOPLE THINK?! When really, I should just chill out, and get over myself. People don’t think of me half as often as I think they do, and people who judge me on my weight aren’t people I want to like me anyway. I should just get my slow burn on and take care of myself for my own sake, not because I want people I don’t know to like me. It’s so easy to make up a reason that I should be ashamed of my weight. At my thinnest, I worried I was still fat. Now that I’m fatter, I worry that I’m not thin. It’s got to stop. There’s no way to win.

Lately, I feel like I’ve been running for mayor of Crazytown. I’d really like to retract my bid for that office because I don’t want to fritter my life away worrying, especially worrying about what people think of me. I don’t want to get ginormous again either, so I’ll always have to monitor my weight to some extent. I wish I could magically maintain my weight without thought or effort, but that’s not going to happen. I’d like to find a happy medium where I’m spending some time thinking about my healthy living habits, but not so much that I wind myself up over it or feel like I have to justify my choices to the rest of the world. I would like my weight to be between me and myself, not me and the world, but I also know it’s my own damn fault for writing a book and a blog about it.

Which is all to say, The Beck Diet Solution isn’t the solution to my problems right now. Chilling out and getting over myself, probably is. If I lose weight, it has to be for me, not for you. You can talk about that in the elevator if you want to.

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

Suzi Lee • March 1, 2010 at 10:01 am

You’re so right…thinking about food and weight can’t be the only thing on our minds. I think that thin people don’t think about it much at all. They are busy with other stuff.

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scone • March 1, 2010 at 10:26 am

People are always talking about other people. If it’s not weight, it’s hair, personal habits, love life, financial life, what have you. IMO it’s a primate thing– chimps gossip about chimps, gorillas gossip about gorillas. Somehow, one has to tune this stuff out to stay sane. If you find a way, please blog about it– I sure haven’t and I’m 53.

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RNegade • March 1, 2010 at 11:19 am

“We probably wouldn’t worry about what people think of us if we could know how seldom they do.”

The more compassion you practice, the less you will concern yourself with the opinions of others. Reserve shame for truly harmful behaviors, like assault or intentional cruelty. For the rest, at the most, a twinge of guilt will do. If you exceed that twinge, if you choose to wallow, it’s like eating way way too much salt; you regret it even as you’re doing it, and your tongue is sore the next day.

In other words, shame is not worth the indulgence.

BTW, you know there are no free ponies, right? Only scary vet bills, boarding fees, stalls to be mucked out…

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Janice • March 1, 2010 at 11:28 am

Good for you! Anything you do (weight loss, giving up smoking, learning a new language) will only work and be satisfying if you do it for yourself.

While our society is appallingly bad at encouraging fitness and healthy eating (“healthy” kids cereal is essentially sugar) it is very good at being judgemental. Get past the headaches, exercise to feel fit and happy and enjoy your life and your each success, big or small.

You go girl!

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Sandi • March 1, 2010 at 11:28 am

So I hardly ever leave comments, but was so inclined to after reading a post, I feel, has been your best yet. You couldn’t have said it better!

I had weight-loss surgery in 2005, dropping from 303 pounds to 180 within 6 months. It was the most amazing time of my life and experienced new emotions and experiences I never knew existed. Sadly, though, I discovered that like many, I had used it as my quick fix to be happy. At the time I was super single and super excited to find a man to marry – which I thought weight loss would bring. And it did. 8 months into my journey I met someone marriage worthy, 2 years ago today he proposed to me and we’ll be married 1 year as of this Saturday. Everything about it wonderful, except for the bad habits I picked up along the way – enough so that I’ve gained back 70 pounds. Though, I’m happy, I’m completely in denial. Embarrased to have put my friends and family through my life-alternating change only to make crazy excuses for myself by putting back on so much weight. And everyday I’m consumed by the fear that I’ve let so many people down. It’s amazing how much of our goals become goals for how other people feel about us, when really, we have no idea what they really feel at all. It’s a challenge – but I wanted to let you know that you’re not alone out there. We all need to learn how to cope with weight. If only there was an easy way! Good luck!

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Morgan • March 1, 2010 at 11:30 am

Dude, I can so relate to all of this. Great post.

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sandy • March 1, 2010 at 11:49 am

Denial, denial, denial…. as a fifty six year old fatty, who has gained and lost over fifty pounds more times than I can remember I think you are on a slippery slope. True, you have to forget about what friends, family and blog readers might think of you, but you need to get a handle on why you are gaining again. I always thouht I ate to comfort myself until an epiphany moment when it occured to me…. I always overeat to punish myself for guilty feelings(real or imagined). Find the real reason why you are overeating.

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Deanna - The Unnatural Mother • March 1, 2010 at 11:49 am

Love it!! Love your honesty! It’s took me over 2 years to lose 55 pounds and I have about 20 more to go to goal (which will be another 2 years I am sure), and ya know what – good for me, do I get a tad jealous when I see someone that lost 30 pounds in 12 weeks, yeah !However this time around I did do it for me not so I can fit in clothes, or wear a bathing suit or to look around a room hoping I wasn’t the fattest in the room (usually I was). I come to realize that slow and steady works for me- and I am happy about it. I get when you lose weight publicily(I was recently published in health mag for 6 months documenting my weight loss) it’s pressure, and if I gain some weight back ya know what I say – talk about me too, I’ll be in good company!

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Mymsie • March 1, 2010 at 11:59 am

(If I’ve already commented about this before, please ignore me. My brain is tired this days.)

I too have the problem of constantly fretting about what other people think of me. My therapist once said to me, “Don’t flatter yourself! Most people are too busy worrying about themselves to notice you.” It helped me a lot to realize that we’re all tied up in our neuroses and so when I walk in a room, not everyone freezes and immediately starts criticizing me. Maybe they’re worried about what I think of them! :)

Anyway good for you for setting reasonable goals. I suspect it will keep you from going up and down over and over, which is what I’ve done.

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AC • March 1, 2010 at 12:01 pm

I had wondered how the Beck was going … you inspired me to pick up the book at the library, but I had feelings similar to yours. I decided to keep what I found good and helpful, and discard the rest. (For me, “good” included the reminder not to be afraid of hunger, the advice about making a list of reasons to lose weight, and the instruction to find a mentor.)

One thing about me is that I’m not an emotional eater. I need to eat more fresh food, and I’m working on exercising more. My doctor is working on getting my thyroid hormone in balance (still adjusting medication).

Another thing is that I have OCD (successfully medicated), and I’m wary of anything that requires an inflexible and inordinate attention to detail. It’s a slippery slope, indeed.

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KitschenBitsch • March 1, 2010 at 12:02 pm

High five on this post. I came to a similar realization (and comfort with my body) a couple weeks ago and wrote about it. The hilarious thing is that as I focus more on being healthy and eating healthy food because it makes me feel good and exercising because it makes me feel good and is fun (I take dance classes that I genuinely enjoy) and refuse to count calories/weigh every morning, I’m seeing more positive results in the wardrobe and waistline sector. Sometimes fixating on what we can have and can’t have just perpetuates the damn problem. You’ve got a really healthy attitude. High five again!

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theantijared • March 1, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Funny true story but when I went to visit my parents in North Carloina last year I bought the Beck book and your book.

I kind of read the Beck Solution I have heard it all before.

I read yours. It was a story i do not hear enough.

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Sancho • March 1, 2010 at 12:16 pm

“You’ll worry less about what people think about you when you realize how seldom they do.” David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest.

Weight loss has to be about your inner sense of yourself, or it becomes yet another trap. The more we put how much we like ourselves into other people’s hands, the less peace we know.

Hang tough!

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Holly • March 1, 2010 at 12:17 pm

I think you have your head on straight. I would say that slower is better (with a few exceptions, like danger of immediate heart attack or something) because you are gradually changing habits and they tend to stick around longer.

You do need to do this for yourself, at a pace that is meaningful and effective for you.

And for those who are admonishing you to discover the “real reason” why you’ve gained weight? My goodness, some people. I hope their intentions are good at least. I’ve read your book, and you seem to have given quite a lot of thought to these and other things. I’ve also been reading your blog for a while, and I know your history of illness and life changes (moving, etc) that might have an impact on your weight. I’m sure you’re aware of them too. I have faith that you know what you need to do *for yourself* to reach your goals. I support you in that. :)

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Rebecca • March 1, 2010 at 12:28 pm

I know what you mean about being too focused on food/weight/excercise/etc.! I am currently writing down all of my food/sleep/activity/etc. so that I can figure out what is triggering my frequent headaches, as well as to figure out why I am overweight and having such a hard time losing said weight. I hate being so focused on what I’m eating and what I’m doing. I’d love to be the kind of person who can just eat food and excercise without a second thought.
By the way…the only thing I’d ever dare say about you in an elevator is “Hey, that was Pasta Queen! She always seems so wise and I really admire how she just keeps on trucking in the face of adversity. Losing half her body weight? No problem! Dealing with debilitating headaches and other health issues? She’s tackling it publicly! Taking trips to the other side of the planet on her own? Piece of cake! Trying produce that isn’t readily identifiable? Absolutely…pass the rutabega! I’d love to be like her.”
I’m sending lots of support your way from Canada. I hope that we can all find our happy medium at some point. :-)

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monkey vision • March 1, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Last year was the first year in probably 20 years that I did not make a new years resolution to lose weight. I lost 30 pounds. About 45 more than the average year. One more year like that and I will be satisfied.

Instead I focused on something that would make me happy in the shorter term. More relaxed, more in touch with my family.

Turns out that made me happy. I do hope you find something that makes you so happy that your cravings/food issues/whatever word you use – is lifted from your mind.

In the spirit of your book – this is what worked for me, I hope it works for you.

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Stephoodle • March 1, 2010 at 12:49 pm

High fives and kudos are in order. Great post!

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Lyn • March 1, 2010 at 12:57 pm

I totally agree. In fact, I wrote not long ago how happy I am at 228. It is like the magic number for me. I can do most of what I want, I like how I look (mostly). But I have to lose more because of health reasons, which sucks.

You have to do what you think is best for YOUR life, no matter what other people think. Great attitude.

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Cindy • March 1, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Jennette, I feel your pain. I, too, have gained back some of the weight, and since I also blog about it, I completely understand the pressure of what other people think.

Beck was very successful for me. It’s what helped me lose my weight. But every time I try to go back to it, I give it up after a few days — it’s just not the same. I’m not in the same place I was. some of the techniques are still very useful, and others have lost meaning.

What is helping me tremendously right now is my ongoing transition from couch potato to athlete (of sorts). I have a training program I actually like, and some personal goals, and they keep me very motivated. In the future, I’ll probably need something completely different, but I’m not worried … I’ll find it.

Good luck to you and keep listening to yourself. You are your own best advisor!

Cindy :)

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Jen • March 1, 2010 at 1:58 pm

I’m sort of in the same place right now. I still think tracking my food is a good thing to do, so I’m trying to get back to that, but I am sick of obsessing.

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Linda • March 1, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Great post Pasta Queen! I have taken what I liked and left the rest of the Beck Diet Solution along with reading another book in tandem. A saying I have heard and like is…What other people think of me is none of my business. When I can practice that; it helps me stop the squirrel caging in my mind. As I read everyone’s comments; they were all positive, with the exception of 1. If you are like me; you might tend to focus on that one negative comment. If so, know that you aren’t alone. I hope you focus on all of the other positive ones!

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Dottie • March 1, 2010 at 2:32 pm

I love your blog and read it often. I also loved your book. So much so I’ve been inspired to start my own blog. I am going to 50 next year and I already have the beginnings of health problems. My goal is to lose 100 pounds by next Feb.
I too think about food and my weight everyday and I wish i could make getting fit and healthy my full-time job!!
Best of luck to you!!

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Michelle • March 1, 2010 at 2:35 pm

I don’t usually comment, but this was a very good post. It sounds like you’re in a very healthy place in dealing with your weight, and I think a lot of people could benefit from adopting this attitude. I’m just curious, before the onset of your headaches, did you have to work this hard to maintain your weight?

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elty • March 1, 2010 at 2:45 pm

I’m with Sandi and others above about this being one of your best posts ever. See, it’s another burst of that sudden, blinding enlightenment I mentioned a while ago now, and it is these posts that keep me checking this blog nearly every day. Sanity in the Queendom of Pasta, hallelujah.

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Dana • March 1, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Thank you for giving up on the Beck plan. I started the book when you did, thinking I could use the motivation of you and the book at the same time. I kicked my book to the curb weeks ago, as I just couldn’t stand to be obcessedand am relieved to see that you did as well. Read your own book again – it was the most helpful to me!

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JEM • March 1, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Having this mind set has to be healthy. As someone to is always worried about what people think of me I totally get but am so glad you are rejecting that mindset. As long as you are happy and feeling good, I think that is great. (And honestly I bet you LOOK great too!)

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love2eatinpa • March 1, 2010 at 3:15 pm

great post! i’m a 30+ year compulsive eater/binge eater who has been binge-free for a little over two years.

one thing you said that really stood out to me is that truly, no-one is thinking about how you look as much as you do. it’s scary how we dress, do our make-up, lose weight and do so many other things for other people, instead of OURSELVES.
we are the only ones we need to please, no one else. if you are comfortable in your own skin, feel vibrant and alive, then that is all that matters.

and honestly, everyone is walking around with their own problems and hang-ups, and maybe only thinking about how we look for like a nano second until we turn the thoughts back to ourselves. i mean, really, isn’t that what you did with joe anonymous?

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traci • March 1, 2010 at 3:28 pm

GREAT post! Like everyone else here, I just wanted to assure you that most (if not all) of your regular readers love your blog because of your style of writing, personality, and especially your brute honesty — and you can be fairly certain that everyone you meet in the “real” world feels the same. No one is judging; we just appreciate that you allow us to “virtually” come along with you on your journey.
Also, wanted to thank Mymsie for the idea of using the phrase, “Don’t flatter yourself!” as a reminder that others are usually too busy worrying about themselves to think of you. Great advice. I will definitely plan on using that one myself!

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kalmia • March 1, 2010 at 4:23 pm

I didn’t want to say anything when you initially decided to try the Beck approach for fear of being discouraging, and who knows, maybe it would work for you. I bought the Beck book some time ago and just hated it. Some of her ideas are fine (except they’re hardly “her” ideas), but I found her tone bossy and authoritarian, and the whole program just reeked of useless, time-consuming, process-y “busy” work. She reminded me of the worst kind of female teacher from elementary school.

Anyway, good job finding your own approach.

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FitFunk • March 1, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Fab post! So good to hear you focus on yourself and what you need at this stage of your journey/struggle. It has to be tough to have so many eyeballs on you, having written a weight-loss memoir and having a gazillion followers online. I’d bet 99% of us hangers-on are well-intentioned good people who only want to see you succeed and be happy, who see themselves in your ups and downs. Stay strong and be well!

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Dee • March 1, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Great post, and the perspective so sorely needed.

Your honest attitude about the weight loss journey was the reason I bought your book about a year ago, and upon finishing the book promptly started following the blog.

Looking forward to book number 2!

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Caro • March 1, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Great post and great self-insight. I’m in a similar spot and I realized that I’m actually quite fond of where I am with my weight and it has left me in this amazing place where I can concentrate on other healthy habits. My guess is that if I implement some of those, the weight will slowly slide down, but if not, that’s cool also.

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Rahim Samuel • March 1, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Make sure you take the loose cover off of that book before you set it down in front of you door J.

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Jen B • March 1, 2010 at 6:47 pm

This is the best post on weight loss I’ve heard in a long time. Thank you for being so honest about your struggle. I’ve been overweight all my life and for me, the struggle is never ending.

In an effort to understand myself, I’ve been studying weight loss, initial gains, and the process of regaining the weight back. I honestly think there are a combination of factors involved.

The first is the insulin imbalance problem, which is discussed at length in Taubes’ Good Calories, Bad Calories.

The second is that I believe there are some people with addictive personalities and overeating is one of these addictions (especially for women, for some reason). The health pros always blame it on the dieter. But I disagree.

The question I ask myself is–why? Why is permanent weight loss rarely sucessful? At a success rate of less than 5%, there has to be something to this relapse rate. Something doesn’t makes sense.

I think in the future, scientists will discover that addicts have some sort of hormone imbalance that the addicts instinctively try to correct with drugs. I think some addicts are compensating for something but science hasn’t discovered the reason yet. Some say it is a serotonin or dopamine imbalance. Amazingly, obese patients have a very low amount of receptors for dopamine, the findings are the same as cocaine and alcohol addicts (Brookhaven Nat’l Laboratory – 2001).

In the meantime, while I am trying to lose weight I will also try some natural remedies that might find and cure the root of the cause. I feel there is a physical reason for what is happening but society always thinks it easier to blame the dieter.

Jennette, thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences and opening this for discussion.

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Natalie • March 1, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Well damn. I finally get the Beck Diet Solution from the library (there was a long waiting list) and you quit! And most other people who have commented about it didn’t like it either! I was just about to start Day One when I saw this post … I don’t know if I’ll bother now.
There are a couple of things you summarised from it previously that I will try to take on board. One is the eating mindfully thing. I tend to eat while doing something else – usually reading. So I barely notice what I am eating, or how much. If I sat at the table and really focussed on and enjoyed my food, maybe I wouldn’t shovel in so much.
… I know I said ‘a couple of things’ but I can’t think of another one. One will do.
The thing about Beck that I least liked, from your posts, was the idea that it is ok to be hungry. No it isn’t! I have a hypoglycemic crash and become extremely unpleasant to be around. I think ‘churlish’ was the word I saw once to describe this behaviour.
So, best of luck in whatever lifestyle you choose for the future. And please (everyone) don’t be cranky with the one person who was a bit worried about PastaQueen settling for a higher weight. So many of us blogfollowers feel like we know PastaQueen and genuinely worry about her health, her headaches, wonder about her lovelife, wonder how her cats are going … it is not judgemental to want the best for someone.
Nata… whoops I’m not allowed to sign off with my name.

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suzanne • March 1, 2010 at 8:13 pm

I’m not trying to be funny but i never did make it to their food plan!!

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Kim • March 1, 2010 at 8:50 pm

I’m a Beck drop-out as well. I’ve maintained at my goal weight for a year and just thought Beck would keep me motivated. Geez, it was making me obsessed about food and think of nothing but food!

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RG • March 1, 2010 at 10:11 pm

“There’s no way to win.” I don’t know, I feel like I have a handle on my ideal weight (bf% of 19) and an acceptable range above that and I “win” by being at the ideal range or simply by doing better this month than last. I find that I can drop my weight when I’m focussed, and i can maintain weight by continued monitoring through stress, but I find that I can gain weight due to holidays, stress, vacation. So I’m working on that part now. I think for me, it’s about learning to eat in social situations and restaurants the way I will eat when I cook for myself or at home. It’s about ignoring the bread basket and ordering steamed veggies in a restaurant, and not using a party as an excuse to pig out. It’s amazing what i’ll eat just because it’s free. Or maybe it’s amazing what I won’t eat just because it costs $2 (like a cupcake).

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Suz • March 2, 2010 at 3:25 am

I just lost 108 lbs in 5 weeks. HOW? I almost died and was rushed to the ER by my friend (after the paramedics broke into my house via my bedroom window!) I will expand on my story on my blog this month.
I know there are people like me out there in despair who think no matter what they eat, they are getting bigger & bigger…that was me. I was eating 3 small apples & a handful of raw almonds a day and GAINING weight!!!
It wasn’t fat, it was fluid. Doctors in general hate dealing with obese people and it took a female compassionate Dr. to actually LOOK at my body and discover it was fluid. Massive IV diuretics later, I left the hospital 77lbs lighter in 9 days. I have about 50 more lbs of fluid and the rest is fat.
If you are gaining and eating nothing, GO TO THE DOCTOR and pray you find one willing to listen to you!

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Hunter • March 2, 2010 at 6:51 am

I too have read The Beck Diet Solution and it really didn’t “speak” to me, so I moved on. Not to say it can’t be the “it” for someone else.

The following quote from you is something I really need to focus on.

“People don’t think of me half as often as I think they do, and people who judge me on my weight aren’t people I want to like me anyway. I should just get my slow burn on and take care of myself for my own sake…”

If I take things one day at a time and not worry about what other people think, then I am a much happier person.

Thanks to you for your honesty. It’s an inspiration.

=^..^=

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Jenny • March 2, 2010 at 9:47 am

Your post and plan are exactly what I want to do. And I’ve come to that realization before, but that’s when I gain weight. I can’t get it right in my head. It’s like I let myself off the hook and then I just run with it. How do I get to the middle? Where I’m not obsessed with food/dieting, but not gaining weight either? It seems so simple, yet it’s not. Sigh. I hope you can find the middle.

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Barb • March 2, 2010 at 10:06 am

Those are thoughts I have had over the years and now I am in the phase of slow but steady, not giving up, just keep heading in the right direction. I will get used to this eventually and love it…this taking care of myself just because God loves me and He has never given up on me. I should agree with Him.

Thanks for putting it so succinctly! The cycle of craziness is so true. But thats what obsession will do to you. I choose to be focused on the fact that I am loved just the way I am, and that motivates me to want to get better…its different than fear motivation…It is being motivated by love.!

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RNegade • March 2, 2010 at 11:44 am

Jenn–

I was wondering if you have noticed any difference in the way people treat you now, compared to when you were at your lowest weight? It bothers me that so many people in our society act hostile and rude toward folks who are fatter than average. (It especially hurts when the hostile people are professionals–in the health care field–who should know better.) I apologize if you’ve already discussed this topic.

Also, do you think you’ve regained some of the weight because your body’s metabolic/setpoint regulatory systems have been increasing your hunger and/or decreasing your motivation? (Perhaps in relation to stress, such as pain.) I’ve been looking at some research about the frontal cortex, for example, that questions commonly held beliefs about individual differences in conscious control.

Short me–> This weight/overweight issue isn’t just ONE problem, and it is far more complex than calories in/calories out, as your blog illustrates.

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RG • March 2, 2010 at 2:25 pm

@RNegade – The thing that’s funny to me, is that everyone gets judged on their weight. When I was thinner (BMI of 22-23), I was judged abnormal by coworkers because I didn’t want to eat junk food at lunch. (My splurge meal is going to be with friends/ SO, tyvm.) If you give in to the obesogenic environment, well you become overweight or obese. I mean, unless you’re Dean Karnazes running a marathon every day. If you don’t, then you’re antisocial, anorexic, have food issues. Can the 5 people in the US who don’t have food issues please raise their hands?

I was saying that the world has gone topsy turvy from when I was in college, when every conversation turned to sex. Who was doing what with whom – or wanted to. Now it’s food and weight. 10 years from now the moral high ground will be about how much time you spend on the internet.

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skwigg • March 2, 2010 at 3:45 pm

One of my recent (and most boggling) observations is that any book plan or program that forces me to think about food all day will make me eat more. If I had to do that standard “helpful” food diary thing where you write down everything you eat, your hunger level, where you ate, and how you felt, I’m pretty sure the end result would be a bakery truck hijacking.

Congrats on your new doorstop. I think chucking “Beck” was a sane move.

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Deb • March 2, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Hey there, PQ,

Are you sure you’re only 29? Because you have the wisdom of a 50-year-old! To realize that people are not thinking about you all the time is huge! I love it. And you are so sensible and right about everything in your post. Once again, thanks for your honesty, your insight, and your sensible inspiration.

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Susan • March 2, 2010 at 7:26 pm

I must say I agree with Sandy – you need to get a handle on why you are gaining again, or risk getting heavier and less healthy.

While your weight and your mental, emotional and physical health is entirely your business and no-one else’s, it’s disappointing to see you giving up like this.

Of course you don’t want food and exercise to be the sole topic on your mind night and day, but the hard truth is that maintaining a substantial weight-loss does require day-in-and-day-out effort and mindfulness – and maybe even being (gasp!) a bit obsessive.

I have maintained a 90-pound loss for over seven years and it does require a lot of effort, but I’d far rather be a sugar-avoiding gym rat than rejoin the ranks of the morbidly obese.

PQ, I hope you can work this out and find a healthy balance.

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Susan • March 2, 2010 at 7:42 pm

Just adding that if I saw you in the elevator, I’d say “Oooh – there’s that Pasta Queen chick! She’s really pretty!”

Then I’d go back to thinking about me. :-)

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mrs darling • March 2, 2010 at 11:30 pm

I too just got the Beck book from the library. I got it because of your reviews and because of Cindis posts on it. I thumbed through it one night in the tub and decided immediatly that it wasnt for me. It seems like it might be good for someone who has never dieted but goodness, for me there is really no new thought under the sun when it comes to diets! I dont need the Beck lady telling me what to think!

Having said that I have been a very slow loser and have just committed to buckling down and taking off about 50 pounds this year. I did the slow approach last year and gained 10 of the 48 I had lost. Im ready to get serious again!

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Linda Luzader • March 3, 2010 at 12:01 am

Read your book when it first came out. You made so much sense and found a way to lose it for you. Now you need only eat/exercise to be healthy. As a 60 year old who has lost and gained much weight over the years, losing weight does not give us a perfect life,just as being rich is not perfect (I would like to know what that is like) but being healthy,helps you cope with lifes up and downs. . When you go for health and not just a number it seems easier. Good health helps you cope with life better. I lost weight a number of ways, but now it is about my health and I don’t obsess about the number or food. Can I walk upstairs without sounding like a steam engine, can I stand for an hour, can I take a long walk and not have to sit down, these are my currency now– not the scale numbers. You have to find your own way.

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Sybil • March 3, 2010 at 2:26 am

I’m with Susan…..

There were some good observations in this post of yours but my take-away thought was that you’re giving up – not to be rude, but a bit of a cop-out.

Maybe I say this because I’ve said similar things before – and always gained back any weight I had lost. Like Susan said, maintenance DOES involve continued effort and mindfulness. Maintenance isn’t an easy road. There has to be a balance somewhere between obsession and disregard and I’m sure you are working toward that.

I do understand the weariness that goes along with always focusing on weight loss…..I’ve recently stopped blogging because I was just simply too tired to talk about it anymore. It doesn’t mean I’m not still working on additional fat loss – but I just can’t be talking and obsessing about it any longer.

Good luck Jeanette-

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Melissa_J • March 3, 2010 at 6:35 am

Jeanette, thank you for this post–I think you have articulated all my thoughts since I was about 9 years old. (I’m 42 now).

I agree about the Beck book–I tried to read it, but it was just too darn overwhelming. A doorstop is a good use for it. (maybe the best parts could be bullet-pointed on a one-page list somewhere).

The comments from the people in the elevator sadden me–why do people do this, it is so demeaning.

Thank you for sharing. Slow burn, baby!!!

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Annette • March 3, 2010 at 7:46 am

I got to day 13 and was over at my sister’s house (who is 110 pounds) and saw another diet book of hers (I think it was the flat belly). She has tried all the diets. I thought to myself – does the obsession never end? If I do lose my weight, will I always be obsessed to find the next cool book or next great idea. Bear in mind that my sister has never even been overweight. Here I am at 185. That day, I went home, put all my “diet” books, including Beck in a bag for Goodwill and threw away my scale. I feel free. I know what to do, I just have to do it. My clothes are already looser. I am going to try to weigh myself at the gym once a month.

If you have previously lost weight. You know how to do it, we just keep getting in our own way!

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Jes • March 3, 2010 at 8:21 am

I hope you’ll excuse my early-morning Schadenfreude moment, but I am thrilled that you ditched Beck, because that means I don’t suck for doing the same. Double coupons to you for even linking us to still more drop-outs. Dr. Beck says to pick a diet that is livable and non-torturous, then proceeds to deliver a program that is torturous and non-livable.

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Jes • March 3, 2010 at 8:26 am

And also, great post. Because, you know, it’s not all about me. I don’t see this as a cop-out at all. You’re re-focusing in a healthy way and ensuring that you do not have a total re-gain.

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melissa • March 3, 2010 at 9:23 am

i have the exact same feelings in regards to myself.

but whatever.

you are a beautiful, famous, kick ass internet rockstar!

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DebraSY • March 3, 2010 at 11:04 am

Hey, there, Pastaqueen. As you well know, I am NOT a woman of few words (sigh), and, while I have mustered the commitment (insanity?) to be a maintainer — (seven-and-a-half years from my weight-loss start date, six-and-a-half in maintenance mode) — I have yet to muster the courage to be a blogger. (You da woman!)

You’ve got my email address. I’d love to share with you an essay I’ve written called “Confessions of a Weight-Loss Maintainer.” In truly Quixotic fashion, I’ve been pitching to O Magazine. No response, of course, but I’ve only sent in two queries. I think if they let da O woman herself read it, she’d acknowledge the truth in it and further acknowledge that the subject has NEVER been covered honestly anywhere, including the pages of her magazine. (Har! ESPECIALLY the pages of her magazine.)

At any rate, in light of this post, I think you’d enjoy it. Send me an email if you’re up for 1,500 words of honesty regarding maintenance, and the words of wisdom (such as they are) that I have to offer.

Love ya!

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Donna • March 3, 2010 at 3:31 pm

@Susan – You put it better than I could. I just hope PQ is being honest with herself. Others’ opinions don’t count for beans.

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SBN • March 3, 2010 at 4:35 pm

You know what book has helped me more than any other (aside from yours, Pasta Queen)? “Hungry” by Allen Zadoff. This book forever changed my outlook on weight loss and the especially slippery slope of maintaining weight loss. It made me realize at my very core that 1) my weight struggles have nothing to do with food, but everything to do with my underlying emotions; 2) as simple as this sounds, I have to eat less and move more – and do this FOREVER. Eating healthy and exercising are lifetime activites – and I cannot give up or not care; 3) there are certain foods that I cannot handle and have to eliminate from my life. I have done this and it is amazing how much this has helped; 4) I have the control over food, not the other way around. As Zadoff writes, “a bagel never jumped into my mouth,” 5) my focus now is eating moderate amounts of healthy food and excercising, and focusing just on each day at a time, and 6) I will never give up and I will never stop caring about this. Pasta Queen, I know you reviewed this book several years ago, and didn’t much like it, in part because you didn’t identify yourself as an emotional eater. But, it might be worth taking another look. I wish you good health and happiness.

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It's Me • March 4, 2010 at 4:46 am

The whole new year, new resolution thing kind of threw me for a loop this year. Year before last, I lost about 70 pounds. Then life happened, and I gained half of it back. I spent about a month spazzing out about how I was going to fix it with diet and exercise, then I realized that I’ve been gaining and losing the same two pounds repeatedly for two months now.

I decided to not worry about it, buy a Wii, and just play as far as exercise goes. I feel better, am eating better because I’m exercising more, and I’m definitely a lot more fun to be around! Probably not the solution for everyone, but for me, it’s great. Fun, easy, and seriously, who can be stressed out about dancing monkeys?!

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RNegade • March 4, 2010 at 10:37 am

@SBN – Zadoff’s book was a recipe for ED, for me, although obviously other folks (such as you) have a different response! I spent years recovering from “OA recovery” and learning not to manipulate myself like a thing. That was a very very stressful mindset for me. Not healthy. I am a living breathing person, after all, not a machine.

Crystal Renn’s book, “Hungry”, however, shows how a socially adored–yet inwardly miserable–thin woman learned to enjoy food, have fun, and love herself as a plus sized model. I prefer her example, though I don’t aspire to be a model!

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Sklig • March 4, 2010 at 2:36 pm

@sandy – To some degree, I agree with you- except I think PQ does know why she’s gaining (chronic heading, and just not feeling like caring…sort of the same thing I’m going through right now). It’s not that she doesn’t know why she’s gaining, as that’s obvious, it’s that she’s not sure how to stop it and still be happy, and she’s not UNhappy right now..

Now that I’ve spoken for PQ, we’ll see if I actually knew what I was talking about or just made something totally different out of it.

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sklig • March 5, 2010 at 11:43 pm

So, in response to myself, JUST realized that i wrote ‘chronic heading’ when I meant ‘chronic headache’. No idea what chronic heading is.

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biff.welly • March 6, 2010 at 7:21 pm

interesting, like several others, I got the book from the library after hearing about it on your blog. Also like some others I had gastric bypass 4 years ago and have gained weight back.

I think what this says about all of us is that it is a struggle, its not easy, and its very individual. What motivates us and whatever internal dialouges we have are all our own. We do need to find where we are happy and be honest with ourselves.

For me, I’m not happy, I’ve gained enough that my clothes don’t fit and i’m just not where I want to be. So I’m going to keep exploring the Beck – I like the tools and think they might be useful for me (and my undergrad degree was in psychology so I do like the cognigive behaviour model…its another level that is holding my interest).

I really appreciate that you share your thoughts, as you can see they are thoughts we are all having and going through.

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diane • March 8, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Thank you for this post. I needed to read this. Through the holidays and ridiculous work stress, I’ve gained back 7 pounds, and after working so hard to lose 63, I am so defeated by the gain. And what am I most worried about? What other people will think. Like somehow by not maintaining or losing the last 20, I’m failing them. But I didn’t get into this for them. I did it for me. And I’m a whole lot healthier than I was.
Like you, I need to get back to doing this for me. And it can take however long it takes! Thank you again!!!!

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Brittney Kara • March 9, 2010 at 1:33 am

Intresting….I would have to disagree. I am in fact a “Skinny Person” and I think about weight and weight related issues everyday. I know that there are millions of people out there battling their weight and feel hopeless. I believe I have a gift that can help them and so I choose to educate others on this topic. That is what I blog about and what I talk about everyday.

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Shelley • March 15, 2010 at 4:46 pm

You said it all. I care too much what others think about me. It’s like a sickness. And logically I am pretty sure thoughts about me are fleeting moments in their day never to be recalled when all is said and done. While I am here agonizing and feeling like I don’t measure up. Argh…

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Vanessa R • March 20, 2010 at 5:02 am

I bought the book on a recommendation from my best friend. I’ve read through it. I can’t say I ever actually did it all. Started a couple of times but….The card idea is somewhat nice, though I am so absent minded sometimes that I can’t remember to look at it a few times a day.

I should probably read through it again and try to find the lessons that would work for me. But I think the whole thing would leave me more neurotic about food and fitness than I already can be :)

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Alex • March 23, 2010 at 1:08 pm

Don’t hit with a stick if I’m person no. 200 mentioning this – BUT have you ever considered only eating when hungry, stopping when full? I’m doing it plus I eat exactly what I want (pizza, ice cream you name) and have lost over 30 pounds in the process (half a year). Only requires to differentiate between physical hunger and emotional eating urge.

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Janeway • March 28, 2010 at 10:16 pm

Your comments are very insightful and I applaud you for finding your own way… however I just have to stick up for the Beck book! It may not be what you’re feeling like doing at the moment — entirely understandable — but I found it incredibly helpful in losing weight, and especially in maintiaining my weight loss. It made me think differently about many food-related issues, and over time it helped me redefine my idea of “normal” eating. It was hard at times, but it got easier. Someday you may be in the right mood for Beck again, so keep that copy!

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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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