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It’s weight-loss season! (An entry where I overuse parenthetical comments.)

Happy New Year

I can tell it’s weight-loss season because I’ve gotten more emails asking for weight-loss advice in the past two weeks than I did for the last two months. I think some people are finding this site and my email address after they purchased my book Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir. If so, thanks for buying the book! I truly appreciate the support. Eighteen months ago I quit my job to freelance full-time as a web designer and writer. (That’s right. I stuck it to the man! And the man has yet to stick me back.) So, I depend on book royalties to pay rent and buy lots of chocolate healthy veggies. I guess that means it’s really my landlord and Food Lion that thank you.

In the interest of full disclosure, I want to reiterate a fact that I’ve blogged about and posted on my About page, which is that in the past three years I’ve gained back about 50 pounds from my lowest weight. This was mainly due to a never-ending headache from hell, but eventually apathy and boredom snuck in there, too. So much so that for the past few months I haven’t been eating that healthy, nor have I been exercising regularly. So, when people write me asking how to lose weight (or “loose” weight, because the only thing worse than too much weight is tight weight) I’ve felt an urge to reply, “I dunno! Ask someone else! And bring me a cookie!”

However, it’s the new year, and the resolution I made six years ago (Dear God, has it been that long? Am I really 30?) worked out pretty well, so I thought I’d make another one. My resolution isn’t to start a diet or run another half-marathon or anything like that, it’s just to make better food choices and to work out at least three times a week.

There is a part of me that looks back on the time when I was exercising 6 days a week for 30-60 minutes and cooking dinner every night and thinks, “You should jump right back into that again!” But there is a more realistic part of me that thinks it’s silly to go from 0 to maniac in a day. Working out 3 days a week is better than working out none. I also think diets are silly, so I prefer to frame my new eating behavior in my mind as “making better choices.” If I make better food choices, choices that do not involve buying Krispy Kreme donuts at 10 o’clock at night, than I’m doing better than I was before, even if I’m not eating as healthy as I did at my peak. Really, it all comes down to choices. Everything in life comes down to choices, outside of what we can’t control like earthquakes and tsunamis and neighbors who play bagpipes.

I’ve been keeping a food diary, recording my weight on the wall calendar every day and then writing my exercise for the day down next to it. (And if you haven’t done Pilates or lifted weights for over a year, be prepared not to be lifting anything for three days afterward. Or sitting up.) So, I’ve got a plan, I’ve got accountability, and it’s been going pretty well for the past week. Then I’ll make it through the next week and the week after that, just like I have with my headache. One day at a time, people.

Most important of all, besides the optimism and hope of change that comes with the new year, I feel like I’m more mentally in the game right now that I have been for any time in the past few years. In that time I’ve had to deal with an ongoing medical problem, learn how to manage my own business, and I moved to another state. There was a lot of shit going on, and weight loss honestly wasn’t that important. I still weigh over 100 pounds less than I did at my heaviest, so it’s not like my weight has been making me miserable and trapping me in my home like it used to. I’m not back at square one, I’m back at square 50 out of 200. It’s been manageable, if not optimal, which might be why weight loss hasn’t been the primary occupation in my life like it was when it was destroying my life.

Right now I’m feeling my freelancing groove, I’ve settled into my new home, and my headache has been staying pretty steady at a 1 out of 5 on my latest medication cocktail. (Unfortunately it has the side effect of making my heart skip beats occasionally, which the doctor says is not a big deal nor is it the life-threatening, call-911-NOW-PLEASE!!! condition you would immediately assume it is when you feel your heart pause and then make a big THUMPing jumpstart. It’s freaky, but better than a headache!)

So, here we go 2011! Here’s to better choices! My heart’s already skipping a beat in anticipation.

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

Lanie • January 10, 2011 at 8:32 am

I would totally love to tighten up my fat. I think that’s a great question. Here all these months I thought people just couldn’t spell, but now it dawns on me that they have a valid point! Thanks Ms. Obvious! I never made the connections! (and thanks, as always, for making me laugh)

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Kimberly • January 10, 2011 at 9:07 am

I love your honesty about the 50 lb regain. You are my weight loss hero. It helps to know that I, a mere mortal, will have times that I stumble and fall and it is okay because you do it too. I’ve only got 56.2 more lbs to lose before I hit goal. Thanks again for telling your story because that is what gave me hope. You have no idea how much you played a part in my knowing I could lose 200 lbs. When I tell my story, you are always right there at the top of my list of the how and why I ever got started.

As for the headaches, I am glad they aren’t blindingly painful but I am sorry you have to endure them. I would take a dive off into the deep end of the Godiva pool too if I had to live with that.

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shauna/dg • January 10, 2011 at 9:57 am

Sounds good to me Jennette :) Rock on!

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Kalynskitchen • January 10, 2011 at 9:58 am

Totally cheering you on here. I have slipped and gotten back on track so many times myself that I’ve lost count, but the important thing is to get back to it when you can. We are human; we will have times when we do better and times when we do worse. That’s just part of the journey.

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Michelle • January 10, 2011 at 10:01 am

My heart does that too. I agree, it’s really, really scary.

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mrs darling • January 10, 2011 at 10:02 am

Just finished reading your book Half Assed. I havent felt so motivated to exercise in a loooonnngg time. It was so inspiring!

And thanks for calling out those that say loose instead of lose. It is my pet peeve. It just grinds my last nerve!

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Vikki • January 10, 2011 at 10:02 am

Loose instead of lose drives me almost as crazy as your instead of you’re.

Sigh….I am convinced people don’t read enough to know the difference.

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Merry • January 10, 2011 at 10:58 am

I’m glad the tons of helpful advice you received medication is helping with the headache, but I should think the heart flutter would get annoying when you’re trying to exercise.

And of course when you start to lose weight, the remaining fat cells are loose. Makes perfect sense. In a sense.

And Half-Assed was a good book. I enjoyed reading it!

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Barbara Raab • January 10, 2011 at 11:12 am

Okay, you’ve motivated me. I resolve to 1) make better choices; 2) get on the scale and record my weight at least once a week, if not daily (hear the fudge factor there?); and 3) exercise 3-5 x/week (I already do that, but it’s good to make it a standing goal).

You mention accountability; are you reporting to somebody?

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Poppy K • January 10, 2011 at 11:15 am

I read an interesting suggestion in Runner’s World (I think that’s where it was) that said instead of saying, ‘I will work out 3 (or however many) times per week’, to make the goal to work out 156 times in the year – that way if you go four times one week and only two the next week you’re not breaking the 3X/week resolution and you’re more likely to stay on track and stick with a program.

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Hunter • January 10, 2011 at 11:53 am

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: You are a wonderful role model. You are human and honest. I like your “one day at a time” approach and your realistic attitude toward getting healthy. I have also decided that working out 3 days a week is better than nothing. Being optimistic and supportive of yourself is so much better that beating yourself down if you skip a day of working out or eating properly. So, I’m wishing you (and me) the best in 2011! =^..^=

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Princess Dieter • January 10, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Here’s to 2011 bringing you a ZERO on the pain scale and a lower number on the old bathroom scale. It’s pretty exciting you took so many new steps, new life. You’ll get the weight off…we’ve seen you do it, you’ve got the skillz. :D

Happy and Healthy 2011!

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Carbzilla • January 10, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Here’s to a wonderful year. I think after the first big loss it’s perfectly normal to backslide a little and then go back at it with a different approach. Especially with how your year has been. It’s hard juggling all life’s priorities. I think you’re doing a great job. Happy new year!

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Jennifer • January 10, 2011 at 2:23 pm

I appreciate that you have stuck with the blogging, etc through all of your changes. It’s really easy to just disappear off the map when you’re not doing as great as you perhaps would like to. So good for you and thanks!

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Kendra • January 10, 2011 at 3:40 pm

I have to say that this sort of realistic attitude is what attracted me to your blog in the first place. I’m kind of in the same boat right now with the just plain making better choices.

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Gara • January 10, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Way to go, Jennette!! Happy to see you back at it and doing it in a realistic way. Life is all about deciding when certain projects are best, including weight loss.

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Chrissy • January 10, 2011 at 11:33 pm

Yes, you sure have had a lot going on lately.

You are my original link to the WL bloggie world, and THAT, my friend, is very valuable to me. The blog world (esp WL) has been super d duper for my own journey. Such a support.

Thanks for continuing to share your journey with us.

Wishing you health, happiness, and no more headaches.

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ensie • January 10, 2011 at 11:37 pm

These are the exact same resolutions I made this year!

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Lesley • January 11, 2011 at 5:41 am

It’s so nice to read an honest and realistic set of goals. I’ve been doing the same with mine but get the feeling that others think I’m copping out a bit. Now I can happily point them in your direction!! Tee hee..

There are times when weight loss is your number one priority and times when it comes further down your list and that makes sense. Well done on making all the big changes you’ve made work for you and sticking to it in the face of adversity.

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Pam • January 11, 2011 at 11:27 am

Both you and Diet Girl have regained some of the weight you’ve lost. Your books served as my inspiration when I undertook my “get healthy” campaign back in Dec. 2009. I too had regained ALL of the weight I lost back in 1980 (took me about 10 minutes to regain all 100+ pounds of it!) and didn’t start to lose it all over again until last year. Now, having lost 145 lbs. (and counting–still 25 lbs. from my 160 goal), it scares me to death to think about regaining it all again. You maintained for quite a while, do you think the secret (and I hate that “secret” word, I know there’s NO secret, it’s just HARD WORK) to that was in your exercise routine, or was it mindful eating or a combination? I used to walk every day, and then when it got cold (I’m in Nebraska), I quit walking, and even though I have recently bought a Leslie Sansone walk at home DVD, I don’t do it consistently, and so my weight loss has slowed considerably. I’m pretty sure consistent exercise will be an important part of my maintenance program if I ever get there, so I really need to work on finding a time (and the motivation) to fit that in every day again. I don’t have other chronic problems, other than knees which are really bad, but at least they don’t hurt me 24 hours a day like your head does. So I really can’t use that as my excuse if I gain. I do have to cook for a husband and son, and sometimes that is difficult, when they’re not very appreciative of my low-fat efforts. Sorry for all the parenthetical comments, sometimes you just feel a need….(and sometimes you just overuse parentheses).

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Bright Angel • January 11, 2011 at 11:49 am

[quote]I’ve been keeping a food diary, r
ecording my weight on the wall calendar every day
and then writing my exercise for the day down next to it. [/quote]

ACCOUNTABILITY
Good Job!
That’s how I reached my goal weight,
and how I’ve maintained it for the past 5 years.

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Lee • January 11, 2011 at 1:24 pm

I take time to visit your blog, not so much because you are a weight loss maven, but because you write very well and lead an interesting, full life. Here’s to better choices in 2011. Cheers!

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Mel • January 11, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Good for you for keeping a food diary! I force myself to do it and when I write down everything I ate that day, sometimes I cringe and sometimes I pat myself on the shoulder. But it really brought out a lot of things in my eating patterns, like damn, I never knew I ate so much bread!
One day at a time is how to do it. We’re all human and sometimes we stumble. it’s when we don’t get back up and keep trying, that we fail. Keep on keeping on!

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Rebecca • January 11, 2011 at 6:50 pm

i want tips darnit… ;) the secret! surely you know the secret?!

guess ill just go back to bombarding you with emails instead.

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Bethama • January 11, 2011 at 7:29 pm

Ha! My heart’s been doing that as long as I can remember. I actually cut down to 1-2 cups of coffee a day for that nonsense, and it STILL creeps in from time to time. I… genuinely hope it’s nothing, yeah.

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Lin • January 11, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Congrats on the new book release. Good luck with your resolutions. I agree with you, keeping a food/excercise diary helps keep me on track.

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svb • January 12, 2011 at 11:47 am

My DH has a similar heart thing, also of no concern to anyone in the medical field, but darn scary to me. The heart is sort of important!

I love your writing and I admire you for doing what you love.

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Sandy • January 14, 2011 at 6:51 pm

I just bought your book yesterday and am almost finished. You are an inspiration, so don’t give up on weight loss. Watching carbs and keeping track of my weight before it goes up too much works for me. Everyone has to find what works for them, I guess. Just wanted to let you know that I love the book!!

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PastaQueen • January 14, 2011 at 9:21 pm

@Sandy – Thanks for buying the book! I appreciate the support.

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Ginger • January 15, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Those of who are in the beginning, or new beginning, or crap-here-goes-again phase of getting healthy need to here from somebody who’s been there and mow their whole life isn’t about their pants size. Gaining weight back is something that is just part of reality, and so is figuring out what the hell to do about it. I’ve read your archive, all of it. Dies that make me a stalker? Thanks for laughs and inspiration.

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Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog JenFul.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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