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Dieting is like a Japanese fad toy from the 90’s

When my mother worked at a bookstore, she would sometimes bring home weird stuff customers had dropped on the floor. These items ranged from a cool R2-D2 pendant that’s still on my key chain to the electronic puppy that followed her home a.k.a. the tamagotchi. The tamagotchi, one of the hottest fad toys of the late 90’s, was an electronic pet for kids whose parents didn’t want to clean up doggy doodoo. Basically it was an interactive pet rock.

One step up from a pet rockTamagotchis came in a variety of species, but the one my mom found was a baby. During the day you’d have to feed it, clean up after it, and play with it or else you’d end up with a dead baby and virtual child protection services on your ass. I played with the tamagotchi for a couple days, tending to it and indoctrinating it with my personal philosophies, curiously awaiting what would happen when it was grown and I “won.” I thought there might be a cool animation or a high score board or something equally thrilling. Sadly, as is the case with many parents, my kid was nothing but a big disappointment. When he grew up, nothing big happened at all. It simply started a new game with a new child. Because ceaselessly tending to a virtual toddler was so much fun the first time, I promptly dumped the tamagotchi in a drawer and let it fend for itself among the wild dust bunnies.

In my weight loss endeavor, I’ve tried not to become obsessed with what I eat and how much I’m exercising. But I realized that managing my diet and fitness routine is a lot like taking care of that damn tamagotchi. I have to tend to it constantly. Every time I eat a meal or grab a snack I have to evaluate how it fits into my overall plan. Everyday I have to consider whether I need to exercise. Then when I successfully get through the day, everything resets and I get to do it again tomorrow.

It. Never. Ends.

Managing my weight isn’t something I can just do once in awhile, like watering a cactus or mowing the lawn. If I were to throw my routine in a drawer with the tamagotchi, I’d just end up fat again. I suppose this is the price of being thin, at least for me. It’s like my own personal electronic pet whose batteries will never run out. So, I suppose I have to be a little obsessed, but the prize of being thinner and healthier sure beats anything my lil’ Japanese baby ever served up.

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16 Comments

Janice Bridge • November 29, 2006 at 1:25 pm

Another outstanding observation! Many of us who achieved the heavier weight bodies did so one day at a time . . . by (intentionally or unintentionally) NOT paying attention to what we were eating, our level of inactivity, and/or our actual physical appearance. I had a tendancy to select clothing with expandable waistbands, tunics and overblouses, so that each added pound could be accomodated gently – until the next time I realized I had to have something new to wear – and when I shopped I had to go to the next size larger!! This experience of NOT seeing myself, resulted in a fairly consistent weight gain over two decades!

One of the doctors in the weight loss program for whom I have great respect believes and teaches that it takes one calendar year of adjustment for EACH 10% of body weight reduced – regardless of how slowly or quickly the weight was reduced. During that period of adjustment, Dr. H. recommends that you keep daily logs of nutritional information, morning weight, and exercise.

The body I currently live in, is 43% lighter than the one I had on January 1, 2006 – so it looks like I will be learning self monitoring, with the assistance of my journal, through 2010!

Best of Luck PQ – your success will depend largely on how comfortable you are in the new lower weight body

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Patty • November 29, 2006 at 1:35 pm

You’re right. This monitoring or for me journaling and exercising will probably never end. Even after I get to goal (I feel I can this time) I will still do the same things but maybe eat a little more. Sometimes, I think, I don’t want to do this forever and maybe someday I won’t have to journal and can just wing eat and eat the healthy foods but not yet.

The healthy and thinner body is worth it, I remind myself every day that I’m on this journey.

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Marla • November 29, 2006 at 9:09 pm

It’s the sad reality! The constant monitoring and judging is not a positive aspect of trying to lose weight, but unfortunately it’s necessary. If we could lose weight by just sort of giving it a thought now and then, nobody would be fat.

But I think all of us get sick – REALLY sick – of it now and then. Sometimes I just want to eat! Not anything terrible or any huge amount, but just… eat what I feel like eating. Throw off the yoke of diet oppression once in a while.

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christie • November 30, 2006 at 1:17 am

A good comparison. I guess we just have to hope that when we ARE thinner, and we have metabolism working for us, that it will take slightly less obsession to stay that way. However, you’re right that we can never “put it away in the drawer.” I’ve spoken about this in my blog before briefly…. that losing weight isn’t a decision that you can make one day and just stick to it. You have to wake up and make it over again every single day, and you have to make it every time you think “do i want to exercise today or not?” or “do I want that donut or not?”… yeah, pretty much the same idea. Can’t ever stop thinking about it.

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i • November 30, 2006 at 8:09 am

Great analogy. Much healthier to say “it’s a small toy I must deal with daily” than to say things like “IT’S LIKE AN ALBATROSS TIED TO A MILLSTONE HANGING AROUND MY NECK …AND THERE IS ALSO A SABERTOOTH TIGER CHASING ME AS WELL.” :)

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Lana • November 30, 2006 at 9:09 am

You are so right! Coming to that realization that dieting is something that we must do all the time is hard. It makes it easier knowing that other people feel the same way.

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bitchwhoblogs • November 30, 2006 at 11:08 am

This post totally resonated with me. I spent time around my family and realized how easily I could fall back into old unhealthy eating patterns. I think I have finally realized that like the diabetic with sugar or the alchoholic with booze- I am going to have to be mindful about food and my decisions around it for the rest of my life. It doesn’t dismay me to think that, rather it allows me to relax into these changes for the long haul. Your post was timely, as I am starting to get a little cocky as I don’t feel really fat anymore – not thin by any means, just not obese these days (I am starting to wear 9/10s and it gone to my head after a decade of LB and Juno) and I was starting to kid myself maybe I could be more casual about my food and exercise decisions- not!

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scone • November 30, 2006 at 5:15 pm

True, it never ends, but it gets much easier with practice. Sometimes it’s as much fun as cleaning the bathroom, or flossing, but eventually you get used to it. Just don’t think about the “foreverness” of it too much. I mean, if you thought: “OMG– I have to clean the toilet and do the dishes for the rest of my life?! Gak! Existential despair!” But it’s not like that. You just get these chores done (sooner or later) and get on with life. It’s all about self-brainwashing, Pavlovian conditioning. Finally, all this stuff becomes so habitual it gets moved to the back of the brain, where it takes less energy to get the job done.

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Samiam • November 30, 2006 at 9:59 pm

too.true…sigh….

:)

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Whitney • November 30, 2006 at 10:02 pm

I agree. I have to work to stay at a decent weight. I often wonder, “If I had never went on that first diet at 11, would I be normal?”

And by normal, I mean, at a normal weight and just eating when hungry – no binging, starving, gaining 10 lbs in a month, you know!

It’s weird. Most people that I know that are slim/normal weight just live life. They never diet. They don’t stress. It’s like they didn’t screw up their body at a young age.

I hate this.

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Annie • December 1, 2006 at 2:00 pm

I am hoping that I grow to love how much I have to be mindful of all the stuff that I do. I think it can become a very healthy habit. Maybe I am just dreaming but it is what I hope.

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Andrea • December 1, 2006 at 2:54 pm

Pasta Queen,

I just finished reading all of your archives, and I must tell you what a fantastic read it’s been! Your sense of humor is wonderful (a lot like mine), and I laughed out loud several times at certain comments you made.

Like you, I started out in the 300+ range, and I’m now stranded in the 220s, where you visited for a while, too. Your blog has given me hope that I can pass this place and move on down the scale like you have.

Congratulations on reaching the “onederfuls” — it’s a testament to your determination that you’ve come so far.

Andrea

P.S. I’ve been thinking about trying Pilates and your blog has got me convinced I need to try it!

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Susan • December 2, 2006 at 2:17 am

It’s funny you should write about that. I have lost 90 pounds and maintained, within a pound or two, for three years. I literally count every single calorie, every single day. Just yesterday, I asked my husband if I was obssessed. He said yes, then added, “But then you have to be.”

Sigh…

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omg • December 2, 2006 at 4:33 pm

OMG — you look SO CUTE in that pic on your About page.

Total Katie Holmes lookalike! damn you look cute there. is that a new pic?

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um • December 2, 2006 at 4:48 pm

Girl, i hope this doesn’t doublepost, but DAMN –you look JUST LIKE KATIE HOLMES in your new About Me pic.

SOOOOOOOOO CUTE!

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jenn with 2 enns • January 1, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Two years after the original post, but I still feel compelled to comment. I’ve been back-reading your archives and THIS is the most meaningful post (for me) yet. I lost 35 pounds five years ago and thought I’d won. I put my routine in a drawer and, yup, all 35 pounds came back (and brought 5 friends, too). I’ve been soooooo disappointed in myself, beating myself up, instead of just pulling that routine out of the drawer, dusting it off and starting it again.

I just now signed up for a yoga class and a water aerobics class! And I threw out the potato chips and dip! But kept the pretzles.

Thanks for keeping your blog active; you are STILL an inspiration to us out here in the blogosphere.

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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 at JennetteFulda.com.

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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 JennetteFulda.com 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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