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Seasons of weight loss

As I was shivering in my short-sleeved hoodie and tank top after the Ani DiFranco concert last week, it occurred to me, “Hey, the seasons are changing, you dumbass. Next time bring a sweatshirt!” My approach to choosing my clothes is to assume that today will be the same temperature as yesterday, which makes no sense because if that were true there would be no seasons. I must think I live on the equator.

The changing seasons mean a lot for my weight loss. I’m going to have to buy a whole new winter wardrobe, again, for the third year in a row. Yeah, this is the part where I send out engraved invitations to my pity party and no one RSVP’s. “Ooooh, that’s so horrible, PastaQueen. You’re so small you have to buy new sweaters. We feel so, so, terrible for you.” I know, it’s a good problem to have, but it’s still a problem. I still mourn the loss of my fuzzy brown extra large sweater. It was so soft and flattering of my coloring! At least I’m small enough that I can find lots of stuff at the thrift store now. Luckily, I don’t think I’ll have to buy a new winter coat. Yay! The old one was a bit tight last year but now it’s a bit loose, so there’s about $100 saved. I could put it towards buying an alpaca. I’d rent a carport for him to live in and I’d start making my own yarn and knit my own sweaters. Or I could just hit the clearance racks.

As it gets colder it will also mean I’ll have to abandon my beloved trail and head inside to run on the treadmill. I anticipate that this will suck hardcore. I wasn’t serious about running last year, but yesterday I ran 5 miles in 55 minutes. This was tolerable because I had changing scenery, but I don’t know how I’m going to cope with looking at a wall for almost an hour. Last year I watched TV shows and got through both seasons of The Venture Brothers and almost all five seasons of Justice League and Justice League: Unlimited. Right now I’m contemplating watching every episode of Daria. The other danger with the treadmill is that I can hop off at any time, whereas on the trail once I’ve run two and a half miles in one direction I pretty much have to run back or take up hitchhiking. I also have a new downstairs neighbor, so I have no idea how the sound of me jogging on his ceiling is going to go over.

The one good thing about fall is that it heralds the return of Jell-O’s pumpkin flavored instant pudding. Mmmm! It’s not sugar-free or fat-free, but oh well, Jell-O, I love you anyway. I’ll indulge in it reasonably with some fat-free whipped cream. It’s so much more exciting when you can only get a food for a limited time. It makes it more special, like Easter Peeps.

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Crabby McSlacker • September 24, 2007 at 10:18 am

Re: pumpkin pudding. This is going to sound totally disgusting, but I’ve found that if you buy some canned pumpkin, dump it into nonfat yogurt, add pumpkin pie type spices and a boatload of (gasp) Splenda or the sweetener of your choice, it actually tastes pretty darn good. Had some this morning. And you get credit for a healthy vegetable!

Not as good as actual pumpkin pie or pumpkin pie ice cream though. I’ll have to check out the pudding.


KateG • September 24, 2007 at 10:34 am

I definitely hear you on the trail thing – esp the part about once you get 2.5 miles out, you are stuck with doing 2.5 miles back! That made me smile.

Thanks for the reference to pumpkin pudding – I will have to look for that. And to add to the first comment, pumpkin fluff is quite tasty too – mix one can pumpkin (I think it is about 14 oz), half a box of SF FF vanilla instant pudding and one tub FF cool whip. It tastes great – consistency about that of mousse – and again, definitely counts at least as one veggie.


marygrace • September 24, 2007 at 11:00 am

running on the treadmill is the absolute worst. i can run for miles and miles outside quite comfortably, but the combination of boredom, stale air, and knowing i can just hop off makes it so i can never stay on a treadmill for more than about 30 minutes, 40 minutes if i want to feel like dying.

running outside in colder weather is definitely do-able, and also pretty invigorating. you should check out your local running store for winter running clothes. they can tell you all about layering, and show you which pieces of gear you’ll need at what temperatures. with the right clothes, running in the cold really isn’t that uncomfortable. (in fact, most of the time i find it more pleasurable than running in the dead of summer.) the clothes might seem a little expensive, but they are well worth it in the sense that it will keep you motivated to run and they last a long time.


Têtue • September 24, 2007 at 11:05 am

That’s so funny. I’m the exact opposite. I love running on the treadmill but I HATE running outside. I bought a flat panel TV to fix the I-don’t-want-to-stare-at-the-wall situation. It rocks my socks.


Gloria • September 24, 2007 at 11:26 am

Another winter problem that comes with weight loss is the lack of fat insulation. Which is actually a big plus in the summer, can make the loser really cold in tempertures that used to feel quite comfortable to them before the loss. Thus requiring an even larger purchase of outerwear in the form of sweaters and light jackets, and the addition of cuddleduds, as well. Oh woe is us. lol. That’s alright though, because I can certainly live without all that extra insulation, especially in the summer.


workoutmommy • September 24, 2007 at 11:31 am

Hi, I’m a new reader and just want to say huge CONGRATS on your success!!!!

I completely agree on the boredom of the treadmill. Now that I have kids though it is sometimes the only time I can get a workout in!

One mental trick I use is to play with the incline. I pretend I’m going up/down hills (like outside) and I use a timer to keep myself on task. It helps a little bit with the monotony of treadmill walking/running.


melsky • September 24, 2007 at 11:53 am

I don’t really like running, inside or outside. I’m more of a walking or elliptical person, and I just bought an old Nordic trac ski machine which is much different than most exercise machines I’ve used. It’s not immediately easy to do, you have to figure out how to balance on it, but it’s really effective once you get the hang of it. I’m using it to get ready for cross country skiing this winter.

We have a park within walking distance that has cross country ski trails and since I live in one of the snowiest cities in the US I’m going to take advantage of it. Used cross country skis are pretty cheap too, only sixty bucks for the whole setup, skis, boots and poles.

I love pumpkin stuff too. I freeze canned pumpkin in an ice cube tray and use it for smoothies. You have to make the cubes small though, or they are too hard for the blender to grind up.


Girl on a Mission... • September 24, 2007 at 11:57 am


You are an inspiration for me to want to start running and being a better person. Your before/present pictures are amazing and I want to be in your shoes at the end of my journey. Now, if you could only drag me on your back during those big hikes into the woods…you’d be doing me a favor or getting my lazy butt in to gear…and adding additional weight on your to burn more calories! Tsk Tsk. As for the neighbor downstairs….if he complains…just ask him if he is going to shovel the trail for you in the winter months? If not- put up with it!

I’m going to add you to my daily read. I’m trying to lose 100 pds. First month has been a battle- to say the least!



Laura • September 24, 2007 at 12:09 pm

I’m all about the Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks personally, as a symbol of fall. I know it’s bad. But I order it in size tall with nonfat milk and no whip and only once every couple weeks so it’s not that bad right? RIGHT? Hehe :)

Best of luck with the new wardrobe. I just lost only 15 pounds and I can even see hints of your problem, and I know that people must say “what a nice problem to have,” but seriously, replacing an entire wardrobe is hard on the wallet. We should start a clothing exchange forum on here or something!


spacedcowgirl • September 24, 2007 at 12:15 pm

I bet you could add some canned pumpkin and spices to instant sugar-free fat-free vanilla pudding mix (maybe half pudding, half pumpkin?) if you wanted to make it that way, and thereby get in a fruit serving (or part of one) at the same time. Not to enable you to be able to make this dish year-round or anything… :)

I am dreading the Return to the Gym too. I had been going there for quite a while in all weather and it’s been fine, but since spring I have been running outside (a new thing for me) and now the gym sounds boring and smelly and stale. I don’t mind the cold so much–in fact, I love it–but I do mind the shortening days (basically, pretty soon I won’t be able to leave work early enough to run without it getting dark) and the potential for ice in the winter months. I am clumsy and there is no way I’ll be able to run anywhere near ice without breaking both legs.


Charity Froggenhall • September 24, 2007 at 12:22 pm

Actually, Laura, I just checked on Starbucks’ site, and a regular grande Pumpkin Spice Latte with whipped cream and 2% milk is 380 calories (gasp!) with 13g of fat (eek!) and 8 of those saturated (bleurgh!). By swapping for nonfat milk and skipping the cream, you save yourself 120 calories and all that fat! So any bit helps!

I have found that for some reason my body still thinks it’s 265 lbs. Consequently I now get a chill in a strong breeze. I wish my body would CATCH UP already. It’s been 9 years since I was that big!


Katharine • September 24, 2007 at 12:22 pm

When I have to use the treadmill, listening to music that makes me want to move really helps. For me, that can be Irish jigs, John Philip Sousa marches, disco (yeah, laugh if you must), or ’70s rock (yes, I’m old—I’m 48).


Jenny • September 24, 2007 at 12:32 pm

Push the incline on the treadmill UP – that’s what I did yesterday and I felt like I did more.

My music is full of 80’s goofy music, too, Katharine… “Walking on Sunshine” is the first one I hear after I plug in. I’m old too! :-)


Erin • September 24, 2007 at 12:45 pm

Hi PQ, I have been reading your blog for a bout 2 months, totally go for the daria while your running, her sarcastic wit is just the thing to keep you going, that and watching quinn and the fashion club being skinny bitches. Do you have all the show tapped or did you get the DVD’s somewhere? By the way (I am sure you are sick of hearing this) your a huge inspiration, I have similar stats to yours when you started and I am 4 months in and down 40 lbs. I hope in 3 years I can be buying a whole new winter wardrobe.

PQ – Um, the shows magically appeared on my computer somehow via completely legal means.


JEM • September 24, 2007 at 12:47 pm

I guess that is one of the nice things about living in FL. My wardrobe truly is the same all year round with MAYBE a light sweater thrown in once or twice in Jan-Feb. I haven’t pulled out a jacket since I was in college up north.

I also hate exercising on a machine rather than outside for the most part BUT it is so hot here I learned to use the treadmill and elliptical machines. I usually push myself hard the forst 15-20 mins and then for the rest of the hour watch tv. It distracts me enough to actually exercise without looking at the time every 5 mins.


Mia • September 24, 2007 at 12:50 pm

I’m jealous that you are already getting cool weather. It’s still hot where I live! However, I don’t like snow very much, so maybe I’m better off here. Good for you running 5 miles this weekend! Yay! :)

PQ – Ironically, it got up to 90 degrees today, but I swear it was freezing the night of the Ani D concert!


AKS • September 24, 2007 at 12:51 pm

Ahhhh, Venture Brothers. I love that show.

I’m like you. I hate running on the TM…once I had to do 7 miles on the TM due to inclimate weather and I nearly died of boredom, even with a tv.


K • September 24, 2007 at 12:57 pm

Ah, the boredom of the treadmill. I know what you mean, but I found that at least with the treadmill I had no excuses not to run. No rain, no wet pavements, no “I’ll just finish doing this and THEN I’ll get changed and go” (because I treadmilled at the gym, so there wasn’t anything else to do).

It would have been better if they had DVD players attached so you could choose what to watch, I admit. (There was a TV but not many channels.) No rose without a thorn.

Sad to say, apart from a couple of pairs of jeans, I’ve never shrunk enough that clothes were ridiculously big. But then, I still have my baggy T-shirts from the 90s.


Marianne • September 24, 2007 at 2:07 pm

I just watched an entire season of Bones in a week. As I watched I kept thinking “you know, I could do some pushups or haul the bike into the living room and get some exercise.” Instead I sat on my butt all weekend. Sheesh. If you’re looking for something 40minutes long, I really recommend Bones(murder! intrigue! anthropology! David Boreanaz!).

Also – pumpkin- and cinnamon-flavoured things are the best part of fall. Mmmm.


disha • September 24, 2007 at 3:30 pm


am a lurkur..but here you hit my weak spot(s). Loved buying me my new winter coat last winter, none this year, but yeah new sweaters..sigh. As for running on treadmills.. I cant do it, i fall off them because i stumble on treadmills, yet to do it in real life, but 10 minutes on a treadmill and bam, im on the floor! So indoor running track with eight laps = 1 mile. What is better? staring at the wall or dizziness due to going round in circles?


MM • September 24, 2007 at 3:56 pm

Pumpkin and jello. GASP. I am having serious texture aversions over here. Oh dear god.

PQ – It’s pudding! Jell-O makes it, but it’s pudding! Pumpkin Jell-O would be a bit odd.


the veggie paparazzo • September 24, 2007 at 5:34 pm

Yes! It’s so exciting to be able to go into thrift stores and wear the clothes (though I found recently they carry bigger sizes than they used to in general–the general growth of the population, I guess). And the stuff in thrift stores is often really nice! I’m still impressed that we recently got my husband Banana Republic dress shirts there for $3.50–and they look brand new.


anji • September 24, 2007 at 7:41 pm

This might sound REALLY weird ’cause it sure did to me to hear about this today! But, my hubby said to me, “When I retire, and you’re working somewhere and well… I’d really like to have an alpaca farm! I researched it this week and everything! I think it would be good – we can breed them and sell their wool and they don’t need much food….” I’m like, where the hell did this come from? Way out of left field! *laughs* Must be nice retiring from the military at 39 years of age and having an alpaca farm as your idea of “fun” … hehe…. he’s 35 now… four more years to convince him to do something else :P


Zanitta • September 24, 2007 at 7:47 pm

You went to an ani difranco concert? I am muchly jealous.


sd • September 24, 2007 at 8:40 pm

PQ — have you seen this article?


I want to hear your thoughts!

PQ – Man, sometimes I feel like I’m being assigned homework. I’ll try to read it soon, but I’ve been really busy week, so any coherent thoughts might have to wait.


melsky • September 25, 2007 at 12:02 pm

Obviously I’m not Pasta Queen, but that NY Magazine article above is contrary to my personal experience. I have not changed my eating habits much or gone on a diet but I’ve gone from a size 20/22 to a 14/16 in the past three years. I just try not to eat too much like I used to. I still eat plenty, I’m eating a cookie now in fact. It’s molasses!

I’m not saying everyone will have these results but I have had them. I don’t pay any mind to studies anymore, I just do what I know works for me.


bitchwhoblogs • September 25, 2007 at 4:18 pm

I am so with you on the running inside thing… I love running outside on my trails and now that I am training for a race- I dread a winter of indoor runs… I am thinking I will just run in the rain and head out at the ass crack of dawn (before kids and husband wake up) to stay outside as long as possible…


wilma • October 25, 2007 at 4:53 pm

pq, i would encourage you to embrace the outdoors this winter! i live in ottawa, and it gets super, super cold–more than -20 (celcius) at times. i run outside all winter. i think that it makes me feel powerful or something to brave the weather (and get some vitamin D if i’m running at lunch) and go for a run. as long as you don’t quit running this fall, you should be able to make it through the winter, though you definitely will need to invest in warm running clothes (though remember that cheap polar fleece is basically the same as the expensive stuff sold in the running stores). hope you get this message, as i’m a bit late in posting! cheers, wilma


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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.

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