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…but I’m losing weight again

I was at dinner with some friends a couple weeks ago. Some of them had worked at their jobs for 7 or 10 or 14 years.

“Does it get boring working the same job for that long?” I asked.


“Oh God, yes.”

The other just nodded.

These weren’t the reactions I wanted to hear, but at least they were honest. Everyone agreed that they liked their jobs and the companies they worked for, but even the best job had spurts of boredom. Healthy living can be like a job. It certainly is a lot of work. Recently I started to get bored with it, so to get back into it I decided to make things interesting and fun again.

Something new…and shiny

First off, I decided I needed something new, so I got a two-week trial membership at the fancy ladies gym. It’s small enough that the receptionist knows who you are, which was a nice bit of accountability. If I stopped going, I’m sure Sharon would know I’m slacking off! I got a trainer to show me some of the equipment, so I was able to do new exercises. I went there before work, did the circuit on their shiny machines and ran on the treadmills while watching the fancy flatscreen TVs. Then I used their showers which were also shiny and clean, and not scary and possibly covered in mold like the ones at the downtown YMCA.

I kind of fell in love with the fancy ladies gym and was thinking of asking it to go steady. However, the fancy ladies gym is several miles away from my house, and we all know long-distance relationships rarely work out. While I was gung-ho about exercising this month, a couple months from now I doubt I would be able to drag myself all the way over there, especially when I drive right past the fancy YMCA to get there. So, while I would highly recommend the fancy ladies gym to anyone who asks, I took my YMCA membership off hold and I’ve been going back there. Except now I use the weight machines because the trainer showed me how.

Something practical

I finally bought a bike the same day I started the ladies gym trial. That’s because bike riding is fun and it’s been much easier to convince myself to go for a bike ride down the canal than to just run 2 miles for the heck of it. I’m much more likely to get my ass moving if my movement has a purpose, like picking up Avenue Q tickets, getting books from the library, or getting quarters at the bank for laundry. I couldn’t accomplish all these tasks on foot, but now with Bluebell, I’m back in the saddle, literally.

Something fun

I have friends who want to lose weight too! I have walked with these friends at lunch by the canal. I have run with one and her boyfriend’s brother, who is a kinesthesiologist who understands stuff like ATP and how to properly stretch. I’m going biking with another friend up and down the trail later this week. Exercise is more fun when it’s done with friends. Or maybe you just spread out the misery?

Nothing full of calories

As for eating, I already know what is good for me to eat and now I’m making an effort to actually eat that stuff instead of donuts. The tricky thing with maintenance is that you can get away with eating more crap, but it’s hard to figure out how much crap until your pants get tighter. I’m not going totally zero-tolerance on sweets and cookies because I think that’s futile and bound to backfire in a binge. But I’m not going to buy any cookies myself. They have plenty of that stuff at the office. So my rule is it’s okay to eat a cookie or a bagel if I’m leaving for the day. That way I know I won’t come back for seconds, which I would feel compelled to do like a carb zombie if I were still in the same room as the food.

I’ve already lost several pounds. I’m hoping to average a loss of one pound a week. The holidays are coming up, so that will be…interesting. The biggest difference is that I really care now, which I didn’t before. That will hopefully propel me forward so I can get back to my happy weight.

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just_kelly • September 24, 2008 at 8:21 am

Isn’t it amazing how a workout partner/friend can make working out more bearable? I randomly met a guy in my cul de sac and we are now running buddies, doing the couch to 5k 3 days a week. There are many times if his bright, smiling face wasn’t at my door I would have said “screw it” because I’m not that disciplined yet. You can read about me meeting Running Man here.


Jen • September 24, 2008 at 8:26 am

These are great tips. I think we all need something new and fun to get us motivated now and then.


Alexia • September 24, 2008 at 8:51 am

Great tips! I always swore I would never stay at a job for more than 4 years because I would stagnate and lose my competitive edge. Instead, I’ve been there almost 12 years — but I do mix it up and change my focus and find ways to continue to make it interesting and meaningful. Thanks for pointing out that those are transferable skills!


s • September 24, 2008 at 9:41 am

i love that you mentioned ATP. it made my day (i’m a nerdy science grad student :))


musajen • September 24, 2008 at 10:22 am

I love how you’re approaching cookies and I’m totally steeling that idea! We have a baking demon in our office who brings homemade cookies, about 5 dozen at a time, every week or two. It’s been hard to leave them alone, I have a reflex for cookies, “see cookie, me grab, yum, yum, yum.” Holding off until days end will mean the cookies are mostly gone, hopefully completely gone, and catastrophe averted. Thanks!


Morgan • September 24, 2008 at 10:38 am

Good for you, PQ. I’m going through a similar struggle. I lost 105 lbs, and have recently gained back about 13. I’m scared as hell, but I’m not quitting, nor am I buying bigger pants. Glad to know you’re not either. We can do it!


Alexia • September 24, 2008 at 10:40 am

Just saw this article in the WSJ and thought of you! Not so much that you are going to take up horse cutting, but about mixing it up: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122209656511463021.html?mod=djemHL


Flora • September 24, 2008 at 10:55 am

Exercise with a purpose is really key for me, too. I’m not likely to walk in circles or run up and down stairs at random just to get my 10,000 steps a day in. But lately I’ve been making myself walk to the bus stop and take the bus to work (huge savings on gas). That means, in turn, walking on errands in the middle of the day at work instead of hopping into the car. Every little bit adds up, and I’ve noticed I’m feeling a lot better.


Joseph • September 24, 2008 at 12:05 pm

I like this post. Deciding to become fit and healthy is a very important step to a healthy lifestyle, but it takes patience and commitment to keep it up for the rest of your life. When you spent time at the ladies gym it revitalized you and this helped you to see the value of your regular gym membership.

One thing that many of us involved in strength training do is to vary our routine. Workout at least 30 minutes per day 3 to four days per week, but working different muscle groups according to a schedule we lay out beforehand. For example on Monday work your chest, back and arms; Wednesday work your back and abs; on Friday train your legs. Keep the workouts interesting and challenging by changing the order of the exercises because this will build strength. And every 6 weeks or so switch out some routines and start new ones which will continue to work the muscle groups while preventing your body from adapting (when you adapt to an exercise your body no longer sees it as a challenge and you will only maintain instead of growing stronger).

And it is good for women to work out with weights, too. Naturally women will not develop the muscularity of men because of the differences between male and female physiology but strength training does encourage weight loss. But the best weight training exercises are those which involve free weights rather than the machines. This is because the free weights allow for a full range of motion and promote the development of “functional strength”, this is the strength that many of us rely on in everyday life. The machines are good for toning up but they do not provide the challenges that free weights do.

And biking is a good aerobic activity which builds endurance.

And maintaining a healthy diet doesn’t mean we have to completely cut out sweet foods. One way to avoid overeating of sweets is to limit them to one day a week, and only in moderation. This would help to curtail the sweet eating binges that can rush upon us when we have gone for a long time without eating sweets. I’ve also found that there are sweet foods that no longer interest me because I have not eaten them for such a long time.

Do what is best for you and you will continue to see results.


TOWR • September 24, 2008 at 12:23 pm

Good on ya! I put some weight back on and it’s just sitting here because I’m too afraid to weigh and actually see just how bad the damage is. Healthy, isn’t it?


Laura N • September 24, 2008 at 12:45 pm

Gaining weight is way too easy. It’s just not fair. But, as grown ups like to say, who said life is fair? I went through something very similar this summer after the half marathon. Wasn’t running as much–was tired of running. Ate more–I deserved it, look how much I ran the past few months! Didn’t care–bagels for breakfast, fast food for lunch, pizza for dinner, dessert every night. Quickly & easily gained 10 pounds.

I’m so glad you are blogging your experience about this, instead of not blogging about it. We all need the insight & will benefit from your experience, and I hope our support will encourage you, too.

Way to get back in there & fight the good fight.


Ann • September 24, 2008 at 12:53 pm

You are my inspiration PQ! (and you are a famous person) .


Inny • September 24, 2008 at 1:01 pm

@s – Me too! The ATP made me smile :)


Chrissy • September 24, 2008 at 2:03 pm

Keep on keepin’ on! Its funny because I recently had the ‘OMG when did my pants get tight’ freak out! Sneaky bastards, those calories. I hope you stay motivated! I just joined a new gym too.


Meghann • September 24, 2008 at 2:04 pm

It’s amazing how when we actually care about the outcome, how much stronger our will power to focus on it becomes. Good luck on your new goals!


PastaQueen • September 24, 2008 at 2:05 pm

@musajen – It’s been working well. It’s easier not to give in during the day if I know I’m going to have one later. And by the time I finish it I’m at the parking garage and I’m not going to turn back for another.


Zandria • September 24, 2008 at 3:49 pm

These are excellent strategies. I definitely agree that fitness is much more likely to happen when you enjoy what you’re doing (and/or it’s serving a dual purpose, like with the biking).

I switched my gym membership this summer to a facility that’s a LOT closer/easier to get to than my old gym (I joined it when I lived in a different location than I do right now). Proximity makes a huge difference!


Lyn • September 24, 2008 at 4:26 pm

I was so thrilled to read this today. Knowing there are options besides giving up and buying bigger pants makes me very hopeful for ALL of us! Your energy is contagious!


Andrew is getting fit • September 24, 2008 at 4:49 pm

We’re cheering you on!


Laura • September 24, 2008 at 8:20 pm

Thanks for posting about the gain AND about your steps towards reversing it. I’m a WW lifer who is between 10 – 20 pounds over goal, and I had gotten into a rut of thinking I was done, a failure, and never would be able to get back to where I’d like to be. Your posts reminded me that there are things I can actually DO besides squeeze into too-small clothes, and I have started actually DOING them. Funny how it works, I already feel better, more in control and ready to live how I want to. So thanks!


Heather • September 24, 2008 at 9:46 pm

Cool, keep it up. You already know you’re awsome! I’ve been stick at the same weight now for 2 months, and have gotten discouraged. The treats at work don’t help, since I have a massive problem with snacking when bored! I know you’ll be back in shape soon, you’ve got the hang of it now!


still reading • September 25, 2008 at 12:40 am

Way to go PQ…weight gain after a really big loss is just one of those “learning experiences” we all love SO much. But you have come so far, and inspired so many of us along the way, I just know you will over come this too. Because of your example, I was motivated to make a big change in my daily environment…I work in a place that has THE BEST cafeteria, and it was a huge problem for me…it was way too easy to stop in for a snack whenever I was feeling “peckish” which seemed to happen at EVERY break. So this July (about when I started reading your blog) I put a mental “do no enter” sign at the cafeteria door, and so far, it has worked. It is just a place I don’t go to anymore. I pack all my food for the day, and keep healthy food in the refrigerator at work so I always have something available (I find that I panic if I don’t have something legal to eat, and then I eat everything I can get my hands on). Packing my meals takes a little extra thought and time, but I have done really well with it so far. I have also saved quite a bit of money this way, so that is a motivator too. I still have a lot of weight to lose, but I know that I can do it because you have shown me how.


Benita • September 25, 2008 at 7:32 am

Yes, that boredom at work thing… That’s what gets me into trouble. The mornings are a breeze because I’m a morning person and full of energy at that time of day, but the afternoons are HELL! I’ve been bringing Baby Bel cheeses to help me stay out of the peppermints in the conference room, and I’ve noticed that if I drink another cup of hot tea at lunch, I’m less likely to get tired and therefore look for munchies in the afternoon. So far, that is working, but…


Ash • September 25, 2008 at 8:07 am

Thanks for being honest with us- your dedicated readers- about putting on weight.. It’s great to meet another human being who likes food and who is trying to be healthy- like me!

Go you for setting some goals- goals are the key to success!

My favourite motto is “behave like the fit chick you aspire to be and you’ll be that fit chick sooner!”


BrightAngel • September 25, 2008 at 9:21 am

I’ve shared before that my high was 271 lbs 15 years ago, just prior to a gastric bypass; and that my more recent high was 190 in September 2004.

I am now in my 32nd month of maintaining a large weight-loss.

My maintenance range is between 115 lbs and 105 lbs, although almost all of that 32 months has been between 110 and 116.

It is very important to me to keep my weight off, because in my life I’ve re-gained weight-losses of over 100 lbs three separate times.

In order to keep my weight from climbing, I have to work every day. For me personally to maintain my weight-loss it has been necessary for me to weigh every day, and log all my food into my software food journal daily, along with faithful daily exercise.

The 2007 Christmas Holiday season, I gained from hanging around 111 lbs to hanging around 117 lbs. I have worked all year so far to drop that extra weight, most of the time eating an average daily calorie intake of between 1000 and 1200 calories, but here it is the end of Sept and after a year of healthy low-cal eating I still am hanging around 115 lbs.

I am 63 years old and 5’0′, and although the charts say my burn, with my 1 hour of daily low-impact exercise should be in the 1500s,

my daily calorie records show that I’ve during the past 9 months I’ve burned an average of about 1330 daily calories, and during the past 31 months by eating an average of 1399 calories. I’m having a test to have Resting Metabolism Rate assessed in a couple of weeks, to see how low that MR number actually is.

My dream is that someday it would just feel natural for me to eat the way I need to eat to maintain this healthy weight for my age and size, but that is a fantasy, because what is natural for me is to overeat.

So why am I sharing this with you?

Because I like you.

Because I hope you maintain your weight-loss.

Because the Reality of how much work it takes to maintain a large weight-loss is difficult to comprehend.

Just as I think I have fully understood and accepted that Reality, it tends to slip away.

I think this is probably true for everyone.

Isn’t it sad that the natural slide is up, not down?

Where is the law of Gravity when you really need it?

Congratulations for getting back to the business of maintenance.


Juicebox.mom • September 25, 2008 at 10:03 am

Keep up the good work. I’m in the same place as you…..somehow lost my motivation a few months back after doing well with maintenance for 2+years…now trying to find it again.


Cass • September 25, 2008 at 12:37 pm

I recently realized that whole “Just Do It” thing too – Which just goes to show that it takes 20 years for good marketing to reach me. LOL.


lisa • September 25, 2008 at 1:26 pm

I love all your ideas, and am inspired by your plans to mix up your workout routine to keep it interesting. Right now I’m trying to find a workout plan that doesn’t bore the crap out of me (I’m limited because I had foot surgery 8 weeks ago).

And I also like your Cookie Plan. Maybe if you can hold out to the end of the day, you won’t even want one so much, and you can close your eyes, hold your breath, and run past them on the way out. If not, eating just one on the way to your car will do much less damage. Good luck!


John • September 25, 2008 at 3:34 pm

Over the past few years I went from 250lb to about 205lbs. I plan on losing another 15 or 20lbs..I wish you success with your diet. I’m rooting for you..


s@d.com • September 25, 2008 at 7:42 pm

not to be a troll but I remember you saying that you don’t understand how people gain the weight back and “you know that won’t happen to you.”

it just sneaks up on people.


PastaQueen • September 25, 2008 at 7:47 pm

@s@d.com – I can see someone didn’t read the last chapter of my book.


Eileen • September 25, 2008 at 8:31 pm

Good luck to you, PQ, on your continuing journey. I hate to mention this because I know you have sworn off of it: When you had such great success before, you were posting your weight at regular intervals. Do you think that would give you extra accountability and keep you on track? Just a thought.


PastaQueen • September 25, 2008 at 8:33 pm

@Eileen – The thought did cross my mind and then kept on going. Weighing in on the Internet just makes me psycho.


Eileen • September 25, 2008 at 8:50 pm

@PastaQueen – I sure as hell wouldn’t post my weight on line.


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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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