Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Q&A With "Half-Assed" Author Jennette Fulda


I'm very glad to be part of Jennette Fulda's viritual book tour. Jennette is the author of "Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir" and she blogs at Pasta Queen.

"Half-Assed" chronicles Jennette's weight issues and subsequent loss - more than 200 pounds - with a combination of humor and thoughtful, sometimes stark, insight. I said, "Aha! Yes! That's exactly how it feels!" many times over while reading it.

In our Q&A, Jennette and I focus on what happens after the loss, after the book, in the ominous world of maintenance.

We'd like your insights, too. If you're still losing weight, what are your expectations of maintenance? If you're maintaining, what has been your biggest surprise about the realities of maintenance? By leaving a comment, you'll be entered to win a free copy of "Half-Assed" (US and Canadian readers only...sorry about that). I'll draw a random winner on Wednesday, Jan. 28.

If you haven't read "Half-Assed" (and you don't win the free copy), you can pick up a copy online at Amazon or other book stores.

(Personal note to Jennette: Thanks for writing your book and for all the insight you've given me this last year through your blog and your guest post at Refuse to Regain. You're one smart and funny chick! )

OK, enough of the warm fuzzies...on to the Q&A.
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Lynn: While losing weight and posting your weight on your blog, you wrote that "…public failure was not an option." Do you take the same approach with maintenance?

Jennette: After posting my weight online for several years I decided I needed to move that number back into the private section of my life because it was starting to drive me crazy. During maintenance, small fluctuations in weight are normal. Some weeks I'm up a couple pounds, other weeks I'm down a couple pounds. Yet, I felt like I had to justify every small gain and loss to my readers with excuses like, "It's my period this week!" It was getting silly, so I decided to stop my public weigh-ins, but I still weigh myself privately every day. I post enough photos on my blog that it's obvious if I've gained or lost weight. I've been pretty open about the fact that I've put on 25 pounds after a period of depression in the fall of 2008.

Lynn: How is maintenance different/same as weight loss?

Jennette: It's the same because you have to keep doing everything you did to lose weight, but it's different because you don't get the reward of seeing the number on the scale go down or the joy of fitting into a smaller size of jeans. If anything, you sometimes go up on the scale or your pants start to feel tighter.

It's also important to keep things interesting. Anything gets boring if you do it too much, so I try to preserve that sense of enthusiasm I had for healthy living that I did at the beginning. If I let myself get into a rut, I have to remember to try new activities or foods that will keep life interesting. For example, I recently I signed up for a race up 37 floors of a skyscraper as a new way to challenge myself.

Lynn: You've experienced chronic pain this last year that has taken you down a completely different emotional and physical path than weight loss. You've regained a few of those lost pounds. How have you recovered from the gain, both emotionally and physically?

Jennette: The weight gain I experienced was a physical manifestation of my emotional problems, so the first thing I had to do was deal with my depression. I got some anti-depressants, made efforts to be social and not to isolate myself, and kept a regular sleep schedule. All these things helped lift me up. I'm also still pursuing treatment for my headache, which helps my spirits because at least I'm doing something about my pain even if I haven't found a cure. Doing all these things lessened my desire to overeat because I reduced my triggers.

These days, I'm simply focused on maintaining my weight, which I've done for several months. One of my doctors emphasized that regular exercise helps alleviate pain slightly, so I'm trying to take his advice even if I don't always feel like working out when my head hurts. I need to focus my energy on my medical problem and my job. Eventually I hope to focus on weight loss again, but there are other things that need my attention right now and I can only split my focus so much.

Lynn: Do you find wisdom in your own wisdom? Do you go back and reread sections of your book or blog?

Jennette: I have not reread the blog or book recently, but I did read the blog 3 times while writing the book. I also read the book so many times while writing, revising and editing it that I think I could recite it from memory. People frequently email me and tell me how inspirational and motivating they find my story. That more than anything reminds me that I've done this before and can do it again.

Lynn: I loved the imagery of you and your body in "couples counseling," and also that in maintenance, you're on "permanent probation." Are you and your body still working out issues, and are you friends with your probation officer?

Jennette: The first few years were the happy, giddy dating years. Now we've settled into the more comfortable, couple's period of our relationship where I have to work harder to keep things interesting. However, I'm not looking for any divorce lawyers yet :)

Lynn: Another quote I like and would like you to expound on in light of maintenance/gain/chronic pain: "I've heard it said that people need to love themselves no matter what, but I think you have to earn your own love through the things you do for yourself. I had to shape myself into someone worth loving, someone worthy of my own respect."

Jennette: Yeah, it's important to treat yourself well. It's sad how some people will say awful things about themselves that they would never say to anyone else or how they'll treat themselves more poorly than they'd treat others. I still try to treat myself well and I think I'm a lovable person :)

Lynn: At the end of your book you were Jennette 2.0. What upgrade number are you at now?

Jennette: Oh, I think we're still at Jennette 2.0, but I'm working on a patch to fix some recently discovered operating system errors :)

Lynn: Do you still feel "proud and powerful?"

Jennette: Yeah, I do. I'm a believer that your weight is not the ultimate determiner of your self-esteem. So no matter how that fluctuates, I still feel pretty proud of what I've accomplished and believe I have the power to do whatever I want in life if I work hard enough for it.

25 comments:

  1. Great interview! I'm finding that, while still in weight loss mode, I am having to work harder and harder at it for the same results, so I figure maintenance mode will be similar.

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  2. I admire Janette's frankness. She is an encouragement to me, and I am rereading her book now. (I do not need to win a copy, so please don't pick me.) Being eager to progress in this weight loss journey, I sustained an injury and now I'm suffering by not being able to work out. Plodding on, I will get there!

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  3. Interesting interview! I am still in weight loss mode even though I have surpassed my original weight goal by 20 lbs. I now am at a "desirable" weight according to the BMI charts but I feel I need to lose a few more pounds. I have worked too hard to give up when I still feel I need to lose more. As for maintenance...it will be the same as weight loss mode for me...mindful eating and a lot of exercise.

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  4. Reading this interview, I realized I might be subconsciously holding myself back from reaching my final goal so I don't have to deal with maintenance. Hmmmmmmm. I'm like moonduster, the less I weigh, the harder I have to work. Perhaps, I've been thinking life will be one never-ending weight vigil. But, that's defeatist -> instead, I could visualize that what I'm doing now is the same thing I could be doing 30 pounds lighter. And that thought process is one that helped me lose the first 100! Time to roll up my sleeves & put in the effort. Thanks Jennette & Lynn!

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  5. Although I'm disappointed to hear that maintenance will not be a walk in the park, I'm grateful to bloggers like Lynn and Jennette for telling it like it is - y'all are giving me something to prepare for!

    Great interview, but don't enter me in the drawing...I already own it.

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  6. Thanks to maintenance bloggers like Lynn and Jennette (and my own sad tale of regain after a significant weight loss in the past), I know that eating/exercise during successful maintenance won't be very different from the losing weight phase.

    I'd love to win the book!

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  7. Great interview! I love the fact that both Lynn and Jennette do not candy coat anything when it comes to maintence. I received my copy of Half-Assed in the mail yesterday, and can't put the book down! So I don't need to be included in the draw. Wonderful book btw! Filled with great advice, and you make light of the heavy situation lol.

    I know for myself, 45lbs down-one million to go lol That I see things much differently this time, and I will succeed. I think we all get wrapped up in the newest fad diets, quick fixes, pills etc etc and have all at one point or another have tried one or a thousand of these "diets". I know there isnt a quick fix, i've known that for years. If there was,no one would be overweight.

    Point is-it's customizing what will work for you. That's what I am doing right now, finding what works for me, what I enjoy. I have to say I've been learning a lot about myself, and I know this is just a start. I am sick of my former obese life, and watching life happen around me. I want to participate, I want to have fun and not let my weight hold me back from anything.

    You have both been a wonderful inspiration to me! Can't wait to read the rest of your book Jennette!!

    Sarah

    http://writing2change.blogspot.com/

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  8. Well, if I don't win the book, I'll just have to get it from Amazon. It's already in the cart just waiting to see what happens. :)

    Thank you both for sharing that nothing about this journey is easy....but it's still worth taking.

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  9. I would love to read her book. :-) I agree maintenance is the toughest part- I've lost and regained a few times now and it's quite frustrating!

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  10. ooooh two women I love. together at last.

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  11. I'm new to your site, but I'm putting you on my feed! After losing 160 lbs, I am trying to work maintenance, but it's really harder than losing, isn't it. I can't wait to go through your blog archives.

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  12. I'm still about 80 lbs away from maintenance, having lost the first 40 over the past several months. I've hit quite a plateau, and haven't seen the scale move much in several weeks. I'm frustrated, but trying to relax and let my body catch up and get ready to move on to a lower weight. At times I think this is what maintenance will be like -- watching a number that moves some, but stays within a reasonable parameter.

    I deal with a chronic pain issue, and I worry about exercise and what I can/can't do. Throughout the 40 lbs I've lost, exercise has not played a role -- I've monitored eating by keeping a daily food diary. It's such encouragement to hear that others deal with chronic pain and have worked exercise into their lives in a way that works for them - thanks to you all for sharing your stories.

    Jennette's website was a great find for me last week, and I'm looking forward to reading the book!!

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  13. Hi there. Thanks for your responses - new readers, de-lurkers and regulars. I've gotten your emails, too, just to let you know :)

    Maintenance is what it is, I guess....mostly a crapshoot. What works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another. I forget that sometimes.

    I'll announce the book winner on Wednesday, so there's still time to leave your comment. I really appreciate you guys reading and commenting. It means a lot to me. L

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  14. What has surprised me about maintenance is that the act itself of reaching / being at my maintenance goal weight did not make me happier, and I still struggle with feeling like I look good. But choosing to eat well and exercise frequently DOES improve my mood and raise my confidence. Everyday I have to commit to striving towards health.

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  15. great interview - posting here to enter the contest for a free copy. (If I happen to win, please note I'll be away from Wed-Sun on vacation.)

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  16. I'd love to win the book. I'm struggling to maintain a hundred pound weight loss and could surely use a boost.

    Great blog!

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  17. I bought diet girl and have been enjoying it. I love all these book reviews/ interviews you are doing.

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  18. Thanks for the interview, I've been reading Jennette's blog for awhile now. I would love to win her book.

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  19. To me the most interesting thing about maintenance has been to see how I really can loosen up a 'bit' with my diet and as long as I'm conscientious and continue with my exercise, I still maintain. That's great. You can never return to your old eating habits (and who would want to--yuck!) but you actually can have a nice treat fairly regularly and still be fine!

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  20. I am still in weight loss mode too. I keep losing 15-25 and gaining it back. Total I need to lose about 50. Your blog keeps me going, keep up the good work. I checked out Jenettes and will have to start reading hers too! Hope I am not too late to enter the contest.

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  21. Great interview! I am in maintenance mode after losing 30 pounds. It's certainly not easy. Occasionally my clothes feel a little snug and I'm terrified. But mostly I'm OK as long as I focus on healthy eating and exercise every day. I would love to read the book. Thanks for doing this contest!

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  22. I have read her blog and really enjoyed it!
    Contests are fun!
    Jennifer

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  23. Hey I would love a copy of Jeanette's book and how fun to try to win it!

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  24. That has to be the best title and complimentary picture on a weight loss book that I have ever seen.

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