"Diet blogger and former CalorieLab guest blogger Jennette Fulda (”PastaQueen”) book based on her blog “Half of Me” was released on May 1. CalorieLab spoke with Jennette about her book and other topics.
CalorieLab: What is your book about?
PastaQueen: Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir is the story of how I lost half my weight without losing my sense of humor. Hopefully you’ll only put it down because it will make you want to get up and exercise. If not, at least all the laughing you’ll do is good cardio. It’s not a diet book. There are plenty of books that will tell you what to eat and how to exercise. Mine is about what it was like to lose almost 200 pounds and how the journey changed me.
CL: Have you struggled with your weight your whole life?
PQ: I can’t remember a time when I didn’t consider myself fat. In 5th grade I filled out a survey for school and answered the question, “What is one thing you’d like to change about yourself?” with the response, “I’d be thinner.” I gradually kept putting on weight from elementary school through college, occasionally losing some weight by taking up walking.
CL: What was your highest weight?
PQ: 372 was the highest number I ever saw on the scale.
CL: What made you decide to lose weight for real? How did you go about doing it?
PQ: I had to have my gallbladder removed when I was 23. After that I vowed to lose weight, and then I didn’t. For the year following that, my younger brother actually did lose 60 pounds, which inspired me to try it too.
CL: How did you go about doing it?
PQ: When January rolled around, I started a diet and exercise routine. I also blogged about it at pastaqueen.com, which helped keep me accountable. These days I weigh between 180-185 pounds.
CL: Are you basically on the South Beach Diet?
PQ: I haven’t read the book in awhile, but I think I still follow most of the guidelines. When I eat carbs, I try to eat healthier carbs like fruits and whole grains. I stay away from trans-fats and saturated fats. I eat lean meats. And I still indulge now and then, like eating ice cream on my birthday.
CL: Is it relatively easy to live in the real world and follow that diet?
PQ: No matter what your diet, it’s pretty hard to live in the modern world and stay on track. The break rooms of America are filled with donuts and cookies, not baby carrots and celery sticks.
CL: Did you ever consider bariatric surgery?
PQ: If I hadn’t been able to lose the weight through diet and exercise I would have seriously considered bariatric surgery. I know many people consider it the “easy” way out, but when you read about all the complications and difficulties that come with the surgery, none of it sounds easy to me. If losing weight and keeping it off without medical intervention were easy, more people would be doing it. At this time, weight loss surgery is the most reliable way to induce weight loss in the morbidly obese.
CL: So you see a place for bariatric surgery?
PQ: Well, hopefully in the future there will be treatments that are less drastic. Until then, I consider bariatric surgery to be a procedure that has saved many lives, but hopefully a last resort after someone has given serious effort to losing weight through diet and exercise. I think everyone has to determine what is best for their health in coordination with their doctor.
CL: You recently stopped reporting your weight as often as before. Low carb diet blogger Jimmy Moore stopped reporting his weight for a while, and the next thing we heard he had gained back a chunk of weight and was briefly on the notorious Kimkins diet.
PQ: There is certainly pressure to keep the weight off, but that’s not the reason I changed the weigh-in schedule. I used to weigh in on the blog once a week, but now I just do it once a month. I still weigh myself every day to hold myself personally accountable for my weight. I changed the public schedule because I’ve basically been maintaining my weight for the past year. I might lose two pounds one week and then gain a pound the next, then lose a pound again. Reporting on that was boring! It was much more interesting when I had a lot of weight to lose and the numbers kept changing. After a while I felt like a weatherman standing in a snowstorm who had to keep reporting, “Yeah, it’s still snowing.” Instead I was saying, “Yeah, my weight is still around 180.” I didn’t have anything new to say about it, so it was getting rather tedious to talk about it every week. However, I don’t want to gain back the weight I’ve lost, so I do still weigh in, just not as frequently."
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