Another Six

Walking,  1

Six months ago, I wrote two posts on weight and disordered eating. (This one and this one.) Yesterday I put them in my favorites page so I can find them easily. It’s a subject I don’t like to write about because I don’t know how to do it without sounding maudlin or, worse, making light of a serious disease. It’s a balance that, much like with my issues with food, I still struggle to achieve. I put them in my favorites because until I reread them for this post, I hadn’t looked at them again. This was a mistake.

I am uncomfortable with flattery or attention (all attention, positive or negative). I want it, but I don’t. I’m not sure why, but this is how I have always been. Both posts were well received. I received comments and links and emails of support and thanks even though I stated clearly in both posts that I was not one to admire. I don’t know the answers. I white knuckle through every day, holding tight to the thread of normal I can reach, and most of the time I feel it slip through my fingers.

When the comments and links and emails came in I did what anyone in my broken position would do. I took it all in and panicked. Clearly I wrote it all wrong. Clearly I put forth a false image. Clearly I bamboozled everyone. Clearly I needed to resolve the cognitive dissonance between my mind and my scale. So I gained back the 2 pounds I lost.

It was a failure and disappointment, but at least everything matched up.

Time went on, I met with Diane, and I lost the two pounds once again. I ramped up my exercise. I walked in triple digit heat for miles and miles. I wore a tank top almost everyday with my compression pants, which was huge for someone who the year before didn’t like to wear short sleeves.

I don’t like to walk around town in my workout clothes, and certainly not a tank top, but on May 14th I was hot after a very long walk and decided to brave the public. I considered it an exercise in body confidence, something Diane wanted me to work on.

There is something you should know about me. I’m shy and introverted, but only when it comes to talking about myself. If you walk up to me in a store and ask for help, I’ll gladly help you search the aisles for almond butter. I’ll talk to your kids or make small talk. I’ve asked check out boys about their piercings. In my experience, they kind of love it.

Walking, 2

I went to the health food store wearing my pants and tank top to buy my favorite vegan takeout sandwich and some coconut vinegar. While I was there I remembered these chips I really liked, so I went down that aisle to pick up a single serving bag. I was there when a woman approached me from behind and me, stupid, stupid me, thinking she was looking for almond butter, turned around and smiled.

She told me that it was obvious I needed to lose weight and then she launched into a series of diets tips, one of them being the ingestion of safflower oil. She even brought me a bottle.

I held up my hand and told her I wasn’t interested. I’m not sure if my face showed anger, shock, or hurt (I felt all three). She said she was sorry she offended me, but she was only trying to help me.

There is something else you should know about me. I don’t cry. The last time I remember crying was almost 8 years ago when my sister in-law’s father died, though I know I’ve shed a tear for mushy animal/kid stories and the like since then. But full on crying? No. So when I stood there in the cracker and chip aisle and stared blindly at a white box of gluten free rice crackers I thought to myself that would be a fantastic time to cry. Instead, I tweeted (!), texted Diane, and paid for my lunch–except for the chips. Those I put back.

I sat in my car and took my first bite of sandwich while thinking about not thinking. That bite sat heavy on my tongue like an unconfessed sin. Two minutes later the rest of the sandwich was in the trash uneaten. Within ten minutes I was at Target holding a large iced coffee and a hand-basket of Lean Cuisines. I didn’t eat another full meal until I’m not sure when.

And in that time, I gained 5 pounds.

By the end of May I was in a state and joined Weight Watchers. Diane questioned my decision. (Hah! Understatement.) She felt it would be a huge trigger for me and that nothing good would come from me counting and measuring and, besides, I’m being shamed in public for free, so why pay for it? (This pretty much sums up her thoughts on diet programs, and you won’t changer her mind. I’ve tried.) I was determined to prove her wrong.

I gained two pounds the first week, and I’m still not sure how I managed it because I was starving the entire time.

The next week I dropped the coffees, the diet food, and Weight Watchers. I ate ice cream. I lost the two pounds I gained.

I am still 5 pounds up from my last post. But then there is that woman who thought I lost 30-40 pounds. So, really, I have no idea what to think. And I that’s all I can do right now–not think too much about it and trust that everything will be okay.

Swimming

Comments
115 Responses to “Another Six”
  1. Courtney says:

    You are awesome. You know that, don’t you?

    And that woman in the aisle – she has some serious issues. I’m going to guess that her complete lack of social skills has not served her well in life. But you – well, look at this community you’ve built. I hope she’s enjoying that lonely bottle of safflower oil. Yuck.

    I don’t know anything about how to eat. It’s a struggle for me for a bunch of different reasons. But I do know that when I think about it too much – over-analyze, lose the joy, fret – everything gets worse. So maybe you are on to something there.

    • Jules says:

      I am proud of the community I’ve built. Blogging began as a conversation and for me will always be a conversation among. If only I was so confident about everything else! :)

  2. At first I didn’t want to comment because I know you have readers that you have a real relationship with, and their words would really mean something…. But still. I can’t read this and not.

    That woman thought she was helping. People who give unsolicited parenting advice think they are helping. It doesn’t make it ok, it’s just what it is. If that was me, I’d have cried.

    I’m sorry that it was the start of that awful season of dieting for you, but im glad you got back in your groove again. Over the summer my mom commented to me, “if I had skipped every crazy diet I had ever done and just started walking way back when I first wanted to lose weight, I would have walked every day for the last 30 years.” It really hit home to me. You are doing great.

    • Jules says:

      Say what? I have real relationships with everyone who comments regularly, and that includes you. You have two boys (both younger than mine) and are an American living in Thailand with your Thai husband. I know this because (1) you comment a lot of Zakary’s blog because her husband is also Thai and (2) when you comment here (usually on posts that involve the boys) it’s early, early in the morning because of the time difference. You played the clarinet because you were told only boys play trumpet and, if I remember correctly, it was you who taught me to lay chopsticks over a pot of water so it doesn’t boil over.

      I read and appreciate each and every comment because I know it takes time and effort to leave them. Ergo, everything left here in the comment section has value to me. Even the occasional negative stuff if it’s valid and constructively presented.

      So there. <3 <3

  3. OH. MY. GOSH. I would have SMACKED that woman!! What in the world?!?! Of course, it’s right up there with the total strangers who have asked me when we’re going to have kids. Like it’s any of their freaking business!! People never cease to amaze me. And what a wonderful reminder to STOP and THINK before blurting out the first thing that comes into my head.

    I love this post, and I love your honesty. I am married to a man who could live on 2 saltine crackers and glass of water and gain 3 lbs. To say he’s frustrated would be an understatement, and while I have found myself nagging at times, a few years ago, I realized that he was every bit as frustrated – actually, MORE so – than I was, and what he really needed was to know he was loved no matter what the scale said. It doesn’t mean we give up (which I understood a little more when life played a dirty trick on me and no longer allowed me to eat whatever I wanted without consequences!), but it does mean that we choose not to allow our life to be ruled by what we eat… or don’t eat.

    Thank you for speaking for all of us. I only hope that your response to that woman will make her stop and think before she tries that again.

    • Jules says:

      Yes. I will never forget that video of the overweight anchorwoman who responded to some “constructive weight loss tips” from a viewer. She said, “Do you think I don’t know I’m overweight? Do you think I don’t think about it every second of my day?” People are clueless.

  4. Rena says:

    I am furious reading this. Who says that to a stranger?! I wish I could punch her for you. You are an incredibly beautiful, intelligent and witty woman and I have never once thought you needed to lose weight. Grrrrr. People suck sometimes. I hate that she made you feel that way. :(

  5. Kate says:

    Really?! Ugh. I have an idea for the bottle of safflower oil….

    • Jules says:

      I have never been able to look at a bottle of safflower oil without thinking of her, that’s for sure. I’m curious about her tip. Oil pulling? Who knows.

  6. Kim says:

    That’s right up there with being asked “when are you due” when you aren’t pregnant. This has happened to me a few times and I must confess that one time I was so mortified that I pretended I was! I still get ashamed just thinking about it and its been 20 years ago! I know I would have cried. Hang in there girlfriend! Glad you’re back on track.

    • Jules says:

      You would think people are done with the “when are you due” questions but nope! My friend was asked that last year. Not pregnant, not even a little.

  7. Sandy says:

    Wow. What a horrible experience. I agree with the commenter who said that her lack of social skills have probably not served her well in life. It’s easy to say “don’t let someone else’s idiocy derail you” but the mean voices in your head don’t want to hear that. At least mine don’t. But know that you are kind and beautiful and strong and one person’s incorrect opinion of you should be rejected. Immediately. I am unmarried and childless and I have had clients gasp, with hand to mouth, and ask “who will take care of you when you are old and alone?” Yep. Somebody said that with the outloud voice. People can be very unkind. Well, let’s just say it. Stupid. Stupid and ignorant. But so many more are kind and loving. Stick with the kind loving ones!

    • Jules says:

      I was already in a weak place, so coming across her wasn’t good for my progress. Onward and upward, as they say!

      In re your clients: I know plenty of married people who are surrounded with children and will probably die alone because they are miserable, mean people. One of them might be your client! ;)

  8. Emily says:

    You are so beautiful. Thank you so much for being brave enough to write about the issues that circulate (maybe not so) secretly in the rest of our heads.

  9. Kate B says:

    Oh, Jules, never stop writing. I value your voice and your experience.

    People who are judgemental of strangers are my least favorite people (she says, while judging said strangers).

    I wish I had more words. My best to you on your journey.

  10. Kate says:

    Okay so you are going to hate this and sorry but I’m not sorry.

    You are beautiful. And not in that cheesy “you are such an amazing person” way but in a “oh my word I’d kill for your hair and eyes and perfectly arched, perfectly thick brows” way.

    That’s all.

  11. Sometimes (OK, probably at least once a day) I just feel walloped by how hard it is to be human. We all just struggle so much, in so many different ways; it’s no wonder that so many of us are so often collateral damage in someone else’s war.

    So what is really amazing to me is those who do the opposite–who can use their personal struggle for the good of others, rather than hurting them with it. I’m glad you don’t like to talk about yourself, that you are introverted. Otherwise, I’m sure you wouldn’t be the writer that you are. This post is about so much more than weight and body image to me.

    You’d never know it to look at me, but weight and body and image have been big issues in my life. They have been barriers of various kinds. The writing you’ve done in these posts, and so many of your Monday posts, have been such important reading for me.

    Just keep fighting your good fight, Jules. And please know that you’re not just fighting it for you, if that helps.

  12. Susan G says:

    I’m with Kate – and I know this will make you squirm and yes, we know this isn’t why you posted – but when I saw that first picture of you (not having any idea what the post was about) I thought “OMG – she is SOOO cute!! And she looks so good!”

    So there! Thank you for sharing this with us – my food/body issues are different – but the same at the very roots of them. I think I might cry now – for you, for myself, for all of us who spend so much of our precious time and energy feeling bad about these things. (And then there are those safflower-oil types who don’t spend any time or energy feeling bad about things.)

  13. Christina says:

    I agree with everyone’s comments. What an idiot to come up to you like that in a store. WTF, you have really inspired a lot of people here,me included. I am ‘just walking’.

  14. Shannon says:

    I would like to punch that health food store woman in the throat for you, Jules. I’m sure she thought her information was going to be helpful but seriously, people need to keep their traps shut unless asked. Ugh!!!!!!! I’m developing less and less patience for people who use shame to hurt others or who seek out people’s most vulnerable spots as a way to build us their own egos. (Passing along unsolicited information about an issue someone is clearly working on/struggling with is merely a way to show off that they’ve conquered that area and you should praise them and applaud them. WTFever…..)

    • Shannon says:

      And thank you for the Huffington Post link. I love this line the most: “Just eat food. Eat real food, be active, and live your life. Forget all the diet and weight loss nonsense. It’s really just that. Nonsense.” This is the place I want to get to in my head.

      • Jules says:

        Diane sent me that link last week right around the time I was spending WAY TOO MUCH TIME looking at thinspiration pictures and debating doing a crash diet behind her back. It’s like she’s psychic.

  15. Lisa says:

    Gah. Who DOES that? I’m sorry that happened.

    • Jules says:

      Bitches and assholes. That’s who does that.

      • Lisa says:

        You know, I’ve met you in person, and I didn’t say this earlier because I feel silly telling someone they are beautiful, but really, you are one of the prettiest people I’ve ever seen and I mean that sincerely.

        As a parent of a special needs kid, I am often flabbergasted at just how many perfect strangers think they need to tell someone else (me) how to fix their lives/parent their children/do it not that stupid way. The underlying assumption is if you just did it “their way” it would fix the problem, and if it doesn’t then you didn’t try hard enough. The other underlying assumption is a feeling of superiority. (I feel a rant coming on here, I’ll stop now.)

        Even though I’ve now told you that you are beautiful (not a stalker!), I’m going to bug you to join me and Kelly from Reading Nest for lunch in September (still not a stalker!). Eating in public with friends! We might even eat dessert! Take that, stupid saffron oil lady.

      • Witty Mermaid says:

        ^^^ Now that’s funny.

        For whatever it’s worth, I lost 40# on weight watchers. I’ve kept off the weight 5 years later. I think it’s a decent program. CW

  16. What a biotch!! Seriously, what gives. Sorry you had to deal with that!!

  17. Erin says:

    Thank you for writing openly and honestly about this issue that so many of us struggle with. Way to be brave and go out in public in workout clothes! Sounds like a huge step in the process regardless of the thoughtless things that woman said to you. I’m looking forward to hearing more about the process and the victories along the way. Because the victories are the ones that matter, right? :)

    • Jules says:

      Yes, definitely. I started going out in tank tops again this week. I felt like a vaudeville hook was going to pull me off stage, but nothing happened. :)

  18. Naomi says:

    I wish I had something wise to say to you…something that would make you square your shoulders and raise your chin.

    So I’ll say that I’ve been there (because I have) and I’m sorry that this woman’s trajectory in life caused her to run into you at the grocery store. No one gave her the right to aim her big mouth and misguided advice at you and pull the trigger.

    I weigh 298 pounds. I’ve made lifestyle changes because of you. I don’t mean to heap role-model pressure on you–I just really respected your decision to move your body every day and I decided to, too.

    I wish I could give you a hug.

  19. Val says:

    Just echoing everyone else’s general sentiments of, “WHAT THE HELL??? I WILL CUT HER!!” and, “Sorry that people suck so much” and, “I think you’re awesome.” My husband has been making significant strides in his weight loss and sometime the things that people say to him, while intending to be supportive and encouraging, just completely blow my mind.

    But I also want to say that that woman did NOT think that she was being helpful and she did NOT have any good will towards you. No one in the free world is operating under the delusion that it is helpful and acceptable to walk up to a perfect stranger at the grocery store and confront them about their weight. My grandmother does that sh*t to people and from years of being around it I can tell you that she knows full well what she is doing and it’s just a twisted way for her to release her pent up Southern white lady aggression.

    There was a really good episode of “What Would You Do?” that involved a lady harrassing another woman about her purchases at the grocery store. You should YouTube it. It may help restore some of your faith in humanity.

    Meanwhile, hugs.

  20. Jenn says:

    Oh beautiful Jules, why are people so careless?
    Your words always strike hard, and I’m knocked off-balance by them (maybe the stasis was never there to begin with?). I’m that fat girl, the only one in a group of lovely thin people. When they talk about fat people, they always say, ‘Oh no, you’re not who I’m talking about, you eat well and take care of yourself’. But I am that person, we all are, and those words, they are powerful, but they don’t provide the impetus to change that these ‘others’ seem to think they do, that shame doesn’t motivate. The self-reproachful humiliation, and although I try desperately to just let it go, and have fun and not let it, the fat, rule it always comes back to the thoughts that I’ve somehow chosen to be ‘this’ way.
    The sum of the daily choices add-up over months, years, and now finally, a decade equal heaviness. However, it isn’t just the physical, the years take an emotional burden. Do outsiders even know what a weight being heavy is to carry?
    While out walking, I’ve had people make comments, not the quiet under their breath comments, but loud jeers, and even though I’m thinking, ‘fuck you – I’m out here doing what I’m supposed to’, that fragile ego takes it hard, and the next day’s exercise is met with teary trepidation, and I’ve missed days because of the weakness, but, getting out there, exercising, it is so much more important than the weight, my heart is better for it.
    I’m no lighter and no heavier than I was at the beginning of this year, or at least, that is what I believe, because I honestly have yet to weigh myself. Even the tone of this message is weightier than I’d prefer, but I’ve walked just about every single day in 2013, and never worn a tank-top.

    • Naomi says:

      Keep going, Jenn! Screw those people. I’ve never understood that kind of thinking: “You’re so big, why don’t you work out?” So you go to the gym/walk the neighborhood/whatever and those same people say “What’s she doing here? Her excess flesh is offensive to me.”

      Surround yourself with the words of people who genuinely love you and keep walking. Hugs!

      • Jenn says:

        Thanks Naomi, you’re doing good things too! I’m not going to stop, I just turn the music a little louder, and let myself get a little more lost, and escape into the process; movement, one foot solidly placed in front of the other, thinking, at the very least, I am moving forward.

    • Jules says:

      Do outsiders even know what a weight being heavy is to carry? Powerful stuff. Most people are so myopic they can’t see past their own nose.

      I can’t believe anyone would be so cruel as to make fun of someone who is making at a healthy lifestyle. Honestly, you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. When has shame worked to achieve anything? Never.

      • Jenn says:

        People are full of surprises, both good and bad. It is just easier to remember the bad – so wish it were different.
        Keep moving forward, it has been a bit of radio silence here, but I’ve been there with you, pretty well every day, and if my calculations are close to correct, I’ve just crossed the border into California and am a few miles east of Mt Shasta, few more weeks and I’ll be passing by your neck of the woods (figuratively, of course).

  21. Emily says:

    Okay I’m never a commenter but this made me mad enough to click OUT of the post in my email inbox just so I could say… What a bitch! Let’s find her! And force feed her! Yeaaaaaaaaaa!

  22. Sarah says:

    It’s amazing how much stuff this post brings up in my own mind. I’m grateful that you have been sharing this process, even if it is really hard. I had never heard of disordered eating until you brought it up. Learning that term has been a lens that has clarified a lot about my Mom, and myself, and my sisters.
    My mom yo-yo dieted her entire adult life. I have memories of every commercial diet plan available. I swore I would never join them, but at one point I did WW. I did see some results, but I was always hungry and angry. I finally quit when the leader was explaining about using fat-free half and half to make Alfredo sauce. (Fat-free half and half is against my religion.) She said, “I’m sure it has chemicals in it to make it just like the real thing.” She said this with her hair stubby and short because it was growing back from her chemo treatments. No thank you! I think your Diane is right in her advice to you. Keep up the great work.

    • Jules says:

      I never heard of it until recently, either. It makes a lot of sense, but it’s such a hard road to travel. Diane is the way to go…but it’s so hard. I want the easy fix, even though I know it doesn’t exist.

  23. Phaedra says:

    I know I commented about the tweet/ post when it happened, but it still galls me to say the least. I know I would’ve cried or I would’ve kicked her ass. Probably both. People ARE careless as Jenn mentioned (and I LOVED her whole comment! WOW!)

    I absolutely love the things that you share here with us. Everything is so honest no matter what it is. I feel that in real life we would be the best of friends and I would be cheering you on & vice versa.
    I LOVE the photo of you and the boys. Joyful happy faces enjoying the day! It’s awesome. Enough said.

  24. Stef says:

    I have so many responses to this, I’m not sure where to start. I mentioned this morning that I wrote a post on my own blog, a post that’s still sitting in Draft form because I’m afraid to hit publish. In short, my “diet” journey suddenly became clear to me recently when I tried “intuitive eating” for a week and tracked calories (total contradiction, I know) and realized that I fall between 1,300-1,800 calories on a normal day with 600-900 calories burned through exercise, meaning I net between 400-900 calories which, at my weight, is starvation. The “eat less, move more” mantra has ruled my life for the past decade and I finally snapped. There’s so much more to say, but I’ll do it on my own blog.

    The real reason I want to comment – I’m continually amazed by adults who think they have the right to comment on other people’s bodies. I took a trip to Hawaii with friends in 2008 and while sitting in the airport waiting for my flight home, quite literally glowing with a tan and happiness, a woman sat down next to me and announced that I was far too young to be ruining my life with my weight. She said it was holding me back and I *could be a pretty girl* and SHE got weight loss surgery and it changed her life so I should do the same. I’d just spent the past week romping in the ocean in a bathing suit, the first I’d worn in probably 15 years, the *ultimate* in body acceptance, determined to not let my weight ruin beach time, and thought… if I’m not good enough now at my happiest, after I just ran around the beach in a bathing suit… how will I ever be? She doesn’t know, but I was in a very gung ho “I’m ready to be active and get healthy!” mood inspired by that trip, and she fucking crushed me with her speech. I still vividly remember it.

    Your journey is your own. I appreciate that you share it with us, but strangers don’t have the RIGHT to comment on your life.

    • Jules says:

      Yeah, that woman crushed me, too. What a great way to put it. It took me 4 days just to eat regular meal (after my husband lost his temper and called her the C-word) and months later I’m still all wonky around food.

  25. Lisa in Seattle says:

    You know, I’m extremely non-confrontational. Occasionally I’ll call out some douchemaple on a blog, but then I feel like I’m going to throw up for hours. No matter how much I pore over the advice on captainawkward.com, there is just no way to really prepare for the shocking cluelessness of some people. I want to be able to zing off something like “I may be fat, but you’re a ****, and I can diet” or channel Miss Manners (“how kind of you to be concerned about my health,” said as arctically as possible). But I always revert to a scared little kid with no defense in the face of stupid and mindless cruelty. So I am impressed and a little awed about how well you handled the situation.

    • Val says:

      Ugh, I ALWAYS want to have the Miss Manners comeback in these situations and it pretty much never happens. I guess she has the advantage of being removed from the situation, sheltered behind a desk. And also, why is it so much easier to come to the defense of someone else than it is to come to your own defense?

      • Jules says:

        I don’t know how great my response was. I held up my hand, told her firmly I wasn’t interested, and then ignored her so I could stare at a box of crackers!

        • vginiafille says:

          There were many possible responses, most of them inappropriate. Yours was excellent: you didn’t lash out in an equally inappropriate way AND you stood up for yourself. Regardless of how much the experience took out of you, you demonstrated grace under pressure.

          Loved the mister’s comments: at the time and on the blog.

          all the best to you….

  26. Well said!

    And of course, the woman in the store should be shot. She should definitely not move to Texas, where people carry weapons ;)

  27. Kelly says:

    So many amazing comments here, I really have nothing new to add, except a big DITTO to all the outrage & disgust at that woman’s behavior. And ditto too, to how lovely you are, inside and out. I’m sorry that afternoon had such a long-reaching effect into your daily behaviors. (But I would’ve done the same: cried and thrown out my sawdust-in-my-mouth sandwich. I also have utterly no tools to fight back or respond in any kind of awesome way.) Keep on truckin’, Jules and thanks for being so open.

  28. Brigitte says:

    Wow. Just wow. Everyone’s already said it about the woman, and I have nothing to add other than letting you know how much I’d like to kick her in the shins.

    I’m hoping to offer something more constructive. I’ve been working out consistently since last November, and the scale is not-so-much moving. I go to bootcamp, don’t eat processed foods, the whole 9 yards. I feel stronger, and I *think* I look stronger, but the scale says something else.

    I don’t know if you follow Nerd Fitness, but I think this post explains why the scale isn’t moving, for either of us. I plan to start tracking body measurements instead of the numbers on the scale. http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2010/10/07/3-reasons-to-reconsider-stepping-on-the-scale-this-morning/

    • Erin says:

      Oh my, the same here. I try to eat mostly real food. and am pretty fricken active and all and have gotten comments that I look great, but the scale has not moved…

      But, I’ve been feeling strong, my neck looks pretty great lately, and my health states are good. I know it’s not a sprint to the finish so I’ll keep on this.

      Jules, I’m sorry about that crazy woman, but I hope you stick with Diane, she sounds great. I’m glad you saw the Huff Post since that post really moved me (and it’s preaching to the choir here). The sad part for me is that crazy jerks like that woman are easy for me to ignore, but it’s the family members (parents) who tell me they’re “concerned about my health” that kills me. Seriously.

      Also, wanted to let you know about Runsforcookies who did a lot of it on her own… and started her journey by walking (just like you!).

      (This what a discombobulated comment, but wanted to chime in for a bit today.)

  29. April says:

    This is a fantastic post – you and I are on
    the same wavelength completely down to the wanting compliment but not.
    You inspire me to want to walk again every night even though its 110+ with humidity (in Phoenix).
    I will start it up again tonight.

    Please write more posts like this – I think there are loads of us who need them!

  30. Leigh Kramer says:

    Jules, THIS is why I keep reading you. Your honesty, your vulnerability, your willingness to work on yourself. We don’t live in the same state and we may never meet but I have been silently cheering you on these past 6 months. It is hard to develop good, new, healthy habits- no matter what they may be- but I am proud of you for keeping on keeping on.

  31. The Mister via Copenhagen says:

    The Mister here,

    12:30am Wednesday morning.

    SMOKING Hot Wife and good looking offspring. Good Job!

    Thank you for sharing, miss you guys and looking forward to getting home soon.

    Danish say “bye for nu.”

    Love you guys.

    The Mister

  32. what lovely pix! and what a great post, and why are annoying people so terribly annoying? seriously try and forget that person ever existed. also, you’re HOT. and all your blood and organs and skin and muscles and immune system is very very happy I’m sure, from all that walking! I read an article recently that lauded walking over running, in terms of health benefits. no idea if that’s true but it made me happy, b/c I’m a walker and not a runner! xo

  33. keapdx says:

    I think I would have told her she need a safflower oil enema. No I wouldn’t. I probably would have started crying.

    When I found your blog I read it from the beginning to the present. Our lives are very different, but I could have written the same story about diet and exercise, just not as thoughtfully. I really admire your dedication to walking. Maybe the benefits aren’t exactly that you want right now, but you are surely healthier for keeping moving. Would that I could summon the same determination.

    My sister had great success with WW (that and Zumba, walking, and bike riding…). Me….I haven’t summoned up the mental energy to keep at it. Something always seems to come up that sends me right back to comfortable, but not healthy, habits.

    I’m so grateful you share your thoughts and struggles. I wish you the very best and will (secretly, nonthreateningly) admire you and cheer you on.

  34. Mimi says:

    Never stop writing, and please never stop being so awesome.

  35. Catalina says:

    God I hate unsolicited advice. I’m studying to be a nutritionist, so I get asked for my opinion on diets all the time. Honestly, I never feel like it’s my place.
    Where I live, the defintion of your beauty is how rail-thin you are. I’m pretty sure my vision of a “good” body is skewed, but my (very skinny) friends were talking about a girl who after two babies has basically no curves on her body, I kid you not, as an ideal body. Just, no.
    I cannot tell you how unforgiving this standard is, especially for those of us not blessed with a) resistance to temptation, b) a high metabolism, and c) a love of exercise.
    Basically, whenever we talk about eating/not eating/working out/etc, I feel so judged. And I hold a grudge against anyone who has ever tried to describe my own body to me, do you think I’ve never looked in a mirror?
    Where am I going with this? Thank you. I feel you. I’ve added that woman to my list of grudges, I hope she and I never cross paths. Keep on keeping on, you’re an inspiration! (Literally, I’ve started walking to places I normally wouldn’t and taking the stairs!)

    • jasi says:

      I see your point but as a little curvy girl, I’ve also watched my super slender little sister get slammed for no good reason for her body too. We were at a restaurant, she was eating a cheeseburger and the lady sitting behind her said “she’s just going to throw it up anyway…” As early teens, I’ve watched her as buy boy jeans because the girl jeans didn’t accommodate her height and slim figure. I’ve heard her cry about being called ‘flat as a wall’. And I did my darndest not to tell her about all of my body issues on the other side of the fence and play down hers. Nothing good comes from this kind of comparison. Ever.

      A woman is a woman as she sees herself, whatever kind of parts she’s got. And she’s entitled to feeling beautiful about whatever that is.

      • susan says:

        Jasi – this just hit me hard, right in the chest, like real truth always does. I wish we could all feel that way about ourselves and other women. Thanks!

        “A woman is a woman as she sees herself, whatever kind of parts she’s got. And she’s entitled to feeling beautiful about whatever that is.”

  36. Jeen-Marie says:

    People always amaze me. And not necessarily in a good way.
    I’m sorry you were hurt. Food, diet and weight- they are hard topics for many people for different reasons.
    From looking outside in, you are beautiful and doing an amazing job.
    This post and everyone’s comments are inspiring.
    Makes me want to do better. I thank you guys for that.
    xoxo

  37. A thing my mom has always said that I try to keep in mind is, “You just NEVER know about other people’s lives. You really don’t. Even when you think you know, YOU DON’T KNOW.” That thought has kept me from saying stupid, inadvertently hurtful things hundreds if not thousands of times. (Of course, it hasn’t prevented the same thing hundreds more times. I’m only human. But the point stands.)

    The reason people respond positively to posts like this isn’t because they think you have it all figured out. It’s because you’re brave (even if you don’t feel brave–maybe especially then, because you’re blogging about it anyway) and honest and sharing some of your struggles with us. You’re saying, “Hey, I’m imperfect and I have problems,” and we all want to know we’re not alone in those things, you know?

    I’ve met you in person too (finally, yay!) and I agree with everyone that you are lovely and kind and that your weight was the furthest thing from my mind. That woman who accosted you in the store? First of all, that was ALL about her and her issues; it had nothing to do with you. Really. Second, the idea that you can determine someone’s health or fitness level from their physical appearance is bullshit, plain and simple. I think we all know thin people who are falling apart at the seams because they smoke/eat like crap/have too much stress, and fat people who can run circles around everyone else and have the blood pressure and cholesterol levels of a 15-year-old because they lift weights/are vegetarian gourmet cooks/have excellent genes.

    To sum up this long, long comment: you’re awesome, for a million reasons. And that woman in the store didn’t know any of them, so you should disregard her completely. :-)

    • Jules says:

      The fact that my weight was the farthest from your mind is crazy because that is ALL I was thinking about. That, and that you are as petite as me and I wore my super high platform sandals thinking everyone was going to be tall! Hah!

  38. Erin (@mrs_danderfluff) says:

    Love you.
    Xoxo

  39. Monica says:

    Your tweet was with me for days. Some people confuse self-serving unsolicited advise with help, a lot of people do. I am so very sorry that you ran into one of them and it makes me angry. You are a wonderful person and deserve a thousand times better. Hugs.

  40. Adeline says:

    Frequent reader and occasional commenter, but I wanted to stop by and say: I’m so sorry you had to deal with that crazy, nasty woman. And after reading all those comments, I really wonder why people feel the need and right to comment so readily on others’ appearance. (but then again, when even Germaine Greer is talking about the Australian PM’s “big arse”, you know the world isn’t headed in the right direction…)

    One of my friends growing up was naturally skinny (later diagnosed as some thyroid thing) and all through school people commented on how she’d look better if she ate more and clearly she must have an eating disorder. She used to go home crying and force herself to eat extra portions to try and put on weight. To this day I think of her when people point at passers-by’s slim frames (sadly a lot of my friends do that) and remember that we never know what goes on in another person’s life. I’m under 5’ so any added/lost weight shows easily, and frequently get told what I should/shouldn’t eat or “can get away with eating”. Funny enough, those who readily offer ‘helpful’ advice are generally unhappy with themselves. Those comments are just a reflection of their own issues, and we should be grateful we are not like them and don’t feel the need to approach strangers in a store.

    Jules, from the photos you have posted here, you are STUNNING. And your body may not be to that woman’s liking, but it’s created two gorgeous boys so clearly it’s doing something right! We spend most of our life focusing on what we’re not and so little appreciating our body for what it actually is. I recently started doing that corny thing of staring at myself in a mirror and saying out loud stuff like “I feel/am strong/confident/sexy/beautiful/etc.” It’s amazing how much resistance I have to hearing that at first, but after a minute or so I always feel happier and more confident. We should all praise and bless and thank every inch of our body; we may not like every bit of it, but it’s doing a pretty good job at carrying us through life. :) Sorry for the gigantic post, and much love Jules x

    • Jules says:

      Yes, I am always hesitant to post about my weight because although I am overweight, I know people who are underweight and struggle just as much with body image. There is an alarming trend to call curvy women “real” women, as if anyone different is somehow less feminine.

  41. Lauren says:

    Definitely on board with the philosophy behind that Huffington Post article and that of your nutritionist. I’m conscious, though, that I sit at a desk 8-10 hours a day, five days a week, and probably don’t need as many calories as I end up eating. It’s not a natural thing for me to eat less when I’m totally inactive (in fact, the boredom drives me to eat more), so I’m having a hard time reconciling reasonably limiting myself without calorie counting. Surely there’s some in-between for those of us who need a bit more structure?

    • Jules says:

      The trick is to teach yourself to each mindfully and intuitively. (Hahahahahahaha! Not so easy!) Diane has recommended to me a book on it in the past, but I haven’t read it yet. Chicken, I guess.

    • Susan G says:

      Lauren – I’m going to jump in and tell you what I’ve been doing because, like you, I am at a desk most of the day. I am (gasp) counting calories. My eating habits have never been great – I was thin until 40 and could eat anything I wanted. Then I kept doing it and started steadily gaining (a lot of) weight. I finally decided to do this – I am not completely rigorous about it and if I am hungry at the end of the day, I eat. I put an app (my fitness pal) on my phone that keeps track, keeps a list of my common foods, and has a large database of restaurant and brand foods.

      This is working for me – and now that I read Jules’s post below, I think it’s working for me because I need to train myself into mindfully and intuitively eating well. I’m eating good stuff – high protein cottage cheese, lots of fruits and vegetables, Greek yogurt – I am actually eating much better (as in nutrition not calories even) than before I started counting calories. And yes, I’ve lost weight – but also I am getting better at understanding my eating and how to do so in a way that is healthy for me.

      My point really is not to convince you to count calories, but to point out that any tool that really works for you is the right one. I’m not counting fat or anything else (although you can with this app) – and when I exercise that goes in and I can eat extra. The app actually lectures me when I don’t eat all my calories. And I set the level – entered what I wanted to accomplish and at what rate. My friend says whatever gets you to hit the pause button before you stuff something in your mouth is the right tool – if you want the ice cream, great, just don’t eat half a carton without even thinking about what’s happening. I feel great because I’m eating better, this encourages me to exercise more, and I feel in control of my eating for the first time in years.

  42. Sonchia says:

    Hi Jules. Your post put a pit in my stomach. People are so…people. I am so inspired by your commitment to walking and have learned a lot about eating and balance through your experience this year. I am really floored by this woman though and it just makes me so sad. I got really sick this year and lost 30 pounds in a month. I had surgery and am [thankfully] on the mend. All I hear now is “you look great” – and every time someone comments it reminds me of how sick I was, how scared I was, and how terrible the entire ordeal was. Just don’t say anything. I would so much rather carry extra weight than be ill. I liked the way I looked, I hate how I look now. You don’t know why someone looks the way they look – just don’t comment. It makes me upset just thinking about it. It is just so rude. Please keep up the incredible work you are doing. And, thanks for being so honest.

    • Jules says:

      It really does hurt when you lose weight and people go on and on about how great your look. The demons in your head make you wonder what they thought of you before.

  43. Krysten says:

    Oh Jules, I’m so sorry. The things people say to complete strangers…
    I’ve greatly appreciated reading about your struggles and your awesome commitment to daily walking. You inspired my decision earlier this year to join the gym, because I realized that I wasn’t taking care of my health the way I should. One other side note – I’m not sure that you can ever make some people/society happy. I come from a family of tiny, tiny women who will actually eat half a chocolate and proclaim it a victory of willpower. I have always been fat to those family members ( at 140 pounds and a size 8). It took me a long time to realize that 1. That’s crazy and 2. So long as I’m healthy and happy eating bread, enjoying life then I should just let go of other people’s standards and live my life. It should also be said that these same individuals are some of the least happy people I’ve ever met. It sure looks to me like you have a beautiful family, awesome friends and a kick-ass new job – so don’t let the evil lady in the health food store get you down.

    • Jules says:

      No, you really can’t please everyone. And it’s true that sometimes people who appear to have it together really are miserable. I’ve seen that in my own circle, too.

  44. Rennie says:

    So, I’d just like to tell you that (a) you are fabulous, (b) your blog is one of my favorites. and (c) your walking-every-single-day journey has been all sorts of inspiring. Uninformed haters gonna hate, but you are a beautiful lady (on multiple levels!).

    So there. ;)

  45. Rachel says:

    I really need to make this line edit to your story: “and me, stupid, stupid kind, caring me, thinking she was looking for almond butter, turned around and smiled.” Though I know you would never say that about yourself, but that’s why you smile at strangers.

  46. I don’t really even know where to start. I think everyone else has said it more eloquently than I, but I couldn’t help leaving my two cents. I don’t know what compels people to be such shit weasels (pardon my language). Sometimes it seems like calling people out on their “fatness” is the last socially acceptable form of discrimination.

    I’ve been at the receiving end of comments like this, and it’s like getting hit in the face with a bat. There you are, just minding your own business, looking cute as you do (sorry, but you’re hot), when someone decides that your very existence is so offensive that they simply MUST say something.

    It’s so unacceptable. Who taught this woman that it is OK to ruin strangers’ days with her effed-up safflower oil sales pitch? I want to enroll this woman in manners school, and make her wash her mouth with safflower oil.

    Completely off-topic, but I have to know: Where did you get your awesome swimsuit?

  47. stellastarlite says:

    Hugging you……..

  48. May says:

    A literal jaw-dropper! Who feels they have the right to comment to a stranger about something so personal?
    You just keep putting one foot in front of the other in order to keep yourself healthy. You got the beauty thing down already!

  49. Christine says:

    Wow, just wow.

  50. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for sharing. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story and your journey with us.
    I am still impressed that you have made walking a daily part of your life. I aspire to that!

  51. kristin says:

    After reading your other two posts about this issue, I’m starting to realize that my eating situation is pretty darned similar to yours. I’m not always on a diet, but when I’m not, I’m constantly thinking I should be and beating myself up for the things I keep putting in my mouth. I can’t even imagine how it would have felt to hear that from someone else. I tend to internalize things and it would be something I’d never ever forget. I’m only just getting to the point where I feel ok about buying a bag of chips on my own and people seeing me do it. I could never do that before. I felt like everyone would see it sitting in my cart and judge me for it whether they said it out-loud or not. Anyway, it’s nice that people think they’re helping with this whole get everyone healthy bandwagon thing that countries, governments, schools, etc. are jumping on, but I know for myself that this sort of activity from other people (other ALWAYS THIN, “HEALTHY” people who I think have no idea what it’s like to be heavy so therefore should not have authority to tell me how to get thin) makes me (as the ALWAYS chubby girl throughout school and adulthood) loathe myself even more, binge-eat even more, and beat myself up even more. I wish more people would see that it has nothing much to do about what we’re eating or our activity levels (I didn’t grow up sitting on the couch eating chips and pizza and chocolate bars my whole life and I still don’t live like that today; I really resent it when these “save the overweight” types still commonly think this is exactly what we’re all doing) and more about psychological, biological, habitual, and even economical reasons.

  52. Dear Jules,

    The lady in the health food store sounds like an absolute nutcase. There’s something called karma and it looks like that lady will be receiving a whole heap of it soon. In my point of view, those who give unsolicited advice never really get the point of living life.

    I too often find that is best to not over-think but to just be. I think that is the best form of medicine for any situation. Keep your spirit alive! :)

    Cheers!
    Akshara
    Simply Akshara

  53. Janine says:

    You are being really strong. I realize that the woman in the store took a comically huge hammer and brought it down on your trigger button just as hard as she could, and I completely understand why you resorted to iced coffees and diet Cokes for awhile. It’s okay to relapse for awhile. What she did was so bad, I think a gigantic break down was reasonable in response.

    But look at you now! You were knocked down but you got back up. You’re fighting the good fight, you’re still walking every day because it makes you strong, you’re working HARD on resisting your disordered habits (the stimulants, the dieting) and that’s enough. It’s ENOUGH to get back up, it’s ENOUGH to be in the process of surfing your urges to diet or resort to old, bad habits. It takes a lot of strength to do these things, and you’re TRYING. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to be perfect all day long. It’s okay to relapse sometimes, seriously it is. You don’t have to be “over it” right now.

    I admire your strength. We all do. We don’t admire you because we think you’re perfect, I think everyone here can agree that we admire you for getting back up again. We admire your TRY. Good for you!

    Rock on, Jules! WERK IT.

  54. Corrin says:

    Would you mind sharing what kind of doctor you see? What her credentials are and how you found her? (Sorry if you already explained, I browsed but didn’t see details.) I’ve been considering seeing someone for years, and for a variety of reasons (weight, anxiety, borderline thyroid issues) my doctor recommended I look into it more seriously. He gave me a list, but none of them seem to deal specifically with weight or body images, and I’m kind of at a loss. Thanks!

  55. Witty Mermaid says:

    PS: is that a Dallas, TX shirt you’re wearing? My hometown.
    That’s interesting!

Leave A Comment

Hi! I’m Jules.

I used to be an attorney, but it made me grumpy. Now I write about life, sweet and savory, as a wife and mother to two small boys. My knowledge of dinosaurs knows no bounds.

You can read more, including the meaning behind the name Pancakes and French Fries here. And, yes, I really am phenomenally indecisive.