Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl

I am so excited today to be part of the Dietgirl Virtual Book Tour! The author, Shauna Reid, was kind enough to send me a copy of The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl several weeks ago and I've thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Shauna is a woman who has lost 175 pounds and kept it off, so I know you'll want to join me in learning from her experience. If she can do it, so can you. Shauna is the author of the Dietgirl blog, which I have been reading for at least a year now. Hop over and check it out!

Shauna is a gifted writer. When I picked up her book and read the introduction describing her size 26 underpants that "billowed in the sticky summer breeze, curved and enormous like the sails of the Sidney Opera House," I knew I was going to enjoy this read. Not because I like reading about underpants in particular, but because I like the honesty and transparency that this kind of writing entails. This book isn't fake. It doesn't hide the bits of ugliness about being fat. We all know how it feels to have that moment of utter shame and disgust where we just HAVE to do something about our weight. Shauna had that moment: "But in the end it's just me under the clothesline, shocked and humiliated by the sight of my monster underpants." And she did something about it, as you can see in this picture:

(Shauna and her husband in her old "fat jeans." She lost even MORE weight after that!)

Today I want to share a few passages from the book with you, along the questions that swirled in my head as I read them. And the best part... Shauna's answers! (quoted parts are from the Dietgirl book; my questions follow).

Quote: "Do you ever feel you're so eager to be skinny and tap into the sexy clothes and supple flesh, but part of you is afraid of missing out on something if you don't stay fat?"

Lyn: How do you feel about this now? Are you missing out on anything by not being fat?

Shauna: I don't think feel like I am missing out on anything so much as I miss my most convenient excuse. I used my weight as a reason not to confront things or people, to not try new things and to hide away from the world. I may have lost some pounds but I've still got the same personality. Sometimes I just can't be bothered going out or doing something, but I can longer trot out my trusty excuses: "Well I won't fit into those chairs" or "everyone will stare at me" or "I haven't got anything to wear". I saw my fat as a valid reason to hold back. Without that, I have to get down to the real issue - fear, pride, laziness, and sometimes I just don't wanna get down to the real issue! :) There's also a tiny, destructive part of my personality that sometimes misses the way I used to eat. But when I am depressed or angry or whatever, sometimes I miss the oblivion I found from bingeing. I miss the planning of what I'm going to eat, hunting it down at the shops; the total escape as I ate the food. I think it was the not caring... that screw you world feeling as I sat down with a tub of ice cream that was all for me. Of course I don't miss the instant remorse and how it didn't solve anything at all... but I think it's the ritual that I miss sometimes. I hope you all don't think I'm a weirdo now. Please read on!

Lyn: You're *totally* not a weirdo, Shauna! I have had those same exact feelings while I am on plan... wishing I could just forget it all and plop down with all my old 'friends.'

Quote: "Weight loss isn't about willpower or motivation; it's just the cumulative effect of tiny actions over time. Putting down the chocolate bars, putting on the running shoes. You just have to keep picking yourself up when you fall, over and over again, for however long it takes."

Lyn: What about maintenance? Is maintaining your weight also *not* about willpower/motivation? How is maintenance different... or is it the same mindset as losing weight?

Shauna: It's taken me two years of maintenance to admit this to myself - weight loss and maintenance are pretty much the same. When I was in weight loss mode, I hated when people said, "Weight loss is SO easy! Just wait to you start maintaining little missy - that's where the real work begins!" Grrrr! Neither of them are easy. They both can be really, really sucky sometimes. I've discovered I need the same basic, never-say-die mindset as I did for weight loss. Things like taking one day at a time, setting goals, trying to make the healthiest decisions I can, focusing on my positive actions and not beating myself up for the crappy ones, and most importantly, just never giving up!

Quote, with commentary: After losing 160 pounds, Shauna wrote: "Am I still a helpless blob... or am I just as Gareth sees me, a normal, healthy chick...?" She wondered if people were looking at her and thinking, "Who's this big lump, thinking she knows all about health and fitness?" Even after such a large weight loss Shauna still imagined herself as "a huge blubbery pile." I think lots of us struggle with body image in this same way. It's hard to let go of that Fat Chick mentality, and as Shauna put it, "I don't quite know who I want to be lately. I feel so desperate to escape from the Old Shauna, but part of me doesn't want to let her go."

Lyn: I have this same problem. I just do not *see* the weight loss in myself. Do you still feel fat sometimes? How has your body image changed? Have you finally "let the Old Shauna go?"

Shauna: My fat seems to be a state of mind. When I started out at 351, I thought I'd loathe my body until the magic moment I got to goal. But my body image started to change much earlier, thank goodness. I've felt svelte and sexy at 300 pounds and miserably lardy at 175, it all depends on how well I'm taking care of myself. I had some darker periods last year when life got very overwhelming, and even though my weight was the same and I was wearing the same clothes, I felt enormous. My body image is great when I do a minimum of things that help me feel good in my skin - eating well, a decent amount of exercise, and taking the time to wear clothes that fit me well and make me feel good and not slob around in baggy things. But when I don't do these things, my moods tend to plummet and my body image suffers. I can feel like the Old Shauna again. But I've learned how to pull myself out of that feeling; I'm only ever one day away from feeling good again. It's impossible to feel bad about my body when it's just survived a crazy kickboxing class - endorphins rule!

Lyn: When Shauna's story and photos were published in Grazia magazine, it brought up new fears:

Quote: "What if somebody I knew read the story? What would they think of my secret lardy past? What if they read all my self-indulgent rantings on the Internet? What would they think of me then?"

Lyn: How have people responded to you when they read about your past? Has everyone been supportive? Has anyone been critical? How has this affected you?

Shauna: I initally kept my blog secret from everyone in my real life because I didn't want them seeing just how miserable and neurotic I was about my weight issues. I felt quite ashamed of it, and I didn't want to burden anyone. When I finally "came out" everyone was supportive and encouraging and not at all critical. Many were surprised and quite upset that I didn't let them know how unhappy I was. In hindsight I feel terrible that I didn't open up to my friends, but back then I saw everything through my fat goggles - I was so convinced my weight issues were a shameful secret, that's why I whispered about them anonymously on the web. It's nice to have it in the open now. Sadly it caused caused strain on a couple of friendships but for the most part the book and blog brought me closer to friends and family and even general accquaintances. Even if they have no weight issues, most people have some kinda issues and being open about mine has encouraged them to share too.

Lyn: Are there foods that are still a problem for you? Foods that tempt you to eat far more of them than you reasonably should? How do you deal with cravings? And do you ever fear that you will regain the weight?

Shauna: Again it all depends on my emotional state! I can go for months or years and not think about a certain food then all of a sudden, POW! It's on my mind. I just accept now that I'm always going to have issues with food, but I'm more aware now of what triggers those issues so I can be on the lookout!

Ice cream is the one thing I prefer to keep out of the house. Plain old vanilla is my weakness. Once the tub has been cracked open it just calls my name and I start daydreaming of all the things I could mix into it! So I find it easier to buy a single serving, like a really great gelato cone every now and then, and savour the hell out of it.

If I have a craving, the first thing I do is ask myself if I really want it or am I just cranky, bored, etc. If the answer is still yes, I zoom right down to specifically what it is I want. Like not just "chocolate", it's a brand, a flavour. I buy a small individual serving then try to wait for a quiet moment - no TV, no one yapping in ear - and sit down, eat it slowly and enjoy every bite. I eat so much less food if I just take the time to pay attention!

As for regaining the weight, I don't fear it anymore. I accept that I'm going to have crappy periods when I regain some weight - 5, 10, 20 pounds or more. This has happened to me already in both the weight loss and maintenance phases. And who knows how pounds I'd gain if I ever have a kid. But I know how to deal with that without panicking and letting it spiral out of control. To regain all 175 pounds and go back to eating half-gallons of ice cream in one sitting... that would take a complete personality transplant. Even when I have rough periods and eat more than usual, in the back of my mind I'm already pondering my Getting Back On Track strategies.

Lyn: Thanks SO much for the lovely interview, Shauna! I know lots of people will benefit from your wisdom and your story.

If you'd like to win a free copy of Shauna's book, just leave a comment telling me one thing you are going to do today to make YOUR life better. And then go and do it! The contest is open only to readers in the USA (sorry, publisher's rules!) and you must leave a link or email address where you can be reached if you're the winner. If you can't wait, head on over to amazon where you can purchase the book today.

55 comments:

Beckett said...

My goal this year is to eat to be strong not to just fill the void. To cook meals that are healthy and I am resolved to keep portions in check.

Ann said...

I relate most to the comment about really savoring treats. Too often, I eat because it's time to eat, and don't slow down enough to really enjoy what I've prepared. And I know that if I really take the time to taste my food, most of what I want to avoid really doesn't taste very good anyway.

Hillary said...

I'm going to stop beating myself up about slip-ups, and start over THIS MOMENT, right now!

Hillary said...

Oops - forgot to leave email: hillarythomsen@hotmail.com

moonduster said...

I am going to use my Wii Fit and stop beating myself up over not being able to do my elliptical trainer today (because it broke - again).

(I'd love a copy of DietGirl's book!)

To avoid spambots getting my e-mail, I have a contact link in my diet blog at http://skinnydreaming.blogspot.com .

Karyn said...

I can't wait to read the book!

So many of Shauna's answers are just what I need to hear!

And good job, Lyn, on the interview. Good questions

Rachel K. said...

I am going to write down what I eat today. I have been doing Weight Watchers, and I have started getting really lax on writing things down, and it shows. I'd like to think I can keep track of everything in my head, but I can't.

I can't wait to read the book. I can totally relate to the quotes you used in the interview.

new*me said...

I am going to give away the rest of the Christmas cookies and start up my strength training again

somebodys mother said...

I'm going to go out after lunch and take a lap around the block. The sun is coming out and it is supposed to get up to 32 degrees so it should be a nice walk.
I'm not leaving an email address because I have run into problems when I have published my email on other blogs.
It's all good though, I come here to support/get support and learn from everybody else. That's where I really win

bbubblyb said...

I totally loved the interview, so me.

I'm going to the gym with hubby tonight.

Barb said...

I am going do my daily 60 minute workout on the treadmill & avoid snacking.

mzbarbara@hotmail.com

OhLookADuck said...

What encouragement! My particular downfall is not the holiday eating exactly--it's that I get into a habit of eating richer foods so by January I'm comfortably settled in my higher calorie range. Oh yeah. Breakfast dessert--where would we be without it? ;-)

lost41in08 said...

Today I'm taking one more step in my "Progressions '09". No resolutions for me, I just wind up breaking them! This year I'm taking baby steps, which will add up to "progress" in my life. Lost 41 lbs. in '08, have 78 to go. Today I'm doing aerobic exercises and toning, along with writing down what I eat.

Lyn, I've been following your blog about a month now. I get a lot of support and motivation from it. Keep it up!

Karen said...

One thing I will do for myself today is to stop making excuses for my weight loss plateau. I've lost 75 lbs but I have been "stuck" at my current weight for almost 2 years, regaining and then losing the same 10 lbs over and over. I make a million excuses for my plateau -- my body is defective, I physically can't lose the rest of the weight, there's something wrong with me, etc. but the truth is that once I reached this weight, which is still a good 30-40lbs over what I medically should be, I start to feel pretty comfortable and my good habits start to slip, time and time again. So the best thing I can do for myself today is to stop making excuses and get real about why I'm stalled for so long.

My e-mail: karen.lauria (AT) gmail (dot) com

~TMcGee~ said...

Is it crazy that I teared up quite a bit during this post? The quotes from her book really resonated with me and I basically placed my face over hers, it was uncanny how the same thoughts pour through my mind.
Today, I have already done 1 set of 10 on my steps, I am going to do 2 more sets. I have also downed 32 oz of water so far and I will drink 64 more oz before the day is out.

MizFit said...

love the DG.

always want more DG.

thanks for the interview, Lyn!

Donna B said...

Great review of the book.
My goal this year is to eliminate as many processed foods from my diet as possible, as well as ride in some bicyle events, something I never would have done at 268#'s!

Angie said...

I am going to sell or donate my 'big clothes' and I'm trying to cut down on coffee w/cream and sugar. Those are just some of the things I'm working on.

macawcrazy2002ATyahooDOTcom

Thanks for the chance to enter.

Annimal said...

I'll take a shot at winning a copy! With oldest in college and #2 starting next fall, I'll take all the winnings I can get!
Seriously, great interview. Her answers resonated within me.
Just for today: I'm going to give myself an atta girl for getting through the grocery store last night and NOT buying donuts. (#1 enemy). I was tired, overworked, frustrated and the urge was overwhelming to stuff it all down with a maple bar (or 6).
Instead I sat in my car for a minute and recognized the craving for what it was. (emotional) Then I thought about what else I could do to care for myself. Nothing really was appropriate at that time, but I did start envisioning a fabulous stir fry with fresh vegetables and sauteed tofu, and my craving disappeared. I shopped for all the ingredients and left the store sans donuts.
Yeah me!

Patience said...

I'll be paying a visit to my small and basic, no-frills neighborhood gym -- just as I did the day before, and the day before that. And as I plan to do tomorrow, and Monday, and beyond. In fact, my 'gym-niversity' is coming up Jaunary 18th -- it will be 1 year!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to ignore the -45 below weather here in Fairbanks, AK and think of sunshine and long walks....and then jump on my treadmill and MOVE!!
I enjoy the blog and would love a copy of "The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl"
fnmlc@uaf.edu

Lisa said...

Hmm the one thing I will do today to make my life better? Well I must say since I have been reading your blog I have begun to be much more positive about getting healthy. I would love to loose some weight obviously but I am more interested in felling better physically and I guess emotionally. This has been a busy week for me diet and excersise wise. I learned about Sparkpeople from one of your post and I have been doing the Boot camp challenge daily, and I have begun counting calories and measuring my food again, which I had been very lax on. Even my husband has commented on the change in me. So first let me thank you for being such a motivation for change for me and many others. Now what will I do today....... I think I will begin the practice of not eating after 7 p.m. I think this may help a bit with the weight loss part of my plan.
my e-mail is; lisa323_85@msn.com

Amy said...

I'd love to win that book!

Let's see...what am I going to do today to make my life better? As soon as the kiddos wake up from their naps, we're off to the Y even though my inner thighs ache like crazy from yesterday's workout! Last year I failed at losing weight, but I suceeded in making working out at the Y part of my routine, and now I'm continuing on with that and adding 'eating better/less' to my life.

It seems more doable to think this year I only have to resolve to eat better/less, instead of eat better/less AND work out more. Does that make sense?

girlsmama said...

15 minutes of strength training! Every little bit counts...

Lea said...

I am going to take some "me" time and read a book and then make a super yummy and healthy dinner to nourish myself!

learue at yahoo dot com

lisa said...

I am not going to binge today. I am going to count my calories. I have yo-yo'd my way up and down so many times, that I don't even feel like trying anymore. However, I always say to myself that as long as I still TRY, maybe one day I can do it. I love your blog & Diet Girl's blog - you both give me the inspiration to keep on trying & for that, I thank you so much.

2FAT4THAT@GMAIL.COM

Stephanie said...

I am going to go to Curves, eat 5 veggie and fruit servings and NOT use my irritation with my husband's multitude of irritating habits make me say "screw it, he is such a jerk I am going EAT something BAD." So childish but oh man, I have realized I have that pattern! Thanks - loved the interview.

nicole from portland said...

I am going to go to the gym even though I don't want to, I'm going to listen to my body and eat when I'm hungry and don't eat when I'm not. And one of the most important things that I've learned from Dietgirl is that I'm going to learn to try to be nice to myself!

youngamericangoddess (AT) yahoo (DOT) com

Sherre said...

I'm skipping the alcohol at dinner tonight with friends. And I'd love to win the book! Thanks for the great interview.

ani said...

Loved the interview, great questions and as always the amazing DG has fantastically real and helpful answers. I could definitely learn a thing or two from that wise lass.

Thanks you for this :-)

Pubsgal said...

Fantastic interview, Lyn and Shauna!

And you got the picture! I read the book already and read about the picture. (Love the book and gushed a-plenty on my own blog and elsewhere; please exclude me from the drawing, Lyn, so someone else gets the pleasure of discovering it.)

Today I asked my hair stylist to improvise. I just wanted something a *little* different from my usual, and she came through beautifully. I felt really happy with the slightly new 'do. (Let's see if I can re-do the 'do tomorrow! ;-)

Katschi (Karen) said...

Great interview, Lyn & Shauna!

farmwife said...

I am going to take time in the morning to meditate and really reflect on my life.

runnin4fun said...

My husband and I are leaving for a quick,well-deserved, week-end getaway tomorrow. I will be mindful of what I eat especially at the buffets. I am so excited!

Bethany said...

I went back to WW for the first time since before Christmas. I committed today to writing my food down.
Bethany

jae said...

I did what I was going to today: Exercise. When my mom called me and invited me to lunch I didn't let myself off the hook, I told her I had to work out first. I could just pat myself on the back!! ~j

jenn.y said...

take the stairs at work..i work in a hospital where i can potentially get a lot of exercise in if i actually used the staircase every once in awhile instead of waiting round for the elevators..but i always manage to talk myself out of it..not any more tho..stairs it is..

katie m said...

I am going to try a new vegetable tonight: butternut squash! Hopefully, I like it. Pluse, I plan to try at least one new veggie each month this year. I need to expand my horizons beyond carrots, corn, and potatoes :)

Shar said...

I'm going to get back to working out. Today was my first day back on the treadmill & it felt great!

Dawn said...

I am going to concentrate on exercising. I know if I exercise regularly then I don't have to be as strict on what I eat. Eventually I want to eat good, too, but for now it's the exercise.

Eden said...

I love, love, love Shauna's mindset. Smart, healthy, honest. Just the way I want to write too.

The thing I'm doing? Act. I won't hide behind the weight, my worries, or my insecurities any longer. I will acknowledge the path ahead is scary and let myself whine about it if I need to but then I'm going to move.

Rodeogirl said...

Well I am gonna keep doing what I've been doing. I walked to school again today thanks to a break in the weather and it felt so good I could hardly stand it!

Sabs said...

This sounds like a book I need to read!

Ginger and Brent said...

I have already started making small changes that will turn nto big new habits that will change my life. Food journals, joined a message board, getting more movement in my day...What am I going to do today that will change my life? I am going to remind myself to continue all of these things (it really is a daily battle, isn't it?) and most important of all I am going to remind myself that I am worth it.
I would love to win the book, and I love reading your blog. Thanks for being such an inspiration.

Kate Olesak said...

Today I'm going to tell all my friends at work about my plan for a healthier and thinner 2009 - that way they can help keep me on track here at the office!!

Teale said...

Hi Lyn, I've come back to the blog world (again), and I'm hoping this time for good. What I'm doing to help myself out is to just take it one day at a time. Of course it's good to have short and long-term goals, but for me, right now, what I need to do is just worry about today and nothing else. Having one successful day will lead to 2, 3, 5, 10 successful days. And it's all those "one days at a time" that will help me stay in for the long haul! This book sounds great, I'll have to pick it up at the library if I'm not a winner:)

QL girl said...

Oh, I'd LOVE a copy of her book!

I've gained back nearly half of the weight I lost (7 out of 15) and I need to get back on track. For starters...I'm going grocery shopping! Sounds silly, but I've been eating sugary junk and fast food since December. Yikes!

Ifey said...

I am will be eating much healthier foods and continue to work out 5 days a week

Juice said...

Ooh, ooh - pick me! I so want to read this book. Great interview, by the way. My goal for today is to make wise choices as I go out for dinner with friends tonight.

Citycat said...

I can relate so well to this! I recently moved to Houston and I swear one of the reasons was Mexican food- this is not the "Mexican" I grew up with in the East! I realized that breakfast tacos were going to win out no matter what I planned for breakfast- so I started making my own, using eggbeaters, lowfat cheese, turkey sausage, and lo-carb tortillas. Even this morning when my firm brought in their Friday breakfast- I ignored their tacos and ate my own! Then today I ended up at a lunch at my favorite Mexican restaurant. I was wavering a lot- what if people noticed I wasn't eating a cheese laden taco and made fun of me? I was good all week, what would ONE meal do? But once I got there I ordered a fajita salad with dressing on the side, ate as much as I wanted, and loved it! Later when my friends were complaining that the food made them tired, I had tons of energy. It's every decision, every day, and knowing where I am weak and making changes to accommodate that. Thanks so much for that simple lesson!

Hammer Down said...

My kids (6 and 4 years of age) asked me if I was as big as a cow. My response, "A baby cow, mommy cow or daddy cow? And, PLEASE don't ask anyone else that question." Enough said. 2009 here I come.

Ria said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ria said...

I'd love to win the book! Today, I found a parks dep't rec center with an indoor track, and went there to walk since it was too snowy to walk outside. My email is in my profile.

Lisa63 said...

This year I'm going to not use the word "diet" instead I'm going to make better choices and hopefully I lose weight in the process.

Gunny said...

I just signed up for Oprah's webcast with Dr Oz and Bob Green. This is the year I am going to be healthy and work on losing lots of weight.

$20 off a $30 order at Dietdirect.com! Click coupon link below.