In browsing the new 100 Books For $3.99 Or Less on Amazon I came across this weight loss memoir.
Half-Assed is the captivating and incredibly honest story of Jennette’s journey to get in shape, lose weight, and change her life. From the beginning—dusting off her never-used treadmill and steering clear of the donut shop—to the end with her goal weight in sight, Jennette wows readers with her determined persistence to shed pounds and the ability to maintain her ever-present sense of self.
It sounds like a fairly typical diary of personal change, and ends with the author at 180lbs.
I noticed that the book was published in 2008, which meant that the weight loss was at least in 2007 if not earlier. We’re at that magic 5-year mark. So I did a bit more research and came up with this article.
She has, however, experienced a small setback. After maintaining her weight at 180 pounds for about a year, she developed the chronic headache that has ruled her life for the past year or so. Medications to treat the headaches caused her to gain about 30 to 35 pounds.
“It is so ironic, I am literally in the best health of my life, and I got this disease or illness that I have had to deal with,” she says.
I’m not at all rejoicing in this setback for this woman. Not. At. All. As A Health At Every Size advocate, I’d just like to point out a couple of things.
1. Even at her end weight of 180lbs, when she’s running marathons and going on television touting her new body she was at least overweight, if not obese, according to BMI.
2. She lost weight in order to be healthy, presumably, and ended up with one of the most common side effects of body shock and malnutrtition–the chronic headache.
3. She gained weight because of medication. This last is the most important thing for me to emphasise. Ever since Oprah carted out that wagon of fat, there has been a standard weight loss legend that I’ve no doubt applies to many people. The belief is that fat people–especially fat women–are overweight because they turn to food for love or security or acceptance or comfort or a replacement for sex or…or… It’s this legend, the legend of the glutton, that gets repeated endlessly and is now programmed in everyone’s responses to fat people.
Yet over my years as a fat person I’ve talked with literally thousands of other fat women and I’ve learned three things:
1. While many fat women did at one point use food to deal with an emotional hunger, that point is usually long past. The fat, however, doesn’t go away. So when you encounter a fat 35 year old, she may have been an emotional eater for 4 years in her teens or twenties. She’s not necessarily the same woman now. But like a woman who got pregnant out of wedlock in her teens and kept the baby…that fat’s still hanging around. It can’t be sent to school for 8 hours a day and doesn’t have soccer practice on the weekends.
2. Nearly every woman who has lost a large amount of weight has significant health problems in the wake of the weight loss. Headaches, kidney disease, heart problems, digestive diseases, food tolerance issues, malnutrition, malabsorption, gallstones, depression. The list is nearly endless. While the propaganda is that you will be healthy once you lose weight the fact of the matter is that you have put your body through a trauma. A trauma not unlike a car accident or a battle with serious disease. There’s a reason why all the statistics about how much healthier weight loss is are for losses of 10% of body weight or less. It may make you healthier to drop 5-15lbs. Dropping 100lbs is not as great a plan, unless you do it veeery slowly.
3. Most women over 30 who have gained weight in excess of 25lbs have either done so because they were unable to lose pregnancy weight or because of prescription medication. “Eat Less Move More” just doesn’t cover it all.
There is so much we don’t know or understand yet about weight gain and loss. Our knowledge about bariatric science is on par with the leeching and humours school of medicine from 400 years ago.