I read Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir last week and found it really inspiring. It traces the weight loss journey of Jennette Fulda as she went from 372 lbs to 180 lbs over 2 years. The book was funny and poignant and I found myself engrossed in her story.
While not everyone knows what it’s like to be morbidly obese, many of us can identify with what it feels like to live with intense shame and fear. Her stories of being publicly humiliated by her peers in high school or finding herself in awkward situations with family and friends are cringe-inducing. The details about the food she ate were equally so – spoonfuls of Tang! Drinking maple syrup! However, I’ll admit to eating batches of frosting back in high school myself so “there but for the grace…” As she says, if we lived in a magical fairy land where there were no calories in cookie dough, why wouldn’t we eat it? And I loved the part about throwing away perfectly good chocolate, even though we know there isn’t some “bundt cake relocation program” out there to solve our problems.
It was fascinating to hear how her own weight was normalized in her mind (along her day she saw other people, not herself), while at other times she felt as though it was an insurmountable problem that might as well be tackled tomorrow. I can definitely relate to that, even at this weight. “Wake up call received. Snooze button pushed.” What was new to me was what it was like to be relegated to shopping online because you don’t even fit into Lane Bryant clothes. Her relating of the victory of just shopping at normal stores was really gratifying to experience with her.
I was so happy that she stuck to her eating and exercising plan and I felt her victories as she dressed up and looked great (and ate cake!) at weddings. I loved reading about her cooking adventures – and misadventures. She has a section on her blog called Lick the Produce about different foods she tries. Produce has is a hard sell – there are no promotional taglines or instructions on it!
One of the ways she got support was through a blog she started, even though she didn’t tell anyone about it at first. Once she had some traction with her weight loss she started sharing it and it took off like a rocket, which is what inspired her to write the book. While I have more modest hopes for this blog, I do wish to give value to readers and receive support.
Check out this video she made: