The Long and Whining Road

Gareth told me that after one of my radio interviews a lady phoned in and said, "It’s all very well this girl writing about losing loads of weight, but we all know it’s just calories in, calories out."

Oh reaaaaally, I longed to hiss at Mrs Gloria Smug of Tunbridge Wells or wherever, IS THAT RIGHT?!

Technically she may be correct. And I know some annoying folk like Gareth, for example, just cut down on beer and cheese if their jeans feel snug. But since I’ve been crapping on about this stuff for seven years, I feel the need to splutter defensively as a representative of those who find it more complex.

This Body Stuff is very complicated. I won’t just say Weight Loss Stuff, because personally it has always come down to how I felt about my body. At first I was too busy point countin’ to realise this, but what I really wanted was simply to feel alright to be me. To look in the mirror and not bawl, regardless of my knicker size. THAT, dear comrades, was and still can be the hard part.

I hate to use the cheesy J word… *choke*… JOURNEY! Because it makes me think of John Denver or sunsets or a soft focus montage or this delightfully crusty book of Gareth’s –


How about the word process? Wendy used it in a comment on this most excellent Big Fat Deal entry last week and I like it.

SO… I started out swimming in self-loathing but ended up somewhere rather healthy and peaceful, where mirrors are my friend and the streets are paved with quinoa. But getting there was a slow process. I had to figure out how the hell to move on from years of believing FAT was my most defining characteristic. It took soul-searching and mistake-making and blog blurting. There was certainly more to it than bloody calories in and out!

I’ve been guilty of over-simplifying things myself. Sometimes a journalist will ask, How Did You Do It? and my mouth flaps open and shut like a goldfish, because I just can’t remember. I’ll look at the book cover and think, Who? Wha? Me? How?! And I’ll hear myself say, "I started out with a walk to the end of the block" or I chucked out all the biscuits or I frantically peed before Weight Watchers meetings, momentarily forgetting how scary and difficult it was; how long it took to look beyond the scales.

Anyway, my point is… if you happen to find it all more complicated than calories in and calories out, and someone keeps telling you that it’s not more complicated than calories in and calories out… well why not just go ahead and punch them in the gob? You might even burn some calories!

. . .

Dublin was ACE! All hail the mighty Irish and their sexy accents! I had a great ol time, guzzled a 20th of a pint of Guinness and chatted to journalists and radio folk. The Ray D’arcy Show was fun, Ray and his gang were hilarious and friendly. It was my first time live in a studio so I was a bit shell-shocked and rubbish in the first segment. Arrgh! But there were texts and emails flying in from the listeners – including a few asking about loose skin. That old chestnut! No folks, you don’t have to look like a shar-pei! My favourite text was, Does she look as good as she sounds? Woohoo!

This week the book officially comes out in Canada, New Zealand and Australia! I’ll be on Radio 2CC in Canberra on Friday morning and the Body+Soul show on Mix FM (Syd, Melb, Brisbane, Adelaide) on Sunday, both Oz time. Also a chat with the rockin’ Roisin Ingle on Newstalk in Ireland will air on Saturday morning GMT. See my author page on Good Reads if you’d like more details of the book pimping activity!

37 thoughts on “The Long and Whining Road

  1. Punch them in the gob! haha… I will have to keep that in mind if I ever find myself in that kind of situation. Ohh wow your so busy doing alot of radio shows! How exciting… do you get nervous??? Good luck with everything coming up this week πŸ™‚

  2. I reckon that laydee who rang in was from Weston Super Mare. Or Cam and Dursley.

    Stupid old tart! If it was that fucking simple, there’d be no need for angsty blogs like mine!!!! πŸ˜›

  3. Yes crank! Perhaps it was Mrs Gloria Cherry-Garrard of Weston Super Mare!

    Amanda – I don’t get nervous now so much as shitscared that I’ll sound like a gibbering fool and not get my point across in an articulate manner. Hehe. Thanks for the good luck wishes πŸ™‚

  4. BAH! Jealousy….it’s all jealousy, darling! And fat-headedness, ignorance and bitchy mcbitchfacedness.

    Dublin…my home away from home.
    Is it me or is Guiness a million times stronger when it is from a real Irish tap?? One pint and I was over the rainbow!

  5. It’s probably not jealously, but supremee not-getting-it-ness. I was a fat kid and a fat teen, with a mother who always was genetically slim despite her massive sweet tooth, and a father who would have gained weight easily had he not despised all sweet things or been a heavy labourer. My siblings inherited the skinny genes, I inherited both the sweet tooth and the fat genes. My mother used to infuriate me with saying lovely things like “I don’t understand why you don’t just lose weight. If I want to lose a few pounds, I just eat a slice of bread less”. Funny thing, I lost 40kg within two years of moving out. And my mother gained 5kg after she turned 60, and it’s been creeping up ever since – and she cannot budge it no matter what she does. I resist the temptation to tell her to eat a slice of bread less, because she really *did not get it*. A large portion of the world doesn’t have to fight this stupid fight, and doesn’t devote too much time obsessing about it – so when they’re exposed to it, there is perhaps a bit of head scratching. These aren’t the people who are buying the book anyway.

  6. There should be a lot more gob-punching in the world.

    I remember once, when I’d just gone back to work 7 months after having baby #1 and was only JUST fitting into my office clothes at that point. I was having a chat with some other mums about post-baby weight and how depressing I found it to leave the hospital dressed in maternity clothes because – AARGH! – nothing else bloodywell fit me!!! And we were all sympathising with each other over how nobody can wear ‘normal’ clothes straight after giving birth anyway.

    And then this skinny cow piped up with “oh, I fitted straight back into my jeans 3 days after giving birth”.

    I seriously wanted to punch HER in the gob, let me tell you.

    Anyways, getting back to the point (hang on, wasn’t punching smug people the point?)…. calories in, calories out? Pfft! If it were that simple, nobody would be overweight, would they?

  7. Yeah there will always be people who don’t get it, but maybe I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t lived it either. I sometimes think we are lucky to have gone through this whole ‘thing’ because it gives us the ability to understand these struggles and have compassion.

    Can’t wait to get my DG book when it comes out is Oz this week. Congratulations on all your success, it is much deserved.

  8. Spoken like a true woman who has probably lost 3 kgs and thinks she is God’s gift to the weight loss industry! Cow! If you see her, smack her for me too okies?

  9. LOL at the punch in the gob comment.
    What a stupid ignorant cow but sadly there are so many of these judgemental people which just makes it all harder.
    I will listen out for you on Body&soul (are they flying you out for the interview? Please say they are!)

  10. I’ll be listening to your interview on Canberra radio this Friday morning – how exciting!!

    My mum went into her local bookstore in Lithgow to ask about your book and convinced the store owner to order in a stack! Hooray!

    Don’t worry about the critics who think weight loss is a technical, easy process. They are obviously lacking empathy (and a sense of humour!)

  11. 1. Fucking WELL DONE. I am seriously in awe.

    2. How many calories would punching smug gits use? Are we talking bar of chocolate calories or apple calories?

    3. I loved Dublin, but Guinness? Bluergh. I’m impressed you managed a 20th of a pint.

    4. Thats pretty much it. Am making my OH read DG now – he’s like Gareth… There’s also a bit of Gloria Smug in him (‘well, if you dont eat for 4 days and run 2 marathons, then you’ll lose weight!’) Boys have it so simple.

  12. I’m going to vote for the serious case of she’s-not-getting-it too.

    If it was so easy, people like us wouldn’t be on the web blogging about it, there wouldn’t be any Jenny Craig and others, and the diet books industry wouldn’t even have started to exist. So yeah… Hellooo, lady, care to use your eyes to observe and brain to process what you’ve just seen? Hmm?

    Although I personnally tend to think these days that losing isn’t exactly *that* hard… What’s *really* hard is keeping the darned weight off once we’ve lost it somewhere out there in the woods! (And this whether we were at goal weight, or still on the road to reaching it.)

  13. Yeah. What they said. And what you said. I’ve been eating less and moving more for way too long, with very little results. And the older I get, the harder it is.

    BUT … I’m fit and healthy and my blood levels are perfect, as is my blood pressure. BMI isn’t everything.

  14. After punching the stupid twit out, I’d be tempted to send her a copy of “Rethinking Thin” by Gina Kolata. I’m just about finished it, and it is a great explanation of why it is not so simple as “calories in, calories out”!

  15. Isn’t it crazy, though? You’ve done so many wonderful things since you made the decision to change your life: lost oodles of weight, travelled extensively, overcome so many social fears and even got married, published a book–you’re even being interviewed on radio shows–and all it takes it one offhand comment (not even heard firsthand) from an obviously intellectually-challenged, shallow-thinking individual–to make your brain fizz enough to incite (theoretical) violence. Not that you’re sitting there bouncing up and down with rage, but does it make you wonder if the stupid things other people say in regards to weight loss will ever lose its ability to aggravate?

    Loved, loved, loved your book. Will look forward to your next one!

  16. Hehehe! GG, it was more about violence for comic effect and an excuse for a ranty blog entry… most entries are sparked by a tiny thing then stretched out like mozzarella!

    but seriously, I know how frustrating it can be when you’re trying your heart out and someone pulls the ol’ calories in calories out stuff πŸ™‚

    I agree with what folks are saying though – it all does seem very black and white unless you’ve experienced it for yourself. Quit smoking? Just stub out your ciggie! etc etc etc…

  17. Great post, DG. Yeah, people like that woman are idiots and have no idea what they are talking about. Enjoy your book tour and all the fabulousness that comes with it. You so totally deserve all the yummy goodness.

    AND I am still loving your book. I got to Year 3 last night after reading for about an hour. I just couldn’t put it down and kept reading even though I should have been sleeping. It’s really neat to read your posts today, now that I have more background about your journey.

  18. Thanks to Pastaqueen.. my book from arrived on Friday here in blustery Chicago… and I stayed up reading, reading, reading. Thank you! If there is a way to make it available in the USA.. just let me know if you need a local to write letters make calls.. Thanks! Sarah

  19. As we say here in Ireland (and pardon my French), f**k the begrudgers! I heard you on Ray D’Arcy and thought you were excellent. Making my way through your archives at the moment and really appreciate you sharing your journey.

  20. OMG! How many points did I just burn off laughing about the gob-punching! Seriously, thank you for that. I just stumbled upon ya and am damn glad I did.

  21. I’ve always been annoyed at all the sympathy anorexic people get when obese people have the same disorder, just the other end of the spectrum. The difference is that anorexia kills quicker than obesity… and anorexics don’t look “jolly” (whatever!). No one ever seems to have sympathy for obese people…

  22. I am a gentle and peaceable person, but I’ll join you in the defensive splutter.

    I’ve always thought Apsley Cherry-Garrard sounds like a sort of cake. You know, the sort of cherry-garrard that they make in Apsley (Hants) as opposed to the kind they make in, say, Banbury.

  23. If I had a nickel for everytime I wanted to punch someone in the “gob”… Sounds like more fun than just pouting about it and feeling sorry for myself!

    By the way, Shauna, my note should be arriving shortly, let me know when it does! I am curious to see how long it takes. My first international package! Woo-hoo!

  24. Your book’s out in Australia? To the bookshop! and don’t spare the horses! I may have to break my long standing aversion to Mix FM so’s I can hear your interview πŸ™‚

  25. hey from sunny sunny melb

    a big congrats on the book and did you knwo they had it in the famous magazine this week? oh dear i think it was famous and not who but i was looking at the supermarket so im not 100% sure but i was pretty excited!!!!! so hope you are!!!!

  26. I have ranted about this kind of stupid fuck before and I STILL wish to punch that lady in the mouth. Physically, it’s not that simple; emotionally, it’s REALLY not that simple. This isn’t a walk in the park it’s climbing Mt. Everest, for crying out loud. Same basic motion of putting one foot in front of the other, but the strength and stamina and determination and focus is much more intense for one than for the other.

    GOD. ::beats on woman with frying pan::

  27. Hi Shauna,
    Just to say I missed you on Ray D’Arcy but I heard them raving about you today and I thought “I know her” in a non-stalkerish read your blog way. But the thing with your blog is that I do feel I know you and I think you are amazing.
    I’ve lost 2 stone of my 5 excess and it’s a long road anyone who can do it is a hero in my book.

  28. Sorry for the unrelated comment…

    I went to order your book from my local Chapters store earlier today(a big chain in Canada) since my credit cards are on ice these days (so I couldn’t pre-order from Amazon-sorry!) I was pumped because it was released here today, but they said there was a problem with the publisher and they wouldn’t even be able to take my order! They said no stores in Ontario had the book! Do they not realize the importance of this tome? Oy vey! Fear not-I will persist and get this book in my hot little hands one way or another (I may have to thaw the Mastercard-this does constitute an emergency does it not?)

    PS I know you have nothing to do with the international distribution, but I had to vent somewhere, and this was the best place I could think of! I just can’t wait to read it!!

  29. Thinking weight loss is only about calories in, calories out is about as foolish as thinking one can cease being an alcoholic simply by stopping drinking.

    The reasons people are overweight are complex. For some the process involves lots of head work…which obviously your commenter does not get.

    It appalls me that people tell those who are “fat” to just quit eating but would never dream of telling an anorexic to just “eat”. Anorexic’s get tons of sympathy…while those of us who are heavy get none or very little.

    Proof I think that there is an inherent bias against “fat”.

    Anorexics get pity and sympathy while we obese get judgement and condemnaiton. I for one am tired of the double standard.

  30. hi Shauna!
    I just finished your book and was trying to access your blog for the past week but somehow the network was always down. I just got through today and want to say well done babe!
    I’m halfway through my weight loss goals although i’m so fuzzy and demotivated right now.. i’ve never been thin so i cant imagine how i will look and feel if i do get thin and it scares me a little! reading your book did motivate me a lot though.
    Take care,

  31. K – comment #24, I LOVE your Banbury Cherry-Garrard idea, you are sooo correct, that is exactly what it sounds like! heh heh!

  32. I’m guilty of saying this but then I back it up with – but now for the hard part, doing it. Most people DO know it’s not that simple and it’s not just about the bloody exercise and food. Sheesh, that woman should read your book I reckon!

  33. Couldn’t agree more. People also often forget that it is harder for women to lose weight for SO many biological reasons. Women are childbearing creatures whose bodies are designed to hold weight (some more than others and in varying places) because of their ability to grow a child… For eg, losing pregnancy kilos is NOT like losing normal kilos, because quite often that weight did not go on because of over eating but for child bearing reasons! Many women (contrary to popular myth) cannot lose weight breastfeeding and cannot lose their pregnancy weight (regardless of what they eat or how much they exercise) until their pregnancy hormones drop significantly for it to happen… I am so sick of people talking about weight loss situations they have ZERO idea about. People shouldn’t simplify something that is not simple. I am tired of women being awful and judgemental of other women. Almost every skinny woman, who is older than 30 who tells others how easy it is to be that way and how they can “eat anything they want and never exercise” are lying… Why won’t women be honest about this… as if it is some shameful secret that staying slim requires constant work and maintenance?

  34. Oh I so understand this. If it were that easy than all those days at the gym (daily) and all those 1400, 1500 and 1600 calorie days for me a 300 pounder would have actually done something. Sure it did initially but then like always there I am was, am stuck in plateau. So utterly frustrating.And yeah, there has been many times I would like to punch people out for their total misunderstanding and ignorance.

    Ah, like my Obstetrician telling me to stop eating chocolate bon bons and sugared cereal. Ah- I eat very healthy- I just eat too much.

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