Okay, busted. I don’t have any frequently asked questions. I only have a super nice e-mail that a reader sent me asking me a couple of questions. But it made me think that it’s hard to show all sides of my fascinating life on the blog. I try to keep it real, but I think it comes across way more “sunshine and rainbows” than it really is. Anyway, I thought I would share that e-mail exchange here, anonymously for the reader. If you have a question for me, feel free to leave it in the comments here or on any post, or shoot me an e-mail (address in the sidebar) and I’ll answer it here (anonymously if you wish). Thanks for reading!

(un)FAQ #1:

So the aforementioned reader told me a few things about her life and efforts to live a healthy lifestyle despite the challenges of work and family and budget. She said she was doing the South Beach Diet. She was super nice and flattering, then she asked:

Q: Do you ever get bored? Do you feel deprived? I feel like I’m in a rut. I just want to eat a pizza and drink some beers, and then have a chewy brownie or cookie. Do you ever feel this way? Do you give in?

A:¬†Warning: you were nice to me, so I wrote you a book…rambling ahead.

Oh man, I totally feel your pain. All I EVER want to do is eat pizza and drink beer (well, a martini) and lay on the couch. I seriously think that is who I truly am, whether by nature or nurture. But that’s what got me to 270 pounds.

Sometimes I definitely feel bored and deprived. I get fed up with worrying about eating healthy and exercising. I get that “poor me” mentality sometimes when I think about the fact that I am going to have to worry about this for the rest of my life. But it’s either that or go back to morbid obesity. Shudder.

I totally have days (which sometimes stretch into weeks) where I am not eating the way I should or exercising much. Usually this starts with a special occasion, like a vacation or a birthday or a holiday. Then it is sooooo hard to “get back on the wagon”. Really I was a big slacker for most of last summer and didn’t really get back to healthy living until school started again.

I think the reason I have been able to more or less maintain my weight loss this past time for 2 1/2 years now is that I just don’t let it go too far. I will give myself those days (weeks!) but finally, as hard as it is, I get back on the plan. I have a list of “pros” that I refer to when I am not prioritizing healthy living. Like being able to fit into normal sized clothes, feeling strong, having lots of energy, etc. Seriously my list has MANY things on it, big and small, as I have added to it over the years, and it really motivates me. I keep it on my phone.

Blogging has really helped me. I have had my blog for many years, but really only started blogging semi-daily on a regular basis again at the end of last summer (I had blogged off and on before that). Blogging is great for accountability purposes. I try really hard to be very honest on my blog, because I don’t see any reason to even blog otherwise. It would just be like lying to myself. It sounds crazy, but I try to live in a way that I won’t be ashamed to write about on the blog. I want to write, “I had a great day! Ate really well and exercised a lot!” If that’s not true, I’ll be honest about it, but I don’t like writing it.

I do think maybe my blog portrays a more positive picture of my lifestyle than is true in reality in spite of my trying to stay honest, however. There are times when I don’t blog for a few days or where I’ll gloss over my eating by saying, “I totally pigged out” but not go into detail. Or I’ll say, “We had pizza” without saying that I had five pieces by bed time (it happens…maybe tonight). Maybe I need to work on portraying a more balanced and realistic view of my lifestyle on my blog, because I totally “give in” often.

Reading other people’s blogs has been very inspiring as well (like many in my blogroll). We are all in this together. Do you read Roni’s Weigh? She is super inspiring and such a nice person.

I am flattered that you would ask me for advice, but I don’t feel qualified to really give anybody advice. I can only say what has worked for me. I am really privileged not to have to work right now, so I am able to devote a lot of time to exercise, which at this point is my saving grace. I would say that I probably average at least two hours of exercise per day minimum (and I usually have at least one rest day, so that means some days are more than two hours). That is so much, and I know most people probably don’t have the luxury of that much time.

One hour of that exercise per day on average, however, is spent with my family (walking to school and family walks in the evenings right after dinner). All that exercise allows me to eat pretty well and it also makes me hungry! So I feel like I eat a large quantity of food, but it is mostly very high quality (whole grains, lean meats/dairy, fruits and veggies).

By the way, I have found produce prices to be MUCH cheaper at farmer’s markets and produce stands when compared to grocery store prices (and better quality and local, which is always better). You might want to check it out again and do some real comparison shopping to see.

I have done South Beach before and I think generally it’s a great diet (good carbs, good fat). I’d just skip the detox part. Seriously. The best thing is just to live the way a fit, healthy person at a healthy weight would live. If you do that, you will become that fit, healthy person at a healthy weight. There is no hurry. It’s for the rest of your life anyway. You will start to feel better almost immediately, so there are some instant results. You also get the peace of mind immediately that you are doing the right thing. You are being kind to yourself, because you are worth it right now as you are.

Your kids are much younger than mine, so I can imagine that their needs are much more demanding. It gets so much easier the more independent they become (although they still can suck the life out of you!). I would just try to carve out as much time for yourself as you can and exercise. Just walk! I did that forever before doing any other kind of exercise. Walking is awesome. Look for opportunities to stick “extra” walking into your day, like parking far away in parking lots, walking for errands, walking kids to school. Always take the stairs. It really does all add up.

You can only do what you can do. As your kids get older you may be able to find more time for yourself (can I just tell you the joy I felt when my youngest started 2-year-old preschool for half a day MWF?). I know I had very little time to myself before that, and when I was at my heaviest (270#), my youngest was three years old. I think when you have babies you just kind of give yourself to them, because that’s what they need. But you have to take yourself back little by little as they get older. You deserve it.

Okay, this is so long and rambling, I’m sure you are never going to e-mail a blogger again!