Thoughts on solving a chub problem

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life88 Comments
There are things I don’t always bring up with my therapist. Usually because a) I haven’t thought them through well enough, or b) I have thought them through and know that I’m pretty much full of shit and she’s going to see right through it. Usually, it’s the latter that keeps me from spending my 60+ minutes on those topics.

One of those topics is my issue with chub.

During my last session, I decided to bring it up and I’m so glad I did because I needed the reality check, even if her insight didn’t make me feel good. And that insight was: I keep my weight a problem on purpose.


Here’s how it shakes out:

I’m doing well in many areas of my life, specifically in my work and my relationships. The third area of my life is me. We call it the personal. When I am doing well in the other areas, I start to feel a little weird. I start to not feel very much like Cathy at all because the old Cathy is neurotic and finds all sorts of issues to focus on, albeit mostly in the relationship department.

But I’ve been working to make a lot of changes in the relationship area. I don’t throw fits anymore. I don’t yell. I’m working to be a more competent and caring mate, mother and friend. I work to understand the reasons why I have behaved irresponsibly in the past and what the consequences have been and continue to be.

Not to get all therapy’d up in your face but it’s a complicated process.

My therapist pointed out that I keep my weight a problem—gain it, lose it, gain it back, whine about it, write about it—because it makes me feel more normal. It gives me something to be a mess about because for me, handling all of my life like an adult is a little out of control. It’s so much easier to be a mess.

Further, she told me, “If you solved this problem, you wouldn’t be able to talk about it anymore.”

She told me I just looove to talk about my weight problem. And she would be correct.

She said I could solve this if I wanted to. I could make a conscious choice to walk through the door and stop this back and forth game that I play with my body and my life.

She gave me an example of how this could work by looking at my business. She asked, “Have you ever been unprofessional with a client?” I replied, “No, I haven’t.” She told me that’s because in my work life, I’ve made a decision to go through a door that says unprofessionalism will not be tolerated in any instance. Ever. I don’t get to go back through the door and act like an ass in my business.

But I go back and forth through the chub door like a waitress in a diner kitchen. The door barely closes before I’m back at it again, gaining, losing, gaining, whining and writing.


Last month, I issued an apology to my body. I meant every word I said but you should know that after I posted it, I started to eat everything in sight and logged a less than impressive step count for days on end. Instead of using it as a catalyst to not only love this body of mine, but to feed it well and give it what it actually needed, I just filled it with salt & vinegar chips, red wine and blue raspberry ICEES (though not necessarily at the same time.) I gained at least 8 pounds and let me tell you, on this menopausal body, it’s not coming off with a few salads and a walk.

This is not about swearing off red wine. Maybe it is a little about swearing off those ICEEs.

But it is about looking at the truth of what she told me. I’m keeping this a problem when I could solve it.

Like I said, her insight didn’t make me feel warm and fuzzy but it was what I needed to hear.

I’m looking at a door and trying to decide if I want to step through and stay there. I realize there will be more involved and that a few salads may actually factor in.

I suppose if I make the leap I’ll have to find something new to write about.

And maybe it would be something more focused on the positive. Imagine that.

Cathy ZielskeThoughts on solving a chub problem

88 Comments on “Thoughts on solving a chub problem”

  1. #1

    Hey! Go for it! The gains clearly outweigh the losses. And you can do it! No doubt in my mind.

  2. #3
    Nicky Addie

    Thank you so much for this post Cathy!!! I love and admire your work, but you being this honest (brutally honest) makes you REAL, someone i can relate to, someone who has the same struggles as i have… that gives me motivation and inspiration to keep on with my journaling and scrapbooking. I dont know any other scrapbook celeb who is so honest about her own life and struggles and says to us “hey, its ok to NOT be perfect, to not churn out all these fancy pages you see everywhere, its OK to be YOU” thank you for giving me permission to be ME and to be OK about ME, my often mundane life and to still find the important bits to scrap and journal about.

  3. #5

    Does walking through the door implies that you got to lose it? Hmmmm… Or does it implies accepting your body as is, now, in all it’s glory but just don’t write/talk about it anymore? Because if I were you and going through that door meant being on a life long diet I would avoid that door like the plague. Now accepting and loving my body, that would be a different story and I might carefully open that door to see how the other side looks like.

    1. #5.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Christine, that’s a good question. I think it means doing what is needed, which could mean eating healthy food and getting exercise, not being on a life long diet. I think it means being connected to reality, too. Mine is not going be being some tiny person. But now I want to ask her about this question, too. 🙂

    2. #5.2
      Margaret C

      I think this is a great response, and one that I am tea struggling with myself. I lost a lot of weight a few years ago, and I looked great, but I was OBSESSED with the diet (how did you make this? Did you follow the recipe exactly? How many sprays of oil did you use?) and OBSESSED with food. Every Friday I had a cupcake and I would spend the rest of the week fantasising about this cupcake. No exaggeration. Eventually, I snapped. Now my weight is back up beyond where it was, and I know I need to do something, I just don’t want to go back to that obsessed place. I totally relate to your behaviour after your apology post, Cathy. Of you work out that going through the door leads to a good place, can you write a map for me?!

    3. #5.3

      I like this question too because my door is opened to a whole different aspect of life but a tough one too and it is scary to imagine being on the other side

    4. #5.4

      This was exactly my thought when I was reading your post. Walking through that door doesn’t necessarily have to mean losing weight but coming to terms with your body as it is or deciding to make healthy choices whenever possible. I know that for me if I say I will never have another Pepsi again, that is all I want. All. Of. The. Time. Period. I will dream about it. I will look at other people who have one and wish it were me. I will touch the cases of the soda in the store. You get it. But, if I decide that I will make water a priority and have Pepsi as a treat, that I can do. That’s a door I’m willing to walk through and stay on the other side. Good luck to you, Cathy. Thanks for sharing all that you do. I love your work.

  4. #6

    Thanks for posting this. I think you have just reached the root of my chub problem as well. And I didn’t have to pay your therapist. I will be doing a lot of thinking about this.

    1. #6.1

      This post also hit home for me. Cathy, thanks for being so brutally honest. Like Jackie, I will be doing a lot of thinking about this. Thanks for being brave and for putting your truth out there for people like us to learn from.

  5. #7
    Lisa Russo

    Been there as well. My complaining tends to be internal (and to the dang mirror), but still. I made the decision to be strong (without a focus on weight or size) and I’m so much happier. Being strong is so empowering, especially as we age. 🙂

    1. #7.1
      Cathy Zielske

      And you ARE rocking the whole strong thing, with the side effect of looking AMAZING. I can’t blame my foot on getting out of shape, but that was the start of it. I just want to be as healthy as I can in every era and that means making choices, right? I was a little nervous to post this today, because I don’t know everything. I just know that she tells me the truth. She has never not done that, and hoo boy have there been times when I have hated what she has to say.

      Much to think about. For me, for sure.

    1. #9.1
      Cathy Zielske

      🙂 Trust me, my therapist blows my mind all the time. That doesn’t mean I like it, either. But I do learn. Eventually.

  6. #10

    Thank you so much for posting this, Cathy. I’ve looked at this issue for many years. I have come to question whether my life of dis-equalibrium is at the root of it. I feel as if I have had so many struggles in my life, and now that I am in a place where love, health, and happiness are in my life, I don’t know how to live without the drama. So I CREATE the drama within myself. It’s as if, at base, I don’t believe that I really deserve to be happy, and must find something to be unhappy about to feel normal. I’m not exactly certain if I’m making sense here, but you have given me much to ponder. I think that it’s about making a choice to be happy. Back to Weight Watchers, it is.

  7. #11
    Jules M

    Cathy: What a great post. Such honesty. You have such wonderful things to say & share with us. Your therapist is right. You could go through that door & not talk about it any more. You could use that door to talk about the good things that you are doing for your body. Do we treat our bodies great every day? Nope. Do we make choices each day to stay healthy? Yup. Little choices add up to big things. I promise you this, I will still be back to read each day if you talk about your weight or not. You have a way with words & I enjoy reading them.

  8. #12

    Wow… very insightful. I love and appreciate your honesty. Walk through that door. You can do it, but be patient. Sometimes it takes the body a bit of back-and-forth before it catches up to the brain. All the best Cathy!!!

  9. #13

    There are some areas of my life where I am just not tempted to make poor choices. Much like your not being unprofessional with clients. However, eating is not one of those areas. I enjoy food, usually in moderation, but age has made me less active (not chasing around little kids anymore, sedentary job) and my metabolism is in that Dreaded Menopausal State, where little seems to burn off without vigorous effort. And sometimes not even then!

    I don’t presume to know you better than your therapist, but in my own case, it is not going to be so simple as to choose to walk through a door. Weight management is a challenge; it’s HARD. And every person who is struggling with this has different causes for their problems. Here’s hoping you are able to identify yours, Cathy. You know we are all rooting for you, and for each other.

    1. #13.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Dar, yes, I realize that walking through that door, metaphorical as it is, is not simple. It’s not like flipping a switch. Much like the things I’ve been working on in my personal development. They take time. But for me it starts with an attitude of wanting to understand it, you know? Of looking at what is at the core. Then, the baby steps begin. 🙂

  10. #14

    Cathy, I recently had to come to the conclusion that weight is not something where you diet once, get to a satisfactory weight and then never think about it again. You have to keep thinking about the choices you make. Now that I’m not thinking I can actually “finish” this, surprisingly, I’m feeling better about it. Love your sentiments in this post- I would never knowingly be a jerk at work either, so I guess I needed to hear this, too.

  11. #15

    Two things that have contributed to a 9lb weight loss in the past few months – 1) barre sculpt and 2) meditation. I walked into barre feeling like an old/overweight/frumpy Mom and ended up building muscle, tone, and confidence. Daily meditation helps me to make better choices in LOTS of areas – including food/fitness.

  12. #16

    I am right here with you. I have always struggled with my weight.

    I finally made the choice to make conscious decisions about what I put in my body.
    Now I do indulge in a cheat day or two because I’ve learned that if I say to myself I can’t eat that then I want it more, and may tend to be compulsive and over indulge.

    I have managed for the last 5 years to maintain and actually surpass my goal weight. I do watch the scale everyday and if I fluctuate past 5lbs I know I need to get myself back in line. However I do enjoy food and great wine and will enjoy it and life to the best if my ability without depriving myself.
    Thank you for sharing your life and talents with us! You really do Rock!

  13. #17

    I do this, too. Not so much the talking/blogging about it, but it’s almost like I want one area of my life where I can let loose and not have to be a responsible grownup all the dang time. (I think using the word grownup when one is 46 is probably a sign that I am still holding out a part of me that wants to be a kid.) I don’t drink, smoke, or do drugs. I work full time and maintain healthy relationships with my husband and daughter. So I’m darned well going to have some cheese fries if I want them and I’m going to scarf down four really decadent cookies at work because they’re there. But I’ve worked hard to lose weight and it’s gone back up a little. Not ten pounds, but probably more than five. Do I want to stay a healthy weight more than I want the damned cheese fries? Can I let go of the momentary rebellion so I can be healthy and look the way I want to look?

  14. #18
    Cindy B

    WOW. I have a problem with my chub too but I am thinking my problem isn’t that I don’t wanna quit talking about it, because quite frankly, I NEVER talk about it except to myself in the mirror. I don’t wanna talk about the fact that I’ve let myself go to hell and gotten back to my bad eating habits and not exercising. I flat out think I’m being lazy. And that my friend is the hard, cold truth for me. I’ve BEEN on the other side and exercised EVERY day, ate like a champion and looked and felt great! And you know what?? It’s a LOT of damn work. I know it’s takes WORK and I’m being lazy. Maybe because I”m unemployed… maybe because I don’t feel like I DESERVE to look good right now… maybe because I’m enjoying those chips and cookies right now.. hell, I don’t know ’cause I don’t have no therapist! LOL!! What I DO know is that I love your honesty and keeping it real all the time. You make me feel normal. 😉

  15. #19

    Love this insightful, introspective post. I connect to much of it as a doctors visit just revealed I have left Onderland…again.

    Questions that have come up for me on my journey, which may also resonate with you:

    Is there a part of you that hated being thin? Maybe the attention, or even the compliments? Is there maybe even some part of you that resented the way people noticed you when you were thin, but not when you were heavier? Maybe it was weird to be able to wear Thin Girl clothes when you’re used to them being off limits? Or maybe, you need a deep engrossing project to focus on following an impending Life Event and weight gain is a convenient way to create that project.

    1. #19.1
      Cathy Zielske

      There are definitely a lot of layers to it, yes. I think there is much more to think about and even write about that go beyond just being sad about not being fit and healthy. Definitely.

  16. #20
    Nicole H.

    Oh, it was so timely that I read this. Your realizations can be applied to SO many situations. You know how they say bullying is about them, not you? Well, I realized that my freaking out on my husband (and typically what he does wrong) is about ME. Can you imagine? This has caused a TON of inward reflection and desire for massive improvement and awareness lately. Did I mention I had a baby seven weeks ago. Yeah – the world changed. My universe has shifted, only in ways I had never even considered. So thanks Cathy…..once again my not-so-much-about-scrapbooking virtual mentor has helped crack open something new in my life…..making it better one moment at a time.

    1. #20.1
      Nicole H.

      And regarding the chub, it’s particularly relatable because I did not appreciate the negative attention I used to receive when I was thinner, so I’ve been told I keep the extra weight to avoid that negative attention now. It’s like insurance to make sure someone is interested in my inner self, not the packaging. I was wondering if Yolanda’s questions sparked any additional insight for you?

      1. #20.1.1
        Cathy Zielske

        Definitely making me think, but there’s an aspect of self absorption that I’ve engaged in, in my entire life which is another area of discussion for therapy, where everything is about me anyways. But I think there is something there, too.

  17. #22

    Your therapist sounds amazing! I’ve enjoyed reading about how this is changing you and I think you give hope to the rest of us. Thanks for sharing your real life! You never stop being awesome!

  18. #23

    Hi Cathy,
    If you do decide to go through that door, maybe think about getting professional help… a trainer and/or a nutritionist. I mean, you’ve worked with a therapist to help with an area of your life where you didn’t have the expertise to figure it on your own. And you worked with the company to help with your website when you didn’t have the expertise to do it on your own. Maybe you don’t have to take on the task of getting fit/being healthy on your own… I tried a lot of things over a lot of years to “get in shape”. Would do super great for a while and then totally flame out. Just over 2 years ago, my husband and I started working with a personal trainer and now we both agree it has been some of the best time and money we’ve ever spent. We just both really needed that help to get going. Now, we’re still doing it – though not as often. We’ve incorporated other activities in addition to the personal training. Anyway, just something to think about. Good luck – and thanks for sharing your journey with us.

    1. #23.1
      Cathy Zielske

      yes, good advice. I worked with a nutritionist two years ago and they gave me really great information and changed my understanding of metabolism, food, etc. I just didn’t apply it. Again, there’s that conscious choice at work. 🙂

  19. #24

    That makes for good imagery but did your therapist address the joys of food, and how unfun exercise can be, and how we emotionally reward ourselves with treats or feed our stress or suffer from lack of sleep and then can’t make sound choices? The concept of walking through a door once and for all is a good strong image but there are some serious variables influencing me. What to do, what to do…I wish there was a lock on that dang door.

  20. #25

    This was precisely the topic of my last session with my therapist. I realized that my eating issues are like a companion. I’m so used to it that I’m afraid to think about what life would be like to be free of it. You know, like a toxic relationship I know I have to get rid of, but I am afraid to do it because it’s familiar and it keeps me from having to focus on other, harder things? The dysfunctional thing that I know is “safer” than the great unknown, if that makes sense.

  21. #26

    WOW! Thanks for this post! AND all the responses! They have all added insight for me. Thank you for being vulnerable and willing to share such a personal issue.

  22. #27


    1. #27.1
      Cathy Zielske

      I agree there are many reasons. Menopause, factually, is going to make weight come on much more easily for me. But she is also working with me on a whole level, and she knows me very well. She knows how slippery I can be when I am trying to find ways to be a mess. She removes all the drama from this for me and she makes me look at facts. Definitely there are many factors. 🙂

  23. #28

    As I read your post and all the comments (and I’m in the same boat) — it strikes me that this is such a BIG issue for so many of us. And the reality is for most of us, it is simply eating correctly (and I realize that may be different for different people) and moving enough to help your heart and build muscle. It’s a SiMPLE thing — yet so many of us CAN NOT seem to get it right. Diet, weight, food, exercise — those aren’t really the issues — it’s so many other things that impact our decisions about those things!
    Today is a good day — kale and eggs for breakfast and just finished 20 miles on my bike; hoping to make good decisions the rest of the day too!
    And for me, walking through the door is NEVER going to mean accepting this body for what it is (unhealthy and uncomfortable). So for me, the other side of the door will always be a different body than I am living with today.
    I will be curious as to how you move forward with this Cathy — I’m cheering you on with whatever you do!

    1. #28.1

      Linda, your words “unhealthy and uncomfortable” stood out to me here. I used to be that, even as an RD, due to pregnancy weight and arthritis. While I was embarassed, I also reasoned there were so many overweight people I knew who looked beautiful and put-together and lead happy lives, I was gonna be ok with it for now. Outwardly anyway.

      At some point you WILL reach a point where you feel good. I no longer feel yucky, and that feels GREAT! But I continue to work at it because (blah blah blah) plenty of my own reasons that made it worthwhile to go through that door and stay there most of the time.

  24. #29

    I agree with Katrina. My philosophy is to do more positive than negative. Eat smaller meals every 3 or 4 hours. Your stomach will shrink. This helps with the overeating. I also do Gyrokinesis. Lovely, exercise for your core and back. It helps a lot with all the sitting for my work. You are not exhausted and overly sweaty when you are finished. You feel taller, and in a better frame of mind. Meditation really does help with switching your mind set so you can begin to create a new way of thinking that is foreign to you.

  25. #30
    Damon C.

    You know about my struggles with my weight and how I lost the 70+ pounds once and 30 of it came back. Hell, we’ve whined together on FB on each others posts. That said, I started a Crossfit gym back in March to give me something different to focus on. When I joined, I said I’m not doing one of the nutrition challenges…famous last words.

    As you probably saw in your timeline, I just completed Whole 30 Challenge ( and I will be the first to admit, it was not easy and much whining was involved–only lean meats, vegetables, some fruits, nuts and seeds. The first few days were “This is easy”. Moving into the second week, I was “For the love of all things Holy, all I want is a piece of pizza or a bite of brownie!!!!” but I had made the commitment. Once I increased the amount of healthy fats (olive oil, avocado, etc) and more vegetables that I was eating, I found my energy level.

    Now that it is done although the number of calories I was eating was about the same, I did end up losing about 10 1/2 pounds. I’m slowly reintroducing items, but many previous food items will probably never make it back into my diet because I don’t like the taste and my digestive issues are gone. And, I feel and sleep so much better.

    This AM I cut off a small (like 1″ square) piece of a cinnamon roll at work and it tasted awful. Even something that we have made before that used ketchup was so sweet I can barely tolerate it. On a recent trip, I did not have control what was served, and the egg dish had either some milk or heavy cream along with cheese and it made me sick.

    Now, This is pretty extreme for a short period and will make for a grumpy person. However, the reintroduction is where you learn what heals or harms your body. And that was worth the commitment as hard as it was.

    1. #30.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Go Damon! And yep, I know we’ve commiserated together.

      When I read stuff like this, I do think: I want to experience that. I want to eat so well (read: yes to calories of REAL food) that eating shit makes you go, “What the?”

      I know it’s a short period of grumpiness. I feel like I need to give this a real shot at some point, to see how I feel just eating real food.

      1. #30.1.1
        Damon C.

        It’s kind of a true and sad fact that until last month, I did not know what the true taste of sweet potato was. I’ve always had butter (although not much) brown sugar and cinnamon. I learned that I actually like them better tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper cooked on the grill. Something I would have not known had I not just committed. I cannot tell you how hard it was the other night sitting with friends who were noshing on chips and salsa with their margarita and there I was with my water. The next day I had so many comments that it showed showed determination.

        Channel the commitment it took to quit smoking. To quote Tom Hanks in “A League of their Own”…”the hard is what makes it great” Going through the hard of life and coming out the other side is what makes it great.

  26. #31

    This is a great post. Sounds familiar. I think we should both take an axe to that motherfucking door. In a muumuu.

      1. #31.1.1

        Oh dear…I thought you wanted a link to the momofuko crack pie. I had a piece and it almost shatters the teeth with sweet.

        I have been reminded twice this week that I know many things that are good for me, that make me a healthier, ‘better’ person in many ways, and I remain bratlike and just. don’t. do. them.

        Beyond the food and health issues, I am more and more clear about my endless struggles with my own clutter. 20+ years ago I learned that clutter is a narcotic, and I strongly suspect that body clutter is just a variation on that. If I don’t have x or y to worry or obsess about, what could my mind and energy focus on …that I probably don’t want to address. Damn, it’s so simple and so efffin hard.

  27. #32

    Cathy, Was reading this post and was going “yah”, “uh-huh”, “yep”… like normal when I read your posts about weight challenges/our thinking about them, since I relate to so much of what you write.
    Then, you floored me! You floored me with sharing the “professionalism” example. It made me think of the things that I technically COULD DO or that would make things EASIER or MORE SIMPLE (for at least a moment) but that I would NEVER ACTUALLY DO because it would be unprofessional. I never had thought about using my work life as an example of conduct elsewhere!
    I’m going to spend some time really thinking about this… and how some of it could translate to relationship with food. Wow.

  28. #33

    The big question as others have eluded to is what door are you closing, and what does it look like on the other side. Fortunately acting professionally with clients is a whole lot easier than managing an addiction to food. I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life — it’s no secret food is my drug of choice. Closing THAT door is not easy. I did a WHOLE30 a year and a half ago, and it was awesome. I lost 20 pounds and didn’t feel like I wanted to gnaw my arm off every day. I felt like I finally walked through the “door”. The next month I had a miscarriage via ectopic pregnancy (a month after signing with an adoption agency preceded by five years of infertility). And I walked right back through the door.

    No easy answers here. But I love the discussion. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    1. #33.1
      Cathy Zielske

      You know, back in 2010, when I got into shape and dropped weight, I felt I had walked through that door. It was just my way of life. But I was an effing mess in my relationships at the time. There was definitely a trade off.

      My therapist did clarify with me that it’s challenging. She said, “An alcoholic knows to avoid alcohol, but with food, you have to eat it every day and that is a challenge.” SO, yeah… Lots to think about. No easy answers.

  29. #34

    Thank you Cathy for your very honest and straightforward post.
    Lots of interesting and helpful comments here.
    Just want to say “Keep plugging away at it”. You will get stronger and better with time. I have a similar issue – I always “shoot myself in the foot” so to speak. I still struggle with it and it is very painful when I sabotage myself. So….keep up the good fight and I’ll keep up mine.

  30. #35

    I don’t think I agree with your therapist 100%. Not even 50%. At least on why you retain the chub….because you want to? I have a lot in common with you and yes, the chub is why I keep reading you. However, I think it is more simplistic than even your therapist is telling you. Weight loss is hard and gets harder the older we get. We are stuck in our ways and the older we get, we get stuckier (new word). We need to eat to survive and monitoring that 24/7 is a pain. I chock up my chub to “the lazy”. If I didn’t have to work, child rear, etc. and devote a lot more time to me, I would be thinner. I could cook only one meal (for me) and not have to worry about what everyone else is eating. I could exercise more and spend more time being mindful about the groceries I am buying, the food I am cooking, etc.
    I have spent more time doing all those things while letting other things go by the wayside and I lost weight. But then real life gets in the way, and I get chubbier. Do I really want to be chubby…HELL NO. Am I lazy in my endeavors to lose weight and be healthier….HELL YES.

    Do therapists ever cure people? I think not. I am not anti-therapists but sometimes they put ideas in your head that aren’t common sense. Sorry.

    1. #35.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Oh, she’s actually super anti therapy, believe me. She’s not trying to cure me because what I have is neurotic behavior. She’s trying to get me to behave responsibly in my life. She’s trying to get me to grow up. That’s her bottom line.

      No need to say sorry! It’s a good conversation today!

  31. #36

    I don’t think I agree with your therapist 100%. Not even 50%. At least on why you retain the chub….because you want to? I have a lot in common with you and yes, the chub is why I keep reading you. However, I think it is more simplistic than even your therapist is telling you. Weight loss is hard and gets harder the older we get. We are stuck in our ways and the older we get, we get stuckier (new word). We need to eat to survive and monitoring that 24/7 is a pain. I chock up my chub to “the lazy”. If I didn’t have to work, child rear, etc. and devote a lot more time to me, I would be thinner. I could cook only one meal (for me) and not have to worry about what everyone else is eating. I could exercise more and spend more time being mindful about the groceries I am buying, the food I am cooking, etc.
    I have spent more time doing all those things while letting other things go by the wayside and I lost weight. But then real life gets in the way, and I get chubbier. Do I really want to be chubby…HELL NO. Am I lazy in my endeavors to lose weight and be healthier….HELL YES.

    Do therapists ever cure people? I don’t know anyone that has been cured. I am not anti-therapists but sometimes they put ideas in your head that make no sense.

  32. #37

    I am not completely sold on your therapist’s logic. Choosing to be professional in your business is not an emotional choice. It’s just something that you choose to do rather than give into emotions and being unprofessional (should something arise in your work that could cause you to respond negatively). But food….oh food is totally different than that. We are emotional about our food. Food brings up old feelings or memories (good or bad) and works in our brain differently. I don’t think it’s as easy as walking through a door and not going back out. But this is just my logic and opinion. I just don’t think dieting and professionalism are comparable but that’s just me….a woman struggling to make the correct food choices every day, too.

    1. #37.1
      Cathy Zielske

      In my years of corporate life (1990 to 1999) I saw my fair share of people flip out at work and act crazy. Not a lot, but they were there. So for me, a person who did a lot of flipping out in my personal life [ read: A LOT ], I always made sure I didn’t at work.

      But it does help me to compare that to my personal stuff, like food, because it is a conscious choice for me to not take care of myself. True, I have serious addictive personality. You don’t smoke a pack a day without addiction and emotional issues.

      And people are not the same, of course!

      Something I want to experience is what moderation is like. Not black and white crazy dieting. And not indulging every whim. I want balance and I want to know I’m doing what is needed for this body. 🙂

  33. #38

    Great post Cathy and such an interesting discussion. I battle the chub too and I’ve learned something very interesting about myself over the last 1.5 years – it’s easier for me to do something than to not do something. The “do something” is walking at least two miles every single day and the “not do something” is eating healthy. That is surprising to me because I’ve never liked to exercise but I started my walking program last year and I’ve kept it up for 1.5 years, but I still can’t get myself to stick to a healthy diet. I might do good for a few days but then someone invites me out to lunch and the next thing you know I’m eating waffle fries like it’s my job. So telling myself I HAVE to do something (walk) works; telling myself I CAN’T do something (eat poorly) doesn’t work. Dang! I need a therapist!!

  34. #39

    Great post although I have a completely different perspective. I’ve been following you for years as well as your chub. I even participated in the first round of Eat More Exercise Less (my version). The minute you left Weight Watchers it was all over – que sera sera. No one could sustain that although you looked (and look!) rockin! Anyway, I am a post-menopausal 54. I spent 15 years trying to lose this belly and ass. And I can do it – and did. Several times. Finally last year I just decided to hell with it and to enjoy the rest of my life. I’m not eating junk all day but if I want a Coke Slurpee with Tastykake cupcakes for dinner then fine. Let it go dude and enjoy the good things in life! – xo

    1. #39.1
      Cathy Zielske

      🙂 I like your outlook Gayle. And yeah, I don’t want to be a robot. I want to be healthier and not just shove the crap in all day.

    2. #39.2

      This is a good comment – I turned 65 this week and have been juggling the weight issue for the last 35 years. In my 50’s I hit the same point that you write about. I was always talking about my “solidified pudge”, which is what you get when the weight doesn’t come off, but you exercise all the time. The real issue is learning to love yourself while working to achieve balance. Life got a whole lot better when I embraced the notion of what is healthily vs trying to relive my 20’s. . .I need to add a post script. In May I had emergency abdominal surgery and within a month lost 40lbs. I didn’t just walk through the door, God shoved me through it. The point is the anxiety over weight issues hasn’t gone away. Once again as the cobwebs clear I’m having to get in touch with what is important, working to achieve balance; I am intent on enjoying life.

      1. #39.2.1

        Thanks for the comments ladies. Just so you don’t think I’m a complete maniac which is probably how I sounded, I did forgo the donuts at home this morning for the strawberries! I do what I can 😉

  35. #40


    I am currently on the other side of the chub door. Let me tell you a bit of what it is like here-When your daughter is on the other side of the world and texts “hey want to meet me in New Zealand and we can do some backpacking” you can honestly respond with a “HELL YES!” because you know that you can do it. Was backpacking in New Zealand ever on my bucket list-ummmm-NO. But spending time with my 21-year-old child is always on there so we hopped on an airplane (I simplified this story a bit) and headed out. We had an AWESOME experience with her. I mention this because I know that you have some trepidation in regards to her leaving the nest. A year ago I couldn’t have said yes to her suggestion as a matter of fact I turned down a trip with her to do some mountain climbing because I knew I wasn’t able physically able to do it. This month when she asks if I want to climb (it is actually more of a walk) a mountain with her I will be able to say yes and that, my friend, is worth all the work I have put into getting my body fit and healthy!

  36. #41

    This reminded me of something a doctor told me once. He ask me on a scale of 1-10 how much I wanted to loose weight. Of course I answered 10. He said- no, I don’t think so. He said- He always wanted to be a millionaire. But when he thought about all the hours he would have to work and all of the stress, he realized he really didn’t want it on a 10 level. He said if I wanted to lose weight on a 10 level, I would be doing it. I am still much to heavy, but I am much more accepting of myself. Being 58, I realized that at this stage of my life (I stay home and take care of my 26yo son who moved back home in 2008 because of a traumatic brain injury) I can just do the best that I can. Some days it is a 10, some days it is a 2. But now I look at things on this scale. Cherry pie- not my favorite, so not a 10 for me- so I pass. But sweet tea- a 10, or maybe a 20. So yes, I have it. I am striving for healthy, and if thin eventually comes with it- great.

  37. #42

    Thank you. Real. Honest. Life. Doesn’t it suck that we have the power to change things??? We do get to decide. Your life is good, and better every day. Make sure to take that through the door, you know?

  38. #43

    Hmmm….something to ponder. It’s all about boundaries and treating yourself the way you treat colleagues, clients, and your family. Ouch! It touched a nerve. I think I like your therapist.

  39. #44

    So glad you share.
    Last night I finished a book about the body-mind struggle and aging…and your therapist’s thoughts are in their too. And a little bit about the complexity of it all…America, photo shopping…but ultimately how it comes down to your mind. Your post reminds me of pages 188-194. I also love this from page 91: “I vow to hold a healthy urge for self-improvement in my right hand and a strong sense of appreciation in my left hand and slowly, sensitively, bring my two hands together in a prayer that transforms good enough into goodness.” May I be Happy: A Memoir of Love, Yoga, and Changing my Mind by Cyndi Lee. She also mentions how it’s not like it’s ever “check I did it, and now I am done”, but that it’s a continual process…and I don’t mean the weight loss, but the part about changing how we think.

    Also, have you seen Colbie Caillat’s new video? Brave and very visual reality check for media world. Wish they’d show it in every elementary school.
    I also just made my 10 and 11 year old sons watch this on Brene Brown’s blog after we watched “Try”. We paused the video for the photo shopping examples…kinda like in Highlights magazine…find what’s different. Want them to not buy in.

    Love the picture of your notes–thanks again for sharing.

    1. #44.1


      I love your post/reply. I can’t wait to read the Cyndi Lee book, and love that you shared it. And the Colbie Caillat video was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Brought tears to my eyes, and reminded me to stop TRYING so much. Can’t wait to share it with my daughter, and all of her friends – the message is THAT important.

      Cathy, I LOVE your reflections here, and echo SO many others that commented about how much they love the REAL you – the one that does life, day-in an day-out, and the Cathy who so giftedly shares her insights, intuitions, and reflections on an incredibly deep life. I often wish I had the talent and gift that you do for sharing the written word amidst beautiful photos of a well-lived, well-loved life…

      1. #44.1.1
        Cathy Zielske

        Thanks, Mary. I don’t have answers, but I am trying to be better at asking questions. Writing helps me to do that. 🙁

  40. #46

    My goodness, did I need to read that. I was just kicking myself about an aspect of my life that I keep going back and forth with and I sure do keep it in limbo because I wouldn’t know how to be if it was calm and normal. I need to walk through that darn door.

  41. #47
    Leslie Price

    Cathy, your honest posting always hits home and EXACTLY what I am thinking at the time and need to hear. I, too, have been struggling with this darn weight issue myself and sick of it! I keep thinking “it’s not what you’re eating, but what’s eating you”. I keep looking at all the clothes that don’t fit and ask myself why I can’t just get the weight off if its making me so darn unhappy! I could probably pay off my house with the money & time I’ve spent on diet/healthy cookbook. Too many hours and money wasted! Think I’ll restart the “Move More Eat Less” book again.

    Can’t thank you enough for sharing this with your viewers. You are not alone my friend. Going to forget how awful I look in my stuffed tight tennis skirt (more flattering than shorts) and going for walk now (forget the house and bickering kids)!



  42. #48

    I think the thoughts on solving “a chub problem” as you put it, isn’t a simple thought, it is a journey. With some good days and bad days. That’s part of the journey. The idea is to change the way you think about food. It is at its most simply put, calories in versus calories out. If you eat more than you burn, you gain. And, if you burn more than you eat, you lose. It’s simple math. So at some point you have to wrap your brain around that fact and accept it for what it is. I don’t mean to be harsh sounding, but people always want to make excuses for why it’s not working or it’s so hard or whatever the excuse for the day is. I am not saying its easy, thus the comment on good days and bad days, but you don’t give up because you had a bad day or bad snack or bad meal or whatever. You accept that you aren’t perfect and move on. And when the opportunity comes up to have a blue raspberry icee, rather than indulging in the moment, stop and wait ten minutes and think about what that icee means, how it makes you feel, and how its part of the journey with the chub. Then if you still want it, go get the icee, a SMALL one, and be satisfied that its okay sometimes, just not all the time.

    As far as the therapy goes, maybe she’s right about talking about it. Its much easier to talk about than fix, and it induces more sympathy. People always want to sympathize with this weight loss journey because people always want excuses and company in the chub section. If someone else validates that its okay to be chub because a lot of people are and the journeys hard blah blah blah then it makes it easier to be that way. Again don’t mean to sound harsh, but I get tired of people asking me how to lose weight and then watching them go off and have a bacon cheeseburger and fries. REALLY?? That’s a person that is not ready for change and is happy with the chub. Or I guess the chub doesn’t make them uncomfortable enough to change.

    Anyway, I so enjoy reading your posts and seeing your take on life. I am also a simple scrapper and love looking at your pages. I just finished Clean & Simple and loved it. I also love your sense of humor. Life is so much better with laughter. Thanks, Cathy!

  43. #49

    OMG, I just had a major a-ha moment. And I think I need therapy now, too. I’m chubby, but I don’t really care. On the other hand, money has been something that I’ve struggled with my entire adult life and I think I may be doing the same thing you do with weight.

    I’ve got lots to think about.

  44. #50

    Lady, this post is amazing. Totally hit home for me. When I got to my goal weight with Weight Watchers, I went home and ate a cake. I realized during trying to get back to it, that I’m not sure who I am without a big goal in mind and constant progress (or lack thereof). It’s been one of the biggest focuses for me since I was a kid, so I’m not sure what I’m supposed to focus on or who I’m supposed to be when it’s no longer an issue.

    I’m working on it. I’m sure I always will be. But this was amazing to read this morning, in all of your honesty and eloquence. I am sure we can figure it out, somehow.

  45. #51

    Ok, so I was unplugged for 5 days and didn’t read it in a timely manner. I have no idea if you will read this or not, but I am going to write anyway.

    It’s scary. Deep, dark scary. To say good-bye to to comfort of what you know (i.e, “I’m feeling shame, scared, uncertain, ______________ (fill in whatever–including bordom) so I’ll eat. The dopamine will kick in and I won’t have to feel whatever is is that I don’t want to feel. Scary, scary, scary to give up that security blanket. But you are forgetting that there are good things on the other side. Thinks like “I’m in control,” “I have so much energy,” and “Wow, I feel great!” You think you are headed to “deprive-ville” but YOU ARE NOT. There are so many healthy, wonderful treats that are good for you (unlike the icee). You will learn to nourish your soul in other ways. Of course, you won’t be perfect–that is called life. But you can and will support yourself in other ways. Do you want to go back to the way you were in your relationships before therapy? Of course not. And once you go through the door; I mean really walk though the door; you can’t imagine going back. I wrote this in a comment to you before. For me, it was accepting that I was in an abusive relationship (me and food). I had to realize that the junk (and for me, a sugar whore, sugar was the main culprit; I never wanted just a taste) was just like an abusive boyfriend that I kept going back to again and again. It never made me feel good about myself. When I made that mental commitment, I was good. I’m not perfect, but I can say four years down the road I don’t crave it and I mostly don’t it. I’ve learned to make substitutions for the things I once wanted (again, Maria Emmerich has been wonderful). I am NEVER hungry. There’s a lot to be said for that. No, I’m not a size 4, but I’m not a size 22 either. But I know what my body needs to function. It’s a really good place. Finally, if that isn’t enough, I’m going to pull out the guilt card. Your children may have children and you will want to be actively (i.e., able to help out) in their lives. If you won’t do it for you, do it for your children and Dan. They all need you. You want to give them your best. So do it. Lastly, for me, I allow myself to eat whatever I want Christmas Eve and Day and my birthday. My birthday came and went last week and no sugar crossed my lips. I didn’t want it. I did eat a bunch of french fries and felt so crappy afterwards that I not sure I will eat them again. I’ve changed so much. So can you, promise. Walk toward the door. Before you know it, you will be through it. Promise.

    1. #51.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Hey Irene, I see every comment, so never fear posting a few days behind the actual post date!

      I have Maria’s book and I follow her on Facebook. And you are right: it’s scary to give up that comfort. It’s scary to also give up acting irresponsibly.

      Of course, I have to do it for me. Can’t do it for others. I need to act like an adult. That’s it. Thanks for sharing this. 🙂

  46. #52

    Here I go again.

    When I was ragging about my weigh in the past. My brother turned to me and asked “Who do you know that has a good relationship with food?” I thought about the question for weeks. In fact, it still haunts me. The answer was “no one.” NO ONE I know has a good relationship with food. They are either abusing it or obsessing about it. That realization was profoundly moving and sad for me. No one. Empty set. No soul. My goal is to be the one person I know that has a good relationship with food. Walk though the door……

  47. #53
    Els Kooi

    I am totally familiar with the self sabotageing principle you describe. I’ve been there, more times than I care to admit. Healing from it, or ‘cutting the crap’, whatever you want to call it, actually requires some discipline, spiritual hygiene if you like. It requires constant decision not to bend over the same well and fall into it again and again. Because guaranteed, that well is deeper everytime and climbing out takes more energy. Do you happen to know that Mary Blige song, No more drama. I sometimes put it on to remind myself ‘no more drama in my life’ Fortunately I haven’t felt the need for quite some time now.

  48. #54

    Wow. Thanks again for giving me something to think about. “I’m ” always last on my list of things to do/take care of.

    Ps. I love the new site but have a suggestion. Being on vacation I hadn’t read in three weeks and so reading each post required go back to the main page and reloading then clicking the next post. Could you include a “read newer/older post” button at the end of each post? I feel bad to even suggest it but it would make catching up easier. Not that it’s going to keep me from reading. 🙂 I’m a true fan.

  49. #55

    I am, once again, a little late to the party but that never stops me adding my two cents worth! Stepping through the door is scary for those of us who have been obsessing about weight/food/appearance and the connections between them for a long time – in my case since I was pre-teen. I am now 52 so that is a lot of years! For me stepping through has been about rewriting how I define myself and being prepared to be vulnerable and willing to actually deal with/feel things.
    I lost >100lbs, kept it off for five year, gained around 35lbs in the past two years (thanks to a combo of complacency and menopause) and am now getting that off. In case you think think there will be nothing to talk about on the other side of the door Cathy, let me say there is so little conversation about maintaining a weight loss there is plenty of room for chat on this side. Maintaining weight loss means finding new ways to deal with lots of feelings, situations and attitudes (yours and other peoples). It can be equally obsessive but like your work on relationships it is possible to do. Perfectly? No, I am still the same imperfect work in progress I ever was. I am just not as fat. And I think we need to remember that. We are not fat, we have fat. When we lose the fat all our flaws and worries and needs are still there, in fact some are highlighted as we choose not to numb ourselves with food but squarely face things.

    1. #55.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Yes, thank you for this comment. I just spoke a bit more to my therapist yesterday and she said when I’m not just using food to cover up stuff that might hurt, who knows what I will experience. Facing things squarely is what is needed.

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