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August 2008, after losing 15 pounds.

"It's My GD Birthday", 2007, acrylic on canvas, 24" x 36"

Maine Women's Tri in my new, faster, slimmer body! Whoo hoo!


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My name is Pauline, and I'm a compulsive overeater and restricter. I have always been at a healthy weight, but my problems are in my mind and spirit. I have been a competitive triathlete in the past and was always able to outrun my calorie intake but was always dissatisfied with my body and was overly concerned with my appearance. I come from a perfectionist background and appeared successful on the outside, but was struggling with depression, feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness and anxiety on the inside. I thought about committing suicide on many occasions.

I was recruited to take part in a workplace fitness challenge because my teammates knew I would rack up lots of exercise points for the team, and I ended up losing 15 lbs. without intending to, because I assiduously recorded every calorie that I ate or burned off here on SparkPeople. I went from a size 6 to a size 2. I fell in love with my new, ultra-skinny body, but it quickly turned dark-- I was like Golum in "Lord of the Rings", warping my entire life and mind in order to protect my "precious, precious" skinniness! My life became all about cooking healthy meals and exercising to keep the fat off. I was short-tempered with my husband, and I stopped hanging out with friends because I was afraid I would lose control around them and lose my "perfect" body. I would panic at any uptick in the scale and felt like I was walking a tightwire.

Eventually I had a dream in which I got shot in the head, and my first reaction was, "Oh, thank GOD I won't have to track calories anymore!" For that reason, I no longer track calories (UPDATE: I am tracking calories again, at least for now). I just don't want to go on living like that. For two years after that, I binged some and ate unrestrictedly until I was back at the weight where I had started, a size 6. I wasn't clinically overweight, and some people thought I looked better, but I struggled every day not to hate my bigger body. Then I read "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease" by Caldwell Esselstyn, M.D., and I followed the eating plan for 11 days and saw my cholesterol go from 200 to 156. Most stunning, though, was how different I felt after putting down the sugar and fat. I was so CALM, and the cravings had disappeared! I was able to fit back into size 4, or squeeze into size 2, again. Everyone else in my family is overweight or obese, so I always feared gaining weight and dying of heart disease or type-2 diabetes, which my dad has.

I am having a hard time sticking to the rigorous rules of the Esselstyn plan, as well, because I still have an addict's personality and yearn for ever-increasing pleasure and exciting variety. I'm hoping that working the 12 steps in Overeaters Anonymous will help me replace this
"unquenchable thirst" for pleasure with the calmness of being close to a higher power.

Member Since: 2/7/2008

Fitness Minutes: 194,254

My Goals:
To track my nutrition and exercise. To maintain my current weight.

Body fat% 7/2/09: 22

My Program:
I'm using SparkPeople Nutrition Tracker. I'm trying to exercise 5-6 times per week, including running 2x and weightlifting 2x, and cross-training the other days (biking, rowing, XC skiing, etc.)

Personal Information:
I love to bike. I married my husband because of biking. I commute by bike all year long and have a folding travel bike, which I've taken all over the world. Check out our bike travel blog at

Check out my art and music at

Other Information:
One good tip is to try to chew each bite 50 times. I actually find it impossible to go over 36 times! You'll find that high-fiber, whole grain or fresh foods work much better for this, and processed foods fall apart and taste bland right away. It helps slow you down and savor the flavors more; plus it aids your digestion.

Read More About PAULINLIM - Profile Information moved here. (Updated January 8)

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 current weight: 125.6 
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