20 books and 20 lbs (week 4): Slow and steady wins the race?

Well, I’d love to be able to say that I’ve lost DOZENS of pounds and I’m well into my 15th book, but that’s just not the case. I’m holding my own, still 3lbs below my original starting point. In fairness, having my 40th birthday this month AND having my sister’s birthday only a few days later, this house has been filled with birthday cake. I just don’t have the heart to throw the stuff out. IT’S CAKE! You can’t throw it out! It’s against some law, right…?

I am managing to plow my way through “A Tale of Two Cities”, now a little more than halfway through, and it’s clearly picking up steam. Ah, that Dickens: it only takes him about 150 pages to warm up. This is one of those funny things about writers. Most books tend to take the first 50-100 pages to “warm up”, to have a story that grips you and gets your attention enough that you’re well invested in what’s going on with the characters. Dickens taking longer than that is no big surprise. The question is whether he’ll also do the usual author thing, which is that the last 50-100 pages are some giant roller coaster, as the author suddenly realizes they have to FINISH THE THING and suddenly every single thread needs to be sewed up THIS VERY MINUTE.

Of course, as much as I laugh about it, I’m still glad to be literate. I can’t imagine not having books in my life – even the ones where they’re clearly not the best written things in the world (Stephenie Meyer, I’m thinking squarely of “The Host” as I say this).

And, naturally, just as I try to find a way to be more active (when I’m not reading Dickens, of course!), my work has gotten so nutsy cuckoo that I’m working late just to keep up. Gym? What’s that? Thankfully, I have offers of equipment and products to test, so as I get some of that stuff in, I can at least have the excuse of “I need to use it enough to report to others whether it’s worth using!” and that may be motivation enough to get my butt in motion. It’s all well and good to be 3lbs in towards my 20lb goal, but I’d like to be making more progress than that.

I suppose that’s the challenge of every person who tries to make/keep their life healthier. My friend, @BeWellBoston (Elizabeth Comeau of Boston.com), wrote an interesting blog post yesterday morning about how she manages to keep her routine together…and it’s all about creating just that: a routine. Much like her, I have a very supportive dh, and that makes a huge difference. Pre-kids, just having an independent husband would’ve been enough. Having kids, the idea of a partner being supportive really helps even more, since that means that they’re willing to take care of others in addition to themselves.

It’s funny how little you think about these things until you have kids – or maybe you do. It’s like how you appreciate what your parents did 1000x more once you become a parent and realize just how incredibly difficult it is to be a decent parent. I suppose the running theme is “never stop trying”. You’re doomed to failure if you never even try.

20 books & 20 lbs (week 3): A wonderful weigh-in

Normally, the last thing in the world that I would say is, “I really loved what I saw when I stepped on the scale!”, but this is one of those cases where I do have to say it.


Oh sure, I haven’t hit my goal weight yet, but since I lost three pounds between weeks 1 & 2, and got to start my third week on a high note, it gave me an extra incentive not to reach for a larger (or additional) helping when I didn’t really need one. For lunches this week, I tried taking a Lean Cuisine meal a couple of times a week to see if that would help me have a second meal that had a bit fewer calories than I usually had. It’s a dicey proposition, since I never find myself really *full* after a Lean Cuisine “meal”. It seems to me like those are entrées that are meant to have something else with them…fruit, bread…a sandwich…(just kidding).

A coworker suggested I try Kashi frozen meals, too, so I may check those out. I was laughing quite a bit at the freezer section of one of the refrigerators in the break room on my floor at work – it was mostly full of Lean Cuisine items with various people’s names scrawled on them in Sharpie marker. Yeah, it’s not just me. I’m curious about how the freezer drawer will look in, say, three months.

Once I get a few more weeks in, I’ll likely start publishing a chart of my weight changes; for those who know me well, it’s clear that I loves me some charts!

Adding in exercise is still a bit of a challenge, but I did manage to get a quick workout in this week. I’ve also been able to keep up with the #plankaday challenge, so this means that I’ve done almost three full weeks of it! I’m up over a minute without falling over, but getting much past the 1:07/1:08 mark is still a little tough. Seeing how Elizabeth at the Boston Globe (@BeWellBoston) can manage to get over 5 minutes, I figure I should be able to increase my time over time. It just takes practice and keeping at it. (Or so the theory goes.) DH and I are still trying to work the kinks out of a workout schedule that gives us both time to exercise, and I need to get on the stick and use the time I have to my advantage – when I have it.

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Speaking of keeping at it, I’m still making progress on “A Tale of Two Cities”. I’m about one-third of the way through, and the book still hasn’t yet unfolded enough that I can see all of where Dickens is going with it. The humor continues, though, and it’s perfectly clear that his hatred for and derision of the wealthy class is quite solid. I also get a chuckle whenever the French scenes with Madame Defarge pop up, since they always make me think of Cloris Leachman’s role in Mel Brooks’ “History of the World, part 1”. Yeah, that’s probably not what Dickens was HOPING I’d think of, but that’s how it goes.

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And, continuing the high notes, I turn the big FOUR-OH(crap) today. I don’t feel forty. I don’t feel twenty, but I don’t feel forty. Maybe that’s what forty is supposed to feel like..a year of walking around saying, “where did my thirties go?” Hopefully I’ll have lost a little more when I come to this Sunday’s weigh-in; that would certainly make for a VERY happy birthday.

20 books and 20lbs…can I do it?

When my sister and BIL came over for dinner the other night, she mentioned that she was nearly done with her goal of (IIRC) 20 books read in one year. I thought about that and considered that it might be a fun goal to have. Of course, I read only a few pages a night unless I have something in that “can’t put down” category, like the Hunger Games trilogy – which I just DEVOURED. I then thought I should up the ante on myself a little bit.

So, with that, I present not a resolution but a GOAL:

In 2013, I’d like to read 20 books and lose 20 lbs.

At least half of the books need to be new books or books I haven’t read within the last 5 years, so I won’t be just re-reading the same stuff I read at least once every two years (like “Twilight” books or “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson).

And the weight loss isn’t about a b.s. goal; I want to look better in my clothes. I want to lose some of the chub in my cheeks. And I have utterly no clue how I’m going to do this yet, but I promise that it won’t be through a gimmick. No cleanse. No diets that specifically restrict foods I’m not allergic to. I may try the “plank a day” idea, but that’s not a gimmick so much as a way to try to get your core and arms toned.

I’ll post on my progress at least once a month. I can promise that much at least.

I’m also not making any resolutions or goals about blog posts. I could post to my blog every day, but I’d just be posting b.s. I’d rather contribute things that I think are interesting to me, and that’s just not going to be every day.

So, first up: “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens

I recently read “A Christmas Carol”, mostly because I wanted to read Dickens’ original words that have been remade into so many wonderful movies. It made me realize there was plenty of Dickens I’d never read but that I thought I probably should at least give a decent go. DH, realizing that this meant yet ANOTHER trip to the bookstore, headed me off at the pass and bought me “A Tale of Two Cities” and “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” for Christmas. So…Dickens begins 2013 for me.

And we’ll see how this goes. Happy New Year y’all…