At the start of this year, I set out with the inauspicious goal of losing 10 pounds and reading 21 books. The 10 pounds isn’t bold because I aimed for 20 pounds last year and didn’t get there, so I assumed that resetting the goal might make it happen…or at least put me closer to the target. The 21 books idea was based on the notion that I should continue my attempt to stay literate, even as my commute makes it impossible to focus on anything but driving.
I’m proud to say that I was able to make it happen on both counts; my last weigh-in of 2014 (on Sunday) was 10-1/2 lbs lower than my first weigh-in of the year, and as of December 30, I managed to finish 22 books! I can’t describe how happy I am to have been able to meet these goals, not just because it’s nice to have met specific numbers, but also because they’ve gotten me closer to where I want to be.
First, the reading.
I love to read. No, let me restate that: I LURVE to read. If I could spend whole chunks of a day ignoring the world, curled up on the couch with a cuppa and a book, I’d be happy to do so. Driving to and from work, often surrounded by drivers who consider motor vehicle operation laws as mere suggestions, I can’t even consider audiobooks; I’d never be sure that I could pay attention enough to absorb the material. I turn NPR up to keep my road rage down, and if I have to ignore Morning Edition or All Things Considered while I deal with the crazy drivers, I can always read it online at some other point – assuming it’s a story or piece that I really wanted to hear. Audiobooks are a whole other issue and, frankly, it may be all the commuters focusing more on their audiobooks than the road that keep me from listening to them myself. *cough*
This Fall, I did manage to resolve my e-reader angst and bought an iPad Mini 2; I’ve been devouring Kindle books like there’s no tomorrow ever since, and I have several Kindle-d friends who gave me tips to help add to my tally. Great suggestions: the Kindle Daily Deals email list and the Kindle First email list; the Daily Deals are Kindle books offered at steep discounts, some just for that day and some over the course of a week or month. The Kindle First list gets you one copy of an unreleased Kindle book the month before it becomes available to the rest of the world, and if you have Amazon Prime, the book is free. (I got sucked into a free trial of Prime during the Christmas shopping season and now I’m totally addicted…DANGEROUS.)
I know that buying a tablet HAS altered my printed book-buying pattern; I’m becoming far more selective about what I buy in print now. On the other hand, we’re currently in a storage crisis in our library, and with the impending room shuffle (to get ds out of his miniscule room into one that’s larger), the fewer items we acquire to go on already overstuffed shelves, the better. Once things have settled into their new homes, more paper books can be bought. And, frankly, some of the ebooks I bought I wouldn’t have considered buying in paper form. Others…YES. The links below are to the versions I read (paper or plastic).
The list of what I read in 2014:
- Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones: DEFINITELY recommend
- A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire) by George R.R. Martin: A MUST for fans of the SoIAF series
- Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson: THE DEFINITIVE PIRATE STORY, with plenty of edge-of-your-seat action
- Oh My Godmother The Magic Mistake by Barbara Brauner: VERY CUTE for all ages
- Telegraph Avenue: A Novel by Michael Chabon: AVOID AVOID AVOID
- Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles) by Lauren DeStefano: INTERESTING, worth a gander
- The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas: INCREDIBLE tale of betrayal, love, and redemption
- The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas: SWEEPING EPIC story of love, honor, and loss
- Divergent (Divergent Trilogy, Book 1) by Veronica Roth: GOOD START to an interesting trilogy?
- Steel Lily (The Periodic Series Book 1) by Megan Curd: INTERESTING steampunk lit
- A Tale for the Time Being: A Novel by Ruth Ozeki: FASCINATING read
- Blood Red Road (Dustlands, Book 1) by Moira Young: DECENT YA with an interesting story
- Must Love Otters by Eliza Gordon: WONDERFUL read, very funny and sweet
- The Opposite of Me: A Novel by Sarah Pekkanen: OKAY, somewhat derivative in spots, but surprising in others
- Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned” by Lena Dunham: OCCASIONALLY POWERFUL, OFTEN SELF-ABSORBED…but it’s an autobiography, so yeah
- Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins: ROLLER COASTER end to a good, dark trilogy
- Neurotica by Eliza Gordon: AMUSING, almost as good as “Must Love Otters”
- Where There’s Smoke: A Short Story by Jodi Picoult: INTERESTING short story
- Titans by Edward W. Robinson: OFTEN well-written but in desperate need of an editor
- Marked (Servants of Fate Book 1) by Sarah Fine: GREAT, engrossing read; impossible to put down!
- Ticker by Lisa Mantchev: OKAY steampunk lit that needed editorial work
- Insurgent (Divergent Trilogy, Book 2) by Veronica Roth: GOOD continuation but Roth’s editors were on holiday for this book
Then, the weight loss.
Weight has been an issue for me perhaps my entire life. It seems that way, at least. The fat kid with glasses turned into the chubby girl with contacts turned into the chubby woman who’s gone as high as 230 lbs (when pregnant) and has been as low as 140 lbs (senior year in high school). None of that range matches with what the federal guidelines for BMI indicate are “healthy” for my height, but BMI can kiss my fat ass. Seriously. At best, it’s an imperfect measure to help identify when someone gets too heavy, but since BMI for can be completely inaccurate as a health assessment for elite athletes, I know it’s not nearly as good a measure as body-fat composition or total weight. Since total weight is the easy one to measure, that’s the one I’m focusing on.
I started this year just over 214 lbs, and I’m finishing it just south of 204 lbs, for a total loss of about 10-1/2 lbs. And sure, that’s still damn heavy, but I’m fitting into size 14 jeans far better than I have in ages, and some of my size 16’s fall off me. My shirts are looking better…and, as dh will tell you, I’m constantly fussing at my wardrobe because so many styles acquired over the past few years of gaining have been designed for covering up, so now they look like balloons on me. It’s a good problem to have, I suppose!
People ask me how I lost the weight, because when you tell people you lost weight, they instantly want to know the trick. Did I drink shakes? Do some plant-only diet? Do a carb-free diet? Go gluten-free? Work out six days a week? Do this-or-that workout?
Here’s what I did:
- I walked or worked out when I was able to make it happen, including weekly training walks of 7-9 mi.
- I ditched the sweetened tea that I drank during dinner as soon as it was possible to start brewing sun tea, and I drink that with dinner rather than just drinking water.
- I stocked the house with York Minis, because a handful of those is full of satisfaction and lower on fat & calories than some other desserts. It made it possible for me to have dessert on any night – without dessert always being as heavy as my beloved “ice cream o’clock”.
- I switched out my afternoon lattes or mochas for hot/iced coffee with milk and sugar (or, if at Starbucks, their “classic sweetener”). Pumpkin Spice Season was a little tough, not having Pumpkin Spice ALLTHETHINGS, but my hot or iced coffee never made me feel deprived – and I still was avoiding the faux sweeteners that I don’t like to consume.
- When I traveled, I worked out at least one day of each trip (sometimes two or three times, depending upon the length of trip). Walking, walking, walking. I was all about it. I ate my way through BlogHer and STILL lost weight!
What’s on tap for me for 2015?
As much as I’m possibly setting myself up for trouble, I’m going to keep the same weight goal – taking off another 10 lbs – and upping my book challenge to 23, to beat where I ended this year. Follow along at Goodreads, if you want to get in on the challenge; I love to see how my friends are doing!
This isn’t a resolution; these are goals, things that I want for myself. If you have goals that you want to share, feel free to comment below. And if you don’t have specific goals, that’s fine, too. I can say this, though: complaining without action rarely yields results. So, if you want to hit even the barest minimum of goals, the barest minimum of action will be required.
What action are you willing to take?