Monday, February 4, 2013

Finished Being Fat: An Accidental Adventure in Losing Weight and Learning How to Finish - Betsy Schow

Summary:  Not everyone can win the race, but everyone can finish it.  

It all started the morning Betsy Schow woke up ten pounds heavier than the mouth before, surrounded by the clutter of halfhearted projects and discarded hobbies.  She decided she'd had enough.

In her quest to wish away the extra seventy-five pounds around her middle, she accidentally changed her life for good.  Using her Philosophy of Finishing, Betsy snowballed her efforts from weight loss into a bucket list of seemingly impossible dreams.  Now she's here to share the simple secret of her incredible success.

Whether your goal is losing weight, running a marathon, cleaning out the basement, or all of the above, this book will teach you how to achieve more than you ever thought possible without sacrificing your sanity or your sense of humor.  (Summary from book - Image from www.betsyschow.com - Review copy given free for an honest review)
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My Review:  What I’m about to say might shock you, especially if you know me personally.  (I will get to the review, eventually, but be patient.  There’s some soul-bearing going on here.)

You are fat.  

No.  Not you.

Those are the words I hear in my head nearly every time I look in the mirror, and they are usually followed by something like: You are disgusting.  Look at all that jiggle!  Blech! Why don’t you work out?  Because you suck at it!  That’s why!  No hope for you.  Better cover up with some stretchy pants and a sweatshirt so no one can see that ‘muffin top.’  …

And so on.   

My inner critic is not very nice, it would seem, and it’s been taunting me since middle school with a veritable cornucopia of insecurities, preying on my fears and weaknesses, distorting the truth until I can’t see my real self through the lies.  Some sliver of me knows that it's lying.  It knows I’m just an average woman, a little on the tall side, who is having trouble losing the weight that came with her fourth child and stayed around, due in large part to an aversion to exercise and junk food cravings.  However, that little voice is a sadist and when it speaks reality doesn't seem to matter much.   

You see, even in reality I come from a family of generally fit people.  My three brothers regularly run mountains.   My younger sister is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and my older one is a former cross-country runner who weighs less than my left shoe.  My Dad has hiked Table Mountain forty-two times. My mother, a grandmother of eight, takes Krav Maga, for Pete's sake!  Meanwhile, I can’t jog a quarter-mile without wheezing and keeling over.  Regardless of how thin I may or may not be, in my family I am the fat one -- the one who gets left behind on family hikes and can never seem to catch up.  But do you want to know a secret?  I desperately want to be athletic.  I want to be healthy, fit, and strong.  I want to be a runner.  Up until now, that stupid voice in my head has been rather insistent, and I've been hesitant to start, afraid I’d fail miserably and likely do so with some sort of audience.

What I really needed when I picked up Finished Being Fat was a different perspective – on losing weight and on myself – and a swift kick in the pants complete with a set of negativity earmuffs.  I needed to hear, “You can do it!  You are awesome!” and I needed to believe it.  This book did just that.  

Finished Being Fat is not about how to lose weight; it’s about how to body check that voice in your head that tells you to stop, that you might as well quit, that you’ll never be good enough, that you’ll never succeed.  It is one woman’s account of how she gave up on quitting and became a finisher.   Although the author, Betsy Schow, does discuss the details of her seventy-five pound weight loss, she also focuses on how she changed her habits, buoyed her self-esteem, and altered her perspective so that she was able finish being fat (for good) and find amazing success in other areas in her life, like finally organizing her garage, climbing a mountain, and completing a marathon.

This book was such an easy read, and not just because of it’s slim 129-page length.  I felt instantly at home in the author’s voice and was laughing by the second page.  In another four pages, I couldn't believe she knew me so well.  As a fellow stay-at-home mom, her story felt particularly relevant to my life and her self-effacing humor made her more approachable and human than your average weight loss guru.   Betsy Schow’s personal Philosophy of Finishing encourages readers to reach for the stars, work hard, engage in positive inner dialogue, and celebrate their victories – no matter how small.

Is Finished Being Fat the one-stop solution for all your health and wellness needs?   Probably not.  But, if you are looking for a change and hesitant to do anything for fear of failure, or if you’re like me and so afraid to fail that you won’t even start,  I highly recommend this book.  It might be just what you need to kick start your goals, conquer those fears, and become a finisher. 

My Rating: 4.25 Stars

For the sensitive reader:  Read on.

Sum it up:  A humorous, well-delivered, and motivational kick in the pants.

If you're interested in purchasing Finished Being Fat, please visit your local independent bookstore or order online at  Powells, AbeBooks, Books & Things, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.  Be patient.  It might be on backorder because the first printing has entirely sold out and they are printing more.

If you would like to know more about Betsy and her journey from quitter to finisher, visit her website and read her blog.  You can even take advantage of her free offer: a free calorie budget and yoga routine.

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