So last year (which was really just last week, but it's more fun to say last year), Betsy Schow sent me a digital copy of her new book, Finished Being Fat, to give me the opportunity to do something I've always wanted to do...write a book review.
Since it was during the holidays and I already knew it was about her journey of weight loss I felt guilty about reading while stuffing my face with holiday deliciousness. But I figured, if I could do it during The Biggest Loser and Jillian still hadn't whipped my bum, then I could do it with her book. Sadly, her book will now always remind me of the hand-dipped chocolates my sister gives out. Or will my sister's chocolates always remind me of Betsy's book? I might need more chocolates to investigate...
I also decided that it might be fun to interview Betsy and post that interview along with my review. How ambitious am I? Translating proved to be longer than I thought it would. I'm not a fast typer, and an even worse listener. (Just one more check mark for my New Year's resolutions list.) But I did it. And thanks to the inspiring words of Betsy's book, I am happy to say I finished it! It's just really long. So instead of posting the whole thing, I'm going to highlight the best parts.
S. In 140 characters or less, tell me about Betsy.
B. Betsy is a former quitter, now turned finisher and lives on the creative side of life. (If you count, there are actually only 69 characters. Less is more, people.)
S. In your book you talk about how your husband loves to get books whenever he wants to learn something, have you ever gotten a book to learn something?
B. Well, yeah. That’s how I learned how to write. By reading everybody else’s stuff.
S. You talk about how you went to a writer’s conference.
S. How did that conference help you decide that this book was worth writing?
B. It was that someone believed in it and believed in the story. He was like, this is Eat, Pray, Love for normal people. You should write this.
S. When did Yoga become a part of your workout regimen?
B. Probably pretty close to the start. I found a yoga teacher that I connected with that helped me. You don’t have to touch your toes. It’s not a competition. You just come and give your body a nice stretch. That really resonated with me.
S. What’s your total miles run to date?
B. For both marathons and training I’m just over 1000 miles in two years.
S. (I’m fumbling over my words and being sarcastic with stupid things like, “oh, that’s not too bad” and she’s being silent because I’m such a dork. It’s a good thing she’s my friend because if she weren’t, she might just hang up on me.) Are you still finishing things?
S. What are some of the most recent things you’ve finished?
B. More books. (I forgot to ask her about this, but I do know she’s finished an amazing fiction book, and she’s co-authored another fiction book with Caleb Warnock.) Another semester of school. Getting this book published. Another marathon and five half’s. And then currently on the calendar is finishing up my fat quilt. (To which I hope pics will be posted on her blog. hint, hint) And I’m still working on learning to cook. It’s not going so well, but I figure I’ve got time for that.
S. Congratulations on getting your book published.
B. Thank you. Yeah. It’s kind of nice because it’s my story so I didn’t have any plots points to make up. That’s the thing with non-fiction. You can’t make it better. If it’s boring in the middle, it’s because your life is boring. There’s nothing you can do about it.
S. (I laugh.) My last question is how’s your hamstring?
B. Sucks. But I can be slow. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as I finish and get my little medal at the end it’s all good.
S. That’s right. Well, thanks Betsy.
B. You’re welcome, Sugar.
Betsy is an amazing person with an even more amazing story to tell. Normally, I admit, non-fiction is not my favorite thing to read, but her narrative sucked me in. I already knew this, but you may not so I'll say it for your benefit--Betsy Schow is funny! Her book draws you in and makes you want to set goals for yourself that you want to finish, just so you can give yourself a medal. Hey Betsy, I finished this interview so I'm giving myself a huge pat on the back (via my husband because he can reach it better).
And even though it's about her journey of weight-loss, her ideals can easily be shared in any aspect of anyone's life.
One part that really struck me was her decision to organize her house. I've started that process every January for the dozen years I've been married and my house is still so disorganized. I look at the whole of it and slump into a chair completely overwhelmed at the mountain that lies before me and end up watching Buffy...again. This year, though, I think I'm ready. There's a finisher's medal waiting for me at the end of each room I organize. And I intend to collect every dang one of them!
Her book isn't long, 129 pages, which means it's great as a quick read, and also a good reference to turn back to when you need a good shove of inspiration. It took me more than it should have to finish it, but that's only because I had to keep washing my chocolate-licked fingers so as not to smudge my husband's iPad.
Finished Being Fat is available for pre-order on Amazon and it comes out on January 8 (this Tuesday). Or, if you have a hankering to meet Betsy and get her autograph, she's having a launch party at the American Forks library on the 12th from 2-5. You can also keep up with her at http://www.betsyschow.com/