I met Jennette Fulda, author of Half-Assed, at the BlogHer conference in San Francisco. I attended a session titled Blog to Book, and she was one of the panelists, having converted her weight loss blog, Half of Me, into this memoir. She was lovely, and I was happy to buy a copy of her book, ask her a few questions, and have her sign it for me.
She mentioned during the panel discussion that she read back through her archives three or more times in the process of putting together the book. This was good for me to hear – daunting, but realistic. I can do this, I can read back through my archives and begin piecing together a train of thought. One of my writing friends also suggested printing out pages of my essays and laying them out on the floor, visually organizing them into the structure of a book. This I can do, and seems to fit right into my visual/spacial need for organizing.
I think these two pieces of information put together will surely lead to a national best seller by me, don’t you think?
Anyway, back to the book. This is not a “how to lose weight” book. It’s not really even a “how Jennette lost weight” book. She purposely doesn’t mention which diet plan she used, how many calories she ate, or how many miles she ran – she didn’t want it to be about a magic formula. I mean, obviously she talks about her weight, and how she lost it, but it’s really more about the mental game and the discipline of losing the weight (which took two years, by the way).
She writes about how she felt being fat, both mentally and physically, and how she felt as she got thinner. She writes about the struggle to remain on track, while at the same time allowing for flexibility, like eating cake at a wedding. She writes about how she changed more than just the numbers on the scale, how she became a different person altogether – a person she admired and respected.
She writes about plateaus and set-backs from a review mirror perspective, almost blowing them off as incidental. I appreciated this. It puts into perspective the blip on a two year process. I’m sure at the time she was discouraged, but looking at it in retrospect reminds me that it’s important to stay on goal, because in the end you get through it if you just don’t quit.
She writes about making the choice between weight-loss surgery versus diet change and exercise. She was not opposed to the former, but felt in good conscience she needed to exhaust all her effort before going that route. She doesn’t judge people who do have surgery, by the way. In fact, she poo-poos on people who tell her she lost the weight the “real” way, and maintains its just a matter of choice based on what you know about yourself.
I think Jennette is a very brave person. After a lifetime of eating fast food she learned how to cook, and once she got the hang of that she started experimenting and trying new things. After a lifetime of taking shortcuts, she began parking at the back of the lot, and even rented an apartment on an upper floor just so she could incorporate more exercise into her life. Jennette took on a new lifestyle, and stuck to it. It meant changing all her habits, her mindset, her comforts.
She is like the alcoholic who finally hits rock bottom, gets sober, and never looks back.
I’m proud to have met her, and proud to recommend this book. Even if you don’t need to lose weight, this book is a must read for anyone who loves a good story about persevering and overcoming ourselves.
p.s. here’s a sneak peak at her weight loss photos.