I'm James Maxey, the author of numerous novels of fantasy and science fiction. I use this site to discuss a wide range of topics, with a heavy emphasis on cranky, uninformed rants about politics and religion and other topics that polite people attempt to avoid. For anyone just wanting to read about my books, I maintain a second blog, The Prophet and the Dragon, where I keep the focus solely on my fiction. I also have a webpage where both blogs stream, with more information about all my books, at jamesmaxey.net.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Weight Loss for Geeks Part Five: Money

One side effect of losing a lot of weight: It can be a little expensive. I've lost eight inches from my waist size, closing in on ten. I started out wearing a 42" waistband, but by the time I hit a 38" waist, trying to keep my old pants on was somewhat comic. I bought several new pairs with a 38" waist, but they were soon pretty baggy, and 36" inch waists fit much better. Now, I'm in 34" and they're already loose. My 38" waistbands have already gone to charity, practically new, and my 36ers will likely be there before long.

I've also invested in relatively expensive hiking boots, running shoes, and general purpose sneakers. Not that I'm losing weight in my feet, but once I routinely began hiking long distances, I found out the importance of really good shoes. Six months ago, I would have been skeptical that a hundred dollar pair of running shoes offered any real advantage over a pair from Walmart, but now that I've started jogging, I can tell you that the right shoes do make a difference. So do knee braces and, of all things, compression shorts and shirts.

Other costs: One of those little arm band thingies to hold my phone. A used treadmill. I'm also looking at buying a new bike.

But, some costs it turned out I didn't have to spend money on: A gym membership. Walking, jogging, and hiking are all great calorie burners, and they're all free. Once you get committed, bad weather doesn't deter you that much. Cheryl and I have gone hiking during a snowstorm. We went walking during the rain a few weeks ago. Last week, we were caught in a cloudburst while biking. It was refreshing. We aren't Baum witches. We don't melt.

We save a ton of money by eating out less. And, when we do eat out, water is pretty much all we drink. A lot of restaurants are charging $2.50 for sodas these days, so our bills are usually $5 less than they used to be. Also, we often just order one entree and split it these days. Restaurant proportions are ridiculously oversized in most cases.

For daily eating, Aldi is our best friend. I drink a lot of selzter water. I can get a case at aldi for about $7. Food Lion wants 99 cents a bottle. Also, we eat a crazy amount of fiber bars. My routine breakfast is a V8 and an oatmeal bar. The bars can be five bucks a most grocery stores, but at Aldi they're less than two.

Aside from the fiber bars, we eat mostly food we cook ourselves. This involves frequent trips to the farmer's market. We've bought a freezer (oh yeah, another expense) so we can buy meat from Sam's Club and freeze it rather than buying smaller portions at Food Lion. We usually build our meals around a lean protean.

The biggest investment turns out not to be money, but time. We have to travel a bit more to get our groceries, since we don't just live on frozen pizzas from Food Lion any more. And, it takes a lot of planning to have all the meats and veggies ready to go for each night's dinner, and then more time and attention to preparing them than eating prepackaged dinners. And this time is hard to squeeze in, given that we're also walking an hour most evenings.

We watch less TV than we used to. I've managed to find time for writing books, but have less time to blog than I once did. Also, and this is a little embarrassing, I no longer have much fodder for the old political rants I used to post, because I no longer have a lot of time to devote to following the news of the day. I'm not as focused on externalities as I once was, but also not as distracted.

Today, Cheryl and I are going to visit a couple of farmer's markets, then bike 24 miles on the tobacco trail. There won't be time for sitting around on the computer reading the news.

Honestly, I don't miss it.

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