Read this book!

September 15, 2010 at 2:37 pm 1 comment

When we think about dieting and weight loss, we think of it as an overwhelmingly female endeavor.  Yet shows like The Biggest Loser have shown that men have just as many insecurities and hang-ups and issues with their weight as the gals.  And now, we have a great book about losing weight from a man’s perspective.

I’m With Fatty is Edward Ugel’s account of his battle with his weight.  His subtitle sums it up: “Losing Fifty Pounds in Fifty Miserable Weeks.”  After he gains 40 pounds in a year, he is blindsided by a tape recording his wife shares with him.  According to Ugel:

“The recording sounded like an animal doing something unseemly – perhaps having sex, killing and eating its prey, or slowly dying.  Whatever it was, I felt sorry for it and quietly hoped it was done suffering.”

It was the author snoring.

Ugel had developed sleep apnea, so severe that he was turning blue once every minute during his sleep.  Determined not to be held prisoner by the C-Pap mask he was prescribed, Ugel vowed to get fit, get healthy, and get rid of the mask.

It wasn’t as easy as all that.

Dubbed “The Fatty Project,” Ugel embarks on a journey to lose fifty pounds in just under a year.  The book highlights his rediscovered passion for racquetball, his daily obsession with food, and his uncontrolled binges when his family goes out of town.  He examines his past, present, and future relationships with food.  And just in case you think it’s a dull recounting of someone’s dietary habits, this book so isn’t that.

In fact, this book is hilarious.  Ugel’s description of his colonic and subsequent juice fast – while a bit graphic – had me laughing out loud.  His snarky comments throughout the book made me feel like he was sitting beside me telling the story.

I devoured (sorry, I couldn’t resist) this book.  While it made me laugh, it also made me consider my own relationship with food.  Why does stress make me want to bury my head in a bag of M&M’s?  Why do I make bad food choices when I know they’re bad?

The thing is, I recognized myself in this book, especially when the author talks about the “diet send-off” his parents undertook when he was a child.  He says,

“Quite possibly the dumbest idea ever to come out of my family, the send-off was, nonetheless, a tradition throughout my childhood.  Eating ‘the good stuff’ as fast as you can, as if food were something to sneak in before time ran out, isn’t healthy – not physically, and definitely not mentally…

“Can you imagine anything as detrimental to the start of a reasonable, healthy weight-loss campaign than stuffing yourself full of sugar, carbohydrates, fat, and starch in the days leading up to it?  Eating like that and then suddenly stopping and eating nothing but broccoli is asking a lot of your body – not to mention your mind.  It almost guarantees failure.  I should know.  I’ve been failing at this since I was a kid.”

Oh, man, did that hit home.  How many times – hundreds, probably – have I said, “I’ll start this diet tomorrow, and stuff my face tonight?”  And then the next day dawns and I have to fight through the food hangover on top of making good changes.  If that’s not a set up for failing, I don’t know what is.

If you’ve ever had any weight to lose, if you have problems putting down the sugar, if you can’t seem to find the time to get up and exercise, if you just want to make a change in your life – I highly recommend this book.

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Entry filed under: Book review.

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