There’s a new weight loss memoir hitting the bookstores today, and I’m pleased to have had the opportunity to give it a sneak peak. The publisher’s PR folks provided a review copy of the book, promising it would be an honest, candid, and hilarious look at weight loss through the infrequently seen male point of view.
I’m With Fatty: Losing Fifty Pounds in Fifty Miserable Weeks, by Edward Ugel, recounts a self-described foodie’s struggles to identify and overcome his food addictions and obsessions and “re-learn how to eat.” Ugel fought weight and food issues his whole life. Many of his family memories center on food, and he loves to cook. And eat. He knew he needed to do something about his weight, and like so many of us, he tried different plans now and then. But none of the “diets” he tried worked. (Don’t I understand that!)
Only after his wife played a recording of him snoring did Ugel get serious. Well, scared is probably more accurate. “The recording sounded like an animal doing something unseemly–perhaps having sex, killing an eating its prey, or slowly dying. Whatever it was, I felt sorry for it and quietly hoped it was done suffering.”
A visit to his doctor proved that his fear was well-founded. At 36-years old and 263-pounds, Ugel had severe sleep apnea. To protect his health, he was prescribed a CPAP mask. (If you’ve never seen one, here’s a photo from Flickr (not Ed Ugel):
The mask was the catalyst in getting Ugel on the healthier path. It would certainly do that for me, and I know of at least a couple of readers here who are also experiencing sleep apnea severely enough to require a mask. Scary stuff!
After a few false starts on his quest for better health, Ugel hired a personal trainer (well, actually one was arranged for him by a family member), and eventually, a nutritionist. “I wasn’t doing much of a job taking care of myself, so I outsourced the work to someone better qualified.”
His journey wasn’t smooth or pretty, but he was on his way. I’d tell you his results, but I think they probably want you to buy/read the book for that.
What I Liked about I’m With Fatty:
– Ugel is an excellent writer and tells his story well. He’s alternately funny and poignant, and his story will certainly resonate with readers who share his emotional food issues and binge tendencies.
– Ugel focuses on the health aspects of losing weight more than the improvements to physical appearance. Sure, he wants to ditch the tight size 40’s, but he recognizes that this is a fight for his life.
– I especially enjoyed following along as Ugel discovers a passion for exercising, both with the trainer and on the racquetball court. This is probably the part of his story that most resonates with me.
– There’s not much in the way of specific weight loss advice, which I like because he’s not trying to sell a product. He’s simply sharing a story which I could identify with in bits and pieces. And earning a living as a writer along the way.
What I Didn’t Like about I’m With Fatty:
– Colonics and cleansing–in vivid detail. Maybe it’s a guy thing, but forty pages (out of 240 for the book) of descriptions I really, really didn’t need or want to read left me skimming, not reading.
– A few of the stories of emotional eating and binges along the way seemed too long and detailed. I’m thinking he wrote those portions for understanding himself, as much as for similarly-inclined readers, and I respect that, but for me, the narrative begins to drag in a couple of places. But that’s probably just me.
Bottom line: I’m glad (and grateful) to have read the book for all the reasons I listed above. While I may not have shared the exact struggles as the author, I do know that “out of control” feeling well, along with the frustration of finding a sure road to successful weight loss. So, 1.8 thumbs up to Edward Ugel from me.
I’d like to pass along this gift book to one lucky U.S. reader (sorry, international folks. Remember, I’m unemployed.) If you would like to drop your name in the hat for a drawing, please mention that in the comments or send me an email before midnight (U.S. central) Thursday, August 26. I’ll use the random number generator early-early Friday morning.
Do you read weight loss memoirs? (I don’t, usually.) If you wrote your own memoir, what would you choose for a title? Mine would be: Glinda Was Right: I Had the Answer All Along. Okay, maybe not, but I’ll entertain myself on my walk today coming up with alternate titles.