Book Review: I’m With Fatty by Edward Ugel (Giveaway, too!)

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):
I am so good looking

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. :)

16 thoughts on “Book Review: I’m With Fatty by Edward Ugel (Giveaway, too!)

  1. Cute title for your own book Cammy! You know I would read it if you wrote one:) Don’t enter me in your drawing: my stack of unread books is too high already! (Reading leads to snacking… so less reading is happening here.) I do have the Geneen Roth one from the library now so that will be next for me. Maybe I will have an epiphany!

  2. I would read your book. I’m iffy on the title. I don’t want to read this book but glad you did and reviewed it. I’m so behind on blog reading but I do try to get by and read yours even if I don’t always comment.

  3. I would love to be entered in the drawing. I have already diagnosed myself as a food addict, I’ll take all the help I can get. Thanks

  4. I do enjoy reading other people’s stories. I love the name of your proposed book! I’d call mine – Fit to the Finish I’m soooo unoriginal!

  5. Delurking to throw my name in the hat. I’d love a copy of this book!

    Hmmm…weight loss memoir….since I’m not “there” yet, I got nuthin…sorry.

  6. I love to read and would definitely buy your book (listen up publishers, the Tippy Toe Diet is the latest greatest weight loss method around)!

    I’ve read just about every weight loss memoir out there but haven’t seen I’m With Fatty yet so please put my name in the hat for the giveaway.

  7. I don’t want to be entered in the book giveaway (too many books in my “to be read” pile!) but I wanted to share that the title for my book would be It’s NOT about the fat although if you’d asked me six weeks ago it would probably have been Do you have that in my size???, in sync with my blog title.

  8. Looks like women outnumber the men in your comments! Hope we are not disqualified to enter the “sweepstakes” because of our gender.

    Enjoyed your review of the book. I first heard about the book this morning on the NBC Today Show. Please do include me in the hat for a drawing.


  9. I have considered a memoir. I would have to do it with a pen name though I would be too embarrassed for people to know the crazy things I have done.

  10. Being an “international” reader of your blog, I can’t participate in the giveaway. Sniff. Thanks for the review, though. I’m sure now that I’ve heard of the book I will see it everywhere!

    Another memoir I highly recommend is “Born Round”, by Frank Bruni. It’s an excellent and very quick read. I reviewed it back in 2009. If you’re interested, here’s the link to my review:

  11. Sounds like an interesting read and I would like to be included in the drawing. I’ve read many others and they’ve all been by women so I would appreciate hearing about a man’s journey. Thanks Cammy.

  12. I love memoirs! I am about 70 pounds overweight myself and would love a copy for inspiration. My book would be called, Dying to “Fit” in.


  13. I’m new to your blog (via Woman’s Day, INSPIRATIONAL!!)…I would love to be entered in the drawing for I’m With Fatty, it would be interesting to have a male perspective!

    Thanks and I look forward to reading more of you blog!


  14. I think that like reading other blogs, reading weight loss memoirs can help offer perspective and make one realize that they aren’t on their own in their weight loss journey. I also like getting ideas from other people.

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