In his book I'm With Fatty , Edward Ugel sets out to answer questions like "Can a foodie get thin again?" and "Can you continue to love food while changing your relationship with it?" His mission is the subtitle of the book – Losing Fifty Pounds in Fifty Miserable Weeks.
I was drawn to Ed's story because of the simple fact that the author is a man. Just as there aren't enough male inspirations in the weight loss blogger community there aren't enough in the world of weight loss publishing either. So when I was offered the opportunity to review this book by the publisher (disclaimer: all opinions are my own), I snapped up the chance. Once I started reading the book I realized we had more in common than just our biology – we also both love to cook (and to eat!). So I knew then this would be a great book for me.
What caused Ed to go on this mission? A diagnosis of sleep apnea . His wife secretly recorded his snoring and used that as the impetus to get him to have a sleep study which ultimately led to Ed having to wear a CPAP mask. It was this indignity that was his driving force. Being a CPAP user myself I can understand this being a wake-up call, I only wish my own diagnosis had inspired a similar response.
Inspired to begin it nonetheless takes Ed a little bit to get going. "The diet will start whenever it does" seemed to be his response in the early days of what he called "The Fatty Project." Those of us struggling with our weight have certainly been there before. And this is one of the things I really liked about the book, the personal stories that I could relate to.
One such story sparked a totally embarrassing memory of my own behavior. In describing the shame he has felt about weight Ed mentions that he once asked for two place settings from room service so the person on the other end didn't think all of the food was for him. I can take that to a higher level – not only have I done that to mask my shame to the person taking my order, but I also tried to deceive the person delivering my order by closing the bathroom door as if to indicate the presence of another person that would explain all of the food on my tray. All readers will share similar stories.
I thought the book would be a sequential history of the 50 weeks, perhaps even a small chapter for each week, but that was not the style chosen and I think the book is better for it. The only time the reader gets a glimpse into the details of how a week went was when Ed described his experience cleansing. Other than that he focused on telling a story that only loosely corresponded to the 50 weeks project. Certainly it would have been easier to follow along with his weight loss if he had laid out the narration a week at a time but I think that probably would have read too much like a blog even, and wouldn't have allowed the author to narrate the kind of interesting story that he did. Still, I would have like to have seen in the addendum some sort of brief synopsis of his ups and downs over the weeks, perhaps by offering even a simple week by week weight loss chart.
Despite this minor quibble, I enjoyed the book and devoured it relatively quickly, over a short airplane ride and then in a hotel room where I am happy to say I did not order room service.
Did Ed achieve his mission of losing fifty pounds in fifty weeks? You'll have to read the book to find out! Perhaps his recent showing on the Today Show will offer a hint.
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