June 18, 2018
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‘I’m with Fatty’ is introspective, quick-to-read

Bangor Daily News | BDN
Bangor Daily News | BDN
By Terry Schlichenmeyer

I’M WITH FATTY: LOSING FIFTY POUNDS IN FIFTY MISERABLE WEEKS, by Edward Ugel, c.2010, Weinstein Books $23.95/$29.95 Canada, 256 pages.

The other day, you noticed that it’s time for new-clothes shopping.

It’s not that your wardrobe is outdated. What’s in your closet might be considered classic, so that’s not the problem. You didn’t suddenly get a makeover, although that’s not a bad idea.

No, you need new clothes because you’ve collected a few pounds this summer. Too many barbecues, maybe, or more reunions than you’d like to admit to. The worst part is that the holidays are coming, and you know what that means.

Think there’s a reason the first three letters in “diet” are what they are? You’re in good company, as you’ll see in “I’m with Fatty” by Edward Ugel.

Growing up as one of five children, Edward Ugel had some wonderful memories. He and his father and brother, for instance, spent every summer weekend on the beaches of Maryland and Delaware, where seafood was fresh, inexpensive and plentiful. That was good because the boys could really eat.

Nearly every good memory Ugel had of his life included food. His 11th birthday present: cooking lessons with a first-rate chef. Family members arguing over fried chicken bits. Meals Ugel made and restaurants which were life-markers.

It should’ve come as no surprise, then, when Ugel started punching extra notches in his belt. But his weight problem wasn’t a problem until his wife recorded ultraloud snoring and Ugel reluctantly signed into a sleep clinic. The diagnosis: He had sleep apnea so severe that he literally turned blue while slumbering — all because of his weight.

Ugel promptly announced an imminent diet. Then, he waited. The holidays were coming; why set himself up for failure?

But a few more pounds gained and another notch in the belt made Ugel step up his plans. If he could manage to lose 2.28 ounces a day — about a pound a week — he could get back to his high school weight. He’d feel better. He could get rid of the hated CPAP machine for his sleep apnea.

One trainer, one nutritionist, one therapist, several colonic cleansings later and oh-so-close to his goal, Ugel finally found a way to lift the weight off his middle — and his shoulders.

Still carrying around those love handles you can’t seem to find the time to shed? Come on over and commiserate with this book, because author Edward Ugel will make you laugh while you lose.

But that doesn’t mean he plays the Jolly Fat Man role very well. Ugel is brutally honest with his food addictions and his battle with the bulge, and even though he bastes this memoir with a taste of humor, the underlying seriousness of his story is very clear. “I’m with Fatty” is introspective, rueful, regretful, and — fair warning — there’s an almost overly long discourse on colonic cleansing that could be a threat to sensitive stomachs (but is hilarious, nonetheless).

If you’re hungry for a quick-to-read memoir that has some laughs in it, sink your teeth into this one. For you, “I’m with Fatty” is a book to add to the menu.

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old, and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 12,000 books.

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