A disarmingly brash weight-loss memoir from the college-age creator of the Healthy Bert: No Child Left with a Big Behind Foundation.
Hidalgo-Robert was dubbed “El Gordito” (“little fat boy”) before he was even a year old and weighed 230 pounds at 14. The memoir opens with a lengthy indictment of not only himself for years of junk-food addiction, but also his family for being too indulgent and the pediatricians in his native El Salvador for pushing weight-loss diets. As he puts it in typically frothy style: “Read the following words carefully and engrave them on your brain: DIETS DO NOT WORK! Diets suck. Diets are unhealthy. If you want to lead a starvation-a-la-mode life, use a diet!” What does work for him is the Lucile Packard Weight Control Program, which he characterizes as focusing less on weight loss than lifestyle changes. Aside from cutting out TV (“I was screaming in my seething mind,” he declaims upon learning this) those changes all seem to involve categorizing foods and limiting the intake of certain kinds, but never mind: Five years after starting, he’s 69 pounds lighter. Whether or not that entitles him to claim that he’s “won the battle,” at least he demonstrates that the approach can lead to long-term weight loss.
There's a little too much self-flagellation, but the author’s age and blithely awkward prose may win points with a teen audience. (food lists, recipes, before and after photos) (Memoir. 12-18)