A memoir traces a personal journey through the ups and downs of weight loss.
This work by Peterson (Managing When No One Wants to Work, 2014) candidly tells the story of how a 350-pound man found the courage and determination to lose weight and repair his self-image. Written as a first-person narrative, the book is a confessional in which the author recounts numerous embarrassing moments caused by his obesity. Thankfully, Peterson not only weaves an effective tale; he also displays an endearing sense of humor and the ability to laugh at his own foibles. Still, there is a vulnerability to the author that is revealed in the honest assessment of his struggles with various diets, making the tale all the more poignant. While this could have been just another lighthearted reminiscence, the volume’s enduring emotional strength is in the “50 Rules” of dieting based on Peterson’s own trials. Here, the author essentially delivers a set of inspirational and practical steps to permanent weight loss, urging the reader to “incorporate just one Rule, or all 50 into your life.” Each one includes an example from the author’s own experience as well as strong encouragement. In “Begin with the End” (Rule 1), for example, Peterson writes: “I had to visualize my future self, being as specific as possible about how I wanted to look, and feel and act, and what I wanted to do and where I wanted to live.” He goes on to advise: “Be the type of person who decides to do more than just dream big. The type of person who takes the time to visualize the future; instead of the type that just takes it as it comes.” This me-and-you conversational style develops an intimate connection between Peterson and the reader with a weight problem, making for powerful prose. While the rules themselves are somewhat random rather than shaping any kind of formal plan, they should be stirring and helpful to anyone grappling with weight loss.
An amusing, meaningful account that demonstrates from the male perspective how to face down obesity, largely through self-awareness and individual efforts rather than a specific diet.