Saturday, May 28, 2005

'Diet King' Speaks Candidly About Obesity And Weight Loss

A book review of Diet King by Adam Wilk

Have you ever wondered what really goes on in the mind of a fat person? Well, for two-thirds of Americans, we don't have to wonder because we are either overweight or obese. Most of us could probably tell some real wing-ding stories about our struggles with weight problems and our meager attempts trying just about every diet that's ever been invented!

But thanks to an unknown, yet extremely talented fiction writer from Bayside, New York named Adam Wilk, we are privileged to catch just a glimpse of what the life of a food addict attempting to make himself "normal" again by losing weight looks like. The book is called Diet King.

Never before have I ever read a fiction novel that caused me to become so enthralled with the characters as I did with this book! It was as if Wilk was so deeply involved in the story that he was actually talking about his own life. And, if you read his web site, that's exactly what he did. This incredibly revealing look at the life of Peter Wells is actually an autobiographical story of Wilk's own life.

The raw emotion and blunt conversations that take place between the characters draws you into the story. It's a little bit like what lured so many of us to watch "Everybody Loves Raymond" over the past nine years. You wanted to see a little bit of your own family in the Barones because you could relate with their life's experiences. Wilk does the same in Diet King.

The thirteen chapters are a chronological snapshot of what happened in the life of Peter Wells as he was growing up, from the time he was a scrawny little kid until he becomes the weight-obsessed adult we see in the mirror everyday. As you are reading this book, you will find yourself caught up in Peter's life and cheering him on to make the right choices, especially in regards to his weight. And the book outlines some of the reasons why Peter (and us, too!) got to be overweight in the first place.

Peter ate lots of fast food as a kid. It was cheap and convenient for his parents and they ate it a lot. When you're just a child, you don't care about what you eat as long as it tastes good. You are completely oblivious to becoming overweight or obese.

Yet, Peter took that to the next level when he was a 56-pound little runt in elementary school and made fun of a classmate who weighed over 100 pounds. Those biting comments about one of his friends would come back to haunt him as he grew older and wider himself.

Constantly eating cookies, drinking lots of Coke, and loathing gym class, Peter started gaining a lot of weight. He started having a self-image problem that made him depressed, which, in turn, made him want to stuff his face with donuts. The vicious cycle of overeating had officially begun in Peter's life as he questioned what was wrong with him.

As he continued to grow older in his teenage years, Peter would often eat pizza and Chinese food like it was going out of style. He would look at diet plans, such as hypnosis to overcome food phobias and support meetings, as quacks. Besides, he rationalized in his own mind, he wasn't that big and didn't need to go to the extreme of a diet.

But the frustration of seeing the weight continue to pour on his body caused Peter even bigger problems when he started becoming interested in girls. While he was still stuffing his face with cupcakes, fruit pies, chocolate chip cookies, milkshakes, burgers and fries while watch television, his love life was suffering because the girls who were interested in Peter were very concerned about his health. This caused him to become angry, start talking to himself and, eventually, start eating to comfort himself. Is any of this sounding familiar anyone yet?

Our main character became so obsessed with food that he couldn't stop talking about it with other people who were also food fanatics. Peter surmised in his own mind that he must have been born to be fat, so what's the use in trying to diet. And the whole world laughs at you anyway, why try to lose weight? This is when Peter, just like so many real-life overweight people, just gives up and doesn't care about what other people think of him anymore.

Gaining 20 pounds a year, Peter got depressed and desperate to get out of this hole he had dug for himself. He had experienced those embarrassing moments that fat people go through and enough was enough. He had to do something to get his weight under control. So he went on a diet. Actually several diets.

After his doctor saw his cholesterol and weight go way up, Peter tried diet pills, but they caused him to have excessive gas all the time. He then tried low-carb after educating himself about it. Despite enormous pressure from his family that low-carb was bad for him, Peter stuck with it and saw tremendous success. But the constant nagging got to be too much for Peter and he gave up low-carb, too. Then he saw an infomercial for a miracle weight loss product and was disappointed to find that he had to complement the product with a low-fat/low-calorie diet.

In the end, Peter realizes he just needs to be content with life and enjoy it while he can rather than worrying about the next diet plan that floods the market. That's comforting advice from a former overweight person. I say former because on the front cover of the Diet King book is a picture of Adam Wilk with his fists raised high in triumph over his weight problem now that he has chosen a lifestyle that helps him maintain a comfortable weight.

While Peter was on low-carb, he discovered continental breakfast bars suck because you can't find anything to eat on them and nearly everything at a wedding party is loaded with carbs. But he also had to endure the usual complaints from people who describe it as a "crazy" diet plan that has to constantly be explained to people. I find that to be exactly what I go through in my own life with low-carb. Nobody views it as a great diet, but rather a dangerous one. Sigh. That's just something those of us who are livin' la vida low-carb have to live with.

Towards the end of the story, Peter begins feeling a burden for his father who is having health complications from his weight problem. He wants to help his father because he loves them. That's what our families want to do for us, too. While their comments about our weight could be viewed as judgmental, we should thank them for loving us enough to help us with our problem.

If I had to say anything critical about Diet King, it would have to be the use of the "f", "s" and both "d" words excessively throughout the book. If you are sensitive to that kind of foul language, then you might not want to read this book. Don't complain to me that you haven't been warned.

But if you can allow the use of those words to bring just a little more realism to the story, then I think you will understand the message that Wilk has so beautifully laid out for us all to enjoy in Diet King.

Click here to order your own copy of this fascinating new fiction book!

If you like what you read in Diet King, then make sure you check out the Diet King Blog for more random thoughts from Adam Wilk!


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2/27/2006 5:59 PM  

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