Tommy Tomlinson: The Elephant in the Room
In the tradition of Roxane Gay's Hunger, a searing, honest, and candid exploration of what it's like to live as a fat man, from acclaimed journalist Tommy Tomlinson, who decided he had to change his life as he neared the age of fifty weighing in at 460 pounds.
When he was almost fifty years old, Tommy Tomlinson weighed an astonishing--and dangerous--460 pounds, at risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, unable to climb a flight of stairs without having to catch his breath, or travel on an airplane without buying two seats. Raised in a family that loved food, he had been aware of the problem for years, seeing doctors and trying diets from the time he was a preteen. But nothing worked, and every time he tried to make a change, it didn't go the way he planned--in fact, he wasn't sure that he really wanted to change.
He was only one of millions of Americans struggling with weight, body image, and a relationship with food that puts them at major risk. Intimate and insightful, The Elephant in the Room is Tomlinson's chronicle of meeting those people, taking the first steps towards health, and trying to understand how, as a nation, we got to this point. From buying a FitBit and setting an exercise goal to contemplating the Heart Attack Grill, America's "capital of food porn," and modifying his own diet, Tomlinson brings us along on an unforgettable journey of self-discovery that is a candid and sometimes brutal look at the everyday experience of being constantly aware of your size. Over the course of the book, he confronts these issues head on and chronicles the practical steps he has to take--big and small--to lose weight by the end.
“Powerful...A funny and moving account of what life is like for someone who carries extra weight.” —Garden & Gun
The government definition of obesity is a body mass index of 30 or more. My BMI is 60.7. My shirts are size XXXXXXL, which the big-and-tall stores shorten to 6X. I’m 6-foot-1, or 73 inches tall. My waist is 60 inches around.