In honor of the book being officially launched today (Amazon USA link, Amazon UK link, Amazon Europe link), I thought I’d post the introduction, and perhaps follow up with chapters one and two over the next couple of weeks.

Chareva spent a lot of time creating two-page spreads for the book, which of course I can’t recreate here.  But I’ll insert her illustrations where it makes sense.

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Introduction

You probably remember someone like me from grade school. I was what the other kids called “a brain.” But that was almost 50 years ago, and I’m told kids nowadays wouldn’t insult me like that. Today they’d call me a nerd, a dork, or possibly a dweeb. Anyway, you know the type. I was usually the smartest kid in class, and I was lousy at sports.

How lousy? Well, here’s one of my not-so-fond memories from gym class: We were running a relay race where each guy on the team had to dribble a basketball down the court, make a layup, then dribble back and hand off to the next guy.

I was the last guy on our team, and when I got the ball, we were in the lead. I bounced the ball down the court, tossed it towards the basket … and missed. By a lot. I tried again and missed. And missed again. And again — mostly because my weak arms couldn’t fling the ball high enough.

The other team had already won, but the gym teacher growled, “You’re not quitting until you make that basket.” So I leaned back and hurled the ball as hard as I could. It bounced off the rim, smacked me in the face, and knocked me on my butt. At that point, the gym teacher decided I could quit after all.

Around age 13, something happened to my skinny body I didn’t think was possible: I started getting fat. But I didn’t become one of those big, strong, fat guys. Nope. I had skinny arms and legs, a fat belly and — most embarrassing of all — boy boobs.

I wasn’t fast even when I was skinny, but getting fat gave me the speed of a turtle. When I was in seventh grade, yet another gym teacher had us run a relay race. Once again, I was the last man on our team, and we were leading when it was my turn to run. When the last guy on the other team saw he was racing me, he didn’t bother running. Instead, he skipped to the finish line. Do you have any idea how embarrassing it is to lose a race to a guy who’s skipping?

Meanwhile, I was running as fast as I could … and my boy-boobs were slapping me so hard, it was like running with the Three Stooges. That’s when I came to appreciate the kindness and compassion that’s so common among adolescent boys.

And so, like millions of fat people before me, I came up with a plan: I’ll just starve myself until I’m as skinny as they are. Then they can’t make fun of me for being fat.

I went on my first diet when I was 14. I counted every calorie and only ate 1500 of them per day. The results were unbelievable: I spent weeks feeling hungry, cranky and tired without shrinking my belly. And so, like millions of fat people before me, I gave up.

But, like millions of fat people before me, I kept trying. Over the decades, I went on all kinds of low-fat, low-calorie diets. But I didn’t shrink my belly. Or I’d lose a little weight, then gain it back. As an adult, I spent countless hours jogging and walking on treadmills. But I didn’t shrink my belly.

And every time I failed to lose weight, I knew exactly who to blame: me.

I realize now I didn’t fail. The diets failed. The exercise programs failed. They failed because they’re based on beliefs about weight loss that simply aren’t true. I finally figured that out when I made a documentary called Fat Head.

I read a ton of research while making Fat Head, and when I put what I learned into action, I finally lost the weight and kept it off. And it wasn’t just the extra fat that went away. I also waved goodbye to a bunch of annoying health problems.

So in my fifties, I finally had something like the body I wanted when I was in high school. Well, okay, when I was high school I wanted to look like this …

… but this is pretty good, considering I spent most of my life as a fat guy.

After Fat Head was released, hundreds of people sent me emails telling me how happy they were to finally lose weight. Sometimes they included before-and-after pictures.

Lots of people who emailed me said pretty much the same thing: I’m glad I finally lost weight and got healthy … but man, I wish I’d known this stuff when I was a kid. My whole life could have been different.

Same goes for me. If I’d known then what I know now, my whole life could have been different too. So that’s what you’ll learn from this book: important stuff about diet and health I wish I knew when I was your age.

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24 Responses to “Fat Head Kids: Introduction”
  1. bill says:

    Excellent. Can’t wait to read the book.

  2. Stephen T says:

    If there was a way of calculating all the needless unhappiness and ill health caused by the low-fat nonsense, the total would be immense. And those leading us out of this madness are often journalists, Gary Taubes and Nina Teicholz, or people like Tom.

    Parts of the medical world are finally catching up and beginning to be heard to the alarm of the establishment. The British Medical Journal has been a big help in adding credibility to those asking the right questions. I’ve joined the Public Health Collaboration to support the work of doctors who care more about public health than ancient guidelines that suit pharma.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      I hope future generations view the low-fat, “healthywholegrains!” craze and diabesity epidemic it spawned the way we view the Great Depression: it was a bad thing that happened to our grandparents.

  3. Elenor says:

    Brilliant. Just plain brilliant! And I know a darling 13-yr-old girl “klutz” / sugar addict who will absolutely identify with your sports-life: she just failed to make the track team after bursting her heart practicing and preparing.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      I think she’ll identify with the last chapter in particular. It’s basically what I wish I could go back in time and explain to my adolescent self about what truly matters in life.

  4. matt says:

    So exciting!

  5. Orvan Taurus says:

    It is very clear that I need to purchase this book in physical (not Kindle, or at least not Kindle only) form. One to have for offline myself, even if perhaps decades late, and likely at least one more for whichever relative’s kid might be in need. “Here kid. I can’t work miracles, but this can tell you how to work your own.”

    • Tom Naughton says:

      I prefer the feel of a book in my hands. That being said, we will have a Kindle version available soon — Chareva is in the process of reformatting for Kindle. The same text and most of the same graphics will be there, but of course the two-page spreads won’t translate to Kindle. Graphics have to go inline.

  6. Jeanne says:

    My 5 star Amazon review is in. Bravo!

  7. Cindy Jackson says:

    I just purchased my copy. I am an adult but I want to support what you and Chareva do. Besides, the concept of communicating paleo and some high-level nutrition education to children is interesting and new, and probably worth the cost of admission. Greetings from Canada!

    • Tom Naughton says:

      We appreciate the support. Paul Jaminet, Mark Sisson and Bill “Wheat Belly” Davis have all said it’s a book adults should read as well as kids, so I hope you find it useful.

      • Cindy Jackson says:

        I was a very obese child who grew into a slim adult (from inadvertent carb cutting). It might have been good to have had this book around, but considering my father is borderline illiterate and very very uneducated, knowing this info wouldnt have helped me at all. Even if i had known this information it wouldnt have helped because my parents were utterly convinced that low fat was the way to go. I feel it really harmed me, i remember them feeding me nothing but low fat this or that, and i was heavily bullied for my weight ans hungry all the time. My parents would have not listened. Knowing the correct info and not being able to do anything about it would have made me miserable.

        • Tom Naughton says:

          Let’s hope we reach some parents who are open to changing their minds on the low-fat nonsense.

          • Cindy Jackson says:

            Yes i really hope so. I dont want any child to experience what i went through. I have memories of my parents only serving me skim milk for breakfast, and i when i told them i was hungry at age 12 and 160 lbs, thry would scream at me, telling me that since i was so fat i couldnt possibly be hungry. I probably ate under 1000 calories a day for a lot of my adolescence and i still managed to be fat. Perhaps if this book was available some other adults would have spoken to my parents. I think you are doing a very very good thing with publicly educating youngsters and their parents.

  8. Jeanne says:

    I found it extremely informative, and a good way to clarify and underscore the information I’ve read in the “adult” books.

  9. Firebird7478 says:

    My osteopathic physician has a prominent pediatric practice. I think I am going to pick this up for her and hopefully she will include the book as part of her reading material in the waiting room.

  10. Ejan says:

    A truly awesome book! Very informative and easy to understand. So much better than all the nonsense books that I’ve read about diet, health and nutrition. Thanks for spreading the truth Mr. Naughton. I’m proud to say that I’m the first one here in the Philippines to own a copy.

    FATHEAD FANS FOR LIFE…

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Thank you, Ejan. I’m glad you were able to get it so quickly.

      • Ejan says:

        Luckily Sir my boss visited her relatives in California so I asked her to order a copy for me since courier system here in the Philippines would take forever. I’ll purchase another copy as a gift to my younger cousins and for the adults too. They will benefit greatly in terms of losing weight, keeping healthy and enjoying it.

        Truly a masterpiece Mr. Naughton. You are a blessing!

        Warmest regards,

        Ejan

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