Title: MY FOOTPRINT — CARRYING THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD
Author: Jeff Garlin
→ Devour it
Nibble till it’s gone
Spit it out
You might know Jeff Garlin from his role on Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Or as the voice of The Captain in Wall-e.
Or as Buttercup the Unicorn in Toy Story 3.
But I saw him on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
He was talking about the book he wrote about his food addiction. In a hilarious segment, Jon teased him about his ADD, marveling that he could concentrate long enough to write a book when his attention span was barely long enough to finish his donut.
But Garlin said he hadn’t had fast food or sugar in over a year, which I thought was quite an accomplishment. So I picked up his book.
I always find memoirs fascinating, especially when they illuminate lives that are so different from mine. Of course, he’s a famous actor and comedian living the high life in Los Angeles, so that’s not much different from my suburban Midwestern bloggy life. What’s really different is this idea of being addicted to food. No matter how much I read about it, it still baffles me.
I talk all the time about the two kinds of people in the world … famous actors and me. No, not really. Rather, those people who eat to live (me) and those people who live to eat (him).
Around the same time I finished reading this book, but before I’d written about it, I stumbled upon an article about a 42-year-old woman in New Jersey whose goal in life is to be the fattest woman ever. She weighs 450 pounds and wants to get up to 1,000 pounds. She has a normal weight husband and two kids, whose weights they don’t discuss.
I’m not going to link to the article because it’s disgusting and ugly and I don’t want to attract the bad karma that doing so will bring. The point, however, is they spend $750 per WEEK at the grocery store fueling her feeding frenzy.
In the same way I find extreme eating contests vile, I also find it reprehensible that in a world of starving people and food insecurity right here is the good ‘ol US of A, someone is eating more than their share. Waaaaay more than their share.
Now the reason this comes back to Jeff Garlin’s book is that in addition to wanting to lose weight and get healthier, he also wanted to reduce his environmental footprint. Exactly the opposite of what this freak show woman in NJ is doing.
I found the juxtaposition jarring and oddly timed.
Garlin’s book was an illuminating read (although I still don’t truly understand food addiction). Plus, it had another weird coincidence, which I loved. Garlin and his son run into Eddie Van Halen and his son, Wolfgang, whose mother is Valerie Bertinelli whose weight loss memoir I also read. It’s like we’re all one big formerly fat dysfunctional family now! Or something.
MY FOOTPRINT was a fun read. He’s a comedian, after all. He was talking about eating healthier. “Finally, on the third day, you feel so different. That’s actually an understatement. You feel great and have so much energy that it’s like there is a rocket up your ass. I know a rocket up your ass doesn’t sound so wonderful. But it’s a special ass rocket that’s comfortable and gives you lots of energy.”
Garlin goes to the Pritikin Center every year or so — truly, the ultimate fat camp — and he credits it with saving his life. When he first went in 2003, he weighed 320 pounds and his cholesterol was over 1,000, where they stop measuring it. (By comparison, over 200 is considered unhealthy.)
But he has some funny stories about being there, like the Tanning Family from Philadelphia. “Tanning isn’t their name, it’s what they do. It’s all they do. Every day, all day, they lie by the pool: the father, the mother, and their two grown sons. After a couple of days they look like they’re starring in a minstrel show.”
Garlin’s a good and humble guy. He appreciates all his success and doesn’t take it for granted. He shows his flaws, which isn’t always the case with celebrities. He’s also learned some things on his journey that we can all relate to.
“That’s when I realize … there is no ending to this story. There is no ‘I lost my seventy pounds and my house is completely green.’ It’s an ongoing process; there is no endgame. It’s like success; you think that at some point you make it and then it’s easy. Nope. The hard work never goes away. In some ways it’s harder. No coasting. I know when I lose weight and get fit it will be hard enough to maintain that, let alone improve. The same with being green. I assume the challenges will just keep on coming. But I hope I’ll be up to it.”
I suspect this new philosophy of his is what made him turn the corner this time and start seeing some success in his quest for better health.
I just hope he doesn’t have to meet the lady from New Jersey. Heck, I hope nobody has to meet her!
Any thoughts about food addiction? Any thoughts about reducing your environmental footprint? Any thoughts about Curb Your Enthusiasm or Wall*E or Toy Story 3?