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The botheration with Tommy Tomlinson’s adorning new book, “The Elephant in the Room: One Fat Man’s Quest to Get Abate in a Growing America,” is that account it will accomplish you hungry.

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Tomlinson grew up in Georgia. He’s an agog academic of the glories of the South’s colloquial cuisine: absurd chicken, biscuits, barbecue, catfish browned in abrade and bacon grease, and “tea so candied it could authority its appearance afterwards a cup.”

“There has never been bigger aliment created anywhere than the aliment of the American South,” he writes. “There has never been any aliment that will accomplish you fatter.”

Southern eats are a alive people’s eats. The pandering calories, the dishes baptized in adulate and added affable fats, are meant to be austere off outdoors. Tomlinson is a writer. He mostly sits at a board and, amid paragraphs, ingests cubes of cheese.

A few years ago he topped out at 460 pounds. Scales at Weight Watchers affairs would not authority him. He tended to about-face chairs into matchsticks. His shirt admeasurement was XXXXXXL, or 6X in clothing-store lingo. He was the better person, he writes, that best bodies who knew him had anytime met.

Tomlinson would apparently accept been alone an M.B.G. — a Mildly Big Guy — if he didn’t additionally accept a aftertaste for fast food. He writes awfully able-bodied about the animalism for grease and salt.

If you’ve anytime been in a fast-food parking lot, wolfing items from a big hot bag and praying for no ancillary acumen of your behavior, apperceive this: Tomlinson is the laureate of this experience.

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“On those canicule back the force of confinement tries to pin me down, fast aliment serves as a little arch to the added side,” he writes. He’ll sit in his car and people-watch. “At least, I acquaint myself, I’ve been out amid bodies for a while.” The aliment “pushes the aching bottomward the alley a little bit.”

He walks us through the arete of, amid added things, the bifold with cheese at Wendy’s: “The allotment I absolutely like is out on the edge, area the meat and the cheese and the aliment cook into authentic umami.”

Calvin Trillin acclimated to address about his acquaintance Fats Goldberg, a pizza boutique buyer who’d absent a abundant accord of weight. “I did not get fat on coq au vin,” Goldberg said. Neither did Tomlinson. Krispy Kreme doughnuts, bowls of peanut M&Ms, chili dogs, Hardee’s biscuit biscuits and sleeves of Chips Ahoy accolade were amid his fetishes.

Tomlinson did not abound up with money. His parents fabricated minimum allowance at a seafood processing plant. He’s advertent about alternation restaurants and banal life. “It’s accessible to attending bottomward on fast food,” he writes. “But it’s a bargain night out of the house, and back you’re poor, that counts for a lot.”

Tomlinson was for abounding years a anchorman and columnist for The Charlotte Observer, area in 2005 he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for commentary. He’s back accounting for abounding added publications, generally about sports.

“The Elephant in the Room” runs on two tracks. In the first, Tomlinson tells us, in article like absolute time, about the year he approved to lose weight.

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He bought a Fitbit fettle tracker. He went on what he calls the Three-Step Diet: “1. Find a way to admeasurement the calories you eat and drink. 2. Find a way to admeasurement the calories you burn. 3. Accomplish abiding that every day, cardinal one is abate than cardinal two.” This begins to assignment for him.

This book’s additional clue is an affecting memoir. “By the time I was old abundant to apperceive anything,” he writes, “I was fat.” He recounts abounding belief of actuality best on and larboard out.

We chase him through aerial academy and academy and into journalism. He has, in abounding respects, a actual acceptable life: affluence of friends, a job he loves, a wife he adores. But he broods on the things actuality abundant has kept him from.

“When I was a kid, I never climbed a timberline or abstruse to swim. Back I was in my 20s, I never took a babe home from a bar. Now I’m 50, and I’ve never hiked a abundance or ridden a skateboard or done a cartwheel.”

He absitively to lose weight afterwards acumen he was digging his grave with his own incisors. “Guys like us don’t accomplish it to 60,” he writes. He has austere bloom problems, and fears his activity will “stop like a aggravate aerial off a record.” He wants to abound old with his wife.

He has no altercation with fat-positivity advocates. But he writes: “I’m aloof activity to allege for myself. I don’t appetite the apple to aggrandize to accomplish allowance for me. It’s not acceptable for me, and it’s not acceptable for the world. I charge to accomplish myself fit.”

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He adds: “I’m not declared to be this big. Maybe added bodies are. Not me.”

Tomlinson goes out of his way to acclaim the cine analyzer Roger Ebert, not aloof because he was “a fat guy who thrived on TV through the force of his talent.”

He admired Ebert, too, because “he wrote about big account for a accumulation audience.” Tomlinson’s book does article similar. His apple-pie and amusing and befuddled sentences, his accuracy and his common affection fabricated me ache for the affectionate of common columnist I generally apprehend in the 1980s and 1990s but almost seems to abide any longer.

Tomlinson may not be for everyone. Like Rick Bragg, he can sometimes assume like a Southern boy with aloof a bit too abundant abstract in him. If tears and common use of the chat “mama” set your teeth on edge, he may alpha to resemble, in your mind, a pre-moistened towelette.

As for me, I admired this book. I begin myself sneak-reading it from the moment it came in the door. As with a sack of White Castle burgers, I hated to ability the end.

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