Edward Ugel is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Money for Nothing: One Man's Journey Through the Dark Side of Lottery Millions (Collins, 2007). He is a resident blogger for The Huffington Post, and a contributing writer for The New York Times and Washingtonian Magazine.
"We tend to think of fat women in this culture as tragic. But a fat man? Now, that's comedy! Except when it's not. What if the fat man-who is, admittedly, a very funny fellow-is a depressed and emotional eater who, at 36, doesn't want to leave the house and, after being diagnosed with sleep apnea (he snores like a rhino), faces the humiliating and scary prospect of wearing a mask with a chin strap to bed? So Ugel poses a challenge for himself: Drop the 50 lbs. he'd put on the past year in the same amount of time. "I wasn't looking to go on Oprah in a bikini . . . I just wanted the American dream: to sleep like a normal guy again so my wife could see my face when she refused to have sex with me." What follows is a witty account of colonics and juice fasts, punishing workouts with his trainer, and his five-day bender on Chinese and Thai takeout when his wife leaves town. The ending is predictably upbeat, and we cheer for him. But he, and we, know the truth: He is locked in a lifelong battle with Crispy Beef and Peking duck."