Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit: the Unexpected Lessons From Gaining and Losing 75 lbs on Purpose by Drew Manning with Brad Pierce.

This book intrigued me because I felt that it was an example of someone who was willing to ‘walk a mile in someone else’s shoes’, that is, to ‘walk the walk and not just talk the talk’, to use another cliche. I valued the honesty and integrity of a writer who was truly willing to experience another’s point of view! Drew Manning is a personal trainer who had grown up in a physically competitive and fit family. He had great ‘6-pack’ abs, and had never had weight issues. Like most health and fitness junkies, he blamed the struggles of his clients to get fit and healthy on a lack of willpower or non-compliance to their nutrition goals. A turning point in his life came when he took on the challenge of getting his overweight brother-in-law in shape…and failed. His brother-in-law told him that he preferred to go it alone, indicating that Drew did not understand his challenges. As he considered this, Drew make a bold and challenging decision. He would find out first-hand what it was like to be over-weight, unfit and addicted to American junk food…

The first obstacle was persuading his wife, parents, and in-laws to support him. They all thought he was mad and would damage his health, or worse. Eventually Drew compromised on his one year goal to gain weight, and accepted a new goal of gaining weight for six months and losing it again in six months. Next he had to turn himself from a ‘fitness junkie’ who worked out obsessively and never ate junk food, to a couch potato on the typical American diet. The lessons he learned were far beyond his expectations!

As the months went by Drew gained the anticipated extra 50 lbs, and then some more…eventually gaining more than 75 lbs in the six month trial. Little did he expect the depression and mood swings from a bad diet, or the lack of energy which made him struggle to play with his energetic two year old or contribute to the house and yard work which he had previously done. The changes in his personality and the different dynamic in his marriage put a strain on all of his relationships. He learned what it was like to see people looking critically at him when he shopped for food, or ate a dessert.

More lessons were in store when Drew came to the time to lose the weight he had gained. Now he experienced overwhelming cravings for Mountain Dew drinks and Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, and other junk food – things which he had never experienced in his life. He was so unfit that for the first month he only worked on his nutrition, but when the time came to start exercising again he experienced how hard it was to face going back to the gym to work out in front of fit people…and how excruciatingly painful on his body it was to get back in shape. Cleansing his body from the accumulated toxins was far more challenging  than he could ever have anticipated. The lessons he learned were beyond price, and he gained an understanding of what the people he spent his life trying to help really had to overcome. It changed his outlook on health and fitness issues forever, and changed him as a person.

For support Drew started a blog of his experiences from which he got plenty of advice and support (as well as some criticism!) The online community was there to encourage him and hold him accountable on his journey back to health. Then Drew’s blog went viral, sparking interviews and public interest which consumed all of his time and energy!

Fit2Fat2Fit is available in hard copy and as an eAudiobook, with recipes, meal plans and exercise routines to help followers. It is illustrated with photographs of his weight gain and loss journey.