NPR

He Was 460 Pounds. What Confronting His Weight Taught Him About Obesity In America

"Losing weight is figuring out something you can live with," says Tommy Tomlinson, author of the new memoir The Elephant in the Room: One Fat Man's Quest to Get Smaller in a Growing America.
"It feels like confessing a crime," Tommy Tomlinson says about revealing his weight in his new book, The Elephant in the Room: One Fat Man's Quest to Get Smaller in a Growing America. Source: Courtesy of Simon & Schuster

For as long as he can remember, Tommy Tomlinson has understood his identity as inseparable from his body.

"I weigh 460 pounds," Tomlinson begins in an essay published this month in , and adapted from his upcoming book, . "Those are the hardest words I've ever had to write. Nobody knows that number — not my wife, not my doctor, not my closest friends. It feels like confessing a crime. The average American male weighs about 195 pounds; I'm two of those guys, with a 10-year-old left over. I'm the biggest human being most people who know me have ever met, or

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