fat Eddie Koch book character

This article by former NY City Mayor Ed Koch is based on his growing up as a chubby kid called “fatso.” Ed describes his early years as painful and resigned, but lost 30 pounds to run for Mayor. Now he has co-written a children’s book about good diet and exercise. It’s all very basic, the kind of suggestions this site believes in completely, and it’s nice to hear the mayor joining in with a message sent out by Michelle Obama’s program and hundreds of well-meaning fitness and fat-loss groups promoting wellness.

I also relate to the caption of one illustration that says: “These pants must have shrunk in the wash,” young Eddie thought. It’s exactly what I said in high school, when my pants were tight. But I never made this funny statement: “I still believe, as I said when I was mayor, that a qualifying Fire Department test for men and women should be, can you carry a 210-pound mayor out of a second-story building?”

“What I hope they walk away with is that it’s possible to avoid being the subject of derision or being an outcast simply by leading a healthy life with a healthy diet. It will cause you enormous pain if you let yourself get obese,” added Mr. Koch, whose childhood photos show him as a bit stocky, if not flat-out fat by today’s standards. “You’re not going to worry about it when you’re young, but if it continues, it can shorten your life. You want to have a family, you don’t want to leave them prematurely, and while it’s very unfair, many people in deciding who they’re going to hire will make a decision which includes weight.”

Eddie Shapes Up tells the story of an overweight young boy who hates recess because he is an easy target in dodge ball, tosses the carrot sticks and apple his mother packed for lunch in favor of a classmate’s potato chips, and declares, “I know I’ll never be thin, so I might as well eat what I like and as much as I like.”

But a friend advises Eddie: “Everybody has a different kind of body. What’s important is being healthy and in good shape.”

“Another tip for kids who want to eat between meals,” Mr. Koch added. “I eat sugar snap peas kept in the fridge. I also eat a lot more fish than I did and rarely, but occasionally as a treat, have a big rib steak. Everything else in moderation.