Sayonara, Mr. Fatty!: A Geek’s Diet Memoir by Toshio Okada: B

sayonara125When Toshio Okada, co-founder of Gainax (Neon Genesis Evangelion, among others) and Japanese pop culture expert, began to wonder exactly why he was so overweight, he decided to analyze his eating patterns in the hopes of discovering an explanation. What he found was that the simple act of recording what he ate helped him to lose weight. This revelation led to the development of his own method, which he calls the Recording Diet. In Sayonara, Mr. Fatty!, Okada describes the six stages of the Recording Diet while incorporating advice and anecdotes from his personal weight loss journey.

Just to be clear about things, even though this book is written by a renowned otaku, it is still 99.99% about his experiences losing 110 pounds in a year. The references to Japanese pop culture are scant and confined to sentences like, “If I had the time to exercise, I’d rather use it to read manga and watch anime.” For the most part, it’s a lot like any other self-help book. There are some sections that tell you things you already know (“It can be a mistake to follow a celebrity’s style without considering whether it suits you”) and others devoted to proving why the Recording Diet is superior to various other ways to achieve weight loss. Okada tries to make his method sound fun and easy, touting its applicability for “people who are not good at exercise, who are sedentary and fond of reading books and thinking deeply.”

As a geek who has dieted off and on for years, I did indeed find some of Okada’s insights useful—I particularly like how he differentiates between people who eat because the brain desires the experience (D-types) and those who eat only when the body needs sustenance (N-types)—and can see myself recalling them in future. Some of his advice was a bit confusing, however. At one point he says, “Don’t exercise while you’re losing weight!” only to later write, “Exercise is another recommendation.” I think the difference depends on what stage of the diet one happens to be in at the time, but these boundaries are not always clearly delineated. One might think one is in the final stage (Orbit), for example, but upon testing one’s ability to quit eating a favorite dish when the body signals fullness, find that one is actually still a couple of stages back (Cruising).

The bottom line: if you’re a geek who’s looking for a self-help diet book to which you might relate, then Sayonara, Mr. Fatty! may be for you. If you just want to read about a guy who helped introduce the world to Shinji Ikari and Nerv, however, you’ll probably be disappointed.

Review copy provided by the publisher. Review originally published at Manga Recon.

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