By Aaron Retherford
Ralph Peterson’s life-changing journey started on April 24, 2013 when he woke up fat, hung over, borderline suicidal, and hugging his toilet at the all-inclusive Breezes Resort in the Bahamas. It was supposed to be a celebration of his 42nd birthday. Instead, it was his rock bottom.
Peterson has since lost over 150 pounds, and he describes this low point of his life in his new book, Adventures in Dietland: How to Win at the Game of Dieting from a Former Fat Guy, which was released Tuesday. Peterson, a Northfield resident, will be signing copies of his book at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 10 at Next Chapter Bookstore in Barre.
Peterson says he’s tried just about every diet in the world. While he’s loyal to the Weight Watchers method, even that didn’t benefit him until he sat down and educated himself about how Weight Watchers works. He also became aware of why other diet plans didn’t work for him and understands that his path down from over 350 pounds might not work exactly for everyone else.
It was friends who knew him from his “fat days” who encouraged him to write this book. Others continually asked how he lost the weight since they too were struggling with shedding pounds. That’s when he realized his story could help people.
Peterson’s book is broken up into four parts: Waking Up Fat, Adventures in Dietland, 50 Rules Everyone Needs to Know To Win at the Game of Dieting, and Losing Weight is Not About Losing Weight.
Some of Peterson’s rules might seem strange at first on the surface, but they’re all about making necessary changes.
“You have to become a different person,” Peterson said. “You have to become a person who would rather stop and pee in the woods on the side of the road than stop at a fast-food restaurant to use the bathroom.”
He says if you’re fat and stopping at McDonald’s to use the bathroom, that’s not the only thing you’re doing there. That’s one of the rules he includes in the third part of his book. Another is to burn your old clothes when you drop a size. That helped him prevent the yo-yo of losing and gaining weight.
He also tells people to keep on running for their lives. Peterson completed his 32nd marathon this past weekend with the goal of running a marathon in every state and on every continent.
At around 130 pages, it’s a quick read. But if you’re struggling with making the changes you need to be healthy and extend your life, this might be the most important book you read this year. Peterson’s story shows that you are not alone in the struggle.
Adventures in Dietland: How to Win at the Game of Dieting from a Former Fat Guy is available on Amazon, for Kindle and Audible, as well as at Phoenix Books stores throughout Vermont and Next Chapter Bookstore.