Growing Up Fat: A Recipe for a Lifetime of Big Problems by Fred Bollaci

What would you say if someone told you there was a way to lose weight while enjoying your favorite restaurants, an occasional glass of wine or cocktail? You don’t have to turn down that invitation to a party, lunch date with the girls, or dinner with your sweetheart.

How much would you be willing to pay to learn “the secret to successful” dieting and weight loss? How much have you spent over the years on diets and meal plans, shakes, pills, procedures, etc., only to find yourself right back where you started, or worse?

The reality is “dieting” in the conventional sense is one of the most unpleasant experiences anyone could willingly endure. While losing weight and getting “healthier” can be considered noble goals, especially when the end result of losing weight results in benefits like saving your life, a prolonged life, more mobility, less aches and pains, a reversal of conditions like sleep apnea, hypertension, and diabetes—how is dieting bad? What is wrong with dieting? How can we achieve these benefits without putting ourselves through the proverbial ringer?

Losing weight and getting healthier must be an exercise in self-love. The answer to the age-old, million-dollar question is that if we are to be successful in losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, we must go in with the right attitude and intentions. Deciding you are going to lose weight because your doctor scared you half to death with your latest lab work, or read you the riot act, or you nearly fainted the last time you got on the scale, or someone insulted you because of your weight, or you simply want to look better, feel better, fit into that wedding dress, or look presentable for swimsuit season are all valid reasons to want to lose weight, the problem is when we look at ourselves as flawed or needing to get somewhere, or achieve some result that we don’t have, we go into it competing with ourselves.

We may not like how we look or feel, or may be fearful of what the doctor told us, or hate to look at ourselves in the mirror, or hate shopping for clothes, but when we look at the need to lose weight through that lens, we can’t help but hating every minute, and feel like we are being deprived and are fearful of food and situations where we may be around food, or pleasure, or people and unable to control ourselves. We start to exercise, not to enjoy an activity or to work our bodies, but as a means to an end.
Do whatever we have to in order to take off the weight. Yes—the weight can and often does come off. The problem is when we apply typical “diet” mentality to the weight loss process, we almost pre-plan our own relapse. “I’ll ‘diet’ and ‘exercise’ in order to lose twenty pounds” is something I hear all the time in my coaching business and among family, friends, and colleagues. How many times did I tell myself and others that I was going on a diet to lose twenty pounds (or whatever number)? Lots.

We set ourselves up by making whatever possibly extreme and unpleasant regimen we are partaking in seem like it’s something short lived. We can handle almost anything for 24 hours I’ve heard, or “this too shall pass,” meaning the storm (or diet) will eventually be over (the sooner the better—eat less, exercise more, try to break a record) so you can be at a healthier weight and just get on with life. Unfortunately, dieting where we plan to restrict our eating, exercise more, and tell ourselves we will do it until we achieve whatever result is destined to have us right back where we started, looking to get back on the diet merry-go-round as soon as we get off the pity pot and decide
to try again.

The only way to be successful at losing weight is to learn to like, embrace, and yes—love ourselves, even as the overweight people we may be. Love yourself enough to want to treat your body with kindness, compassion, and respect. Give it proper nourishment, a balance of foods that are good for you, foods you enjoy, and no more than your body needs for proper nourishment. Overeating is a form of self-sabotage and a way many of us choose to avoid painful emotions, such as anxiety, fear, anger, and depression.

Dieting is a way to counter the excess— binge, then purge. Neither is healthy, nor self-affirming. Stuffing ourselves and feeling bloated, being overweight, not fitting into our clothes, and hating our appearance and then going to the opposite extreme of eating very little and overdoing exercise, losing weight, then falling off the “bandwagon” and gaining it back only reinforces feelings of guilt, shame, fear, and self-loathing, which are the opposite of love. To make peace with food, we have to simultaneously make peace with ourselves.

This doesn’t happen overnight, but rather is a lifelong exercise, an adventure. The next time you decide you want or need to lose weight and want to kick those fat clothes to the curb once and for all, accept yourself exactly as you are, and give yourself permission to make your quest to lose weight a quest to improve every area of your life, and to get to know, understand, and love yourself. Rather than saying I need to lose twenty pounds by Memorial Day, decide that you are going to start eating better, making better choices, start engaging in physical activities that will compliment your increasingly healthy and fun lifestyle.

Unlike with other substances we as humans become addicted to as external means of seeking fulfillment, food is one substance we cannot avoid. People with an alcohol, tobacco, or drug problem are typically advised they need to “quit” or abstain from whatever substance. These other substances we don’t “need” in order to live. Our minds may convince us we need whatever in our lives, and we may even become physically dependent, but aside from food, air, and water, what do we really “need?”

The reason so many diets fail and result in relapse is people don’t learn anything or make any beneficial changes. They seek to remodel the outside without looking inward. Lose weight, look better, get compliments and new clothes, but still be plagued by the same anxiety, fear, stress, and poor self-image we had when we were fat. Losing weight and being “thin” or “thinner” is not going to magically make you happy or a better person. The truth is, the only way we are ever going to achieve happiness and fulfillment is when we look inside, take care to deal with our demons and issues, many of which are at the root of behaviors such as overeating, and work to change our attitudes, perceptions, and how we feel about ourselves. Knowing we are and have everything we need inside of us, our eternal, immortal souls that are simply clunking around in these bodies of ours is a great first start towards wanting to take better care of these sacred vessels, yes these often beleaguered, abused, overweight, addicted bodies we inhabit.

Make weight loss an exercise in self-love. Make self-love and improvement a lifelong quest and adventure. It is said that the journey is more important than the destination. How many times have we rushed to get somewhere or achieve or acquire something only to find out it isn’t that great after all? When we start eating to live and giving our bodies the best, and striving to be better versions of ourselves, life becomes easier and more enjoyable. We stop looking outside for gratification and we shine from within. Engaging in self-defeating behaviors like overeating, or going on a crazy fad diet for a few weeks or months to simply lose weight will no longer make sense to us. When we start honoring ourselves, our bodies, and our souls, the weight will begin to come off, and we will begin to enjoy the process, which is actually living life, but living a whole new and better life, something you will want to do as long as you live.

It took me many years of unpleasant and failed diets and relapses to nearly die from the effects of my obesity, catch a glimpse of Heaven and be infused with the earthly knowledge of our true essence to finally do what needed to be done. I needed to like and then love myself. Excess food was a substitute for love. My obese body was a defense mechanism against getting hurt or rejected (and proven that I was unlovable). When I embraced that I am here to do and be a lot more than an overweight, unhappy person, and that I owed myself and the world a chance to be the best me I could be, things started to click, and weight loss turned into an adventure, a journey of self-discovery and self-love, where I would learn things about myself and do things I never dreamed would be possible, all because I had the courage and strength to look inside and want to be my very best.

The message is, if I could do it, so can you! Instead of resolving to lose weight this New Year’s, resolve to take back your life, and take yourself on an adventure, a journey to a new and better you! Make better food choices, shop, cook, and eat better, at home, and in restaurants. Don’t eat foods you “don’t like,” rather find a healthy and delicious balance. As the weight starts to come off and you start doing things you never dreamed were possible, and you feel better, and you learn to like and love yourself, a whole new world will unfold before you. It is this kind of attitude that we can and will want to sustain for as long as we live, rather than continuing to “yo-yo diet” and feel like victims or undisciplined failures.

My four-phase program in “The Restaurant Diet” series gives the power, freedom, flexibility, and choices back to the dieter. My first book, “The Restaurant Diet, How to Eat Out Every Night and Still Lose Weight” (Mango 2018) is my love letter to food, as a lifelong foodie who enjoys cooking and eating out in great restaurants, both for the variety of delicious foods, as well as the social aspect. The book features 125 mouthwatering recipes from 100 of my favorite restaurants from coast-to-coast, all with nutrition facts, as well as suggestions from the chefs themselves, and stories about each restaurant, a healthy-gourmet cookbook, and travel guide! Whether you eat out or not, these recipes and tips will help you cook and eat better at home, as well as when you go out.

My second book, “The Restaurant Diet, A Spiritual Journey of Self-Discovery” (Mango 2019) is the personal, motivational story behind the story, where I share intimate details of my personal experience losing 150 pounds and wisdom I’ve learned in the 10 years that have followed—that we all have the power within us to be and do great things, and that it all starts with self-love and a positive “can do” attitude! Both books feature tips and strategies you can count on at your favorite restaurant, when shopping, when cooking, and when looking for a roadmap for how you can achieve lasting success! I have found that the best way to keep what I have achieved is to share it with others. This is why I have written books, and am working with clients on a one-on-one basis to help them overcome the obstacles related to food and attitude that are keeping them from realizing their potential and truly enjoying their lives. I am honored to have helped hundreds of people lose thousands of pounds!

As an adult who struggled much of his adult life with weight problems and obesity, “The Healthy Global Gourmet” Fred Bollaci is a classic example of someone whose weight problems began in childhood and grew exponentially as an adult. The effects of being “the fattest kid in school” were devastating and life altering for “Fat Fred.” They have continued to haunt him some 30 years after being bullied, physically abused, tortured, and teased by his schoolmates and other kids in his neighborhood because of his weight and appearance.

Fred Bollaci is The Healthy Global Gourmet. An international influencer on diet and weight loss strategy, Bollaci lost 150 pounds in 2009and kept it offwhile living “La Dolce Vita.” Since establishing his company, Fred Bollaci Enterprises, in 2014, Bollaci has worked with hundreds of top chefs and written about restaurants, hotels, spas, wineries, and purveyors of gourmet fare, and exciting travel destinations around the globe, sharing delicious recipes and tips for fitness and spiritual well-being along the way, while also helping coach and motivate hundreds of people to lose thousands of pounds. He is sought after by top establishments, including hotels, restaurants, and wineries for his expertise, and by organizations, including public, private, educational, and not-for-profits as a guest inspirational and motivational speaker.

For more information about Fred Bollaci, for a private consultation, or to book Fred as a motivational speaker, please visit