"Curb Your Enthusiasm" co-star and executive producer Jeff Garlin has penned a memoir, "My Footprint: Carrying the Weight of the World," which gives a funny and honest account of his lifetime struggle to lose weight. Like many overweight people, first he had to admit he had a problem.
"I am a [food] addict, no doubt about it," he said.
For a typical meal, the comedian would order half a dozen items off the menu and never feel full. While on the set, a table full of free gourmet sandwiches, Pop-Tarts, and Garlin's favorite cereal, Cap'n Crunch -- presented an endless temptation.
Garlin now weighs in between 260 and 270 pounds, down from about 320 at his peak.
The comedian's old approach to food might serve as an example for dieters of what not to do -- or at least help you laugh off your extra pounds.
The Dos and Don'ts of Weight Loss
Do Eat Right
Garlin completely overhauled his diet, cutting out sugar, fast food and binge eating sessions.
"I don't eat salt. I don't eat sugar. I eat whole grains, I eat vegetables, I eat fruit. It's all very boring," he said. "I don't eat chicken. I don't eat turkey. I don't eat red meat. I don't eat ham. I do eat fish still. The only thing that was difficult for me to eliminate -- fast food was a little bit difficult, I haven't had fast food in well over a year -- but sugar was really, really hard."
At the height of his addiction, Garlin said he would eat an entire tube of chocolate cookie dough in one sitting.
"The whole tube of chocolate chip dough was awesome. I don't eat any of that anymore," he said. "If I taste the littlest thing, I'm gone, I'm done, it's over."
Don't Stop for Dinner on the Way Home to Have Dinner
Garlin said he would frequently stop at a burger joint on the way home to eat dinner. "A lot of times I'd be, like, 'Oh, I know we're going to have this for dinner, that's not going to be enough. Here, I'll stop over here at In and Out Burger and get a double-double' -- It's two double cheeseburgers."
He would also overindulge.
"I don't want this to be like bragging, but I could eat an entire pizza, and then make a box of five servings of Jell-O instant pudding in one big bowl, and pour in some graham cracker crust and eat that whole thing, too," Garlin said.
Do Practice Meditation, Stay Focused
Meditation helped Garlin stay focused and avoid reaching for the cookie dough. He said every morning he reads a book of daily meditations for compulsive overeaters.
"I do it first thing in the morning when I get up, wake up at 5:30 in the morning, you sit, you can have all your thoughts run through your head. It's pretty wonderful. It's effortless. That's the word to use to describe it," he said.
According to Garlin, if he falls off the wagon, it gets harder and harder to get back on.
"There is no, 'I'll have a taste.' That does not exist. It's not possible," he said, "And I know that, and I take it very seriously, because I know one taste and I'm on my way to death."
Don't Hide Food
Garlin said he gave up trying to hide his compulsive eating from his wife Marla or colleagues, but for a while, had the act of hiding food down to an art.
"You just have to be fast, you open the refrigerator, you see the thing that's inappropriate, you hear your wife coming, you throw it back in," he said. "But many times I would throw it, throw it in the oven, I would throw it in the microwave, you find a cabinet, like put it in there, whatever it is, and then hope that she doesn't go to that cabinet, because if she does, she'll see a cupcake. She'll go, 'why is there a cupcake with the glasses?'"
In his book, Garlin recounts running out to the grocery store to replace cookie dough before his wife would notice. Ultimately, he realized, he was only hurting himself.
Don't Start Your New Way of Life Tomorrow
"No one ever says, 'right afterwards, I'll start tomorrow, I'll start tomorrow.' As a matter of fact, that could have been the name of my book, "I'll Start Tomorrow." Because once you start eating the Lucky Charms, and you're pouring more, or Fruity Pebbles, or whatever they are, you're not thinking at that point, you become mindless -- you're not awake -- you're not in relationship with your world," Garlin said.
Do Be Honest With Yourself
"If you're fooling yourself, somebody with food, you're only fooling them for a brief second, because all you have to do is look at you and they know what you've been doing," Garlin said. "So, as time goes on, if I'm getting heavier, my wife knows 'he's eating a lot.' My friends know, 'Jeff's overeating.' It's not something that you can really hide, like maybe you can hide your alcoholism for a while. You can't hide overeating, because it's gonna show."
Don't Take Yourself Too Seriously
"I always tell my children, 'Take what you do seriously, but don't take yourself seriously.' And I've added being healthy as something I take seriously, I take it very seriously," he said.