Affectionately known to his mother as "klutz" for his difficulties negotiating dry land, Bruni showed early promise in the pool, despite his size. Swimming competitively would, in his adolescent years, allow him to stay on top of his weight, despite all the eating he did.
As far back as he can remember, Bruni was trying something -- anything -- to lose weight. His first brush with the Atkins diet came when he was not yet 10 years old.
"I remember Mom bought [the Atkins book] in hardcover, so this was serious stuff," Bruni said. "And I remember leafing through it and learning about ketones and ketosis and, you know, having no idea what that meant -- I was 8 years old -- but I thought, 'Ooh, that's profound stuff. If I can get into this ketosis thing, I'll be home free.'" (Courtesy Frank Bruni)