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Chubster: A Hipster's Guide to Losing Weight While Staying Cool

Chubster: A Hipster's Guide to Losing Weight While Staying Cool

by Martin Cizmar

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Author Cizmar was 29 and “happily fat” when he realized he didn’t want to be overweight for an upcoming trip to New Zealand to meet his girlfriend’s parents. Nor did he want to suffer the possible consequences of obesity, including high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, high cholesterol, arthritis, sleep apnea, or premature death. Not a joiner, Cizmar rejected the billion weight-loss industry (Weight Watchers, etc.), which he deems ineffective and high-priced. Instead, the author, who lost l00 pounds in eight months, presents a simple solution: counting calories. Wisecracking along the way, Cizmar walks readers through his plan, focusing on the premise that when it comes to losing weight, calories are what matters (not what you eat) though the ideal is combining low calorie foods with higher calorie but flavorful and nutritious choices. Cizmar, who loves his microwave, diet drinks, and the convenience of frozen dinners, includes mini reviews of the most “awesome” and most “awful” frozen entrees, with the intent to spare readers from wasting money on miserable meals. In addition to exercising (i.e., biking or hiking), he suggests a few unconventional ways to cut calories, including chewing gum, fidgeting, and standing in line at a concert. Science-based and infused with “snarky jokes,” Cizmar’s plan will particularly appeal to “hipsters” seeking a nongimmicky, foolproof way to slim down while enjoying some laughs. (Jan.)
From the Publisher

"[Cizmar] encourages you to take a hard look at yourself -- and why you've gained or can't lose weight -- at the same time as he scrutinizes himself. Reading the book feels like entering into a fitness pact with a friend, not at all like the miserable time I signed myself up for a personal trainer at Bally's who made me cry three times a week . . . The book is endlessly useful in a variety of ways." -- Houston Press
"Science-based and infused with 'snarky jokes,' Cizmar’s plan will particularly appeal to 'hipsters' seeking a nongimmicky, foolproof way to slim down while enjoying some laughs." -- Publishers Weekly
"A well-researched, serious book about how to lose weight that will appeal to folks not interested in joining in the 'Organized Dieting' movement." -- Santa Barbara Independent
"Full of lively writing and sound advice." -- Oregonian

Library Journal
Albeit entertaining, this new, hip guide to a smaller waistline doesn't offer any new advice on how to lose weight. Cizmar (arts & culture editor, Willamette Week) presents a standard calorie-counting strategy for dropping unwanted pounds and discusses options for moderate exercise. He lost 100 pounds in eight months by following the plan he details in the book. He was most interested in a self-guided weight-loss regimen that did not involve visiting a gym or enrolling in a diet program, which he felt would require too much change in his lifestyle. A significant portion of the book is dedicated to frozen food, fast-food restaurants, and ethnic food information and recommendations. Cizmar provides general advice based on his personal experiences, but he is not overly prescriptive. Rather than specific meal or exercise plans, he simply offers suggestions. VERDICT Cizmar incorporates humor into his weight-loss story, which is aimed toward a younger demographic, the titular hipsters, but the advice dispensed is neither new nor guaranteed to work for others.—Erin Silva Fisher, Univ. of Nevada Lib., Reno

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Read an Excerpt


The word chubster—while universally accepted as a delightful that it has to have some
meaning — is fairly amorphous. Actually, UrbanDictionary.com, the definitive source
of information on made-up words, offers quite a few definitions,
two variants of which are interesting to us:



 An overweight person who considers himself to be a hipster.
 Someone who is proud to be a fatty mcfatfat . . . They
 wear Old Navy jeans because they can’t fit into anything
 from Urban Outfitters or from trendy thrift shops. They
 try to squeeze themselves into small hoodies and H&M
 T-shirts because slim fitting clothes look “dope” on them.
 They avoid being an outcast loser because they are seen as
 cool and desirable due to a magnetic personality and funny
 jokes that compensate for their perceived lack of physical

 Celebrity examples of Chubsters: Jonah Hill, Zach Galifianakis,
 Seth Rogan

 Fawn: Ugh! Look at that chick with the muffin top and those
Charlotte Russe flats.
 Ruby: . . . and you know she got that Run DMC T-shirt from
 Fawn: Oh em eff jeez, she’s such a chubster.



 Someone who used to be chubby when they were a kid,
 but became very in-shape, muscular, and attractive. It’s
 almost like being a chubster is a compliment, because most
 of them are very nice, they know what it’s like to be the fat
 kid who’s everyone’s friend, no more (girls didn’t think of
 him that way), so most chubsters don’t judge. He’s the guy
 who everyone likes, but how could you not like a chubster?
 Funny, nice, and able to relate to almost everyone? They’re
 one of a kind.

Bob: Dude, this new kid came to our class, he showed us his
yearbook and he was like majorly chubby two years ago.
 Sally: But not anymore. That new kid’s cute, that chubster.

  For much of my life, I’ve been a Chubster1. Certainly, I
was not seriously ashamed of my weight, and I was kindasorta
proud of my indulgence. At the same time, I was always
trying to fit in with my usually-skinny hipster friends — not
always easy for a big guy. Now I’m working on becoming a
Chubster2: the cool, formerly fat guy. Actually, in calling this
book Chubster, I’m hoping to carve that definition into a metaphorical
stone tablet. Not that I’m always a nice guy — as
you’ll undoubtedly see throughout the book, I’ve never been
the sweet and beloved tuba-playing fat kid — but I’m trying.
I’m trying, folks. In the meantime, I’m doing what I’ve always
done, which is keep it real. That means giving you some cold,
hard, and unpleasant facts. I’m going to do that in the nicest
and most efficient way possible because I’ve been in your
shoes. I’m now an average weight, but luckily I still have
some of that renowned empathy that makes fat people beloved
the world over.
  The fact of the matter is, there’s nothing wrong with
being fat. Or, at least there’s nothing wrong with you because
you’re fat. That’s the truth, and anyone who tells you
differently is an asshole. Sure, I lost 100 pounds in eight
months for the express purpose of not being fat (I’m 5'11"
and weighed 290 when I started). Still, I don’t see anything
wrong with being overweight, per se. It’s not a character
flaw. Being fat is pretty fun, actually. I had a great run. I ate
creamy, fried, and sickeningly sweet foods so delicious, most
of my thin friends could never imagine consuming them. I
imbibed mass quantities of the world’s most delicious beers
without a second thought — never did anything less caloric
than Blue Moon touch my lips. I sat around playing video
games, watching football, and listening to records on lazy
Sundays. Despite my girth, I had no trouble getting a little
action from attractive girls (my girlfriend is 5'10", a size 6,
and gorgeous), which is the major impediment faced by the
overweight among us.
  Honestly, it was great. Sure, I was a little ashamed at the
pool, but not enough to change anything. And there was
that one time I could not fit inside a roller coaster. Only
the Insane Clown Posse seemed to sell concert T-shirts
that fit me. And I hurriedly untagged almost every photo
of me posted on Facebook. But that was my life and I was
enjoying it.
  But “happily fat” is not a sustainable lifestyle. Facing
my twenty-ninth birthday, I had to accept that. It was a
cherry Slurpee and my girlfriend, Kirsten, which made me
see this. It’s sort of a weird story, actually. We were headed
home from a Dave Matthews Band concert — part of my job
is to go to such concerts and explain to the primitive hordes
why they suck — when I stopped for a refreshing, sugary
beverage to quench my thirst and propel me through the
late-night writing process required to meet my 9 a.m. deadline.
I got the largest size and sucked down the whole thing
without a second thought. Kirsten, a nurse who works with
liver patients, some of the least-well humans on earth, was
horrified. We’d talked about my weight before, but never
very seriously.
  I could tell immediately this conversation was going to be
DRANK?” she asked. I guessed around 300 — it’s mostly ice,
right? When we looked it up (a ritual I would become all too
familiar with in the coming months), it was more like 600.
Some 600 calories for a bedtime snack! It was a lot, but still,
I didn’t see the big deal. Maybe a Slurpee was a bad choice, I
said, but I need to drink something to write. How am I supposed
to write with a dry mouth and tired eyes? Diet Coke,
she suggested. Ick, I said. No, she said, this is serious.
  The health thing, obviously, was a big concern. But the
probable consequences — to be outlined shortly — also felt far
into the future. There was a more pressing issue: In a few
months, I would be meeting her health-nut parents for the
first time in New Zealand. Kirsten’s dad is a college professor
who studies pharmaceuticals, and her mom knows everyone
in her town’s co-op grocery store by name and does nearly as
much yoga as Gandhi — in other words, they’ve been granola
since before it was cool. I knew Kirsten was right. There
was little chance I could plan to be indefinitely overweight
and keep that little pink heart on my Facebook relationship
status intact. For me, it wasn’t so much an ultimatum as a
  And thus began the transformation. A hundred pounds. A
snug 44 to a loose 34. A loose 3XL to a snug M. Some people
might prefer I say I dropped the weight with the help of
Whole Foods, reusable BPA-free water bottles, and an elliptical,
but the truth is, I didn’t. I changed my habits so little
that I might think it was pathetic — a sign that I’m pitifully
stuck in my ways — if it weren’t for how inspiring the story
seems to be to other people.
  If you’re already supermotivated to lose weight, perhaps
you should skip ahead to the first chapter now. This plan will
work, I promise you that. If you’re planning to lose weight
and were drawn to a book like this in the store, that’s really
all you need to know to get started. But if you’re a little
unsure about things, read on. This is my attempt at giving
you the Nudge. The best way I can think to do that is by telling
you about my Nudge, which came from YouTube.
  The day after the Slurpee Incident, Kirsten sat me down
to watch a YouTube video wherein a medical professor gives
a lecture about the various maladies caused by obesity. I
don’t want to ruin the end of the movie, which you can find
at ChubsterTheBook.com, but (SPOILER ALERT) the fat
guy dies. Just kidding. He mostly just suffers. Among the
terrible health consequences outlined were:

• high blood pressure
• diabetes
• cancer
• high cholesterol
• arthritis
• sleep apnea
• premature death

  Though I’m sure some people will disagree, for me, death
was the least scary item on that list. The scariest? Diabetes.
My dad has diabetes. It was diet-controlled for years,
but he’s now on insulin, which means needles are involved.
Eek. My paternal grandmother had diabetes — she had a leg
amputated before her death, which came when I was only a
toddler. Double eek.
  Sleep apnea was a little scary too, since one of my relatives
sometimes sleeps hooked up to some kind of iron lung
prescribed after a sleep study confirmed he suffered from
the condition.
  And, come to think of it, heart disease was a little worrying,
since half my antecedents keeled over from massive
coronary failure, including my rail-thin and very frugal
grandfather, who had a heart attack after a handyman presented
him with an unexpectedly large bill for a new water
  Actually, cancer too, since my mom has metastasized
breast cancer, as did her older sister, who recently passed
away. Scary.
  Arthritis brought on by the strain your joints endure as
they propel your extra heft around? Not so scary. I mean, if
you’re seriously obese, you probably won’t live long enough
to make your odds dramatically worse than what heredity
hands you. And with my genes, why worry, right? Given all
the other grim health consequences I was facing, knee problems
later in life seemed pretty trivial.
  “I love you, baby, and I want you to be around,” Kirsten
  “I don’t want to give you insulin injections when you inevitably
become a bloated diabetic” is what I heard her say.
  I took a deep breath and committed myself to losing
weight, just as you must. Then I sat down to figure out the
other really challenging part — the plan by which I could accomplish
it. You don’t have to do that, obviously, since I did
it for you and wrote a whole book about it. (In addition to
this book’s advice, you may also want to seek out that of a
  When and how did I come up with the plan? Well, I came
up with it immediately after agreeing to lose the weight. And
I did it because I could not find an acceptable alternative.
  The conversation went something like this:
  “So, what are you going to do to lose the weight?” Kirsten
  “What do you mean?”
  “I think you need to join some sort of program so you’ll be
accountable and so you have some structure.”
  “Ugh. No way. That just sounds awful. I’ll do it. I know I can
hold myself accountable — and that you’ll hold me accountable,
anyway — and I’m not joining some stupid group. That
sounds expensive and lame. Paying money to hang out with a
club of fat strangers in sweatpants debating whether Chunky
Monkey or Cherry Garcia is more tempting? No thanks!”
   “Well, I think you should join a group for support. And
some sort of gym.”
  “I’m definitely not going to the gym. I don’t have the
money and I would definitely hate it — it’s just a bunch of
spray-tanned douchebags. Do I look like I want to hang out
on the Jersey Shore?”
  “Well, you need to do something. You can’t just do this on
your own; it won’t work,” she said.
  “Look, I’m open to doing something, just so long as it’s, you
know, cool,” I said. “I don’t want to feel pathetic — people who
pay to join stupid groups to solve their problems are pathetic.
I want to do this my own way. Some way that’s pretty chill,
ya know?”
  “There’s no cool way to lose weight.”
  “Ummm. There’s gotta be.”

Here’s my guarantee: This plan will be effective and you will
not feel like a loser doing it. It won’t always be easy, but it’s
not that hard, either — and it’s a lot easier than submitting to
the horrors of Organized Dieting. The Chubster plan is not
only the Least Awful Diet Plan of All Time, it’s the only plan
for those who consider themselves cool.

Meet the Author

Martin Cizmar lost 100 pounds in eight months on the Chubster diet. He's worked at the Akron Beacon Journal and Phoenix New Times, where he was the music critic. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon, where he works as an editor at Willamette Week. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, longboarding, and riding around town on the vintage beach cruiser he bought at a thrift store. He considers barbecue and craft beer his cruelest temptations. This is his first book.

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