Sunday, 11 December 2016

The Great Aussie Bloke Slim Down

I'm not usually one to follow the careers of retired sportsmen. But I've been watching Peter FitzSimons from afar for some time. He has certainly reinvented himself in his post rugby life. Author, Chair of the Australian Republican Movement, Great Aussie Bloke, seemingly Mr Everywhere. He seems to be a powerhouse, releasing at least one new book each year. I've seen him speak a couple of times at book related events, and know that he is a great raconteur, although until now I don't believe that I've read any of his books. I've bought a lot of them, my Dad likes them and they make great presents, but I haven't got to reading any as yet. It's not easy to slip in a quick read of a doorstopper of a book on battles of the First or Second World Wars. But The Great Aussie Bloke Slim Down caught my eye in the shops last week, and I brought it home with me.

Peter FitzSimons was always a large lad, but then he played rugby for Australia so he had to be. His weight varied between 107-126 kilos when he was playing, and then it spiralled somewhat out of control until he hit 152 kg in December 2011. He was the second heaviest man to finish the Kokoda Track in 2002, a record he holds to this day. In January 2012 he started reading David Gillespie's Sweet Poison (see my review) and dropped sugar from his own diet. Later that year he was part of a Sunday Night program also entitled Sweet Poison that charts his progress. 

The program says he maxed out at 144, the book 152
Consistency, people!

Peter went on to quit drinking, and lose more than 40 kilos. He's obviously happy with the changes and wanting to spread his experience with Australian men. 

Clearly, this book is not written for me. I am not a Great Aussie Bloke, or even an average Aussie Bloke, and there is certainly a lot of Aussie Bloke Banter. 
Mate, I can't put it any simpler, you have to stop drinking that shit, and the same goes for fruit juices. It is sheer madness. You will recall how you and I used to love smoking, but are now disgusted by it. You need to get to the same point with soft drink and fruit juice. I have. 

No it's not touchy-feely, or sugar coated (I've amused myself there), it's blunt, forthright and funny. It's a bit like Peter FitzSimons has taken the time to sit down and chat to you. 
The elephant in the room ...... is YOU
Oi! You. Fatty Boomka. Yes, you. 
Although I have always used Fatty Boombah here. Never heard of Fatty Boomka before. And Pete seems to be rather obsessed with party pies, while I can't remember the last time I saw one. I don't think that women get fat on party pies...

There is the requisite chapter on sugar science, one on the history of various diets- which included some fascinating insights into how Malcolm Turnbull lost quite a bit of weight a few years ago (mainly by not eating at all, and drinking Chinese herbs). I was surprised to see a whole chapter on abstinence vs moderation, a concept I was introduced to by Gretchen Rubin, and one that I'd struggled to identify myself in. I want to be a moderator, but feel I probably should be an abstainer- which sounds much less fun. 

Not surprisingly for someone who represented their country in sport Peter FitzSimons is still competitive and still loves being active and is particularly passionate about team sports. There were more sport stories than I would normally encounter in my reading, but not so many that I couldn't enjoy it, and I understood all but one of them. And even I enjoyed the Warnie joke. 

Pete's basic messages are quite simple. 
Stop the sugar = Stop the hunger
Don't eat sweet
Give up the grog
Get moving

The Great Aussie Bloke Slim-Down shouldn't be Secret Men's Business - Great Aussie Sheilas will enjoy it greatly, and likely learn something too. I've been interested in the sugar debate for several years and have read a few books now (Sweet Poison, I Quit Sugar, I Quit Sugar for Life).  Every time I read something about sugar I think that I shouldn't eat it, I think maybe they're right, that as terrible as it sounds, maybe they're right. 

This post is linked to Weekend Cooking
a fabulous weekly meme at BethFishReads


Beth F said...

Sounds like an interesting read (despite the inconsistencies!). Sugar is indeed in *everything* and I do think it's killing us. But I'll likely still eat my fruit. :)

Louise said...

Hi Beth, not many of the anti sugar people are fully anti fruit. They don't like fruit juice, as it has as much sugar as coke, but whole fruit is generally ok. Sometimes the more ardent anti sugar types will advise low fructose fruits, but life is too short to pass up on treats like a fresh mango in season. Otherwise we may as well all give up.

Mae Travels said...

Though it's not my kind of book, I enjoyed your review!

best... mae at

Claudia said...

Good review. I've shared the video to my FB as well. I do go by his sugar restrictions to a certain extent, but need to pay closer attention to the ingredients in my "organic" purchases.