Fat, Crazy, and Tired: Tales from the Trenches of Transformation (Hardcover)
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Podcaster and former TMZ host Van Lathan Jr. writes a sharp, funny, and brutally honest, cultural critique of the unspoken obstacles and extreme anxiety that keep us from maintaining good health in America’s “wellness waistland,” explored through vignettes about his mental health and weight loss journey as a Black man.
A formerly chubby kid who self‑identified for much of his life as “the fat friend,” media personality and podcast host Van Lathan Jr. has struggled with physical and mental health his entire life. He was used to being his besties' wing man on the dating scene, the slack bench‑dweller at the gym, and his mother's biggest fan at every meal, especially whenever she served up her infamous mac and cheese with five different kinds of cheese. At 365 lbs, Van hated being fat so much, he found it harder than being Black! After dedicating years to improving his physical and mental health, with many ups and downs, in 2020 Van found himself in a shared slump with other Americans when the Covid-19 pandemic hit and the George Floyd video was released—suddenly he was surrounded by carbs galore, binge-ing everything, feeling non‑stop exhaustion, and crippling waves of anxiety and depression.
Fat, Crazy, and Tired isn't just about Van's ultimately unsuccessful journey to an Instagram‑able body and zen; it's about the unspoken personal battlefield of attaining and maintaining what Americans deem as good health. He explores the real reasons behind our unending physical and mental health battles—culture, family, and the baggage of life—and demonstrates how we can better understand our bodies by better understanding ourselves. He takes it back to his southern upbringing in Baton Rouge, opens up about how being “the Black guy” at work at TMZ overshadowed his identity, and shares how he holds up to survive the madness.
“Detox” cleanses? Weight loss pills? Celery juice? No, thank you. Unlike the self‑help gurus that push you to go “all or nothing” and “keep it 100,” Van wants you to be happier and healthier at 50% without totally admonishing yourself to get there. Packed with double doses of humor Fat, Crazy, and Tired shares abrutally honest cultural critique of mental health and our weight loss obsession in what he dubs America’s “wellness waistland.”
About the Author
Van Lathan Jr. is the cohost of the Ringer’s Higher Learning podcast and is best known as a former cohost and senior producer on TMZ Live. He is the Executive Producer for Two Distant Strangers, the 2021 Academy Award Winner for Best Live Action Short Film. He lives in Los Angeles.