Radio Nippon presents, gSugahara Akikofs EDGE TALKh Part1
Guest is Toshio Okada

Tonightfs guest is Mr. Toshio Okada who has made a contribution towards a decrease in the number of Japanese men who are overweight with metabolic syndrome with his hit book titled Sayonara, Mr. Fatty! A Geekfs Diet Memoir published last year. He wrote another book called Datsu Debu published by Sony Magazines Inc. for female readers outlining how women can lose 50 kg within a year. Now, I look forward to what hefs got to tell us today.

(Akiko Sugahara=S, Toshio Okada=T)

S: Good evening.

T: Good evening.

S: Well, may I call you Okada san?

T: Yeah, sure.

S: I take it that you do teaching, am I right?

T: I teach at a university, Yes.

S: As for the cover of your book Sayonara, Mr. Fatty! A Geekfs Diet Memoir, Ifm not sure how many times Ifve seen it at bookshops and I actually have two copies of it myself.

T: Oh, thank you very much.

S: I really like the title of your book. Itfs very fun and the cover picture looks great as well. Itfs been a while since I last encountered such an interesting book as this. This bookfs cover was so appealing that I had to get one to read. How is your book selling so far?

T: Itfs sold half a million copies so far. Apparently itfs often said as a myth in the diet industry, that if you write about ways to achieve a weight loss of 1kg, the sales will be 10,000 copies and the same principle applies if you write about how to lose 12kg. In that case, youfll sell up to 12,0000 copies.

S: Oh, so it kind of makes sense that youfve lost 50 kg.

T: Yeah, the sales of my book have reached half a million copies as itfs written about a loss of 50 kg, you see.

S: Wow, I didnft know such a phenomenon really existed. But come to think of it, itfs true that there arenft many diet books around that are about losing as much as 50kg, donft you think?

T: No, there arenft many, I think.

S: Yeah, I donft recall having read books like that.

T: I agree.

S: So youfve got another diet book published of which the title is, what is it again?

T: Itfs Datsu Debu (Transformation of a Fattie) actually.

S: Interesting, I mean, generally speaking, the word fat is something we want to avoid using, isnft it?

T: Yeah. Ummm..

S: If you call yourself a fatty, maybe itfs okay to use it I take it?

T: I think so. Like how Mr. Osugi san calls himself a poof, I thought itfd be acceptable to use fatty in the title as itfs about myself.
S: I know what you mean. Fat is a word that should not be said by others. However, I think this word actually sounds very cute and fun throughout your book.

T: I wrote my former book Sayonara, Mr. Fatty! A Geekfs Diet Memoir logically and theoretically for male readers but some female readers found it hard to read and asked me to rather put together tips and important points to be taken from the book. Thatfs why during the creation of my next book Datsu Debu published by Sony Magazines Inc., I always stayed aware of female readersf points of view.

S: I see. Ifm sure both of them will enjoy good success in sales.

T: Thatfs very kind of you to say so.

S: By the way, havenft you written books before?

T: Yeah, itfs been 13 or 14 years since I started writing books and in total I think Ifve written more than 20 books so far. But I donft think my books sell well. My first book was published by Asahi Shimbun Publications Inc. and was a kind of social commentary and it only sold 80,000 copies.

S: I think itfs sold quite well.

T: Well, it was a miracle to have my first book become a hit Ifd say. My second book is a book titled Introduction to Otakuology .

S: Itfs quite well-known, isnft it?

T: These two books of mine did sell quite well but the rest didnft do well on their first print run so I spent a lot of time writing books whose sales only reached 10,000 or 5000 or 7000 copies.

S: Before you lost 50kg, how much did you weigh?

T: I got all the way to 117kg.

S; And for how many years were you at that weight?

T: Um, my weight was around 110kg about 10 years ago and Ifve actually coined the phrase e10kg every 10 yearsf as I believe that people who are past the age of 30 gain 10kg every 10 years. In my case, I weighed over 90kg before I turned 30 which would make the fact that my weight in my late 40s was 117kg make perfect sense.

S: Looking at your face, I think you look really young.

T: Thank you.

S: Have you lost more weight since then?

T: Yeah I guess so. When I came off my diet, I weighed 67kg and now Ifm at 65kg.

S: 65kg.

T: I weighed myself this morning and it was 65.0kg on the dot.

S: So you used to be twice the size you are now.

T: Yeah, double the size.

S: Totally, you used to be as heavy as two people. What were things like when you weighed 117kg?

T: Let me seec For example, when at a restaurant or a cafe, the amount of space between the chairs and tables used to bother me. There were some chairs I could sit on, others I couldnft. Talking of chairs, if the armrests were close together, I couldnft fit my bottom between them to sit down. So no matter where I went, I always had to worry about whether or not Ifd be able to sit down. Also, I was usually in a t-shirt until Christmas time because I felt hot all the time. Ifd start wearing short sleeves from mid-spring. So I would wear long sleeves for just 3 months of the year from late December till March because I used to feel hot most of the time.

S: So things must be entirely different between the period when you were big and the present time now youfre at 65kg, things like your lifestyle and things you eat and peoplefs views of you. Is there anything you think you missed out on because you were so big?

T: Well, men tend to think that what youfve got on the inside counts the most rather than your appearance and I did think my appearance didnft really matter as well, especially if, like me, you write for a living, youfd naturally think itfs better to be appreciated for your work rather than for how you look. But you get to understand how things really are when you actually lose the weight. You donft understand what youfre really missing out on when youfre big. People have told me that they didnft really pay much attention to what I wrote about or talked about on TV as my words didnft hold much water because I was big then.

S: Really, is that what they actually said to you?!

T: Yeah, I know. They didnft mean any harm but it was really shocking for me to hear what they had to say. I was shocked to know that, after all, people do judge others by their appearance. To tell the truth, I think what diet books tell you is all correct. When reading diet books, they often state that the current diets are wrong whilst introducing their diet to be right, which I think is a blatant lie. All diet books you see at bookstores are probably right and the problem here is this terrible situation in which people are failing to lose weight despite doing the right things. The reason why they find themselves in this situation is that theyfre so desperate to lose weight. They are so desperate that they often do crazy things and as a result, they fail to lose weight. What they really need to do instead is to analyze and grasp why theyfre big and after that, they have to try to stop doing anything that makes them get bigger, which I think is quite unique about my diet.

S: So looking at yourself and lifestyle in an objective manner is what we need to do, like in a Zen manner.

T: You might find it difficult to do but a lot of us do this. For example, keeping a record of your spending in a book is said to help you cut down on your needless expenses, isnft it?

S: Oh yeah, youfre right.

T: Itfs actually the same process as you being able to save up your money without making any effort by keeping records of your money as you come to realize what youfve been spending it on.

S: Yeah and besides family bookkeeping is what everyone does on a daily basis to prevent any money crises from happening. So if we look at this in the same way, it shouldnft be too difficult to write down what you had for breakfast and lunch, and at 1 or 2 pm in the afternoon on the same day.

T: No, itfs not difficult at all. You see, talking of my diet method, which I mentioned in my book Datsu Debu as well, itfs called ea recording dietf and literally itfs an attempt to lose weight by recording your diet and I really think itfs best not to limit or restrict yourself in what you are eating.

S: It sounds a lot easier to do, compared to a lot of other diet methods which often state that the first step is to lose weight or cut down on your calories.

T: Yeah Ifm telling you this because Ifve done that all before.

S: Oh have you?

T: Ifve tried various kinds of diets in my 20s and 30s such as doing lots of exercise or sticking to low glycemic index foods or reducing my calorie intake or going to the sports gym to have a swim three times a week. Ifve gone and done it all and everything I did did work to some extent like I was explaining to you earlier that all diet methods out there are right. However theyfre not really easy to continue.

S: In that sense, your diet method seems to consist of three stages, similar to those that we see in a space shuttlefs journey of accelerating, taking off and ascending, the first two steps of which involve no limits on what you eat, am I correct?

T: Exactly, my main focus throughout all stages of my diet is to keep it as stress-free as possible. It generally takes at least three to six months for your body to start losing weight from a diet and my goal throughout my diet is to make the time as enjoyable as possible.



Radio Nippon presents, gSugahara Akikofs EDGE TALKh Part2
Guest is Toshio Okada

S: So according to you, youfll start losing weight without any effort as long as you make it a habit of making records of what you eat during the first two steps of your diet, is that so?

T: Yes, you will. But itfs necessary that you establish a rule that youfll keep track of your diet no matter how much or what you eat. By recording what you eat in such a manner, even though you donft really need to take a hard look at yourself, youfll come to be aware of how much youfve been eating and little by little, youfll start to become aware of certain types of food you should avoid and certain times of the day when you shouldnft eat in the same way that youfd end up saving money just by keeping an record of your expenses as I mentioned earlier.

S: By trying out and examining a wide variety of diets and exercise regimes, youfve reached some sort of a conclusion which involves taking notes of your diet. I believe this method is called a recording diet but did you name it yourself?

T: Yes I did. When I was writing my book, I thought a diet would need a good name and was searching for one and the first thing that entered my head was a recording diet.

S: I like how you shared the whole recording diet method in one book while other diet books seem to be giving out only a small part of their contents only as a guide.

T: Yeah, I mean, how can I put this. When consulting a nutritionist or a doctor, they often advise you to keep a record of your diet so that you can reflect on what youfve been eating and fix your bad eating habits. However, such a harsh approach to losing weight causes psychological stress, thus eventually making it hard for people to continue taking notes of what they have been eating unless theyfre real eager beavers.

S: So all we need to do is simply keep taking notes.

T: Thatfs right, you just need to write, thatfs all.

S: In other words, you grow conscious of what you eat by through note-taking which leads to a change in your diet.

T: Youfll see a change in your diet sooner or later but those who take a while to see the change is the people who truly enjoy the art of eating. Ifd suggest that those people give themselves about a year to reach the point where they see any noticeable difference in what they eat as itfs really important to stay stress-free by not putting any limits to what or how much they eat whilst practicing my recording diet. On the other hand, those who arenft too keen on eating yet tend to gain weight will soon notice their diet changing by taking notes as the amount of food they consume gets less and less as they go.

S: How did things take place in your case then?

T: Ifm quite obsessed with eating myself and I used to live for the joy of munching food like fried chicken and ice cream, chocolate as well as rice crackers at midnight, as it were.

S: Until when? How old were you when you led such a lifestyle?

T: Well, I was pretty much like that at the beginning of my diet.

S: Does that mean it was only a year ago?

T: Yeah, only a year ago. Ifm 50 years old now and the happiest moments of my life until a year ago used to be eating snacks and sweets at midnight and to stop my habit of eating was the last thing I wanted to do which is why I was not very keen on going on a diet.

S: Uh-huh. So it was in your second month or a month and half of your recording diet that things started to look better gradually?

T: Yes and no, I mean, I had to spend five months just doing the recording of what I ate.

S: Oh, really?

T: I feel I spent a rather long time writing down the food I had which was only a first step of a recording diet because I used to have feelings of resistance toward limiting my diet and used to simply dislike the idea of dieting. However after the first five months of just taking notes of what I eat, I started lose weight at the speed of 2kg every two weeks and managed to lose 10kg in 5 months afterwards in the end. At this point, I got really into dieting with a strong desire to lose even more weight.

S: You must have found the joy of losing weight then.

T: Yeah, it helped me realise that itfs possible for a person like me to lose weight just by recording what you eat and I said to myself, if losing weight is really as easy as this, I should try to lose more weight, and so I started doing things like tracking calories and adding the caloric intake next to the food I had, which took me to the next stage. I basically recorded my diet and tracked calories accordingly although I still ate whatever and how much ever I wanted to eat. That way, I succeeded in losing more weight which helped me to find joy and pleasure in losing weight as much as eating.

S: So the second stage of taking off started from the sixth month of your diet.

T: Yeah, things started picking up around my sixth month.

S: So were you losing weight every week then too?

T: Yes, I was losing 1kg every week.

S: Wow, thatfs amazing. Itfs quite amazing progress, donft you think?

T: I think so.

S: I think when you gain knowledge about calories of various kinds of food, things start getting on track for the better.

T: Yeah getting familiar with calories does help a lot. For example, when choosing pot noodles, I used to decide which one to buy based on two things regarding the taste and the price, however, with this new third category of calorie in mind, in a situation where the quantity of those pot noodles is relatively the same, I learned to choose the one which had the fewest calories and this way of thinking makes a world of difference in losing weight.

S: I think what youfre saying makes perfect sense.

T: So from my experience, Ifve learned that I can probably lose about 1kg just by choosing low-calorie food for a month which made me realise itfs only a matter of knowing which one to pick up by looking at those secret figures called calories written on the back of your favourite food packages instead of staying away from your favourite snack.

S: So at the second stage of your diet, youfd come to think that if they all tasted similarly good, itfd be best to take the one with the fewest calories of all instead of holding yourself back. Then you gradually started to memorize food calories which prepared you for the next stage.

T: Come to think of it, Ifm sure I must have been such an annoying person at that time. I used to tell people around me their food calorie content without even being asked or when they were in the middle of a meal. Anyway, I moved on to the third stage where I decided to consume food within my targeted range of calories.

S: Thatfs the period where you attempt to eat no more than 1500 kilocalories a day, isnft it?

T: Yeah, my height is 170cm and I went on a diet at the age of 48 so I had a basal metabolic rate of 1200 kilocalories a day, which is the amount of calories burnt at rest. So I thought 1500 kilocalories a day should be enough for my body to function and thus I decided my target daily calorie intake.

S: So this activity of calorie calculation starts when you wake up and you just keep adding the calories taken in the same order you eat to know how much calories there are left for you to consume on the day.

T: The idea is that if youfve got only 1500 yen in your wallet every day, you need to manage on that 1500 yen.

S: I think I can picture it well now.

T: So youfd always stop to think how to budget your intake better, saying things to yourself like, eThis rice bowl dish isnft worth 680 yen.f or eI want to save 1000 yen for a lovely dinner by getting through the day on 500 yen.f.

S: Uh-huh, I see.

T: One thing Ifd like to add here is that your head will eventually be completely occupied by food and counting calories all day at this stage. I wasnft aware of this fact while I was writing my book Sayonara, Mr. Fatty! A Geekfs Diet Memoir so I added another tip to help with this Datsu Debu which is to write up a list of food youfre going to eat on the day in the morning.

S: On the same day after waking up?

T: And Ifve been calling it future recording. My point is, if you know where youfre going to be during the daytime, you can note what you wish to eat there when you get out of bed. Suppose you went out and had noodles for lunch at wherever youfre supposed to be and you had made a note of that in the morning, then and if you leave two mouthfuls of those noodles, thatfll give you a spare 30 kilocalories for a dessert at night. In this way, I spent the latter half of my diet practicing this future recording, which indeed made things a lot easier for me. It feels as though deciding what I wanted to eat during the day and budgeting my calories throughout the day in order to be able to treat myself to that later worked the best for me as it created a sense of self-discipline and gave me something to look forward to when I could really enjoy a meal.

S: So you blew your calories on your favourite dish of the day whilst making ends meet with the rest of calories left for the other two meals to prepare for the happiest dining of the day.

T: Yes, thatfs right.

S: So is it at night that you usually indulge in food?

T: It depends on when my family can eat together, be it at lunch time or dinner time. Other times like when I was staying at a hotel, their buffet breakfast was my meal of the day. I also had such a fun time searching for foods that are low in calories yet filling

S: Now then, Ifd like to interview you on this further next week.


Translation by Yuka Yamashita