I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of our review.
“In today’s world where fast-food restaurants, soda, and processed foods reign supreme, does “fat dad” have to mean “fat kid”? Digital entrepreneur and beloved vlogger Shay Butler and his preteen son, Gavin, decided to find out the answer for themselves.
Before Shay became famous for vlogging about life with his boisterous brood of five, known on YouTube as the Shaytards, he was like many other American dads: He worked 9 to 5 to pay the bills, ate double bacon cheeseburgers during his lunch breaks, sipped soda throughout the day, and watched Netflix with handfuls of candy.
These small behaviors added up, and before he turned thirty, Shay was nearly 300 pounds. Motivated by the fear that he could have a heart attack before thirty-five, Shay decided to make incremental changes to his eating habits and exercise regimen. Adopting the attitude that every action, no matter how small, was better than what he was doing before, Shay lost more than 100 pounds and ran four marathons, becoming a source of inspiration for everyone who followed his journey on his ShayLoss channel on YouTube.
Now, at the age of thirty-five, Shay has discovered that “maintaining” is the hard part. He has also seen how some of his hard-to-break habits are affecting his children, particularly his eldest son, Gavin, who grew up during the years when his dad had “a little extra Shay on him.” Determined to get back into shape and inspire his son along the way, Shay asked Gavin to embark on a thirty-day challenge with him to eat clean and do thirty minutes of exercise a day. Full of Shay’s signature blend of humor, honesty, and unbridled enthusiasm, Fat Dad, Fat Kidchronicles the ups and downs of Shay and Gavin’s thirty days together, reflects on Shay’s lifelong struggle with health and fitness, and proves that it’s never too late for parents or children to embrace a healthier lifestyle—even when it doesn’t come easy.”
Here is something you need to know about me: I’m a YouTube junkie. I could spend hours a day watching videos from all the channels I subscribe to. It’s a bit ridiculous at times. One of the first channels I ever subscribed to was the Shaytards. I think I’m approaching on 7 years being subscribed to this channel. The Shaytards is a daily vlog channel started by the husband, Shay. He wanted to chronicle his last year of his 30s, and continued since then. I’ve been emotionally committed to this family. During the years they have been vlogging, they added two more kids to their clan, had to put one of their beloved pets down, got out of debt, made millions, and struggle with weight. While Shay was losing weight, he started another YouTube channel called Shayloss. This showed every milestone and every screw-up he had.
I, too, have struggled with weight. Shay, at his lowest, lost over a 100 pounds. While he was on his journey, I was still overweight being proud of him. Then I decided I wanted to be proud of myself as well. I started my own journey. At my lowest, I lost 70 pounds. Like Shay, I since then have gained some of it back, but it doesn’t make me feel ashamed. We are both better off now than where we started.
One thing to know about Shay is that he is a very motivated person and he loves to pass on his motivation to others. He is in your face positive 99% of the time. One topic Shay talks about in his vlogs and Shayloss videos a lot is decision making, so when this was a main theme in his book, Fat Dad, Fat Kid, I wasn’t surprised. He reiterates how YOU are in control of your circumstances and how you react to situations. YOU have the ultimate power in YOUR life. You need to be self-aware. What Shay talks about in his book is nothing really new if you’re a loyal follower of the Butler clan.
What I really liked about this book was the inclusion of his oldest child, Gavin. Gavin was always a heavier set kid, even in his young years. Most weight loss books are about adults losing the weight, so it was nice to get a kid’s perspective on losing weight and getting healthy. It’s a really tough thing to do. I commend Gavin on sticking with it and noticing improvements in his every day life. However, I do wish there was more of Gavin in the book. The book was probably 20% Gavin and 80% Shay. I would have liked it to be 40% Gavins and 60% Shay. Many young kids follow the Shaytards, so I think that was a slight missed opportunity to really get more of Gavin’s thoughts and feelings in there.
I had two MAJOR issues with this book. I was given an eARC of this book, so this may not be in the final copy, but I still need to mention this. At one point Shay says in the book that “if you want to be fat, do what fat people do, and if you want to be skinny, do what skinny people do. It’s as simple as that.” And then towards the end of the book he says to “pick any diet plan. Just internet search and just do it.” HUGE RED FLAGS! How some people get skinny, is not always a very healthy way. This can start eating disorders. I understood what he was trying to get at. I think he meant healthy and not necessarily skinny. He should have replaced “skinny” with “healthy” a few times throughout the book. Then to tell people to just search the internet for diet plans….no. There are SO many unhealthy and scam diets out there. I researched for a month to figure out what the best plan of action was for me to lose weight. With so many young people going to read this, I think those were the two most dangerous things said in the book. My eyes bugged out when I read that.
HOWEVER, the overall message of the book was a positive one. If you have the will power, focus, self-awareness, and decision making skills down, you can be successful, not just at weight loss, but in life.
This book would be a great one for people who are unsure about self-help books, and find them daunting. This isn’t a very long book at all. It is pretty much a 30 day diary of both of their weightloss/health journeys. So many different ages can get something different out of the book. It would be a great book to read with your kids and have an open dialogue about being a better person.
What’s really cool about this book, is that Shay and Gavin started a Fat Dad, Fat Kid series on the Shayloss YouTube channel. You could read a chapter a day and follow along on their daily exercise regimens. I thought that was pretty darn cool.