|R J Harris|
As the officially declared “Mayor of Morning Radio,” WHP 580 AM’s R.J. Harris has a full-bodied, instantly recognizable voice.
But Harris himself is neither these days, according to pennlive.com.
After the 5-foot-8 personality dropped from 400 to 185 pounds, and from a pant size of 58 to a comfortable 34, Harris is a much smaller version of his former self.
Fortunately, throughout his long saga of dieting disasters, this local celebrity’s powerful voice, trademark smile, and “tell-it-like-it-is” sense of humor hasn’t been lost at all.
Before the eyes — and ears — of thousands of incredulous listeners, the 59-year-old has managed to stop the yo-yo diets, shed 215 pounds, and keep it off for two years and counting.
Reinforcing his confession that his life is an “open book,” Harris is sharing his diet secrets in a fast-paced read titled, “It Ain’t Easy Being Fat but That’s Your Problem: Tough Love from a Recovering Foodaholic.”
In 107 breezy pages, he reveals such gems as he eats every two hours, enjoys ice cream every day, hasn’t given up on butter and mayonnaise, goes out to dinner with his wife every weekend and enjoys a glass of red wine without guilt.
He eats breakfast every day and still eats what he loves.
Harris said he was inspired to lose weight, not by a harsh insult, a disapproving doctor, or an embarrassing shopping trip, but by a natural disaster.
He was watching a television newscast in 2006 when he saw heart-wrenching footage of a grandfather who attempted to save his grandchild from rising floodwaters, but couldn't. The child slipped away and drowned.
In that moment, he realized that his size would prevent him from saving his own grandchildren or anyone else.
That epiphany occurred right before his first WHP listener trip, slated for Italy that year. There he had a second epiphany.
Mesmerized by his size, two Taiwanese women asked if they could have their photograph taken with him, like he was a grotesque American prop. One even rubbed his belly. That photo of him, the women, and his wife Bonnie, who weighs less than 120 pounds, is in the book, too, along with one of two svelte models fitting easily inside his size 58 pants.
“I knew that picture would be the last one taken like that,” he said.
When he got off the plane in the U.S., he vowed to break his food addiction for good.