It was five years to the day since the photo that changed his life was taken that Keith “Temple” Trotter sat down for an
interview with the Star-Observer.
“Has it really been that long?” he asked.
Trotter can be excused for losing track of time. His life has been a whirl of activity in recent years, and promises to grow even more interesting with the Jan. 6 release of his book “100 Small Steps: The First 100 Pounds You Gotta Think Right.”
Morgan James is the publisher and Ingram, the largest book distributor in the world, is placing it in stores throughout the world. Target, Walmart and Barnes and Noble are a few of the major retailers ready to sell the book.
The Kindle and Nook versions have been available for a few months. “It’s been amazing. It really has. The response has just been amazing,” marveled Trotter, a resident of rural Hudson.
“When your book shows up on a shelf in Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Japan — I think they plan on selling some copies. I’m just a fat kid from the projects. If somebody had told me I was going to write a book, I wouldn’t have believed them. But it is what it is. It’s my call. My purpose.”
The picture was taken just before midnight on New Year’s Eve 2009. Trotter was holding a plate of food and about to take a bite. A friend posted the picture on Facebook, and when Trotter saw it the next day, he vowed to finally do something about his weight.
“The second-worst day of my life was seeing that tagged Facebook picture of me (all 386 pounds of me) sitting in a wicker chair with a plate of food, no lap, no neck, sporting a D Cup, and more chins than Dexter Jettster from Star Wars,” he writes in the book. “The spell was broken. I could no longer mentally control the message and it was devastating. I had to face the fact that I was morbidly obese.”
Then a payment operations manager for a large health insurance provider, Trotter attacked his weight problem the way he would a business problem. He did research, thought about what he could do better, tried things, and wrote about what worked and what didn’t. He was used to journal writing and began putting his weight-loss observations on Facebook and into a blog titled “100 Small Steps.” “When I started, it was about holding myself publicly accountable for losing the weight, and then trying to share my aha moments — things that just made sense,” he said in the New Year’s Eve 2014 interview.
“If it made sense to me, I wrote it down in my journal and then I went out and did research to find out if anyone else had these thoughts about this particular thing.” A few years later, Trotter had lost 160 pounds and his blog had attracted a following. Then CNN.com featured his story on its iReport in September 2013, and visits to his blog and Facebook page exploded. “It has been absolutely crazy for me,” he said in a 2013 interview with the Star-Observer. “The story has really resonated with and touched people.”
The CNN story brought readers from 80 countries and every continent to his blog.
An interview with Bershan Shaw of the Oprah Winfrey Network for a feature on the urawarrior.com website followed.
Then Morgan James Publishing of New York agreed to publish a three-book series written by Trotter.
“The first book is all about the psychological aspects of weight loss, because one thing I found out quick, fast, in a hurry, is if you don’t get the mind right, the body will not follow,” Trotter said.
The book covers the first 33 steps of his journey. Dr. Kevin Ronneberg, the medical director for Target Corp., wrote the forward.
“For anyone who has contemplated making a meaningful change in their life, you know that behavior change, and in particular weight loss, doesn’t happen easily,” Ronneberg says. “… My friend Mr. Keith ‘Temple’ Trotter invites the reader to join him as he breaks down his weight loss experience into digestible bites.”
(Trotter gained his nickname because he now treats his body as a temple.)
The doctor says he was impressed with Trotter’s approach to weight loss from the day they met and Trotter shared his story over lunch.
Ronneberg writes: “Trotter focuses on some common themes through the book – food is fuel and should not be confused with something to sooth emotional distress, needing to be honest with oneself and identify where you are creating self-protective barriers to self-honesty. He shares real examples that are raw and authentic in discussing the role of social support and addressing mental health.”
Step 1 is: “Know why you are doing it!” The two-page section begins with a quote from Friedrich Nietzsche, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”
Trotter uses quotes from famous and not-so-famous people to introduce each step.
Some are funny.
“You can’t make footprints in the sands of time if you’re sitting on your butt. And who wants to make buttprints in the sands of time?” asks Bob Moawad at the beginning of Step 5, “Focus on the Whole Life.” Trotter asks questions of readers at the end of most of the short sections. “Why am I doing this?” is the question for Step 1.
“I want the book to be something that not only is on somebody’s shelf, but is functional as well,” Trotter said.
It turns out that Trotter is an entertaining and humorous writer, too.
“I had fostered and embraced an unhealthy relationship with food and had fallen for the marketing like a cheerleader goes for starting quarterbacks,” he writes in Step 2, “Remove the Words Diet, Low Fat and Low Calorie from Your Kitchen and Vocabulary.”
The 124-page paperback is priced at $12.95.
Trotter said he hasn’t been told when Books 2 and 3 of the series will be released.
Book 1 contains an excerpt from Book 2, titled “You Gotta Eat Right.”