See Me, Hear Me, Eat Me
Photo by James BunoanDirector James Troost's DownSizeMe,the counterpoint to Morgan Spurlock's SuperSizeMe,premiered at April's Newport Beach Film Festival, and now the film's subject—fiftysomething Costa Mesa fitness buff Chazz Weaver—is entering it in other festivals, hosting local screenings and spreading the documentary's main message: it isn't the crap America's eating that's the problem; it's overeating any food coupled with lack of activity that's got us leading the world in fat bellies, thighes and asses. We spoke to Weaver on the phone the other day. He was delicious.
ChazzWeaver:For years and years, I'd been upset with the health and fitness industry, which I believe is the biggest culprit in the mountain of misinformation out there. My friend Sam, who you see in the film, read about Spurlock winning an award at Sundance and thought I'd want to check out his film. So I went to his website, read about it, and that was the catalyst to do what I did. I thought it was so ridiculous, that his film was going to give in to those who want to point fingers instead of having people take responsibility for what they're doing. I knew you could not only eat [a McDonald's diet] and maintain your weight, but you could also lose fat in the process. And if I didn't do something, I'd be just as guilty as everyone else out there talking the talk.
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No, not at all; I am not tired of eating it. There has been no adverse reaction. I think it depends on the personality of the person. If you look at me, take exercise, for example: I've been doing it for 20-plus years, but there are some people who might have gotten tired of it by now. I don't know, maybe if I ate every meal there for two months or three months, I would have gotten tired of it. It's not something I really want to do. I went in with the mindset of looking at it as a project.
I've only heard from McDonald's through other people, like when the Registerstory came out, the reporter had called them for a comment. I wanted to really make sure there was no direct contact with them, and here's the reason why: Let's say McDonald's paid me to do this, and I still ate it, exercised, still lost weight, my cholesterol still improved—what would people think? Psychiatric studies show people would think there was still some trickery involved. This I knew for a fact, so I made sure there was no contact with McDonald's or any corporation to make sure the integrity of the project was intact.
Nothing. As a matter of fact, he's come out here [to Southern California] three times and I've tried to debate him. When he was in LA, I called the radio station he was on that morning, and he would not debate me. A response came out through his spokesperson that he made his film as a filmmaker, not a nutritionist. But in the film, he's making fun of McDonald's not talking to him, but he did the same thing to me. Isn't that interesting?
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