[sumo] Article about Manny Yarborough
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Thu Jul 19 12:43:01 EDT 2007
Looks like Manny is seeking a gold medal in a forthcoming Olympic
Link with photos is here:
If you go to the page, make sure you copy the whole two lines of
Ex-sumo wrestler seeks help in Morristown to lose 200 pounds
BY ROB JENNINGS
Thursday, July 19, 2007
MORRISTOWN -- International sumo wrestling icon Emanuel "Tiny"
Yarbrough is giving up burgers, fried chicken, fried fish
sandwiches -- and even his beloved shrimp egg foo yung -- in a
lifesaving bid to lose weight and possibly even train for the 2008
Yarbrough, 42, of Rahway -- a congenial and towering presence who
stands 6-foot-8, wears size-19 sneakers and weighs 753 pounds --
will not be completely deprived.
He'll still enjoy a slice of pizza and the occasional cigar.
"I'm not going to take away all your pleasures at once,"
Morristown Memorial Hospital physician Dr. Leah Solomon, who
specializes in weight loss, assured him during a three-hour
strategy session on Wednesday.
Yarbrough, who occasionally acts and is touting a reality show
tentatively entitled "The 750-pound Houseguest," said a series of
health setbacks in recent years finally convinced him it was time
for a radical overhaul.
"I've been large my entire life," said Yarbrough, who was the
world and North American sumo champion in 1996 and 1997.
While attending Morgan State University in Baltimore, Yarbrough
weighed 380 pounds, but was still able to play football and run 5
miles at a time.
Two decades later, he is nearly twice as heavy and can barely walk
100 yards. Exercise, in his present condition, is out of the
"I don't eat as much as I did when I was younger. It just affects
me more adversely," Yarbrough said.
Yarbrough's weight peaked at 815 about three years ago. He was
diagnosed with hypertension and battled congestive heart failure.
He suffered from sleep apnea and had to sleep sitting up.
Throughout it all, he maintained the good humor he showed on
numerous late-night television appearances with David Letterman,
Jay Leno and others.
"People think that I maintained the weight for sumo. That's not
really the case. It was just the way I was living," said
Yarbrough, who was born in Jersey City and is a lifelong New
Planning a regimen
To resuming training and have a decent shot at the Olympics in
judo, Yarbrough said he probably couldn't weigh more than 650
"I would like to get back to 550, 525," said Yarbrough, who was
referred to Solomon's program.
Solomon specializes in bariatric medicine. She told Yarbrough she
would recommend a high-protein diet in place of carbohydrates,
among other measures. He balked initially when she suggested
taking a multi-vitamin.
"I thought that was for women. You're trying to emasculate me," he
said with a smile.
"We'll find you a more masculine multi-vitamin," Solomon replied.
Medication is a possibility, but Yarbrough ruled out ever
undertaking gastric bypass surgery.
"I had a friend who died from it. He made me promise on his
deathbed not to do it," Yarbrough said.
Solomon added that the procedure is not offered to patients
weighing more than 500 pounds.
While the Olympics is Yarbrough's goal, Solomon said she wouldn't
recommend exercise until "he tells me he's ready for exertion."
Yarbrough said sports were a lifelong passion at which he excelled
despite significant weight fluctuations.
"Even at 500 pounds, I could still dunk a basketball," he said.
Sumo, judo and wrestling were liberating because they allowed him
to work out the aggression he had to restrain elsewhere.
"I've always had this self-governor with myself," Yarbrough said,
explaining he was always worried about hurting someone.
In sumo and judo, where everyone is big, that's much less of a
"I'm allowed to be as aggressive as the law allows," he said.
At the doctor
Yarbrough began his meeting with Solomon by filling out numerous
forms outlining his goals and medical history. Medicare is paying
for his weight loss regimen.
Yarbrough was already on the right track in one area.
"Do you drink coffee?" Solomon asked.
"No," he replied.
"Good -- don't get started," she said.
Solomon warned of the challenges ahead, "It's a lot easier to lose
5 pounds 10 times than 50 pounds once."
Yarbrough appeared unfazed. He said he was ready to move on from
bad habits -- including all those days when he would "skip two
meals, then pile up whatever starches were there." He said he is
committed to swearing off desserts, along with Chinese food and
Yarbrough said he wants to resume the lifestyle that led to
personal appearances with fans in Japan, India, Canada, France,
Poland, Italy, Austria, Germany, Switzerland and elsewhere.
"Basically, I want to get back to living life. I've traveled the
world, but doing local things became a task," Yarbrough said.
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