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Date: October 3, 2008
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Related materials from ESL Discussions.com on weight, diets and love.

THE ARTICLE

World’s heaviest man plans to marry

Love conquers all. This is certainly so for the former heaviest man in the world. Mexican Manuel Uribe used to be the world’s most overweight person. He was in the Guinness Book of Records in 2006 after breaking the human weight record. Special weighing scales showed he weighed 560kg. He was so enormous he could not leave his room. He spent his whole life living on his bed, eating huge meals and watching TV. He decided enough was enough and that he wanted to change his life. He also wanted to marry his longtime girlfriend Claudia Solis. Uribe went on a crash diet and lost almost half his body weight. He lost a whopping 250kg and has slimmed down to a lighter 310kg. He still has a long way to go before he can once again lead a normal life.


 
 

The secret to 43-year-old Uribe’s success is his love for his fiancée Claudia. The two plan to marry on October 26 in his hometown of Monterrey. Manuel said he owed a lot to the love of his life. He said she encouraged and supported him non-stop to lose weight. After they got engaged two years ago, Uribe promised Claudia he would get into better shape for their wedding day. He went on a diet called the Zone Diet, a special combination of carbohydrates and proteins. His diet was created and supervised by a team of weight loss and obesity specialists. He is still too big to walk on his own and said his dream is to be able to walk again. Manuel told reporters that he will have a big wedding, but the reception would have a “low-calorie banquet”. He added this meant no wedding cake for him.


 
 

WARM-UPS

1. WEIGHT: Walk around the class and talk to other students about weight. Change partners often. After you finish, sit with your partner(s) and share your findings.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words from the article are most interesting and which are most boring.

 

conquer / overweight / weighing scales / enormous / enough is enough / crash diets / the secret to success / love / getting into shape / obesity / wedding reception / cake

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.

3. LOVE CONQUERS ALL: Is this true? Would you still love your partner in the situations below? Complete the table. Share your ideas with your partner(s). Change partners and share your ideas again. Who has the strongest belief in love?

Your partner…

How I would feel

What I would do

is 100kg overweight

 

 

is sent to prison

 

 

attacks your parents

 

 

lies non-stop

 

 

is seeing someone else

 

 

is very racist

 

 

4. BEING IN GOOD SHAPE: Students A strongly believe it is our duty to stay in good shape; Students B strongly believe people our weight and shape are unimportant. Change partners again and talk about your roles and conversations.

5. THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE: Which of these things are most important to the love of your life? Rank them in order. Talk to your partner(s) about your rankings.

_____  your weight

_____  your bank account

_____  romance

_____  honesty

_____  your body shape

_____  your beliefs

_____  laughter

_____  other (_______________)

6. OBESITY: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word ‘obesity’. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):

a.

Love has changed the life of the world’s heaviest man Manuel Uribe.

T / F

b.

Manuel used to weigh over 650kg.

T / F

c.

Manuel went on a diet and lost over half of his weight.

T / F

d.

Manuel has a little more weight to lose before he can live normally.

T / F

e.

Manuel said his secret to success is his love for his fiancée.

T / F

f.

The couple have been engaged for two years.

T / F

g.

Manuel has been on a special carbohydrate and protein diet.

T / F

h.

Manuel is really looking forward to eating his wedding cake.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

1.

conquers

a.

ex-

2

certainly

b.

regular

3.

former

c.

mixture

4.

enormous

d.

feast

5.

normal

e.

beats

6.

secret

f.

experts

7.

owed

g.

huge

8.

combination

h.

key

9.

specialists

i.

definitely

10.

banquet

j.

was in debt to

3. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one. combination is possible):

1.

Love

a.

he could not leave his room

2

He was so enormous

b.

banquet

3.

marry his

c.

a crash diet

4.

Uribe went on

d.

shape

5.

He still has a long

e.

to the love of his life

6.

The secret to

f.

conquers all

7.

Manuel said he owed a lot

g.

to walk on his own

8.

get into better

h.

43-year-old Uribe’s success

9.

He is still too big

i.

way to go

10.

a low-calorie

j.

longtime girlfriend

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.

Love conquers __________. This is certainly __________ for the former heaviest man in the world. Mexican Manuel Uribe used to be the world’s most overweight person. He was in the Guinness Book of Records in 2006 after __________ the human weight record. Special weighing scales showed he weighed 560kg. He was so enormous he could not leave his room. He spent his __________ life living on his bed, eating huge meals and watching TV. He decided __________ was enough and that he wanted to change his life. He also wanted to marry his longtime girlfriend Claudia Solis. Uribe went on a __________ diet and lost almost half his body weight. He lost a whopping 250kg and has slimmed __________ to a lighter 310kg. He still has a long way to go before he can once again __________ a normal life.

 

crash
breaking
lead
all
enough
so
whole
down

The __________ to 43-year-old Uribe’s success is his love for his fiancée Claudia. The two plan to marry on October 26 in his hometown of Monterrey. Manuel said he __________ a lot to the love of his __________. He said she encouraged and supported him __________ to lose weight. After they got engaged two years ago, Uribe promised Claudia he would get into better __________ for their wedding day. He went on a diet called the Zone Diet, a special combination of carbohydrates and proteins. His diet was created and supervised by a team of weight __________ and obesity specialists. He is still too big to walk on his own and said his dream is to be able to walk again. Manuel told reporters that he will have a big wedding, but the __________ would have a “low-calorie banquet”. He added this __________ no wedding cake for him.

 

shape
 
non-stop
reception
loss
secret
meant
owed
life

LISTENING:  Listen and fill in the spaces.

Love conquers all. This is _________________ the former heaviest man in the world. Mexican Manuel Uribe used to be the world’s most overweight person. He was in the Guinness Book of Records in 2006 _______________ human weight record. Special weighing scales showed _________________. He was _________________ could not leave his room. He spent his whole life living on his bed, eating huge meals and watching TV. He decided _________________ and that he wanted to change his life. He also wanted to marry his longtime girlfriend Claudia Solis. Uribe _________________ and lost almost half his body weight. He lost a whopping 250kg and has slimmed down to a lighter 310kg. He still _________________ go before he can once again lead a normal life.

The secret to 43-year-old Uribe’s _________________ love for his fiancée Claudia. The two plan to marry on October 26 in his hometown of Monterrey. Manuel said he _________________ love of his life. He said she encouraged and supported him _________________ weight. After they got engaged two years ago, Uribe promised Claudia he would get _________________ for their wedding day. He went on a diet called the Zone Diet, a special combination of carbohydrates and proteins. His diet was created and supervised by a team _________________ obesity specialists. He is still too big to walk on his own and said his dream _________________ walk again. Manuel told reporters that he will have a big wedding, but the reception would have a “low-calorie banquet”. He _________________ no wedding cake for him.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘weight’ and ‘loss’.

weight

loss

 

 

 

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

  • conquers
  • 2006
  • 560
  • enough
  • crash
  • 310
  • secret
  • owed
  • shape
  • combination
  • dream
  • cake

STUDENT WEIGHT SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about weight in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper.

When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

STUDENT 1

_____________

STUDENT 2

_____________

STUDENT 3

_____________

Q.1.

Q.2.

Q.3.

Q.4.

Q.5.

  • Now return to your original partner and share and talk about what you found out. Change partners often.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

WEIGHT LOSS DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

a)

What did you think when you read the headline?

b)

What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘weight’?

c)

Are you happy with your weight?

d)

Do you believe love conquers all?

e)

What do you think life would be like to weigh 560kg?

f)

How often do you weigh yourself?

g)

Have you ever decided “enough was enough” and changed your life?

h)

Have you ever been on a diet?

i)

What do you think about Manuel’s weight loss?

j)

What would life be like not being able to leave your bed?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

What do you think is the secret to success?

c)

To whom in your life do you owe a lot?

d)

Who, or what, is the love of your life?

e)

Have you ever encouraged someone non-stop to do something?

f)

Has anyone ever encouraged you non-stop to do something?

g)

Do you need to get into better shape?

h)

Do people in your country need to think more about their weight?

i)

Do you think Manuel is lucky to have Claudia?

j)

What questions would you like to ask Manuel and Claudia?

LANGUAGE

Love conquers (1) ____. This is certainly (2) ____ for the former heaviest man in the world. Mexican Manuel Uribe used to be the world’s most overweight person. He was in the Guinness Book of Records in 2006 after (3) ____ the human weight record. Special weighing scales showed he weighed 560kg. He was (4) ____ enormous he could not leave his room. He spent his whole life living on his bed, eating huge meals and watching TV. He decided (5) ____ was enough and that he wanted to change his life. He also wanted to marry his longtime girlfriend Claudia Solis. Uribe went on a crash diet and lost almost half his body weight. He lost a whopping 250kg and has slimmed down to a lighter 310kg. He still has a long way to go (6) ____ he can once again lead a normal life.

The secret to 43-year-old Uribe’s (7) ____ is his love for his fiancée Claudia. The two plan to marry on October 26 in his hometown of Monterrey. Manuel said he owed a lot to the love of his (8) ____. He said she encouraged and supported him non-stop to lose weight. After they got engaged two years ago, Uribe promised Claudia he would get (9) ____ better shape for their wedding day. He went on a diet called the Zone Diet, a special combination (10) ____ carbohydrates and proteins. His diet was created and supervised by a team of weight loss and obesity (11) ____. He is still too big to walk on his own and said his dream is to be able to walk again. Manuel told reporters that he will have a big wedding, but the reception would have a “low-calorie banquet”. He added this (12) ____ no wedding cake for him.

Put the correct words from the table below in the above article.

1.

(a)

entire

(b)

whole

(c)

every

(d)

all

2.

(a)

as

(b)

so

(c)

such

(d)

is

3.

(a)

breaking

(b)

broken

(c)

break

(d)

breaks

4.

(a)

such

(b)

too

(c)

very

(d)

so

5.

(a)

although

(b)

already

(c)

enough

(d)

nought

6.

(a)

down

(b)

before

(c)

above

(d)

after

7.

(a)

success

(b)

successful

(c)

succeed

(d)

successor

8.

(a)

living

(b)

lifetime

(c)

live

(d)

life

9.

(a)

onto

(b)

into

(c)

to

(d)

up to

10.

(a)

for

(b)

with

(c)

by

(d)

of

11.

(a)

specialize

(b)

speciality

(c)

specialists

(d)

special

12.

(a)

meant

(b)

meaning

(c)

mentor

(d)

mental

WRITING: 

Write about weight loss for 10 minutes. Correct your partner’s paper.

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find out more about Manuel Uribe. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. RECORDS: Make a poster about some of the world’s weight and height record breakers. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

4. OVERWEIGHT: Write a magazine article about someone who weighs over 500kg. Include imaginary interviews with the person and the love of his/her life.

Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).

5. DIARY / JOURNAL: You are 500kg. Write about what you do in a normal day. Read your entry to your classmates in the next lesson.

6. LETTER: Write a letter to Manuel and Claudia. Ask them three questions. Give them three suggestions on how to live a happy life together. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. T

b. F

c. F

d. F

e. T

f. T

g. T

h. F

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

conquers

a.

beats

2

certainly

b.

definitely

3.

former

c.

ex-

4.

enormous

d.

huge

5.

normal

e.

regular

6.

secret

f.

key

7.

owed

g.

was in debt to

8.

combination

h.

mixture

9.

specialists

i.

experts

10.

banquet

j.

feast

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

Love

a.

conquers all

2

He was so enormous

b.

he could not leave his room

3.

marry his

c.

longtime girlfriend

4.

Uribe went on

d.

a crash diet

5.

He still has a long

e.

way to go

6.

The secret to

f.

43-year-old Uribe’s success

7.

Manuel said he owed a lot

g.

to the love of his life

8.

get into better

h.

shape

9.

He is still too big

i.

to walk on his own

10.

a low-calorie

j.

banquet

GAP FILL:

World’s heaviest man plans to marry

Love conquers all. This is certainly so for the former heaviest man in the world. Mexican Manuel Uribe used to be the world’s most overweight person. He was in the Guinness Book of Records in 2006 after breaking the human weight record. Special weighing scales showed he weighed 560kg. He was so enormous he could not leave his room. He spent his whole life living on his bed, eating huge meals and watching TV. He decided enough was enough and that he wanted to change his life. He also wanted to marry his longtime girlfriend Claudia Solis. Uribe went on a crash diet and lost almost half his body weight. He lost a whopping 250kg and has slimmed down to a lighter 310kg. He still has a long way to go before he can once again lead a normal life.

The secret to 43-year-old Uribe’s success is his love for his fiancée Claudia. The two plan to marry on October 26 in his hometown of Monterrey. Manuel said he owed a lot to the love of his life. He said she encouraged and supported him non-stop to lose weight. After they got engaged two years ago, Uribe promised Claudia he would get into better shape for their wedding day. He went on a diet called the Zone Diet, a special combination of carbohydrates and proteins. His diet was created and supervised by a team of weight loss and obesity specialists. He is still too big to walk on his own and said his dream is to be able to walk again. Manuel told reporters that he will have a big wedding, but the reception would have a “low-calorie banquet”. He added this meant no wedding cake for him.

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - d

2 - b

3 - a

4 - c

5 - c

6 - b

7 - a

8 - d

9 - b

10 - d

11 - c

12 - a

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