Absurd Hot Dog Contest Guy - © blogdotarugao.com.br

A World Eating Champ Retires: “I No Longer Feel Hunger”

A competitive eating champ is hanging up his fork. He’s won dozens of international ‘eat meets’ over his career. But, after more than 2 decades in the game, he says he simply ‘no longer feels hunger’. Alas, his malaise goes much deeper…

Kobayashi - © 2024 - Fox NewsTakeru Kobayashi moments before throwing in the towel…

No, it’s not the (in)famous Joey Chestnut, winner of more Nathan’s Famous July 4 Hot Dog Eating Contests than anyone else. It’s Chestnut’s long-time nemesis, Japanese champ Takeru ‘Tsunami’ Kobayashi, 46, who won the Nathan’s title 6 consecutive times.

Gorging takes practice

Serious competitive eating, Kobayashi admits, takes a serious commitment and strenuous training. To reach the winner’s circle, professional eaters must train continually, keeping their stomachs stretched out so they can pack in the max volume of whatever food a certain event is promoting.

There are now events spotlighting almost every food you can think of. Along with the original Hot Dog event, there are such varied contest themes as: Spicy Wings; Donuts; Apple Sauce; Hamburgers; Pies; Pancakes; Pizzas – and many more.

A good living

Competitive eaters can actually make a pretty good living participating in as many as 30 events a year. First prize money at the big ones may surpass $10,000. And there are usually second and third prize purses as well.

And don’t forget the celebrity status a big win can confer. That’s almost as important as the money for some competitors. In fact many will tell you the fame is the main reason they got involved in pro eating in the first place.

Takes a serious toll

The competitive eating ‘life’ takes a heavy toll on those who dare to live it. No one knows that better than Takeru Kobayashi.

He reveals, in a new Netflix documentary, that he decided to retire when he couldn’t take the physical and emotional effects of his chosen vocation any more.

“Ever since I started this career, I’ve wondered what damage I’ve done to my body,” Kobayashi told the documentary makers. And he’s not shy about admitting he’s ready for a change.

‘I’ve decided to retire from competitive eating. It’s all I’ve done for the last 20 years. I am worried about what my next step will bring, but I am also excited about my future,” he says. “I have mixed feelings.”

Symptoms and syndromes…

Kobayashi says he’s developed an odd collection of symptoms and mental quirks over the course of his eating career.

“I hear people say they’re hungry, and they look very happy after they’ve eaten,” Kobayashi says. “I’m jealous of those people because I no longer feel hunger.”

He says he’s also lost his sense of smell – a major blow to his ability to appreciate food. And it’s time to ‘detox’ from pro eating.

“For the past 20 years, I have been in this field,” he said “I worry about the consequences of my decision, but most importantly, I want to repair my brain and gut.”

My take

I’m not surprised to hear Kobayashi feels broken after 20 years in the competitive eating game. And I’m encouraged that he sees a life after gorging, and believes he can be cured of his eating-related ills.

“I am worried about what my next step will bring, but I’m also excited about my future,” he says.

His plans include developing a new, healthy hot dog, using ‘healthy Japanese ingredients’. More power to him!

~ Maggie J.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *