FAT KID GOT FIT: And So Can You! by Bill Baroni, with Damon DiMarco. Lyons Press, 245 pp., $24.95.

You wouldn't want to mess with the lean and muscular Bill Baroni dominating the front cover. And you'll hardly believe his "before" photo on the back.

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Baroni is deputy executive director of The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, with overall responsibility for World Trade Center reconstruction. But at age 20 he weighed 320, and writes movingly of the physical/emotional pain and shame of being a "fat kid" and teen. His life changed at 22, when he learned about lifestyle change at Duke University's Diet & Fitness Center.

THE SCOOP "Weight loss is actually secondary," he writes, "a by-product of good practice." Journaling helps: "When I wrote down, 'I wasn't feeling full,' I could translate that to mean I wasn't feeling fulfilled."

THE BOTTOM LINE Baroni's story and fit tips ("if it isn't fun, you'll fail") may be just the inspiration you need.