The Fat Pack

There was a fascinating article in the NY Times yesterday about the unfortunate side effects of an excessive foodie lifestyle and the way some different people approach (or refuse to approach) these weighty issues…click here.

There are odd undercurrents and strange statements running through this article and two of the people quoted, Jason Perlow and Steven Shaw. (I consider both of these men to be friendly acquaintances, having broken bread with each on separate occasions. There’s a link to Perlow’s blog, Off the Broiler, in my blogroll.) I have to assume Perlow was quoted out of context when he said, “‘I do find it irresponsible that they have done nothing to address health issues,’ he said of eGullet” given that there have been many lengthy and detailed discussions of healthy eating or specific plans like Weight Watchers on the site. And then there’s Shaw’s baffling statement, “I think the whole diabetes thing is a major hoax. They are overdiagnosing it.” (He justifies this in the ensuing discussion on eGullet, stating “the diagnostic threshold for type 2 diabetes has been lowered over time, such that people are being diagnosed with diabetes today who — even if tested and evaluated — would not have been diagnosed as such in the past.”)

Like most of the serious food people I know, I vacillate between watching what I eat and occasionally indulging in a little too much of the good stuff. I am a true omnivore, with a serious love of bacon and grapefruit and brown rice and donuts. It’s always been a struggle for me to avoid joining the “fat pack.” Nobody would argue that I’m slim, but since my mid-20s I’ve made some sort of effort to get to the gym and cut the truly bad food whenever I can. My recent health struggles have made this particularly difficult, as I’ve gone through some really weird stages vis-a-vis diet and exercise over the past year. When I’m with my food nerd friends I want to keep up, but I try to make up with more sushi and less tempura for the days around those indulgences. It’s tough, no doubt about it, and I agree with Mimi Sheraton when she says, “Most of us who are in this profession are here as an excuse to eat.”

I have never identifed with the NAAFA line on body weight, but I also think the relationships between weight and health, between exercise and fitness, and between calories consumed and calories burned is much more complicated than we can currently fully understand. I don’t know where the balance point is, I just know I need to keep seeking it out and doing the best I can.


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