My mom always used to joke in the kitchen, “Never trust a skinny chef,” even though she’s a skinny chef herself. Her words always ring through my mind when I see thinso chefs on the Food Network, or super-slim food critics like Padma Lakshmi of “Top Chef.” She is perhaps the most baffling—I see her eat plates full of food laden with fat (hellloooo butter!), and yet she always looks ridiculously slender. How does she do it?Apparently, the New York Times has been wondering the same thing. They talked to Padma about this very topic. While her basic advice isn’t groundbreaking, she did reveal a few interesting tidbits. Like that she keeps two dress sizes on set because she knows she usually packs on 10 to 15 pounds per season. And that she brings a jump rope with her when she’s filming to try to get in a little exercise. When the show isn’t in season, she boxes and climbs stairs. “I go into food detox, no red meat, no alcohol, no cheese, until I’m back in shape,” she says.
The more interesting part of the article to me came from restaurant critics Frank Bruni and Meredith Ford Goldman, who have both struggled with eating disorders in order to indulge in their culinary interests. Frank Bruni wrote about his struggles in his upcoming book, Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-time Eater which was excerpted in a recent NY Times Magazine and happens to be simultaneously laugh-out-loud funny and tragic in how relatable his story is to the average weight-concerned woman. Meanwhile, Goldman learned how to put food in perspective and incorporated fitness into her routine. “If I really blow it out and eat, like, 4 million calories, guess what? You’ve got to get up and go to the gym.” [NY Times]
Moderation, balance, and exercise. Despite what TV and the billion dollar diet industry would like us to believe, it’s that simple. Unfortunately, for those of us who cling to fad diets with hope in our hearts and a hidden box of Girl Scout cookies in our cupboards.