Monday, July 7, 2008

How To Keep The Weight Off When Eating Is Your Job

That's the dilemma food critics face day in and day out. In an article I read recently, food critics around the country were asked what they do to keep their waistlines in check.

To some it's a dream job - eating gourmet meals for free and then writing about them. But some food critics have a hard time maintaining their weight with all the feasting they endure.

Karen Fernau, a food writer for The Arizona Republic, said when she first started her job she began to gain weight. "I always looked forward to lunch before this job, then all of a sudden lunch was all day every day. Eventually I realized that if I continued to carry on eating for work and then eating outside of work, too, I wasn't going to fit in my cubicle," she says. Nine years later, keeping her weight steady and her health intact is a daily battle.

"When I'm not working I have to eat like a rabbit and exercise like a crazy person," she says. If she knows she will be going to a tasting at a bakery or eating a four-course meal, she usually eats fruit or salads throughout the day. "What people don't realize is that as a food critic or writer, you're not writing about health--you're celebrating food. And these chefs don't try to make it healthy, they try to make it incredible, and a lot of butter and fats go into that mission."

Fernau discovered that she had to learn the difference between tasting and gorging. "I started to realize that I couldn't eat the entire treat, even if it was delicious. I just couldn't," she says. "It's all about proportions now. That and being extremely cautious off the job. On the job, I can't not taste something. It's my livelihood and something I must deal with."

At one tasting session alone, she consumes over 1,000 calories. That's about half of the recommended total calories per day for the average adult.

But even though she's devised an eating method that keeps her on track, Fernau says sticking to it is a daily battle. And food editors, writers and critics across the country couldn't agree more.

"When I'm at home or not eating for work, it's healthy food to the extreme," says Phil Vettel, who's been a restaurant critic for the Chicago Tribune for 19 years. "People are always astonished that I eat so plainly at home, but if I didn't, I'd have to widen all my doorways."

"My saving grace in this profession is that you have to try everything, but you don't have to finish it. Doggie bags are my lifesaver."

While Vettel exercises when he can, Joe Yonan, a food editor at The Washington Post, has intensified his exercise habits since he started the job two years ago. Yonan says he realized early on that he was gaining weight and promptly hired a personal trainer to meet with three times a week, on top of his cardio training three to five times a week. "There are certainly perks to tasting such great food," he says. "But it presents an uphill struggle to staying fit."

Still, it's a struggle that many Americans might envy. After all, it's one thing to get your calories from lobster tails poached in butter or a delicate chocolate soufflé and quite another to get them from sodas and fast-food burgers.

Read the entire article here.

© 2008 Thanks for taking the time to read A Junk-Foodaholic's Journey to a Healthy Lifestyle. Please feel free to peruse my blog for more great content.

My Other Websites: Are Your Vitamins Safe? Whole Food Nation Affiliate Link


Patricia Rockwell said...

Very interesting and helpful article--well written. Tried to Digg this but it is incredibly complicated if you are the first person.

Laura said...

Hi Patricia. Thanks for the nice comments! I think I have fixed the Digg problem. I went ahead and Dugg this article, so you can just click the button now.

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