Booze

Trying to lose weight? Eat more like a food critic

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I lived in sheer, gluttonous bliss for the first few months of my new career, and in some ways, it was wonderful. But then the appeal of stuffing myself all day, every day began to wear off - I even craved leafy greens every now and then, which was an entirely new feeling for me - and my eating habits started to evolve. Before becoming a food critic, I could binge-eat with the best of them, practicing the old family motto, "If you get sick, just eat through it." But in the face of constant excess, I was developing a certain kind of moderation: I was learning to determine what was worth stuffing in my piehole until I squawked, and what was better left abandoned since a tastier version was surely just around the next corner.

So though I didn't know it at first, I wasn't a completely lost cause when I finally broke down and sought out Jamie Atlas at Bonza Bodies for help. And while he got me on the high-protein breakfast track, asked me to cut gluten and dairy while I wasn't eating for work, and got me in good-enough shape to start refeed workouts, he also cross-examined me for every detail he could pry out of me about my current eating habits -- hoping, no doubt, to find some glimmer of hope on which to latch, some habit of mine that he wouldn't have to tweak.

For my part, during workouts I was happy to blather on about dishes I'd recently consumed - it took my mind off the pain - but once, after I'd been comparing and contrasting a couple of different ramen bowls for him, analyzing noodle springiness and pork fat content, I paused just as the words "creamy, velvety collagen" were about to drip off the tip of my tongue. "I'm hopeless, aren't I?" I asked.

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk