I’m watching Top Chef Masters right now (pirated, I don’t have tv so I gots ta get it via the interwebs) and the challenge for this episode is to re-work the favorite meals of contestants from The Biggest Loser into three meals (plus dessert) that don’t go over 1,500 calories total. Of course the favorite meals that they trot out are calorie-laden monster plates of deep dish pizza, bacon cheeseburgers, and the like. NOW, I am not judging the fact that those are someone’s favorite meal. Shit, a bacon cheeseburger? Essentially perfection on a plate. And even if I didn’t like the food someone chooses as her favorite, who the hell am I to say anything about it? Rock on with your food choices! My beef has more to do with the producers. Of course they only choose the foods that most folks would label as “bad.” Listen, I’m fat. Like, super fat. And my favorite meal is probably a caprese salad and some sort of California-style phroofy thin-crust pizza. I know other fat people who would kill someone over the perfect roast chicken. Did I see a plate of roast chicken with asparagus and fingerling potatoes in the show? I’ll give you seven guesses. Again, I’m not interested in getting into a good fatty/bad fatty discussion – of course people should be treated with dignity and respect regardless of what they choose to eat – I’m interested in the narrative that the producers wish to share with us. There is ONE fat person in this world, and she is lazy and eats everything in sight and that’s the reason she’s fat. One chef even says something like “jesus, I could feed my family for an entire week with what’s just on that one plate.” You, sir, should shut up.
On to the challenge itself. “1500 calories?” i thought. that doesn’t seem like much. Apparently the suggested caloric intake for women, according to the FDA, is 1500-2000. Ok, cool. So it’s not like The Biggest Loser is in the habit of starving people, right? But then I get to thinking about someone who weighs what I do trying to get by on 1500 calories. Wouldn’t my body think it’s starving and go into survival mode? And how is that sustainable? when I plug in my height and weight and indicate that I am active for 30 minutes about three times a week, i’m told that I need to take in about 2550 calories a day. This comes from the Mayo Clinic, it’s not some super random website. The difference between 1500 and 2550 is a lot. What about folks who weigh more than I do?
I don’t have any amazing epiphanies or anything, it just frustrates me to no end that there isn’t any further discussion. CUT and DRIED, people. Fat folks eat gross food, they should severely restrict their diet (and exercise 3+ hours a day like they do during taping of the show), and voila! they will be happy, healthy (read: less fat), and ready to be introduced to the world with confetti and bells and whistles in front of a live studio audience!
Wow, I’m feeling snark-tastic tonight. Love it.
Update: So now (sidebar: I feel like I’m live-blogging this damn thing), the chefs are talking to each Biggest Loser contestant about the food that will get a makeover, and one of the chefs is trying to convince the college student who loves her a bacon cheeseburger that a veggie patty is the way to go because meat is so bad for you. I’ve had some positively amazing veggie burgers in my life, so that doesn’t concern me. what concerns me is his statement later to the camera in which he says, “I do this for a living. I work in this industry with nutritionists and I have great respect for [the contestant], so shame on me if I present anything but a veggie burger.” Ummm, what dude? SHAME on you if you DARE to serve her anything but a veggie burger? What a hero, coming to rescue the fat maiden from her life of beef and hideousness. My hat’s off to you.
Update II: Now some of the chefs are crowing about how all three of their meals were under 1000 calories. See, this is where the shit hits the fan for me. This hasn’t become an exercise in mindful eating anymore, it’s a game to see how low you can go (calories, weight watchers).
Update III: Ok, there is some justice in the world! The preachy chef got sent home because, as one critic put it, he served them a “lecture on a plate.” Awesomesauce.