quantity vs. quality

last year i was working for a woman who was convinced that if people just ate less, there would be no obesity.  she designed an app for the iPhone that helped people monitor how much they were eating.  to her, quality was not important, it was all about quantity.  i didn’t agree, but i was happy to have a steady livable paycheck and health insurance.

last night on my way home, i came to this passage in Sugar Blues.

“Any diet or regime undertaken for the single purpose of losing weight is dangerous, by definition.  Obesity is talked about and treated as a disease in twentieth-century America.  Obesity is not a disease.  It is only a symptom, a sign, a warning that your body is out of order.  Dieting to lose weight is as silly and dangerous as taking aspirin to relieve a headache before you know the reason for the headache.  Getting rid of the symptom is like turning off an alarm.  It leaves the basic cause untouched.”

He continues, “Any diet or regime undertaken with any objective short of restoration of total health of your body is dangerous.  Many overweight people are undernourished.  Eating less can aggravate this condition unless one is concerned with the quality of the food instead of just its quantity.”

i agree.  after reading the last line i wanted to tell my former boss to put that in her pipe and smoke it.  he also makes the point that when changing the quality of the food you eat to that of natural and whole foods, quantity tends to follow.   nobody eats a dozen carrots, but many will eat a dozen cookies or a whole pint of ice cream.  i have.

i remember talking to my teacher about my boss at the time and her theory of eating less, no matter what you’re eating.  “eat whatever you want” was her mantra.  (she drank Coke Zero through a straw like it was water.)  he told me he’d eat 400 bowls of brown rice before eating small quantity of something of poor quality.  overall, i did appreciate my boss’s perspective that the whole diet and exercise industry is neurotic, but her idea that there is no need to eat healthy, natural, whole food was something that challenged my compass.

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