My mom cut an article from the Denver Post written by the Chicago Tribune’s John Kass. It is basically a rant about skinny chefs versus shapely chefs and how the “waif-like” chefs are overrated.

So what is Kass’ beef with super chefs? He doesn’t like that these chefs on television are often skinnier than the average male or female and certainly thinner than most culinary professionals. He says, “Honey, everybody knows you can’t trust a skinny chef… When I think of a chef I can trust, I think of cooks with gravitas… women who clearly are no strangers to the knife and fork.” All right, Mr. Kass. You want chefs to look like they enjoy good food.

I want to point out something that is probably forgotten in the rush to examine the lives and food of television chefs. Most of them cook for television, and they need to look good for television. That means they need to be about 10% underweight in order to look normal. (Don’t get me started on Hollywood Healthy) The other chefs on television who might not be as “adorable” as Giada (Kass’ words, not mine) look more like chefs, you know, softer around the middle. Chef Mario isn’t getting any more svelt, and he definitely enjoys good food. Paula Deen definitely made her fame by enjoying butter, not staring at it through glass. Their food is definitely good, but I don’t think adorable would be an adjective attached to their television personas, either. Pleasantly plump has never been an endearing term.

So what’s a healthy chef supposed to do? Should I avoid samples (not gonna happen) or should I run more? Or should I embrace the new, slightly softer me? Maybe all of those?

Healthy weight isn’t about a number or a shape. It’s about how you feel and how healthy you really are. Extra weight can increase your risk of chronic diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, elevated blood pressure, or high blood cholesterol. Being underweight can also increase your risk of osteoporosis and slow wound healing. Only you know how your body feels. If you’re not sure if you’re close to a healthy weight, then get your BMI measured. You can use a BMI chart to figure out what your BMI number is. As long as you’re between 18.5 and 24.9, you’re within your healthy weight.

I like to try samples, but I also only try one spoon of something (or one forkful). I know that I can only enjoy the item while I’m eating it, so I try to linger on the one bite that I have. I try to restrict my calories and portions on a normal basis so that I have some “discretionary calories” when I want to eat something indulgent. Finally, you can always eat less of an indulgent food. Split dessert with a friend or pack it into a box to take home. Don’t get the extra snacky items at movie theaters. Don’t reach for the ever-present snack bowl at the office. Drink more water than soda pop or sweetened lattes. Eat a balanced breakfast so you’re not blindly hungry throughout the day. Or if all else fails, add some cardio to your exercise routine to help you burn those delicious calories from last night’s dinner.

BMI Charts
CDC Overweight Risks
DSHS Underweight Risks