All the dieting advice I have

PieAfter my last McSweeney’s column, someone made the mistake of asking me how I maintain my own weight. For the most part, I don’t. I’m pretty active and my weight bounces up and down a bit but usually whenever it gets a little high I come down with a stomach bug or some other illness that ruins my appetite for a week or so and I revert to the mean. That’s not a system but it’s a recurring pattern, and it has worked out OK so far.

I do, however, have a few very basic rules (or superstitions) that I try to keep in mind when making food choices. Your mileage may vary (and I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist, in case you haven’t guessed), but here they are:

1. Use a plate, not a bowl. Humans evolved as hunter-gatherers, foraging for roots and chasing antelope, but now we drive our lazy asses to the grocery store and consume most of our calories through a straw, in nugget form, or wrapped in an oversized Dorito. Even the humble bowl was invented simply to collect food and funnel it more efficiently down our gullets. Thus for many of us, a plate and fork represent our one remaining opportunity to chase our food around for a while before we put it in our mouths. Avail yourself of this opportunity; you will eat more slowly, and therefore less.

2. Fads are stupid. Remember oat bran? Atkins? How eggs were going to kill us all? We eat lots of things that are bad for us and we should try to eat less of them, but life is too short to embrace every new wonder food, or to purify ourselves of whatever has been declared this month’s slow poison. Eat cleaner, greener food–and less of it–and you’ll probably be healthier. That’s not very exciting to talk about at parties but it’s easy to remember and act on.

3. Remember that it’s OK to be hungry, it’s OK to say you’re hungry, it’s OK to eat like you’re hungry, and it’s OK to be pleased about feeling full. “Oh, I’m not hungry.” “I’m just having coffee.” “I couldn’t possibly eat the whole thing.” “Ugh, I’m stuffed; I feel sick.” All perfectly fine to say if true. But women especially spout this crap all the time because it’s expected of us. We’re supposed to have delicate, ladylike appetites. Our figures are one way society checks up on us, but no matter what we look like, we’re also expected to pay lip service to the “I don’t want anything, I have no needs or desires,” ideal of womanhood. For god’s sake, stop it. Pizza is awesome. Pie is the best thing God ever invented. I would put on cleats and climb over people–nice people–for good beer or chocolate. I can eat an entire loaf of homemade bread in an afternoon, and I’m proud of it. I try not to eat like that all the time, but why lie? In short, don’t let a society that invented Hot Pockets tell you how you should feel about food.

Here’s the thing about adultery, ladies

Paula Broadwell

Paula Broadwell

I’ve written before about infidelity and the ways our culture responds to it, but there’s an important point being overlooked in current discussions of the Petraeus-Broadwell affair; one that’s integral to the gender issues in play.

Here’s the thing about cheating: It’s anti-choice. If you believe in empowering women, you have to see infidelity as morally wrong, because it disempowers people (men AND women, and the whole point of feminism, to me anyway–I don’t much care what it means to anyone else–is admitting that everyone deserves the same basic rights, regardless of their gender).

Knowledge is power. If you have knowledge–accurate, Nate Silver-type knowledge, based in reality–then no matter what else happens to you and no matter how bleak your options are, you can at least make the best choices possible. Without knowledge, you have to rely on luck to better your condition. Which is why education has historically been the path out of oppression and marginalization, and enforced ignorance is a preferred tool of despots.

When you promise someone you’ll be in a monogamous relationship with them, and then break that promise without telling them, you have information they don’t. Vital information; information about a really intimate part of their life, which they need in order to make healthy decisions for themselves. When you hide facts about someone’s life from that person, you’re limiting their choices and their freedom in a profound way. You are abusing them. And you’re being an incredible shit.

Both betrayed spouses in this scenario were robbed of the truth by the people they presumably trusted most. This is loathsome behavior. It shouldn’t be sliced off and set aside as the gossipy top layer of some larger, more serious conversation about national security or FBI overreach or the New Way We Think About Marriage Now. Whatever is in the hearts and minds of cheaters, their cheating does very real damage to the lives and health of their spouses. If we claim to want a more just and compassionate world, we can’t overlook such wanton cruelty. We have to name it and condemn it.

So don’t expect me to spend a lot of time defending Paula Broadwell from the misogynist filth being hurled at her right now. I think Petraeus deserves every bit as much censure as she does (maybe more). But I see no need to defend either of them.

I didn’t even try to address the homoeroticism

The latest installment of my McSweeney’s column points out an obvious and icky bias in the world of sport fighting: Only small, skinny women get to fight pro, because those are the only women male viewers want to look at.

I wrote this column the same week that UFC president Dana White announced he was committed to starting a women’s MMA league. No word on the upper weight limit, but White says he was inspired by Ronda Rousey. If you’re not familiar with Rousey, God bless her, here’s a picture of her. She’s a great fighter, and beautiful to boot, but is MMA fighting going to focus exclusively on fighters like her, and end up off-limits to anyone over 135 pounds?

If it does, we’re all missing out.