The Fat Germ: The Thin Friend Solution (Not)
Having struggled with a weight problem my entire life, I paid particular attention to the news that being fat may be a function of a germ-like phenomena passed around my rotund circle of friends. I used to blame my parents, may they rest in peace, for passing on their fat genes to me. Now it turns out my weight struggles aren't all their fault. The fat germ, as I'm calling it, turns out to be spread among friends, according to a just-published study.
The New York Times says:
If the new research is correct, it may say that something in the environment seeded what some call an obesity epidemic, making a few people gain weight. Then social networks let the obesity spread rapidly.
It may also mean that the way to avoid becoming fat is to avoid having fat friends.
Read on to find out which of my friends made me fat.
I, of course, started making a list of all the friends I have had since I was three, trying to ascertain who I could blame for my weight problem, and who in turn who could blame me. My elementary school pals Bobby, Rob, Ray, and Kenny were all thin, but as I haven't seen three of them in more than 40 years, I don't know if they've gotten fat. I have seen Rob, and he's still thin. My high school buddies Michael, David, Alan, and Matt were thin then, and still are. My college buddies Bob and Ron were thin and have put on a few pounds as they've gotten older, but nobody would call them obese. Tom, Tom, Rick, and David, several of the friends I have had since young adulthood, have always been in the "not fat" camp.
So it turns out that I have de facto avoided having fat friends all my life, and yet I continue to struggle with my weight. Damn it, I can't blame my fatness on my friends. I still have my parents to pin the blame on. They're not even around to defend themselves.
It seems to me the most important thing I take away from this new study, which from what I can tell is a classic example of pseudoscientific navel-gazing, is that my fatness is still not my fault. It's my nonexistent circle of rotund friends. The ice cream and potato chips I ate at the office yesterday in the name of Serious Eats research have nothing to do with it. I feel better already.