10 things I hate about health freaks

1. The concept of calories: There are few things more annoying than counting calories.

Gibran Peshimam June 20, 2010

1. The concept of calories: There are few things more annoying than counting calories. Possibly the only thing more exasperating is people who know the calorie count of close to all edible items. Get a life.

2. The word calorie. It even sounds diminutive and inconsequential.

3. The pedantry. Health freaks, like most (Karachi) Grammarians, feel that they have a monopoly on all that is good. Here’s the low-down: Despite all that effort, you are not better than me. You are as likely to die a sudden death as I am. Deal with it.

4. Nutritional charts. A supermarket is not a library – please give way. Whatever happened to those days when the picture on the box sufficed when it came to deciding whether one wanted to buy something or not?

5. The grammatical liberties this culture has led to. Not everything can be turned into a verb by adding a suffix. ‘‘I have to go gym-ing’; ‘I feel like being bad, let’s go ice-cream-ing.’ ‘I’m calorie-ed out’. Nauseating.

6. The false camaraderie. People who otherwise have nothing in common come together over a low-calorie salad recipe. Or a calorie count equation. Or because they share a trainer. As if the current basis of social groupings and the conversations therein were not shallow enough.

7. The masochistic subversion of pleasure. Why torture yourself? If you like something, have it if you can. It is a privilege that many suffering from diseases cannot afford. Don’t be ungrateful that you can have that chocolate bomb of a cake. Remember what Art Buchwald said in his last column.

8. How, somehow, a healthy lifestyle translates into keenness and optimism. Life, dear health freak, is currently still, in the words of Hobbes, nasty, brutish and short. You going green, or losing weight or feeling healthy doesn’t change that. Or the other sad realities of life – in particular yours. One word: Sublimation.

9. The awkwardness. How often does it happen that you are at a restaurant and want to eat a big fat steak, or the like, and the health freak opposite you orders a small salad? And green tea. If you’re obdurate enough to still make the big order, they’re done in 10 minutes, while you feel the need to rush through your meal. Thank you for ruining it.

10. The overbearing, and largely gratuitous, advice. I know smoking too much is bad for me. I’ve heard. Yes, I’ve heard fried food is unhealthy. Thank you. Now buzz off.

Published in the Express Tribune, June 20th, 2010.


Alice | 12 years ago | Reply Salman, shut up and respect his opinions. Being health conscious is a good thing, but overdoing it is obnoxious. By the way, your way of writing is hackneyed, vague, and verbose.
Salman | 12 years ago | Reply Dear Mr. Peshimam, I might not be able to understand your societal prejudices, and the lack of cohesion or for that matter, the different class divides here. But what is sad is how you berate healthy eating habits. The world over, dieticians, nutritionists, and health professionals are combating general misconceptions about food, bringing back natural food cultivating and growing habits, relevant organisations are investing millions to meet strict dietary guidelines. And here, in a country of 170 million, where an over-whelming majority lives on less than a dollar a day, the population has serious health problems stemming primarily from a nutrition starved diet, and secondarily from lead content and general rubbish in food products. You will notice this if you leave your bubble that is. I politely urge you to kindly refrain from such flippant, irresponsible articles as you have a responsibility to manage as a writer for a popular English language newspaper. Your responsibility is to better inform your readers. regards, Salman
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