How Do You Not Weigh 500 Pounds?

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If there’s one question I get asked all the time, whether in my blog comments or over Twitter, it’s: “How do you not weigh 500 pounds?”

It’s usually in response to a post about a very decadent meal or a recipe that involves several sticks of butter (like Craig’s birthday cake). The question implies that food with lots of butter or meals with lots of heavy courses are somehow responsible for massive weight gain; it ignores one’s own agency in the matter, assuming that when one bakes a cake with five sticks of butter that one is therefore going to consume several sticks of butter. If you visualize those five sticks of butter spread throughout a giant two layer cake, however, and then you cut an individual slice out of it, you come to realize that one piece of that cake represents just a few tablespoons of butter. And therein lies the answer.

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