Frank Bruni endured a lifelong struggle with his weight, veering close to 300 pounds before getting a handle on it—and going on to a 5-year reign as New York City’s most feared food critic. Though his New York Times job required him to sample the city’s most decadent dishes, he found that “being a restaurant critic helped me maintain weight and not gain weight,” he tells Salon in an interview about his new book, Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater.
“I really kind of rode a sort of binge-purge roller coaster,” Bruni recalls, whereas “as a restaurant critic, I had to keep eating at a certain pace. By never being able to tell myself with any degree of convincing honesty that I was going to be great and do an ultra-ultra-extreme deprivation next week, I never allowed myself to binge the way I had in the past." Now that he’s moved on from that job, he’s doing well so far, “but I'll always worry a little bit,” he says. “I still have some of the same body-image self-consciousness that I always did. I don't think anyone who has lived as long as I have with a history of overeating can say, ‘I'm fine, I'm great, I'm cured.’”