Friday, August 15, 2008

French Women DO Get Fat

By Kathryn Lilley

The headline this week read: “French paradox a diet myth.”

It turns out that French women (and men) are struggling with a steep rise in obesity rates.

I pause now to snort out a supersized American, “Hah!”
Let me repeat that:
Hah!

It’s not that I’m happy that my Liberty sisters across the Atlantic have had to join us in the Battle of the Bulge.

It’s just that I’ve been haunted over the years by too many well-meaning people who have cheerfully handed me that book: You know the oneFrench Women Don’t Get Fat.

Just eat like the French and you’ll be fat free, the book promises. Eat three meals a day, walk everywhere, and take the stairs instead of the elevator. Oh, and drink lots of red wine, and don’t forget to indulge in your favorite foods every once in a while.


Hell, that’s what I thought I was doing! Okay, maybe I was over-overindulging in my fave foods (especially Chubby Hubby by B&J). But could the whole thing really be this simple?

Evidently not, at least if you measure by the recent results of the French population. Over time they have evidently become a lot more like us: eating meals on the run, consuming fast food—and getting fatter.

The average size of a real French woman, studies suggest, is likely to be on the surplus-side of size twelve (Okay, that’s still smaller than the average American’s size 14. But the point is, they’re catching up).

I hear the French government is fighting back by proposing anti-obesity measures and promoting public ad campaigns that exhort our Gallic guys and gals to take the stairs. We’ll see if it helps them return to the Land of the Annoyingly Thin.

But whatever happens to their waistlines over there, just don’t anyone write a book about it. And if you do, don’t hand it to me, okay? Je suis fini with French diets, but I'm keeping the french fries, thank you very much.

Kathryn Lilley is a writer and former journalist who lives in Southern California. She's currently on the Okinawa diet and dreaming about éclairs and pain perdu.

5 comments:

Sheila Connolly said...

I blame the French for getting me interested in food at all. I swear, when I first ate real French food, I was still afraid of onions. Mustard. Pickles. Coffee. A whole lot of other stuff. One trip to France took care of all that.

So I say that French women should enjoy their food and forget about waistlines. Life is short: eat well.

Sheila Connolly said...

I blame the French for getting me interested in food at all. I swear, when I first ate real French food, I was still afraid of onions. Mustard. Pickles. Coffee. A whole lot of other stuff. One trip to France took care of all that.

So I say that French women should enjoy their food and forget about waistlines. Life is short: eat well.

Kathryn Lilley said...

Sheila, I started getting hooked on French cuisine before I ever stepped foot in France! We did a yearly trip to NYC every fall to take in the museums and plays when I was growing up, and the highlight was always the latest, greatest French restaurant. It was before the days when we'd ever heard of fusion this-or-that. So I got spoiled at an incredibly early age!

sri said...

Spring in France is heralded not so much by warm blue skies and an eruption of cherry blossom as an explosion of diet specials in glossy women's magazines. The annual hostilities against winter flab began with marie claire's special thinning edition: "Years 20, 30, 40, 50 - slimming and beautifying at any age - the program that cherishes your body."For Marie France, thinning equals pleasure: "Cellulite, working out, snacking - our 41 top slimming secrets."Sante tells women to take to their beds: "Become thin while sleeping - scientifically proven - sleep is your ally."


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