April 5, 2005 by Allen George
French Women Don’t…
“How to indulge and avoid the bulge”
“Reading this book makes me want to go out and buy a pound of leeks and champagne”
At the end of my day I walk from my office to Union Station and take the stairs to the train on Platform 1. Underneath those stairs is a beautifully framed ad, three-quarters of its space taken up by the cover of a book.
“French Women Don’t Get Fat” it screams.
Great. Another diet book. As if Atkins and South Beach weren’t enough. This one claims to have found a new ‘wonder diet’ based on glycemic indexes and proven (can you see the air-quotes?) by medical studies at Harvard. Yes – this book claims you can have it all – eat rich and stay thin.
To borrow ancient British slang – Bollocks! You want to know why French women are staying thin? Probably ’cause they aren’t eating like queens all the time and are actually walking their petite little selves around instead of commuting everywhere. If you’re going to be sitting on your ass all day – be it a car, subway, bus or train – then your body’s burning precious few calories. Probably 2 – 4 times less than if you were locomoting your weight around. Heck, for us knowledge workers (feel the air quotes?) it’s an occupational hazard – our backsides are practically glued to those office chairs. What with email, IM and a phone, everyone’s a finger press away and it takes conscious effort to get up and move.
There’s more to it of course. I know that by the time I’m back home [2 hours 40 mins commute time everyday] I’m not feeling too chipper. Since a good portion of Canadians aren’t living in close proximity to their job, I’ll assume this isn’t a unique reaction. I bet it’s a damn sight easier to walk around, be motivated and do other activities if you were living close to work. Also – think temperature. It’s not exactly…temperate…around here for most of the year. I don’t know about you, but when it’s -22 ~ -28 with the windchill I have no wish to go outside. None. At. All.
During winter I’ve got a one-track mind and it’s stuck on loop.
“Keep warm. Keep warm.”