For most of my life I have basically fluctuated between the same ten pounds; I have either been at the low end or the high end since I was about 16. In recent years, (years spent in outdoor adventure lands like Australia and New Zealand) I have stayed at the low-end. However, after only 3 months in France I am 5 pounds up and creeping towards my highest weight. I don’t often weigh myself; I think it is an overly-critical, typically inaccurate, and a cruel thing to do to oneself; rather, I judge weight by one pair of jeans. If they fit perfectly then I am doing alright, if they are loose then I’m doing better than alright, and if they are tight then it is time to make the tough choices.
For the last few weeks, I have been ignoring the ill-fit of my favorite pair of Sevens but when I arrived for my physical at the consulate a few days ago there was no hiding it; there were two extra kilos (4.4 lbs) that did not exist a few months back.
“Don’t worry, you are normal, see,” said the nurse as she showed me a chart with my weight on it. “Ca va?” Not ‘ca va’.
Later, on the tram ride home, I grimaced as I re-adjusted my jeans to cover my newly acquired gut that I lovingly refer to as my cheese baby. I know that I need to cut back and be more reasonable about what I am eating but I’m just not sure how to do it (I ponder this as I drop egg yolks into the blender to make homemade mayonnaise). Is it really reasonable to ask any food-loving person to cut back on calories after arriving in France? It would be like asking Keith Richards to hang out with a drug cartel for a year but stay clean.
When I arrived, I had no idea how much trouble I was going to be in. I have felt like the awe-struck Julia Child in Julie&Julia when she arrives in Paris and after tasting an exquisite dish exclaims, “the French eat French food everyday!” On my second day in town I was riding through city centre and I thought to myself, cool, there are so many good French restaurants! Doh! I have made myself so accustomed to looking for French restaurants in every town I’ve lived in that I literally didn’t think about the fact that I was in France (first red flag). For the first few weeks, I regularly dined on lunches consisting of baguette, pate, and cheese (glorious cheese) followed by 3 course dinners out. Hey, I was in Europe now, there’s no getting fat, right? I’ve turned into a street dog, which is afraid at any moment; their food bowl will be taken away. Eat it now, eat it all now!
Somehow, I am going to have to convince myself that France is not going to stop producing cheese and foie-gras, that they will continue to provide me with warm, crusty bread and cream laden sauces. I need to remember that I actually live here and that this isn’t a vacation…I have over a year to try to eat France.