‘There Are No Fat People in Paris’

From The Atlantic.

Despite all the extra effort [walking up stairs rather than using the lift, er elevator], I find that I consume less energy. I don’t know that I eat any “healthier” in the sense of what “health” tends to mean back home. There are fat and carbs all around me. There’s butter in most of the dishes. It’s nothing see a Parisian walking the street while inhaling a long baguette. Bread is served with every meal, but oddly enough, without butter, which leads me to believe that they think of butter as something to be put in things, not on them. 

I eat my fries with mayonnaise. I now find ketchup to be too sweet. Without exception I eat dessert — preferably something with chocolate. I eat a panini or a sandwich every day, but I don’t eat any chips. You can find junk-food here, but you have to be looking for it. I don’t really order out. I’ve stopped drinking Diet Coke. In general I eat a lot less, and I drink a lot more — a half a bottle of wine every night. But I don’t think I’ve been drunk once since I’ve been here. I feel a lot better–more energy, lighter on my feet, a clearer head.

Before I came here, so many people told me, “There are no fat people in Paris.” But I think this misses something more telling. There are “no” stunningly athletic people either. There just doesn’t seem to be much gusto for spending two hours in the gym here. The people don’t seem very prone to our extremes. And they are not, to my eyes, particularly thin. They look like how I remember people looking in 1983. I suspect they look this way because of some things that strike me — the constant movement, the diet, the natural discomfort — are part of their culture.

Very sensible crowd, the French.