Thursday, 30 August 2012

French Women Don't Get Fat!!!

Apparently they don’t! French women, it seems, don’t get fat! I learned this from a book by the same name. Yes! I read it. And then, at a friend’s house, during dinner, I imparted the wisdom I had gleaned from this book to anyone who cared to listen. It’s amazing how everyone wants to hear diet advice. I shone in my role as advisor, all the while stuffing fried chicken into my face! While leaving, I found on her bookshelf, a book after my own heart! It was called, “Japanese Women Don’t Get Old Or Fat” and it now adorns my bedside table, ready to be referred to in my time of need. 

I think the time has come to admit that I am a diet book addict. If there is a book doling out advice on how to be thin, I will buy it, read it and practice it, till a new one hits the market!

The first one I read was “Fit For Life”, a much acclaimed book written somewhere in the last century. It talked of nutritional hygiene, whatever that may be, and I was a convert. I practiced it, my skin glowed and I even lost a few grams I’m sure. Then I found something else and it has never stopped.
I was a plump teenager, who grew into a pleasantly plump young woman and naturally I needed to lose weight because all those lovely slim fit pants and tube dresses were calling.  So I dieted! This is probably the most unhealthy way to lose weight, but hey! Vanity rules!

So I gave up sweets. In face I forgot what chocolate tasted like. Cheese was banished forever. Chola bhaturas were a distant memory, learned to turn up my nose at samosas and eventually became carb free, wheat free, protein free and eventually health free, depending on the diet I was following. But the weight remained firmly attached to me.

Then one day, I got into a bad mood and took off for a walk to get away. I walked without realising how long I’d been and when I got home, sweaty and tired, I realised I had loved it. My mind was now clear, I could think without incessant chatter and clearly some amount of endorphins had been released! I was addicted, yet again! Now I can be seen walking almost every day. In fact, my friends call me the ghost walker of Bombay! As the weight began to come off, I realised there wasn’t a short cut to fitness and a diet wasn’t going to do it. Just going to the gym, working out for 30 minutes, then having coffee, energy drinks and diet biscuits were not enough. I felt virtuous, but it didn’t help. What did help was, finally finding something I enjoyed. Fickle as I am, what I enjoy changes with amazing regularity. One day it’s walking, then badminton, then swimming (shut up Althea), and currently it’s Yoga. But as long as I’m enjoying it, I don’t mind the exercise. At one time, dancing the night away was my favourite.

 But let’s get back to the diet. After I lost no weight, and drove everyone at the dinner table insane, I realized that I was going about it all wrong. One book said eat chocolate if you want, the other said sweets are fine in the morning, a third suggested I eat cheese but without bread and another encouraged me to eat a hearty breakfast. I did all of it and went from pleasantly plump to chubby, to chunky in no time. And then it dawned upon me! Diet is common sense. Even kids know that salads and vegetables are good for you. Bread or rotis and other carbs are good for you because they provide energy. Fruit and water are healthy. Your body needs sugar and salt. Too much oil is bad. Too much sugar is terrible, too many carbs is awful. There is no need to over eat because the food will be there three hours later too. Eat something now and eat something later. Don’t eat everything at once. And do not deprive yourself because eventually you will fall off the wagon.

And that is the reason I can wear that dress. That is all that is responsible for me shedding weight – good old common sense – things I learned at my mother’s knee (eat those vegetables...stop stuffing your mouth the food isn’t going anywhere and get out and play), or simple stuff I learned about food groups in school. And of course, liking the outdoors and physical activity helped.  I lost weight and have maintained it since then. Though if the problem seems persistent, see a doctor. 

And  I don’t care why French women don’t get fat or why Japanese women don’t grow old. These are my genes and I do the best I can with them. Though I must admit, I have never managed to fit into the slim fit pants!!!

1 comment:

  1. After my own heart! I have lost more weight when I have not dieted..and yes, I miss our walks :)
    And frankly I am done with dieting. When I diet, I crave more. All I do now is chew properly and eat with a relish so as to enjoy every morsel...which essentially means slow eating.
    Lessons learned:
    Walk, walk walk...(Yes, I will get around to it)
    Chew your food properly, slowly, enjoying every flavour there is in it.
    Never miss breakfast.
    Have dinner real early.
    Don't eat chocolate...nibble...and never deprive yourself.
    And like you ian't running away!