Monday, October 05, 2009

"By American standards you're fine, but by European standards you need to lose some weight."


The title is a direct quote from my new French doctor. She's fantastic but man is she blunt. She reminds of some people I Caribbean family.

Toward the end of my check up, she asked me to step on the scale.

The metric number didn't register with me since I'm still metrically challenged. I do know I have lost weight since I've moved to Italy. So when when she told I needed to lose some weight I was surprised. I told her I'm the thinnest I've been in years and that's when she made the above comment.

Now I do have a sweet tooth, a San Carlos chips tooth and prosciutto tooth etc. but I love what she said next, "Don't diet though. Dieting is so stressful. Just watch the sweets and keep working out. You'll be fine."

I also think dieting is stressful and doesn't work. In L.A. I was either doing the Zone, South Beach or cutting out bread/pasta etc. and working out at the gym 5-6 days a week.

I move to Rome, where I eat whatever the hell I feel like, and boom, I drop weight without trying to .

Dieting is short term solution. Changing eating habits makes more sense. The amount of processed foods I eat here is miniscule compared to the States. Other than chips I really don't eat processed stuff. I buy fresh bread, fruits, veggies and the snacking has gone way down too.

My doctor is right. Overall European women are smaller, which is why the clothes are cut smaller (much to my chagrin).

My Italian friends are so slim. I don't have a single female friend who's bigger than an American sized 4 or 6. I feel like a giant next to them. And these girls eat.

I know that Italian children are getting heavier. Studies blame the fast food culture that is taking over the traditional Mediterranean diet.

A few years ago I was doing the South Beach diet and the first week was horrible. My assistant wanted to buy me a bagel because I was beyond cranky. I did lose weight that year but the minute I started eating carbs again the weight came back and then some.

Later for that craziness. Life's too short not to eat carbs.


a.d.f. said...

Amen! But you should see Sicily... the girls here are definitely, ahem.. curvy! Hahaha. Keep it up though! :P

Eleonora said...

I totally agree with you about the carbs ;-)

I do the Zone here and then but I find it stressful to follow.

I remember when I went to the States for two months and I gained 5 kilos!
Back in Italy, I lost them just eating my usual food!

I think Italians eat well, because we use fresh vegs, fruit, not so many processed foods, olive oil and so on.

I hate working out, so I'd better stay on my healthy, mediterranean diet!

Simone said...

Next try traveling though Asia at an American size LOL..since my visits to Italy and France I have learned to walk everywhere, eat fresh and half as much as often as possible, exercise moderately so to allow my body to be toned and in the shape it is suppose to be. There is a freedom in it! It is sad that the beauty and simplicity of Mediterranean eating got lost in American translation.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

How can you live in Italy and not regularly eat the holy trinity: pizza, pasta and prosciutto. (oh and don't forget gelato) When we lived there, I gained nearly 20 pounds in a year, so I applaud you for being able to lose weight there.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

adf - I cannot wait to visit Sicily. The cuisine is incredible.

elenora - I think the processed foods thing is key. High Fructose Corn Syrup is in so many foods in the States. Even in things like whole wheat bread. I like that now I buy my bread at the bakery. Less junk in it. Or that I make my own salad dressing instead of buying the bottled stuff filled with ingredients I cannot pronounce.

simone - ha. It's hard to recreate some of the simplicity depending on which region of America you live in. It's hard in some communities to find the fresh vegetables and a reasonable price. That is one thing that shocked me about moving here. How much cheaper and better the local food is. Farmer's markets in the States tend to be pricey and are seen as kind of elitist (which drives me crazy) but here they are just part of life.

CCL - trust, I do eat the Trinity and often. I think not having a car helps me and that I'm not emotionally eating as much. Believe me I'm surprised by the weight loss too.

Italianissima said...

I hate that Italian clothes are cut smaller...even at my thinnest in high school when I was healthy and not overweight I always had problems finding things that fit me.

I also always lose weight when I am in Italy - the freshness of the food, the walking and the emotional well being all contribute to not gaining weight. Go figure!

I am doing Weight Watchers now and have lost 12.2lbs - the key...eating more veggies and cutting out processed foods...which I am really finding challenging here - EVERYTHING is processed...sigh...

glamah16 said...

I give up. I know if I move back the weight will fall off. CS gained when he moved here. They all blame me.

J.Doe said...

I remember while living in Italy saying "I can't wait to go to the US because I won't look fat." At that time I was a size 14. I am also tall (5'8) with size 10.5 feet,so the overall effect of me was a giantess. It was so hard for me to shop!!
Now I am living in the US and am 20 lbs. heavier - not due to the foods but due to eating like I'm still pregnant when I'm not. I have lost 20 lbs. on Weight Watchers which is not as strict a diet as South Beach or Atkins.
It alweays amazed me though how the US supermarkets are filled with fat free and lowfat products when the US has such a high percentage of fat people when Italy which doesn't, has very few of these foods. All the cheeses are full fat. They do have fresh good vegetables which I miss alot.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

italianissima - good luck. I know what you're talking about. When I read in Defense Of Food I started to really read labels and I was shocked. Even yogurt had HFCS in it.

glamah16 - awwh, he can't blame you (even though you're an amazing cook and baker). The lifestyle is just different.

j. doe - out of the gabillion diets out there Weight Watchers was the only that didn't tell people to cut out entire food groups.

I find that oxymoron (all the fat free food yet Americans are the heaviest among Western nations) fascinating as well too. I'm not sure what that's all about. In fact many of those low fat and fat free foods are horrible for us. Either they are loaded with more sugar (so they taste half way decent) or people eat more of them thinking it's not so bad because they are fat free. I never got into that Snackwells thing. If I want a cookie, I'm going to eat one. Not a fake one that taste like crap.

homebody at heart said...

If you want to know what American standards are, you can check out this presentation at the Centers for Disease Control. It is better to look at on the Power Point presentation, to get the full effect of the "obesification" of Americans. It shows the obesity trends from 1985-2008, a span of a mere 23 years. Just imagine if this was a presentation on a drug epidemic. Surely, a lot more would be getting done to fix this problem, if it were. As it is, it involves the unhealthy way we grow and process food in America for the least expense and maximum profit.

augusta said...

i agree with you nyc/caribbean, farmer's market's in america seen soooo elitist. why do i have to pay 6 dollars for half a pint of blueberries just because they're organic?

Los Angelista said...

See, living in Italy is turning out to be good for you in more ways than one! Dieting is soooo crazy stressful, especially here in LA! And I feel like I'm gonna go broke at the farmer's market -- why are all the junk foods cheap?

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

homebody - thank you I will check it out. I'm in the middle of the Omnivore's Dilemma and it's scary.

augusta - that is a lot of money for some blueberries. It's a shame because good quality food should be available for everyone.

los angelista - junk food profit margins are higher. And the subsidies programs seem to be counter-productive at best for farmers. They really benefit the big agribusiness companies like ADM. In L.A. I tried to support the Farmer's markets but they were so expensive.

milanesemasala said...

That doctor was too funny! Yeah, my mom also noticed how skinny the girls in Italy are compared to North Americans. But it's true that the lifestyle has a lot to do with it. We walk more, eat healthier. But, ahem, I am sort of craving McDonald's right now. Help!

regina di roma said...

This gave me such a laugh! I recently wrote something about how italians are so much thinner than americans-
Ten reasons why Italians are thinner
If only it would explain the child obesity rate...what's up with that?

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

milanese - I walk so much here. Miles a week, just getting from place to place.

After reading Fast Food Nation I can't eat at Micky D's in the States anymore. I think the regulations of how they kill the cows, how often they change the oil for the fries, etc. is very different in the EU, more stringent.

regina - right I remember your post. we'll see if that changes as more fast food makes it over here.

jadie said...

how great for you to have gotten back to your fighting weight without effort. it feels so good, doesn't it?! i got sick while traveling to the galapagos a few years ago, which made me lose my appetite for about a month. voila! 18 lbs lighter, back to my 20's weight. i've never regained it, either, probably because i eat mostly as you've described, by choice. i feel like i'm back "home"... you there, too?

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

jadie - I do feel much better. My eating habits are a lot healthier and I walk more.

ladydai said...

"Overall European women are smaller, which is why the clothes are cut smaller (much to my chagrin)."

Girl, I second that opinion. In America, people complained that I was too thin for my tall frame. I am still between an American size 2 and 4, but I often end up buying a 3x in athletic wear. It's so not funny....

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

ladydai - the size inflation in the States is crazy but I understand why it's done.