I am going to be real with you here. When I left for France in late September last year I weighed about 175 or 180. Over the course of the 8 months I was living in France, I lost 25 pounds and was down to the lowest I have been in so long I can't remember, 155. Since being back in America I have already gained 5 pounds.
So why is it that the second I set foot on American soil and breathe the air here I gain weight? Is there that much difference in lifestyles between the French and Americans? The answer: yes.
1.) In America, there is a Starbucks on every corner. In France, although they do have Starbucks in the larger cities like Paris and Lyon, they are mostly considered an insult to the French 'cafe.' Starbucks is American and commercial. Two things the French are not.
2.) In America, there are a million fast food chains and they too are on every corner. France has two main fast food chains. Good old McDonald's and Quick. And they are not on every corner and they are not as easily accessed.
3.) Americans live such a fast paced lifestyle, they need to eat fast food. The French enjoy food. They take two-hour lunch breaks and have five-course meals. We are running off to soccer practice and have to grab Carl's Jr. along the way.
4.) Food isn't enjoyed like it should be. See point three. The French take time to sit down and enjoy their food. They take pride in the way it is prepared and consumed. They sit down together and give it time to digest.
5.) Americans will literally drive around the corner. No one walks. Anywhere. The French walk everywhere. Some people don't even own cars. In the 8 months I was living in France this last year, I didn't step foot in the gym or run or do workouts at home. I did walk my son to school every day and cook meals most every night.
6.) Because people here are so busy, we buy for weeks at a time if possible, and not as many fresh foods. The French go to the store sometimes on a daily basis. There are farmer's markets in every city, big or small. There is always availability to buy fresh foods.
Overall, the French lead a healthier lifestyle. They take a two-hour lunch break every day, students included. Kids never go to school on Wednesdays. What happens if you are a parent with a business? You close your shop on Wednesdays. Everyone takes a two-hour lunch. They have 6 weeks of vacation time compared to our standard 2. SIX WEEKS!!
I think us Americans can learn something from these crazy Frenchies. Just chill. You don't have to conquer the world today. Take a breather. Enjoy your family. Take a walk. Relax.
Granted, I think the French could learn a few things from us too. Like when you actually do go to work, WORK! And I am not doing you a disservice by asking you to do your job. That is why you get paid.
Now how do we make necessary changes here in America? What are some things you think we should do to try to cultivate healthier lifestyles? I wish we could change things, but I think it might be a personal choice. What do you think?