Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Kate Moss's bottom

British people are the fattest in Europe but also, we are told, the happiest with our weight; the French would say we are "bien dans notre peau" or happy in our skin. Sure. And secretly I'm a skinny supermodel called Kate Moss; so secretly even my mirror doesn't realise. How many tubby British teenage girls are happy in their peau when they realise that unless they starve themselves they're never going to look like the skinny models and actresses in the glossy magazines (who don't look like that either having been airbrushed)? So it's another diet or weight loss pills with side effects you don't want to think about too much (the drug company calls it the "Alli Oops" as if it were mildly amusing, which it is not) or another deep pan pizza. Seeing the swathes of flesh bared on a chilly day in London recently I suspect the pizza and deluded mirror have joined forces. "Does my bum look big in this?" "No dear girl, you look just like Kate Moss. Honest"

I do wonder what those who sit on the Underground and eat their own body mass in crisps, chips, chocolate and McDonalds in five stops on the Central Line and still have time for a Diet Coke, expect. Having said that, I am not sure if it's entirely their fault. Every time I go to Britain I put on weight. Every time without fail; I get back to Paris, step on the scales and I'm two kilos heavier. Not only is it annoying, I just don't get it; in the UK I eat less, I eat earlier and I expend half a million calories hauling bags and La Fille half way up the country to my parents' home and then down again.

This time I bought sandwiches for the Frenchman and La Fille for lunch and an apple for me. I said no to fish and chips and ice cream by the seaside and opted for salad. I refused potatoes and Yorkshire pudding and had extra vegetables, I ate the rhubarb without the custard. Back in Paris, I stepped on the scales: two kilos, give or take a pair of M & S knickers.

When I left the UK nine years ago chocolate bars and bags of sweets were normal-sized. Now the confectionary counters that are in your face every ten paces in London look as if they have undergone radiation on a Chernobyl scale. Then there's the enticing "two-for-one" offers in the supermarket and the obscene cereal boxes as big as houses (because of course it's cheaper to buy in bulk and not, dear customer, because we're trying to encourage you to feed your face even more, oh no, no nooo!) And a large glass of wine? Why not?" One third of the entire bottle in one go.

The "meal deal" on the train out of Liverpool Street was astonishing for the sheer volume of empty calories:

* a sandwich made of slices of bread I could have used as trendy platform soles
* a large bag of crisps
* a chocolate muffin that just screamed for Sir Ranulph to conquer it
* (the healthy bit) the smallest bottle of orange juice I've ever seen outside of a carton.

All that for just £6. A bargain! But let's face it, there's no mirror in the world going to give you a Kate Moss bottom if you eat all that in one go.


Dumdad said...

In fact, if you spurn salads and instead eat fish and chips and Yorkshire pudding and other good stuff you'll LOSE weight. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it. And, frankly, I don't want to look like Kate Moss's derrière.

Mike said...

The conditions you describe in England sound more like the USA. Even as as tourist, I was struck by the differences in food culture between Paris and London. (And not just the obvious ones.) Mainly, it's much harder to buy fresh ingredients in London: everything is so packaged and processed. I began to feel like a feed-lot beast. But hey, if they are happy with that, well, bless them.

Nota Bene said...

Are we really fatter than the Germans? It's certainly easier to buy cheap junk food here these days...and even the 'small'portions are enormous. If you go to Burger King (sorry I can resist everything except temptation) they ask if you want to 'Go large' and I'm never sure if they're referring to the meal or the state you find yourself in afterwards

Anonymous said...

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Paradise Lost In Translation said...

That IS strange about your 2 kilos. Maybe it's the Frenchman's smoking helps you 'passively' suppress your appetite when in France. Let's face it, there are precious few places he can indulge the habit in the UK

Iota said...

Don't get me started. If you want to see where Britain is headed, come to the Midwest.

One of the things I used to enjoy doing in the UK was taking the kids out for a "little treat". We'd go to a cafe, I'd have a cup of tea or coffee and they would each have a scone, or bun, or biscuit. I just can't do that here. A Starbucks cookie is the size of a UFO, a brownie is like a brick, a slice of cake is as big as most cakes I bake at home. The only thing I could do would be to buy one and divide it between my three kids, but how much of a treat does that feel to them? "Here you are, a third of a cookie, just because you've been so good."

Going round Wal-Mart for the first time, I wondered why everyone was catering for huge group events, and thought I must be in some Catering Supplies specialist branch. No, I wasn't. Just Wal-Mart.

The movie Wall-Ee described it wonderfully.

Working Mum said...

You are so right. I think the rot set in with Kingsize Mars Bars - wasn't an ordinary mars bar enough? We definitely have become more like the US with our portion sizes, making it more difficult to eat just enough. Even dinner plates and cereal bowls seem to be larger nowadays. I've countered by using dessert plates for our family meals. Iota's description of the US is definitely where we are heading!