Whenever I walk around Paris with people they always say, “You must really be fit and trim with all of this walking.” They say the same thing when they have to go up the stairs to our fourth floor apartment. In fact, many people can lose five pounds or more on a visit to Paris in spite of the rich food and chocolate because they are much more active while here. Except for taxis you are mostly on foot or climbing stairs coming out of the metro-escalators are hard to find in the stops. When I first moved to Paris I was fairly fit at the time having been a jogger of sorts with my slow, shuffling speed and I would either jog or ride bikes with Maurice into the nearby Bois de Vincinnes every weekend. But my activity slowly ended and I told myself that I was walking so much that my weight would stay down but my body had other ideas and said, “I see what you are doing. It worked at first, but no longer.” I tried to exercise while in Provence, chugging up the hills there, but I slowly started gaining weight.
Finally, last year while in Paris, Maurice and I joined an exercise club where, as you might expect, I lost weight but once we got back to Provence with all of the wine, cheese and large meals I consumed the weight returned and then some. I hated my body when I got a glimpse of it in the mirror-I tried not to look at myself if I could help it.
So, back in Paris again, I knew it was time to start the exercise club again and rain, snow or shine, warm weather or cold, I went every day. I also watched what I was eating and stopped eating any candy, cut my intake of wine and cheese way down and tried to consume less. At first I was losing almost a pound a day much to my delight then the weight loss slowed down as my body said, “I see what you are doing. It worked for a while but now you need to work harder.” Sigh. I added five minutes of intense aerobic workout. Things still seem slow but I like seeing the diminishing size of my waist and stomach. My jeans are getting so loose that I have to use a belt to keep them up.
I’ve found the exercise club to be much like the ones I’ve gone to in the States except there are no free towels to use, but a fee if you don’t bring your own, which we do. There are those huge, muscle bound men, usually bald, grunting and groaning as they lift huge bar bells. There are the tiny, thin women working out in their tight, form fitting clothing-I wear big T-shirts. There are people using personal trainers, others doing their own thing. There is one lady, about my age, that really goes to town. She is on the bicycle for about an hour and a half and then the treadmill for another hour. I can’t do long periods of time as I get so bored. I often read while working those machines. There are older people like us trying to hold back the pounds and the wave of time, working to stay in shape and keep muscle tone as we age.
So far, as I write this, I have lost about 20 pounds. Five of these pounds I lost in India with the diarrhea and all while there. So far I’ve kept it off. I have more to go and I’m hoping when we return to Provence, I can keep it up. It’s harder on your own without the equipment and the early morning habit. We will see.