Loser

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.

11 thoughts to “Loser”

  1. Hello Linda… I cannot stand gyms, with all the already skinny women in 🙂 and they can be quite intimidating. I lost weight when I went to Paris, I loved it.

    I cannot imagine you needing to lose more weight, and 20 pounds is a lot. I can though imagine how hard it must be to keep it off in Provence.. I am sure you will do it. 🙂

  2. So you and I have both been on the “Diarrhea Diet” in the past month. Sure the weight loss is nice but it really sucks in the process. But congratulations on such good results from all that hard work. Hope I will follow in your footsteps. If we get the apartment I saw yesterday, which is at the top of the Butte Montmartre, I will get more fit by default because no matter where I go when I leave my house, I am walking downhill… but I always have to walk UPHILL (or up all those damned picturesque steps) to get home again. I guess I won’t need a gym membership after all, at this rate. I am thinking to get some small hand-weights though, to do some upper body work at home. As you said, maintaining muscle mass as we get older is very important. This week, my brother-in-law, who is the same age as me, had chest pains and they found 2-3 blockages and had to put in 2 stents. He will be 49 next week. Clearly, I’m at the age where I have to start taking better care of myself.

  3. Congrats on the impressive weight loss! Well, except for the five pounds from India diarrhea, lol — that’s not a fun way to lose. I guess exercise is not always fun either, heh! At any rate, it is good to get control of these things and I am glad you have done so.

    I’m kind of with Anne and the skinny women in Paris gyms, except I see them at my yoga class. I am not huge now, myself. Over the past six years I have lost about 60 extra pounds from where I was at my biggest, and am now pretty much right where I should be. I know that some of the women I see have to be anorexic as they are skin and bones — definitely not healthy in the “too thin” category. Still, I have to stay very focused on just being healthy and happy as many Parisian womens’ figures are teeny tiny. Yoga is a good way to do focus on the positive and on my own well-being even when surrounded by skinniness! So I stick with it.

    Here’s to greater health!

  4. Wow! 20 pounds is awesome. I’d celebrate with some chocolate, but that is probably why I exercise like crazy and haven’t lost 20 pounds. Congrats.

  5. Great job Linda! Am I going to recognize you the next time I see you? I need to lose 10 after a winter of eating (to stay warm 🙂

  6. The closest gym to my house in Provence is a half an hour away in a bigger town but I joined about a year ago. I went regularly for about 6 weeks. I took my entire morning so I soon gave up. Three hours in the morning and 2 in the afternoons four days a week is all the time I have without kids. I switched to video’s and am actually disciplined enough to do them. This is just to keep off extra weight since I can’t give up my cheese and wine habit.

  7. The closest gym to my house in Provence is a half an hour away in a bigger town but I joined about a year ago. I went regularly for about 6 weeks. It took my entire morning so I soon gave up. Three hours in the morning and 2 in the afternoons four days a week is all the time I have without kids. I switched to video’s and am actually disciplined enough to do them. This is just to keep off extra weight since I can’t give up my cheese and wine habit.

  8. This losing weight stuff is TOUGH, isn’t it? After months of watching what I eat, power walking for exercise, and now going to the gym regularly, I’m STILL not where I want to be. Good for you for losing 20 pounds so far! Keep it up! You can do it!

  9. Well, if visiting Paris is what I need to do to lose some weight, then by golly I’ll do it!! I expect any time I don’t spend 7 hours of the day sitting on my arse behind my computer at work is going to help me trim down a bit.

  10. Twenty pounds! Great. I, too, do the yo yo thing. Up-down-up and so on. I’m doing JC food and counseling now. My motivation is that if I can lose some, then I’ll feel like exercising to stay in shape. We’ll see if the logic works. Proud of you. Cheers and keep going!

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