So why aren’t All Americans the size of Whales?

Or Wales for that matter?

Here I am in a hotel in the States, getting a shuttle bus every morning into a university where we’re having the meeting. This morning a bunch of us missed the first bus and stood outside in the frosty morning waiting for the second. ‘Is it far?’ we wondered. ‘Oh no, not far at all,’ the doorman assured us. ‘Could we walk?’ we asked, aware that we might have drunk too deep at the well of the All We Could Eat Breakfast Buffet that morning and a bit of fresh air and exercise would do us good. ‘Walk?’

Walking, apparently, was not a good idea. It wasn’t the distance so much – a few jumbo sized blocks, but not more than half an hour’s trek – but the lack of pavements (sorry, ‘sidewalks’) to walk upon. Apparently three pedestrians were killed here last week by drivers who weren’t expecting them to be there – no doubt all visiting European researchers trying to walk off the effects of eating a meal that could kill a family of four in Africa. Pedestrians here are like cyclists in London – not exactly legitimate targets except to the more excitable kind of driver, but certainly unexpected and hence invisible especially in the further reaches of the suburbs.

Now it’s true that Brits like to poke fun at Americans for being fat, just like Americans like to poke fun at our teeth, but the truth is I stand in awe at any American (or at least, resident of America outside of the East Coast) who _isn’t_ fat. How do they manage it? I have been known to put on weight just breathing in the cinnamon-scented air at the airport. The only thing that keeps my figure as svelte-like as it is* is walking everywhere I possibly can, and only buying one packet of biscuits at a time. Yet the majority of Americans (by count if not by volume, anyway) are actually normal sized if not positively petite despite driving everywhere and regularly eating portions that are bigger than their head. Incredible

So now, about those teeth …

*and believe me it is very svelte


6 responses to “So why aren’t All Americans the size of Whales?

  1. My humble theory about food in America (full disclosure: I live in Southern California) is that it is generally too available. Keeping ‘svelte’ takes effort because every social event must be accompanied by food, people like to bring food to share at the office (at least at my office), food is used to comfort, encourage, celebrate…. Oh dear, and if you visit me on 21publish, you’ll discover that I write about food (on occasion). And hello! I came by way of Flighty.

  2. ooh yes, just checked your blog and put on at least a pound looking at the pictures 🙂

  3. A svelte American weighs (just enough!) in: I don’t overeat, and I walk a LOT. It helps enormously (so to speak) to live in a CITY (Minneapolis) with sidewalks rather than a pedestrian-unfriendly suburb.
    One of the many things I love about British literature is reading about characters, fictional or real, who appreciate a good walk.

  4. yes there’s nothing in society that can’t be solved by either a cup of tea or a brisk walk…

  5. Well, ideally, a brisk walk AND a cuppa: I’ve known more murders solved that way…

  6. though not TOO brisk: it’s hell on the clothes – spilled tea is a bugger to get out.

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