Not So Large (Or In Charge)

As of this morning, I’m now down 13 pounds from when I left Los Angeles last June.


I went up a few pounds during the holiday feasting, naturally. I knew that I’d plummet back to normal once the fois gras slices stopped falling to my plate and champagne stopped flowing. I’m back to three squares a day with fruit snacks between.

I can now clearly see where the insanity of anorexia begins. Last night, we were watching Volver, this delightful film by Pedro Almodóvar. It stars Penelope Cruz, who was great, but all of the women in it were dynamite dames. Almodóvar’s female characters are astonishingly powerful, every one of them. Anyway, I’m watching Penelope Cruz and thinking, “Gee, I feel so huge!” Yet here I am dropping more weight all the time. I’m in a healthy weight range. Sure, I could be a lot more fit, but technically I’m okay. It just so happens I was watching three of the skinniest women in Spain for two hours. Gah! I should have been feeling strong and healthy in comparison.

As it turns out, anorexia is a significant problem in France. Christmas was a real awakening for me. When we were in crowds of people, I saw more women with toothpick legs and boney asses than I ever did in Hollywood. This is not because the French are oh-so-light in the pants by means of DNA and good eating. Like in the U.S., the supermarket newsstands are crowded with publications on dieting, and the streets of Aix offer several spas for losing weight — and Aix is tiny! The women I saw were clearly suffering from undernourishment. It was obvious even in their eyes, skin and hair. Something crazy is happening here.

In the meantime, it turns out there are a number of articles online to support what I’m seeing. According to this Slate article, the prevalence of eating disorders in France is equal to that in the U.S. In addition, obesity affects 13% of the adolescents here, which is a higher rate than in the U.S. I bet there’s a lot more literature on the subject. And it makes sense. The image here is of the gazelle-like Parisian model. And there are honestly lots of women here who look like that, but the pressure to look that way is huge.

Meanwhile, the Rational Responders seem to have recorded last night’s show. They told me the’d let me know when the file is up on their site. This is great! There are a few things I wish I’d been more articulate about, but overall I’m really pleased.

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