Weight Loss Tips
5 Fat-Fighting Secrets from Around the World
Why Are We Fat?
In Spain...They Eat Slowly
In Italy...They Value Quality Over Quantity
In Greece...They Focus on Produce
In Latin America...They Eat Seasonally and Locally
In France...They Tune Out All Distractions
Why Are We Fat?
News flash: In a recent study, four out of five Americans who went to the mall this weekend were really concerned with how overweight everyone was.
Okay, that's not really a study, and honestly, it's not really news. But you don't need a Ph.D. in physics to see with your own eyes that our obesity crisis is spreading across the land like cream cheese on a hot bagel. In fact, more than one in three Americans is obese—not pudgy, not hefty, not "could lose a few pounds," but clinically obese.
Or let me put it another way: Thirty-six percent of Americans have a food-related medical condition that is threatening their very lives.
Surely, food must be the enemy, yes? Well, perhaps, but there's something very strange, and very telling, about that statistic. It's 36 percent of Americans who are overweight. But in France, where they invented French fries (Search Should French fries count as a vegetable?), the obesity rate is less than half of what it is in the home of the brave. In Italy—land of the calzone and the meatball—the obesity rate is just 20 percent. And in Spain it's just 23 percent, despite the fact that they're all sitting down to multicourse dinners at 11 pm.
Oh, and one thing you won't find in those countries? Health clubs sprouting up like mushrooms. In many of these countries, pulling a stubborn cork out of a bottle of Bordeaux counts as exercise.
Now compare those countries to America. The weight-loss market here is worth more than $60 billion, there's a Gold's Gym or Bally Total Fitness on just about every corner, and your Aunt Mathilde is on her 37th new diet of the past ten years. So what are we doing wrong? Or, more important: What are they doing right?
It's simple. We fear food; they embrace it. We deprive and then reward ourselves; they simply indulge. We try to decide whether we deserve one more Low-Fat Oreo, while they chow down on delicious, rich, and flavorful four-course meals. (Video: Pick the best produce) But here's the good news: By adopting traits from the most vibrant food cultures around the globe, we can begin to develop one of our own—and enjoy those same waist-whittling effects.
And remember: Daily reminders will keep you on the path to weight loss success, so sign up for our FREE Eat This, Not That newsletter and be sure to follow me on Twitter! You'll melt belly fat and improve your health without ever dieting—or flying to Europe.