Why getting fat(ter) in England and Sir Mix-A-lot can go hand in hand.

peacefulyorkshire

There once was an American girl named Ms. Peaceful, aged twenty, who hadn’t yet moved to Britain. She enjoyed sweaty daily Bikram yoga sessions and MorningStar Soya burgers. She did 10 Mile bike rides in the sunshine while wearing Lycra. Tanned and toned was she. (Gawd, she even tried all those odd do- it -yourself chair exercises in Self Magazine).

Fast-forward 9 years and meet a new Ms. Peaceful Yorkshire (me): A bulge that I swear looks like I must be in the early stage of pregnancy. Oh, and those fancy Victoria’s Secret undies originally that came in my suitcase from the USA now just don’t cover my Latina bum the same way. This is good viewing for Mr. Chill, my English man, but really folks, a place in Wedgie-Ville is not the best place to be when you are trying to negotiate your salary. I dread to think how many more rolls I would accumulate if I didn’t walk to work on a daily basis. Am I not talkin’ bout the sausage ones!

The Verdict? I am slowly getting fat in England.

It’s the yummy food like Sainsbury’s olives and Cadbury’s chocolate. I am weak around buttery crumpets, bacon sarnies, the cream teas I have with my American Sistahs at Betty’s in York. The cold weather indoor lifestyle I have (what you want me to run in this mizzle?) does not lend myself to be motivated to frolic outside.  Erm, ok.. it’s not England’s fault.

And, while walking home today I decided to take note of some fellow Yorkshire-ites and saw lots of other teacake lovers. Muffin tops rollin’ over jeans, big breasts spillin’ and straining in white work shirts. Ruddy double-chins. Men and women in trouser suits that need to be taken out. (And some British people think Americans are the only fatties on the block?)

Of course it bothers me. I would be such a liar if I said it doesn’t! Unlike my former American self I’ve just stopped obsessing so much. I enjoy turning on Sir MixA-lot to shake it when Yankeebean and I meet up to celebrate some curves-action. I love that many women (and men too) in the UK,  as Yankeebean wrote last week , don’t really seem to give a rip about toned abs and bingo wings so openly and obsessively.  Let’s face it, some British women dress like hookers when Saturday night rolls around, no matteh’ what their shape. I really admire that, even if its not my style.

I think one of our readers, Sandra Dee, summed it perfectly:

‘Not that I am against staying in shape, its just the Hollywood-ness of it all made me realise how obsessed I used to be too. I used to delight in my flat-abbed stomach. Now. well, I can’t be bothered to care. In England it is so cold that I normally don’t get the time to show it off anyway. Well, except to my English man. And you should see his stomach….. he does NOT have a six pack nor does he want one or care about my newly formed fat bulge.

When random British people (that you’ve only just met) tell you what is wrong with America

yahooavatar15Imagine meeting a British person for the first time. Imagine introducing yourself, answering all the questions that you get asked as a foreigner– like having to tell your “America to England” story for the zillionth time. Now, imagine randomly saying to this British person that you have only just met that people in Britain have  bad teeth. Real, real, bad teeth.That you have never been to a country where people have such bad teeth. That you saw this one 15 year old kid on the train and you COULDN”T believe he had such BAD TEETH. Now I am sure you are horrified about doing that, right? No, that would be so rude!  Plus could you imagine the wrath? It is hard enough making female friends in Britain!

Well, for whatever reason, some British people love to point out America’s flaws to me during our first meeting. Like today–a 6o-ish woman from Harrogate decided to tell me that she had NEVER SEEN so much obesity in her life as when she went to America. That she was on this train where she saw this 15 year old kid and he was SO FAT! That she couldn’t believe how many obese people were in America. That she couldn’t imagine how unhealthy THOSE FAT PEOPLE OVER IN AMERICA are.

Running through my head as Mrs. Harrogate ranted at me: Hello? have you seen all the white muffin tops pouring out of jeans in Leeds City Centre  lately, honey? There are fat people here too, and it seems its getting worse according to obesity reports!”

I wish I were brave enough to say that!  But instead, while smiling politely I said “It is just a different lifestyle there, isn’t it? You must excuse me while I go get some milk for my tea…”

Now then, lovely readers! Why would someone decide to tell me this to me, an American? Am I responsible for America’s obesity? Do I even LIVE IN AMERICA anymore? How would I be an expert about America’s weight issues? (I have enough of my own!). Sometimes I think that I have to defend America all the time, and I am so tired of it. Please tell me that you have to take the ‘blame bullet’ too?

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P.S.  I don’t really think that all British people have bad teeth. That was used for example purposes only, and is used to represent a silly stereotype that people have of other countries.

P.S.S. I forgot to say that the afore mentioned lady from Harrogate had only visited Florida. And that was it!

P.S.S.S. On a ‘let’s blame America!’ related topic: Why are dinner parties with your British friends so much nicer now that Obama is in the White house? Click here

American Advertising: my British man and I love to laugh at ridiculous fitness ads

pacific bird This one is for those of you who have been away from the US for some time and haven’t seen American television for a while.  Mr. Charismatic and I saw this ad when we first arrived in America and we still laugh for ages every time it comes on.   Hope it makes you laugh too…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OH1DGd5T7c

PS. We watch a lot less tv now and we are REALLY missing British tv.  Who knew?

Everyone jogs in the South West of England… but I'm tired.

yankeebeanYou go for  a walk – there’s joggers over-taking you.

You go for a drive – you’re constantly on the look out to make sure they don’t dive in front of you.

You go and hang out in the part – you feel like a lazy dude because there’s joggers swarming all around you.

I have nothing against joggers whatsoever, in fact I used to be one.  I’m kind of an exercise-ho… I jump on whatever exercise band wagon is barreling along and see what it’s like.  I’ll try pretty much anything that I can do on my own – Pilates, yoga, tap-dancing, roller-skating, circuit training, gym memberships, Curves, and right now I’m doing the 30 Day Shred (and, bloody hell, it’s whooping me BIG TIME.)

But I’ve never seen such a huge presence of joggers anywhere else ever.  No matter what time it is, no matter what the weather is like, they’re out there – running along in their extra-aero-dynamic-skin-tight suits and reflective shoes.

I’ve done my fair share of moving, I’ve lived all over – US, UK, big cities, tiny towns, north, south, and east (but not west).  But I’ve never seen anything quite like it before.  It’s funny because Mr. Nice Guy says that when he thinks of Americans, he thinks of extremes.  People are EXTREMELY Christian, or EXTREMELY liberal, or EXTREMELY healthy, or EXTREMELY fat.  But we seem to live in a health-nut area in the South West of England… it does make it seem kind of American somehow.

Is this one of those North South divide things?  Has anyone else noticed?

Anyway, I keep seeing all these joggers and thinking ‘Oooo, I should go for a run, that looks good’.  The actually ACT of jogging has yet to take place, but I’m not holding my breath.  I don’t have anything left after The Shred, anyway :)