I haven't gained any weight since I've been here. I was wondering if people were wondering, and my mother finally asked (and played it off as a joke). Yes, I've been eating butter (croissants for breakfast!!) and cheese and bread and meat in proportions that I would find shocking in my normal life—but, get this, I think I might even have lost a few pounds.
To someone as profoundly interested in America's insanely disfunctional relationship with food as myself, this is fascinating. (I also can't seem to get a hangover no matter how much red wine I drink; explain that one!) I can think of multiple explanations.
First off: I walk. A lot. On a slow day I probably trek 3-4 miles. On a long day, closer to 8-10. (I swear I'm not exaggerating—I gmap-pedometer'd that shit.) This is obviously the biggest factor.
Two: The portions are smaller. Scoops of ice cream are often the size of golf balls and portions of beef about the size of a large fist. This rule loses some of it's thrust, however, when one eats an entire baguette for dinner.
Three: No processed or "junk" foods (well, besides that tiny packet of Haribou gummy bears I ate...on the train back from Amsterdam...Amsterdam.) This means no high fructose corn syrup sneaking its way into my bread or cheese. It also means no artificial sweeteners (which mess with the metabolism) and no sodium overdoses bloating the bloodstream.
There are probably a hundred other small factors, but either way, this European lifestyle really is something to see. People eat pretty much what they want and no one is fat.
Bring on Thanksgiving!