french girls don’t sweat

French girls don’t sweat. This is what I try to tell my friends when they want me to go to the gym with them. What do you mean you don’t sweat? I don’t sweat. They like to meet for coffee after their barre classes and I join them to enjoy a croissant in my heels. I don’t like to work out. I do not enjoy exercise. I do enjoy bread, cheese, and wine unapologetically. When people ask me why I’m thin I have all kinds of answers. I fidget around a lot. I squat over foreign toilets. I have a ton of anxiety. I hate cake. I don’t know if that’s really why or if I’m just lucky but I realize that these days it’s hard to fit in without some sort of detox, diet, or trendy class attendance to contribute to conversation. I start to freak that my luck is running out. I start to feel ashamed that I’m not like everyone else. So, I try things. I get more steps in each day. Each day instead of walking Daisy across the street, I walk across AND down the street. I sometimes use an app to track my steps. I thought about getting one of those wrist devices but they are too intimidating for someone like me. I’m not on that level. God forbid I ran into someone else I know wearing one. They would be training for their next marathon and I would be accomplishing the challenge of walking Daisy to the next lamp post.

I say no to snacks. I launched a “Just Say No” campaign amongst my friends. I’m the leader and also the weak link, so you can guess how that is going. “You can eat everything but the crumbs.” I try to think if I am actually hungry each time I go for a snack. I’m usually not, I’m mostly just bored or want to taste something. That is the cue to not eat the snack. Unless it’s a carrot. I moderate my drinking. I’ll take my vodka with water instead of tonic. I like to use a “just have one” mentality. Maybe just one beer instead of no beer. Maybe just one bottle of wine instead of two glasses. Tricky, tricky.

I contort my body. I experimented with the waist trainer. I did it for fifteen days and this is how it went: Day one: ouch. Day two: what the fuck OUCH Day three: where did I put that thing? Day five: it’s probably in the wash Day ten: it’s probably drying Day 15: maybe I should eat a snack while it’s on to loosen it. No, I’ll put it on after the snack. Or I’ll put it on tomorrow actually. Yeah. Tomorrow. I had high hopes for this thing because I actually like traditional corsets, but I really just couldn’t commit to the intro discomfort. I should’ve known it would’ve gone that way after all the Spanx that have lost their jobs in bathrooms at parties, or in cars on the way to those parties. It’s torture that my friends swear by, and torture I will probably revisit again, but not today.

Once a year I seriously go to the gym. Literally once a year. The guilt I sometimes feel from my bakery indulgence compared to my boyfriend’s kale and egg white breakfast brings me one punishment. A gym sentencing. My last visit was the best, I was on the treadmill, only ever so slightly breaking a glisten, and I smelled jelly donuts. Who would bring jelly donuts to the gym? I looked around and couldn’t find anybody with a donut. It was me. I was excreting jelly donuts. #donutbelonghere

I’ve implemented black out eating. It is a highly effective technique were I don’t allow my eyes to send a message to my stomach. This started back when I use to eat crackers and watch tv. How many times have you planned on eating just the serving size of crackers and you looked down and the whole fucking sleeve was gone? WTH I did it again. This started to really annoy me so I decided to just never look. As I eat I send a note to my brain that goes a little something like this, dear stomach, enjoy your carrot sticks, love Erika. My best friend and I have become masters at this and can go almost an hour consuming tacos and ice cream without any acknowledgment of what’s going on.

I invest in work out attire. I dress in active wear on Sundays and I run my ass to the grocery store so I can buy food and eat it. Or I sit around in it. Talk on the phone in it. Do anything but work out in it. Have you seen the Active Wear video on YouTube? I discovered it shortly after writing this post and I died, because it is everything.


So I don’t work out like everyone else. I don’t eat perfect either. I may not look perfect but I don’t care because I feel content with my lifestyle. I’m a French blooded girl in the states and in all seriousness what I say about the French girl is true. They do believe in moderation. They don’t binge eat on meals that provide three servings to a plate. They take like two hours to eat a meal, actually tasting each bite. They walk in heels and ride their bikes to get a meal, not realizing they are exercising, and when they eat bread, they eat only the crème de la crumbs. (… I don’t know how I feel about that pun.) They don’t like to go to the gym and break a sweat because they don’t need to, or feel the need to. They don’t think about it so hard. They have self-control and discipline built into their daily routine. And maybe that’s the answer above all the trends, maybe it is this effortless way of healthy living that we could all adopt without being so obsessed. Maybe that’s exactly how I subconsciously live my life too. With this, I revise my original response and say it proudly. French girls don’t sweat it.


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More about Erika Lauren

Erika Lauren is a Boston born French girl spending her days as a workin girl and dog mom, and her nights as a nocturnal writer. She's a content creator for The Haute Mess, XOJane, and Email:

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