In Italy, “La Bella Figura” does not completely relate to having a beautiful body or figure, but it is somewhat linked. La Bella Figura is an approach to life – a philosophy. It means to make a good impression in every aspect of your life; how you present yourself from your clothes to your attitude to your home to your body. So you see? The body is included in this philosophy, but is only a part of the equation. Since I am focusing on the allure of the female body, let’s discuss the beautiful figures of the Italian women.
Look at these statistics. According to the OECD, in 2012 the obesity rate for Italian women was 9.5%. Even the famously thin French women have an obesity rate that is higher at 14.6%. In the United States the number is 36.6%.
Those are the stats. What you see around are different body types but they all have one thing in common: they are fit.
So how are they doing it? Why do I see all these slim women eating croissants for breakfast and pizza for dinner?
There have been many books written on this subject, maybe not specifically related to Italians, but the message is in essence to the same: eat whole foods, manage portions and move. But here are some specifics as they relate to the standard Italian woman.
1. Diet food does not exist.
In the United States you will find every kind of diet food imaginable: low-fat, non-fat, low-carb, etc… And it is all prepackaged diet food. In Italy there are no light potato chips or fat-free cookies. And there are certainly no frozen, prepackaged diet foods. Low-carb foods do not exist.
2. Food/mealtime is satisfying.
Number one and two go together. How can chemically altered food possibly be satisfying? Why not just boil some pasta and make a quick marinara sauce that includes a little olive oil, tomatoes, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and basil?
3. Italian women do not snack.
Think about this one. If you are eating satisfying, well-balanced meals, you are not going to be hungry or get cravings throughout the day. Italians just don’t eat in between meals.
4. Italy is a totally food-centered society, but few seem to be fixated on food.
Food and diet are constantly being discussed on TV and in magazines in the USA, but usually how it relates to losing weight. Food is the enemy. While we are fixated on this aspect of food, Italians are more fixated on food as a pleasure and for nourishment. Food is their friend – their good friend.
5. Mealtime is shared.
In the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun” the neighbor of the main character invites her to dinner because, he says, “It’s not healthy to eat alone.” Mealtime is not only a time to eat, but also a time to share with family or friends. It is a social event – even every day dinner. The focus will be on quality food, but also conversation and laughter.
6. Italians drink lots of water.
Water is the drink of choice for Italians. In fact, Italy has the third highest per capita consumption of bottled water in the world. They will normally drink water with most of their meals. You will see them drink a beer or a coke if they are out eating a pizza, but for the most part, water is their go-to drink. Contrary to popular belief, they are not consuming gallons of wine. Wine is usually reserved for dinner and they will drink one glass, maybe two. Also, they will rarely drink wine if they are not eating. Wine is meant to compliment food, not to relax.
7. Italian coffee has no calories.
A morning cappuccino has approximately 80 calories and is made with whole milk. Low-fat or non-fat milk options do not even exist. The size of the cappuccino is about a third of the size we are used to in the United States. But again, it is satisfying. Italians do not drink cappuccino after 11:00AM, therefore, the coffee they drink the rest of the day is calorie free apart from sugar that is added.
8. Italian women are active.
As with most Europeans, they walk everywhere. Of course this has a lot to do with geography and perhaps the possibility of walking to the grocery store is just not an option. The distances are too far. But apart from walking for daily activities, they walk just for the pleasure of it. Go to any park, lake or city center at 3PM on a Saturday and there you will find Italians out in droves, just taking a stroll.
9. They lose their pregnancy weight with ease.
You know the headline on every tabloid after a celebrity has a baby: “Celebrity X loses all her baby weight after two months, how do the celebs do the impossible?” Well, I have to say the Italian women do it too – effortlessly I might add. The weight gain guideline for the average woman is 20-30 pounds, not 25-35 pounds. Most women gain no more than 25 pounds when they are pregnant and after two months are back in their regular clothes.
10. Italian women are comfortable in their own skin no matter their size.
This is obvious right away. Even the women that need to lose a few pounds are out on the beach in their bikinis playing with their kids, talking with their friends and having fun. No one is staying home because they feel fat or all covered up at the pool.
Italian women are just like women all over the world. They gain weight too. They go on diets as well. But even a diet seems so matter of fact to them. Not like some huge sacrifice. When they gain a little weight, they simply “cut back.” But it never seems like a big deal. They know what they have to do and they do it, always in keeping with la bella figura of course.
Venus de Milo by: Mattgirling
Great post! I really enjoyed this and plan to share it!
Hi Katrina! thanks and glad you enjoyed it.
very interesting – powerful points to know about the Italian women – I always enjoyed being in Milan – bravo
Thanks Mihran. Yes, the Italian women definitely have it together. Glad you enjoy Milan. There are lots of hidden gems in that city.
I absolutely love this post, and the Italian attitude towards food. Since moving to Europe almost three years ago, I feel like my whole attitude towards food has changed. I’ve always loved food but used to treat it almost as a ‘guilty’ pleasure. I was really involved in the whole ‘good’ vs ‘bad’ food thing and definitely enjoyed my share of diet foods. Like in Italy, in NL there is hardly any diet food available, and what there is also tends to be sold either in pharmacies or in the teeny tiny section devoted to it in supermarkets. Dutch people definitely don’t have the love of food that the Italians do (alas!!) but they eat all sorts of things that have been demonized by the media and popular diet cultures: white bread, cheese, TONS of full-fat or partly skimmed milk/dairy in general, white potatoes, butter … And yet they are healthy and slim! (Which is the rationale I use every time half a pack of butter ends up in my dinner!)
Yes Sophie! I agree…pretty much all of Europe seems to have the same attitude toward food and also body image. I mean…of course Italian women care about their size, weight, etc…but they also don’t go run and hide if they are not feeling their most beautiful. And yes…when we were in Amsterdam, we saw all the slim people there too even though they were eating the things you describe….so go on girlie….enjoy that butter tonight! 🙂
I think it became this way in America because of the wealth. Food became plentiful especially sweets and snack. Parents started driving their children everywhere and the neighborhood left. The only people I knew who was fat were old people.
Of course, the occasional kid most people were a healthy size 7-10 maybe a size12 depending on their height. Our portion sizes got bigger and we ate out more. My family ate out more than my friends but it still wasn’t like it was here.
Everyone got a home cooked meal at least for dinner. All the women at worked rushed home to cook dinner now it’s take out or pizza or microwave. No one walk any place unless they’re doing exercise. Everyone drives everywhere. I think that’s the difference.
When I was a child having a bike to ride to school was a blessing. They weren’t cheap it was a nice gift under the Christmas tree but now it’s just for a little fun here and there. Back then it was our mode of transportation.
this is not true. there is an abundance of food in europe. the issue in the united states is processed foods, and fast easy foods. companies tell us we don’t have time to cook so we need to buy that. which is true because our money centered culture causes us to work too many hours and be lazy with our food. this is the issue.
This is great!
Thanks Mani!!! Have a good week!
Love this post – really positive message 🙂 In Latvia, there was so much focus on the body beautiful, it made me feel a little ill. Here, German women are in just as good shape, healthy and happy, walking, cycling, running around playing with their kids and their friends – I know which way I’d rather be 🙂
Yes Linda…they are the same in Italy – fit but happy! Not completely body obsessed, which kind of goes against the image I had of Italian women before moving here. (I hate to admit it) They are very refreshing and inspirational…..
I sort of had this impression of German women (people) before moving here and they’ve lived up to it – and then some! And by god, do they eat!
Yes….I would imagine the German women to be as you described. Not sure why. Anyway…the Italians eat too. I watch them all. They have their cappuccino in the morning with a croissant, some kind of big salad or pasta or meat dish for lunch (with water) and then could even eat a pizza at night. But even the pizza here is not like in the States. A pizza here would have about 500-600 calories. So actually when you add up the calories for the day – – -even with a pizza and a croissant….it is not a nutty amount. So they eat…but I think a lot of it is the snacking, drinking and lack of movement in the US.
Yeah, I’m sure you’re right – there’s so much junk. In Ireland too.
Hello! I know this is older, but I truly enjoyed your post! Thank you…
Would you be willing to share an example of a pizza recipe they eat?
Oh man. I guess I’ll never be a skinny Italian b/c I love wine too much to only drink it at meals, I snack all the time and I love my big trough of coffee in the mornings – even cappuccinos! 😉 Many of these apply to Spain too I think. I know I feel like an idiot in a one piece at the beach b/c everyone, and I mean everyone is a two piece – including overweight and old people. I agree about the mystery ingredients – I always opt for the real deal over “low-fat” or low calorie versions.
Yes Lynda. That applies to Spain too….and I have to agree about one piece. I used to wear one until I came to live in Spain. Nobody below the age of 70 would be seen in one here on the beach! Everyone seems so comfortable the way they are and they are looking good.
Hey Anna! 🙂 I’m with you – if I lived there, I’d convert too. I think by wearing a one piece you just attract more attention to yourself which is likely the opposite effect of what you wanted in the first place! But since I just visit – I think I’ll stick to my usual. I don’t think anyone in Europe needs to be exposed to my messed up tummy, but I guess that’s my American-bred insecurity talking. 🙂 I’ve noticed that the flip side of this wonderful “acceptance” of all body types is a complete lack of a filter when it comes to people making comments about your body, like, “Oh, I see you’re getting a little fat!” In my case, I guarantee someone would ask if I’m pregnant. Ack!
LYN! As USUAL! we are thinkin’ alike! 🙂
And yes…you are right….there is NO filtering going on in Italy either……none…
Hi Anna….it is true you feel like a fool in a one piece. In fact…I guess you call even more attention to yourself! ha, ha ha…..funny how that works!
Oh Lynda…..I know…me too…and the drinking while I cook??? ARRRGGGG…I am probably consuming my dinner calories with the vino alone.
Great post! You hit it spot on! i remember being on a sailboat on one of Britt’s trips to Mauritius. People from all countries. I was so take by the fact that all the European women were in bikinis-some had great figures, some average-but they looked so confident and just did not care-they were happy. I love my bikinis but a lot of my American mom friends would not be caught dead in one-always talking about needing to lose weight, go on a diet! So much thought and angst always. Makes me sad! Moderation, moving around and happy with what this produces! Perfect!
Hi Sheri….well…I do have to say you look smokin’ hot in your two piece! 🙂 But yes…I think it is all about being at ease with your body and accepting the body you have at that point in your life…whatever that might be.
Diana, this was a wonderful read! I agree wholeheartedly with your reasons. Not only do they make sense, but they’re just plain easy to live by. Which makes it an even bigger head-scratcher that more people don’t.
Thanks Nancy! I know – right??? I admit to having tried every diet out there. And sometimes I still go back to it. I guess old habits die hard. Anyway…for sure living here has made me lighten up on that a lot. Ugggg….I was just thinking today of some of the crazy stuff I would try…I mean really dumb stuff just to lose a few pounds (which never worked by the way), rather than just simply cutting back a bit. Well…thanks for stopping by….I loved your post of the contradictory photo today…hilarious!
I think you could add reason #11 to your list: Italian women aren’t bombarded with television, radio and print advertisements about miracle weight loss pills, potions, shakes, etc.
I think part of the reason old habits die hard in North America I’d because that stuff is in your face 24/7. It’s a billion dollar industry – and that beast keeps growing.
Oh yes ma’am….you are so right about that. That stuff is so pushed in the States…and again…I fell for a lot of it myself.
Love food and our bodies! Love the post Diana!
Whooohoooo….right on Anna!!!! 🙂
I agree with your views on diet, light food and moving. Even elderly Italian women move- carting their daily shopping back up steep hills, catching buses to go visiting and so on. Italian food is often very simple food and too much emphasis has, in the past, been placed on the total menu of Italian restaurants, with antipasti, primi, e secondi piatti’ etc. Most Italians I know only eat ‘un piatto unico’ or one dish. Sweets are rare- maybe a little cheese and some fruit. Italians don’t snack in between meals. They also only drink wine with a meal. Australian women fancy a wine any old time.
Hi Francesca! Totally agree…yes…the elderly look fantastic too. And not just their weight…but the way in which they care for themselves…..
And American women fancy wine any old time too! 🙂
Bravissima! All of your points are bang on. North Americans have really crazy ideas about food, some of which make no sense at all. Ciao, Cristina
Grazie Cristina…si! E’ vero no??? Molto meglio qui per mangiare and bere!!! Grazie cara..buona giornata.
I love this! You have a complete list of why these Italian women look like they do. I admire them! Nice post.
Hi Susan! Thanks!!! And yes! The Italian women do have rockin’ bods…..I admire them as well. Did you ever see the photos of Renzi’s wife at the beach?!?! She looked fab!
No, but i’ll look. The Italian women don’t work out at gyms like we do here in the states that I know of….
they just look good…!
I know…they really do. I think they also have good genes….great skin that never seems to sag…..
I love the fact that food is not demonised here in Italy. It really annoys me when women call food naughty or bad…it’s just food. Eat it and be quiet or don’t eat it.
Unfortunately I do see quite a lot of overweight teenagers catching the school buses around here. I think things may be changing in Italy. I rarely see kids outside playing. I often wonder if they are sitting at home in front of a computer.
Yes Debra….I totally agree…and love your comment: “Eat it and be quiet or don’t eat it” – – perfect! so funny! And yes….for sure things are changing here too, but hopefully the Italian food tradition will win out.
Reason number 1 – spot on! Everything is fresh and natural over there, for the most part. My family is of Italian heritage, and I’ve noticed that the times I’ve been over there, and I think they’ve noticed that coming to visit us in Australia, too. It’s a very different lifestyle over there, I wish it was more common in other places around the world, too…
Hi Jess….yes….I KNOW all the fresh, in season food must have something to do with the weight situation over here. Yes…the lifestyle is nice…..especially where food is concerned.
Dear Diana, this is so right!! Your article is really well written and 100% true (for as much as I remember when I used to live in Italy).
I have found such a big difference in the UK. The mentality is just different and there is lots of snacking going on from a young age. Far too much convenience foods and empty calories just makes us put on weight without ever enjoying proper food.
I love your article. Ciao cara xx
Hi Alida! Yes…I guess America and the UK have the food (and maybe drinking) thing in common. Anyway….having lived here for a while, I am feel like I have adopted many of the Italian ways as it relates to food. (But I still like to have my glass of wine while I cook) 🙂
Great post! Exercise, water, and no snacking are biggies, as you stated!
I know! Seems so straightforward, but I admit, I am a snacker! 🙂
Great post! It is true what you say that Italian women usually are very pretty and thin. Now I know why! I will try to keep these tips as well 🙂
They DO have great bods! I TRY to stick to these tips too…not always successfully…but I try. 🙂
I wish I could stop snacking!
But you are right about the Italian women are active and as well energetic! I always admiring my Italian female colleagues here – they are mothers but as well career women plus active in certain social organization. Big plus for the ladies!
Isn’t it true? They have great careers here too and run after their kids and are super social as well. ha, ha, ha…maybe THAT is why they are so thin! Lots of running around! Have a great weekend!
Have a great weekend to you too 🙂
Diana, your article’s inspiring! (Although I need to lose a few pounds and don’t think I could ever work up the courage to head to the beach in a bikini!)
Hi Renate….you might be surprised…I felt the same too until I lived here…..now I feel like I fool if I am not in the two-piece. Even when I was 18, I was in a one piece…so you can imagine….I guess it is what you get used to.
Oh this sounds like reason enough to stay in Italy for extended periods of time! To become more comfortable in my own body in a two-piece! It’s a goal i will aspire to!
yesss…..EXCELLENT reason to linger around in Italy! 🙂
Another interesting cultural analysis!
Thanks Graham….but this was an easy one…the Italian women got it goin’ on! 🙂
Love this post! The observation that eating alone isn’t healthy really resonated for me. In my Italian/French family, mealtimes are for sharing, talking, and laughing. I have never in my life stood and eaten over the sink, as so many, many American friends and acquaintances say they do when they’re alone or in a hurry. Sit down–eat–enjoy!
Totally agree! And I admit that I still eat on the run…but living here has for sure made me slow it down…
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When I lived in Italy for three months I was maybe the healthiest weight I’ve ever been (with Japan perhaps tying it for first place). I walked everywhere, used fresh ingredients that I bought in the alleyway behind my apartment, and just enjoyed a more relaxed way of life. I miss that!
-Amanda at http://teachingwanderlust.com/
Hi Amanda…yes….isn’t it crazy? Everyone thinks they will come to Italy and gain weight and instead it is the opposite. Thanks for stopping by.
So true, Diana. I love this post.
Such a cool post Diana!! So interesting… I had no idea about all of this.
But I think I can relate a lot to them… maybe Brazilians do? hahhaa. I don’t know, but one thing is certain: I agree with the pasta instead of frozen food 😀 Italians are so cool!
I am SURE the Brazilians do live like this as well….y’all are all so beautiful! 🙂
hahaaha awwwwnnn thank you 😀
I think most Brazilian women do, you are right! They worry too much about their appearances and beauty!!
Great article. So very true too. This was how it was when I was growing up in Australia. Simple natural healthy living. We were fit happy and healthy. Now our obesity rate is very high. I always notice how good the Italians look when I am in Italy
Hi Lyn…isn’t it the truth?!?! Things were similar for me growing up in the USA. Now things have changed A LOT! I admit the Italian way of not being very open to change gets on my nerves sometimes, but their food tradition is a great one, and I hope it sticks around!
Thank you for a thought-provoking post. Yes, the fact that there is no diet food – except maybe low fat yoghourt – reflects a much healthier attitude to food than in the UK or USA. But , like Debra, I have noticed a lot of fat youngsters.
Hello! I just now saw your comment…it was tucked away in an “unapproved” file! ha, ha, ha…anyway…yes…it is true….so little diet food…..when I go home, I am amazed at the frozen food section FULL of all kinds diet foods: low fat, low carb, low, low, low….somehow, we Americans are not doing well in the weight department. Thanks for stopping by.
Thanks for the Like and Follow, Diana. As a mere holiday visitor I am always flattered when residents like my blog. Anyway I foresee that Vino Vita Viaggi holds lots of interesting reading for me.
Thank YOU for the kind comment!!!! You seem like a resident based on your “Sapore di Sale” comment! Fabulous! I look forward to reading more of your blog!
Enjoyed this. I was going to post something (that was really funny in the context my husband shared it) on just this topic. He said even female sanitation workers wear lipstick over there. It’s about the “BELLA”. Self-respect. I had gone out in such a way that made him ask, “Isn’t that your pajama bottom?” LOL. Eh.
Ha, ha, ha!!! So funny. Yes…the women are very concerned about how they look over here…but I have to say, so are the men. Great comment! Thanks for stopping by!
So are the MEN??!!!!!! I feel subhuman.
YES – – Even the men! Their eyebrows alone make ME feel subhuman…(some men, like my brother-in-law have these perfectly shaped brows…..looks very girly and I don’t get why they do that. ….but there ya go!)
Its really interesting isn’t it? Every single time I go to italy I eat like a queen and yet I lose weight. Why is that?
I’ve just been pondering (and wrote a post on) that question. I’ve just come back to Australia after 2 months in italy and I really noticed just how many fad diets are in the media here, and how much ‘diet’ food there is, and how obsessed we are with losing weight, and yet how unsuccessful we are at it.
I saw a documentary last night that talked about the fabulous ‘mediterranean diet’. They broke the diet down into various food groups, pasta, vegetables, olive oil, fish and so on… but as you point out its not just diet. What they completely fail to consider is the whole picture ~ that is, the culture, customs, and everything else that contributes to the mediterranean lifestyle, like walking everywhere, not eating alone, never eating convenience foods, no snacking, the complete lack of obsession with dieting, the lack of ‘diet’ food, and so on.
Great blog. I look forwards to reading more. Thanks!
TOTALLY agree!!! Lifestyle is a huge factor as well as approach to food as you mention. Thanks for stopping by…… 🙂
I lived in Rome for a few months back in 2008 and again in 2012. Everyday in Italy I ate a pastry for breakfast with a cappuccino, panini or pasta for lunch, pizza or pasta for dinner, and gelato after dinner. In 2008 I lost 15 pounds and in 2012 I lost 7 pounds. My 2012 trip cannot be compared to my 2008 trip because I broke my ankle 4 days into my stay and was in a cast and on crutches the entire time. I had rides to and from school almost every day and my walking was severely cut back.
I just returned from Italy after a 2 week vacation and lost 6 pounds. Again, I ate the exact same thing I did in 2008 and 2012 and this time I had at least one if not two glasses of wine with dinner every day.
As soon as I get back home I gain all of the weight back even though I maintain my exercise level and cut back my caloric intake to 1300 – 1800 a day.
I am 100% convinced that it is not the amount of walking that people are doing and it is not how many calories they are eating. It has to do with the quality of the food. In Italy and Europe in general they do not over pasteurize or process their foods like we do here in the US. In the US we add in preservatives to everything to make food last longer while. in Italy and most of Europe they tend to shop more frequently and often will go to farmers markets that are generally open year round.
My girlfriend is a great example of this. She is severely lactose intolerant here in the US and her body is very sensitive to gluten. She has all sorts of issues with food here that gives her horrible Gi distress, stomach and abdominal craps, skin issues, bloating, and weight gain. However, whenever we are in Italy or Europe in general she can eat anything that she wants and has absolutely no side effects, GI distress, or other issues caused by food. In fact, she also loses weight. It’s fantastic for her. As soon as we get back it starts all over again for her. Frankly, it pisses me off that she has these issues because they could be completely avoidable if the US food producers would stop adding in preservatives and over processing the foods. If I could move to Italy I would. Unfortunately, if you’re an American with no ties through bloodline to Italy then you can only stay in an EU Schengan country for a maximum of 90 days during a 270 day period unless A) you are highly specialized in a field that only YOU can do the job that an employer wants and no one else in any other EU country can do B) you marry an Italian (or other EU resident so you get dual citizenship) C) you are wealthy (having more than 1 million US allows you to retire in Italy and get a residence permit to stay but you are still not allowed to work there) D) attend school full time which will give you a student visa, but you are still not allowed to work there. If you cannot meet any of these criteria then giving up your US passport might be a possibility, but doing so makes it nearly impossible to return to the US and regain your citizenship later on.
Since none of these are possibilities it looks like my girlfriend and I will always have health issues living here in the US. There’s no way the food industry will change their ways here.
YES! For sure the food industry is different here than it is back home. There are lots of manufactured foods that simply do not exist here. Sugar is a BIG problem in the US. Who knows what they are putting in our food. I imagine that little by little it is making its way to Europe too though, as there is a lot of money to be made in quick and easy long lasting food. Thanks for stopping by. Take care!
Love this article. Good timing for me as I am on vacation at a resort in Mexico enjoying fresh seafood, veggies and fruit. Trying to scale back on social drinking with friends.
errrrr….yes….my downfall is social outing as well!
The social aspect is good/bad as I often overeat or have more than one glass of wine when dining with friends. Yet, I love being with family & friends. I know that eating well has to be a daily habit not something I resort to when I need to lose a few pounds. An ounce of prevention….
What a great post! A hearty “amen” to all of those points. My senior thesis at Penn State in the US was on the difference of the word “diet” in the US and Italy (eating seen as a restrictive action vs a lifestyle) after I studied abroad, noticing exactly what you’ve written about.
But: I want to point out that I think Americans, though tending to obsess unhealthily over food and being overweight, are more actively fit than Italian women. This could be a direct result of our obesity problem, but still–fewer muscular legs in Italy!
And…many Italians unfortunately smoke, which I always tend to see as a slimming if completely unhealthy habit (which I am not condoning in any way). Maybe this is another influence?
Overall though, I think every point you make is completely true why Italian women don’t get fat. Hey, you should make that a book 🙂
Hi Diana! I love your thesis subject! It is SO intriguing isn’t it??? Anyway…FOR SURE the cigarette thing figures into the equation, and I wish I would have thought of that when writing this post…..I might just add that in…because though I feel they are more healthy in their view towards food, it is not perfect…that is for sure. Thanks again for your insight….have a nice evening….
I understand what you wanted to convey. Yet, it’s not right. It is very misleading. I live in Rome and these do not corresponded equally. Either this is based on your friends or what you have noticed in Milan. I cannot believe this is all women of italy.
Italian women here try not to eat. Breakfast they get cappucino but with soy milk if they are worried about weight. There’s cornetti made specifically for people watching their weight.
Thus the Italian breakfast in diet mode.
Also, many places offer cake (chocolate cake, cimabellone ) for breakfast. ( it has eggs, milk, so it’s a meal).
Many here drink water , buy tons of it yet they barely consume a half liter in a day. They just sip. Or drink frizzante so they never quench thirst or flush kidneys properly.
Walking is about right. It’s faster than a bus or metro ar times. However, Rome cobblestone is murderess for heels and stilettos 😣.
Women and men here are chained smokers . It curbs the craving of snacking or finishing a meal.
Many are runners here. Running is popular. I know people that run a 10k and literally smoke right after.
Going to the gym is really a show. Less than half are hardcore , most women go in full makeup and talk.
Italians -at least in Rome love carbs.
Other than fruit it can be tricky finding a non carb snack.
Smoothies are rare and are made with fruit only . Or they do centrifuge ( juicer).
I have asked about green smoothies here and the bar man thinks i am crazy…….”.spinach in a fruit drink …ha!”
So i make at home.
Many are scary thin here. There’s problem of vitamin defiency and fragile bones. An overload of MAC makeup and plastic surgery. There’s huge pressure to be thin here even if she was a healthy skinny (125lb). They all want to weigh (105lb) …
Body shaming is here.
I am a woman of 130 lbs . I once dated a man that was obsessed with me dropping 20lbs. !! He said i would be “perfect”.
This is the Italy I have know for 5 yrs.
This idea that they are perfectly aligned with their bodies is not true. No country has women that are so.
I meet so many that have this idea of Italy and after a year here they say otherwise. …they are no different. Women are women. Some are thin naturally and others with assistance.
This is the type of article that creates confusion with young people that come here.
Hi Naphtali! thanks for your comment. My article was based on generalizations. Obviously there are going to be some women who don’t feel comfortable in their own skin. But for the most part, I see the Italian women very confident when at the beach or just in general. As far as water consumption goes, I have no idea how much water people are actually drinking, but as a rule, at homes or parties or out for dinner, I generally see people only drinking water as opposed to cola, sports drinks, juices, etc. And for breakfast, I see the women ordering their cappuccino and cornetto just like the men. This is in Milan, but also Rome (hubby is Roman, so I spend a lot of time there). Anyway…again these are just my personal observations, and relative to American women, the Italians seem to have a little more balance where food and weight are concerned. Thanks again for stopping by!
I agree totally – many women in Italy are absolutely emaciated, scarily skinny – they are not displaying a healthy attitude to food or fitness at all. A normal woman of average weight will look/ feel huge beside them.
Spot on! You couldn’t have described it any better. I grew up near Rome wanting to be model thin, there s a lot of pressure and body shaming. Italian women are obsessed with weight and appearance.
I think the weight thing for women is all over the world unfortunately.
This was an incredibly & enlightening article. The one point shared is the love relatoonship they have with food, not hate. It just makes so much sense. It has set me on a more positive path that I hope will end my 30yr. battle with food & free me of my eating disorder. Thank you so much.
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The above comments do not explain the fact that of all European countries Italy has more women between 40 and 45 kilos than anywhere else – it hits you as soon as you step off the aeroplane – this is not just fitness or sliminess but genuine anorexia territory – how ironic when the country is famous for its food – many of its female inhabitants obviously don’t eat it – or anything else for that matter
You could not have said it better so I will say Bravo! I have never had a weight problem. Yes, I was born in NYC but I went back and forth to Italy as a small child. I’ve always been an eater, always enjoyed my food but never over stuffed myself. Always kept active though, never sit down, well sometimes but I’m sure you get the point. While my childhood friends were locked up inside their homes in Brooklyn N.Y. on their couches in the 1970’s shrouded in darkness as if someone had just died, watching soap operas during summer vacation just because they had the “curse,” to all you young ladies out there that means your menstrual cycle, ha ha, I thought they were crazy. I would be outside riding my bike, roller skating, playing hiding seek, kick ball, walking to the park, whatever but never laying on the couch playing dead at 11, that’s way too young. Thanks for your great article. So true about lifelong active, positive, strong women in general and about Italian women!! Ciao Bella and Grazie!
Thanks so much for your comment! Sorry for the delay in responding…
Ha Ha what a lot of rubbish this article is. Obviously you have no idea about Italian women. Young anorexic girls, overworked mothers not to mention they are all relatively small in height compared to other europeans and americans
Hi Kathy, thanks for your feedback. I admit my post was just based on my own, personal observations. I have no first-hand knowledge of eating disorders with Italian women, but I think we all know it is a big problem both in Italy as well as the USA – especially as social media has grown in the past years. I can also only assume that most mothers worldwide are overworked. (unfortunately). As far as the height of Italian women as compared to Americans and other Europeans – maybe they are? Anyway, not sure how that relates to healthy eating. Thanks again for stopping by.