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samedi 17 août 2013

The Water and the Body in the French Alps:
Charles (The Bald) OF FRANCE, Holy Roman Emperor, King of West Francia b. 13 Jun 823 Frankfurt, Germany d. 6 Oct 877 Brides-les-BainsFrance The Spa here has been renowned since Roman times

The French has a concept of the Body much in the Cartesian tradition (after all Descartes was French!). When something goes wrong with the Body, they feel that it can be mechanistically corrected by reversing the “defect”, a very mechanical view of the Body.
The spring known since Roman times, situated near the town of Moutiers in the French Alps and close to the ski resort of Meribel, attracts thousands of visitors during the summer months, mainly French, for 21 day “cures” – a very strictly body oriented practice of:
Less Food, but nicely prepared
Massage therapy, Mud Therapy
The Magnificent Alps for a vista
Water from the Spring with its high Calcium, Magnesium and other anions/cations.
Plus other body oriented paraphernalia such as “yoga”, “meditation” and Zumba.
They claim that during the 21 days, one can expect to loose weight and attribute it to the “waters”

Being a participant observer in these parts, the loss of weight, which is rather miniscule in most cases, can be directly attributed to the menu, concocted by the Local Doctors, in various forms of Diet Therapy. The lack of food, which is strictly controlled, is blandly prepared and controlled in amount. You cannot have seconds or substitutes and the menu is posted and any change incurs a 10-dollar fee. There is no bread, hardly any carbohydrates and meat and fish on the menu.
I do see Cheese on the menu and a daily dessert for Lunch and Dinner, which to my disciplined stomach is a bit too much. Almost every one here complains about the food, shows that they were eating far too much before they came here and perhaps that points out to the success of the “cures”.
Actually this is a Body-Industrial complex with a combination of Commercialism, a touch of Medicinal flavour and extortion. Then again, there are enough gullible people in this county who believe that smelling aromatic salts can alleviate varicose veins!
What I was surprised about was the lack of spirituality that I suppose explains the record of being unable to keep the weight off. Occasionally one hears of someone who lost 20 kg, much in the commercial fashion the Subway Sandwich shops promote someone who lost 100 lbs. eating just their sandwiches.
Looking at the body types of the people attending these sessions here, I can see that, if there is any weight loss at all, it can be attributed to
1.  Smaller than normal quantities of Food, and they could achieve more if they gave up the old notion of first course, main course, cheese, dessert routine, adored by the French.
2.  The tranquil atmosphere dominated by the high mountains
The Lack of success can be said to be due to:
High Prevalence of Smoking
Lack of a Spiritual nature, which makes them complain. (I will try to use the Yogic philosophy to explain). They complain about Food, Waitresses, and Hotel and in fact, keep their bodies in their usually high levels of stress.
Most people were complaining, saying that the third week is very difficult, the food tastes blander than ever, and the hours are spent being bored.
Why do people flock to this place in such large numbers. 90-95 per cent of the tourists seen in this small town are overweight or obese, very un-French, I would say!
It is due to a strange twist to the Socialist Health Care in France! Most of the expenses, between 100 to 200 euros a DAY (130 to 260 dollars per day) are borne by the French Government! This is done at the suggestion of a Family Practitioner. It is a good system, in context, people who normally couldn't afford such an expensive holiday, get a 21 day “cure”, all paid for, and the power system in the health care is maintained and there are of course health benefits to being on holiday for 2-3 weeks!
Imagine doing this in a country, like USA, UK, Australia! The countries would be broke; the budget cannot sustain “cures” of the multitudes of overweight/obese people. So in English speaking countries, such a Weight Loss System as in Brides Les Baines is glorified by Saffron clad fake yogis, perfumes and flower petals under the guidance of exotic enough looking people (browner the better), so the rich can afford to go there… almost always with the same results as we can get in Brides Les Baines.
I can only shout, VIVE LA FRANCE

PS I have become painfully aware of the minds of the overweight/obese people: CONSTANT, PAINFUL, UNSUCCESSFUL, ETERNAL, FUTILE, AWARE, ASHAMED STRUGGLE to loose weight!
I try not to judge overweight/obese people especially my patients, who are almost always overweight or obese. But I cant help thinking when I see someone who is so hugely obese, I wonder, how did they get to be that size?

My observations, using the Five Kleishas of the Yoga Sutra by Patanjali are as follows:
They are come here for a purpose, to loose weight.
They should facilitate that by reducing the Structural defects of their minds, called Kleisha in Yogic Philosophy

Ignorance:  Four course Lunch and Dinners day after day with no corresponding Exercise will not make you loose weight. (Confusion, bewilderment, Delusion)
Attachment: Leave your gustatory and tonsillary expectations at home. Please be thankful to the chef for providing you with as fresh a food as possible. Stop complaining. (Desire, Passion)
Fear of Change: Do not want to try anything out of the ordinary and when something simple is offered as a diversion, such as a French version of Paella, please enjoy and be grateful.
Aversion: complaining that the food is bland. Very tasty food is what brought you here to loose that extra pounds accumulated over the years! (Anger, hatred)
Pride, Ego: comparing previous experiences to the current ones, chefs from different hotels, without realizing that chefs have limited freedom to alter menus. (Arrogance, deceit)

And by the way, be GRATEFUL that the French Government is paying for most of these indulgences!
I cherish the words of HE Dalai Lama, who was served two excellent dishes from the two top chefs in Australia and asked the question: Which dish is the best one?
He replied with a smile:
I am just a humble monk. I cannot judge. I enjoyed both the dishes.

Enjoy, add a little spirituality, do more exercises and you would see long lasting results and always vote for the Government who keeps on supporting such programmes!