The tourist season has begun in Amsterdam. The weather is a bit nicer (well, to Dutch standards) and tourists regularly arrive in town every friday to spend a weekend in the city. I can’t help but notice how people from the same country share similar looks, physical traits and body types.
I’m originally from France and I’ve been living in the Netherlands for some years now. When it comes to European tourists I often predict accurately the country the person comes from before she’s even said a word.
It’s interesting to see how body types and cultural differences make people look the way they look.
I don’t believe genetics play a huge part in our body’s shape (according to diet expert Tosca Reno, the equation is 10% genetics, 10% training, 80% nutrition). However, it is obvious that different people store fat in different ways. Even on a small continent such as Europe, there are many differences between northern and southern European women.
Of course I’m generalizing in my following descriptions, these are only subjective observations I’ve made.
Frequent body types of German / Dutch women
Android or Lymphatic shapes
Body types: Northern European women tend to be tall (Dutch women are the tallest in Europe) and muscular in shape. They have thick bones and muscles. When wearing skirts, few have lean “top model”-looking legs. At the gym, they have good muscular strength and coordination but low speed and poor flexibility.
Diet: They tend to have a protein-rich diet. Dutch love dairy. They drink milk and eat Dutch cheese every single day, and no one suffers from lactose intolerance. German eat less cheese but lot of pork (sausages, ham) almost on a daily basis.
Northern European women crave fatty foods or salty foods in addition to ‘classic’ female cravings (chocolate, sweets etc). Dutch, Belgian, German people all love potato fries.
Good habits: Dutch women cycle everyday to go to work. Cycling in the Netherlands is a common, daily method of transport. Lots of German cities are bicycle-friendly too.
Dutch en German people don’t eat much “white” refine carbs. The bigger part of their carbs intake comes from brown bread and complex carbs.
Frequent body types of Scandinavian women
Android or Thyroid shapes
Body types: They are the one looking the best at the gym. Women from Denmark, Norway and Sweden seem to basically have the same kind of body types than German/Dutch women. However, they seem to follow a healthier diet, known as the Nordic diet.
Diet: Northern Europeans don’t follow the so-called healthy Mediterranean diet (fruit, vegetables, olive oil, nuts and cereals, low amounts of red meat and dairy products) because it’s not compatible with the ingredients produced in northern Europe.
The nordic diet is based on food that’s easily grown and produced in colder climates: fatty fish, cabbage, root vegetables and rye bread.
Good habits: They eat local, seasonal vegetables, and they are regularly active outdoors despite their country’s climate.
Frequent body types of Italian / French women
Gynaeoid or Tyroid shapes
Body types: Their bones are light and their muscles are small. Fat get stored mainly on the butt and thighs. Usually these women don’t get fat in the face, forearms and shins. Looking really overweight is rare for these populations, simply because a lot of them store fat only on their lower body. They won’t gain lot of muscle mass at the gym, even if they weight-train seriously.
|An Italian tourist’s butt|
Bad habits: They eat white carbs (bread or pasta) every day and crave sugary foods (chocolate, pastry).
Good habits: The principles of Mireille Guiliano’s diet book “French women don’t get fat“: small portions of everything, savoring and enjoying the pleasures of food, rather than obsessing over it. But Mireille does forget to tell her American readers something very important: French women don’t get really fat, but many are skinny-fat: slim and fat at the same time. Despite appearing to be a healthy weight, they’ve got extra body fat and jiggle areas. After they passed 50 lots of them tend to have flat, sad butts.
Young Italian women look actually slimer than French women, but get bigger than French women after menopause. I guess after 50 the body becomes less forgiving with eating pasta on a regular basis.
I took all of the pictures from this test: www.liverdoctor.com/body-type-questionnaire
After taking the test, the result for my body type were: Gynaeoid: 56%, Thyroid: 44%, which make sense considering my French genes. In which body types do you recognize yourself? (I couldn’t write a paragraph on British women because I’ve never been in the UK -such a shame I know!). If you’re American, do you believe the nationalities of your ancestors have an impact on your body type?