Book Review: French Women Don't Get Fat

Recently, I've become very intrigued with French living. I finished reading the book, Bringing Up Bebe before starting this book, French Women Don't Get Fat.


I grew up in the midwest, where heavy meat, potatoes, and casseroles are essential staples of the daily diet. We cleaned our plates, and the bigger the appetite, the better! At the same time, many people I knew were trying out some trendy diet or pill to drop the pounds while still going to the bars and drinking tons of beer and having "cheat days," which typically included large portions of cheesy fries.


We cleaned our plates, and the bigger the appetite, the better!

Since moving to Colorado, I have become much more conscious of what I eat, and I find it much easier to stay leaner due to the health-conscious culture. But unfortunately, many Coloradoan eating rituals are "extreme." Most everyone I know here is or has recently embarked on some intense diet regimen, from high fat and protein and no carbs to vegan and everything in between—each diet promising to make us leaner and healthier. I've tried pretty much all varieties of these "healthy" diet trends as well, but I can't seem to maintain any of them to the extreme that is "required" to get the full benefits, supposedly.



Most everyone I know here is or has recently embarked on some intense diet regimen, from high fat and protein and no carbs to vegan and everything in between—each diet promising to make us leaner and healthier.


Since the pandemic, I've spent a lot of time reading and thinking about moderation in all aspects of my life. I started reading and practicing ayurvedic methods (from India) and became interested in French living. I find the commonality between moderation and listening to your body.




Unlike ayurvedic eating methods, the French seem to value thinness and aesthetics. They have a well-accepted culture that accepts fat-shaming and seems even to encourage it. Like most Americans, I believe fat-shaming can be harmful to individuals. So, I wanted to acknowledge this before moving on to what I learned.


I enjoyed this book, and it was a fast read for me. Here are the key takeaways that resonated with me:


  • Variety is the spice of life! Unfortunately, repeatedly eating the same foods creates boredom and may contribute to overeating.


  • Fruits don't need to be refrigerated.


  • The French rarely "eat on the go" and not in the car or front of the TV.


  • The French walk a lot.


  • The French typically think about good things to eat. Americans usually worry about bad things to eat.


  • The French eat smaller portions of more things: a small appetizer, a small starter, a small main dish, and a small dessert. On the other hand, Americans eat more significant portions of fewer things.


  • The French eat a lot more fruits and vegetables than most Americans do.


  • The French love bread and would never go carb-free.


  • The French don't eat "fat or sugar-free." They eat these in moderation.


  • The French don't often weigh themselves. Instead, they notice if their clothes are feeling tight or loose.


  • Most French people eat three meals and one snack (around 4 pm) each day.


  • The French rarely snack throughout the day.


  • The French discontinue eating before they feel stuffed.


  • The French tend to drink wine or champagne only with meals and rarely drink hard liquor.


  • The French tend to drink water throughout the day.


  • The French tend to shop for their groceries daily and buy primarily fresh food.


  • The French take great pride in the presentation of their food. Food that looks nice is savored.


  • The French often eat soup as a starter before eating their main meal.


I already do some of these things, and I plan to implement as many other ones as possible. I don't think my husband would be fond of having a 4-5 course meal every night, but maybe we can do that on weekends. Also, I would like to try eating a small soup before the main course and see if that helps me eat a little less.



Have you also read this book? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.


Cheers,

Erika Baum

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