French women don't diet and they don't spend hours and hours running around the gym either. They eat ice cream, pastries and steak frites and still stay slim. Despite a diet filled with cream, butter, cheese, wine and meat, just 10% of the French are obese compared with a whopping 33% here in the U.S. The French also live longer and have a lower death rate from coronary heart disease.
So what's their secret? I will attempt to shed some light on this phenomena.
I found that there are several contributing factors. For starters, never under estimate the power of sexy lingerie! Yes, that's right, and there are almost as many lingerie shops in Paris as there are bakeries. Sexy little undies are a constant reminder to French women to be mindful of the choices they make that will pay off in slimness.(Interestingly enough, this blog post was supposed to be a discussion about French lingerie and somehow it morphed itself into this - So, I'll fill you in on the lingerie situation later).
Let's move on-
Let's move on-
And this Just in - Diets Don't Work! And they certainly aren't any fun. French women believe that the key to staying slim does not involve counting calories, fat grams or gym memberships. It's really about personal style. The French enjoy a sensible, sensual way of eating. They savour their food and are passionate about their food. And of course they do, they have a national heritage founded upon food and some of the greatest chefs in the world. Eating in France is a life enriching exploit, not a chore or a guilt trip. Ironically, the people most likely to be ON a diet are the least likely to be thin. Think about it.
A survey conducted by the French Government's Committee For Health Education (CFES)found that "eating, is still closely linked, to a national heritage of consuming food for pleasure" In France 76% of all meals are prepared at home. The favorite place to eat lunch and dinner is at home and 75% of the French eat their meals at the family table. Compare that to the way we eat here in the U.S. I haven't eaten at the "family table" since my daughter was 7 (she's 27 now)
Eating in France is a social activity. The French typically spend about 2 hours over lunch. Most of us are lucky to get 30 minutes or even an hour while often eating at the desk while trying to work. The French secret is to sit down and enjoy your meal with family or friends and eat 3 times a day at regular intervals. The French don't eat in front of the television either. They eat slowly, enjoying both the food and the company.
Here's another factor, the French have a sort of built in PORTION CONTROL monitor. For instance, in France a croissant weighs 1 oz and in Philly it weighs 2oz.(and you know those HUGE muffins we eat that look more like a small cake? Well, not, in France) No super sizing or all you can eat buffets. The French focus on careful preparation of unprocessed foods. They shop as often as daily for fresh seasonal produce. Where preparation of food might take 2 hours in France, we can whip up a meal in 15 minutes (thanks to ready prepared meals whose sales are up more 33% in the U.S since 2000). Try to get a French women to eat any of our "invented" foods full of hydrogenated oils - Fuhgeddaboudit!!! She would rather eat ONE rich-dark-square of REAL chocolate. Fast food and junk food are not terribly popular in France either.
Dr Baudier, of CFES, stated that one reason for the French fat rich diet is that it stimulates the production of cholecystokinin. This is a satiety hormone which promotes a sense of satisfaction after eating even small amounts of high fat foods. Hence brie eaters stay fuller longer.
And finally, the French woman sees herself as beautiful despite her physical flaws. She believes that she is worth the effort of eating well and taking care of herself. She deserves to be slim and healthy, and she wants that more than a piece of pie.
If you want to kiss your ass good-bye, you could take a lesson from the French!