A few years ago, a diet and healthy living book called French Women Don’t Get Fat made waves by suggesting French women are immune from obesity due to their lifestyles. While overweight French women exist just as surely as there are thin American women, the “obesity epidemic” in our country does suggest that our problems may indeed be cultural in origin. With that in mind, looking toward lifestyles in other countries to determine where we went wrong may indeed help with our weight loss goals.
Commonly called the “French Woman Diet”, this popular weight loss plan calls for the following changes:
Smaller portions of higher-quality food. We Americans are known around the world for our enormous portions and dependence upon packaged snack foods. We’re also known for our high obesity rate, and you’d be right in guessing that these three things are related. Processed foods aren’t as filling as more natural foods, so we crave more and more of them. The stereotypical French woman, on the other hand, would consume much smaller portions of high-quality food. Items like cheese, wine, and pasta are not taboo, but can be enjoyed in moderation.
Savor each bite. Americans tend to eat in the car or in front of the television, and this mindless eating leads us to enjoy less and consume more. The French Woman diet, on the other hand, encourages us to sit at the dinner table, enjoy good conversation, and take our time between bites. It’s also easier to savor each bite when you’re eating that high-quality food!
Walk, walk, and walk some more! Walking is simple exercise that almost anyone can perform. While Americans depend heavily upon their personal vehicles, those in France and other parts of Europe tend to walk everywhere. Our city layouts don’t always allow for this, but add more walking into your routine whenever possible. Hint: If you live a mile or so from the grocery store, yes you can indeed walk there! Expand your definition of “walking distance” and be realistic about it. We often drive when it’s completely unnecessary.
Drink lots of water. Remember that nature did not design us to consume soft drinks at every meal, despite their being a staple of American culture.
Eat regular meals at regular times. Again, no more eating “on the go”. When we skip meals, we experience cravings for junk food and end up over-indulging. Eating regular meals keeps your blood sugar steady and prevents binge eating.