How the French Stay So Slim

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Given the fact that Europeans seem to enjoy life so much more than Americans (we're too busy speeding around, and not enjoying the day to day, IMHO), I can see how this all might just be true. Feel free to post your thoughts our lovely French women (and men!)


How the French Stay So Slim
The little village that is Girl Meets Grape is just back from a jaunt to France, where I learned a couple of things about our Continental friends. Someone sent me a book awhile back about why French women don't get fat; as I was pregnant at the time, I wasn't quite sure how to interpret this gift. Regardless, it is true that French women (and men!) don't tend to be as heavy.

How do these Frenchies do it? Here are a few tips:



1) Set the table, set the mood. The French don't typically do fast food (though even that is changing thanks to la vie McDonald's). They dine, and eating and dining are not the same thing. Taking the time to drink coffee from real cups, using cloth napkins and tablecloths no matter how humble the meal, is part of the charm.

2) Eat slowly. This is a tough one for me, especially as a new mom, as I find myself shoveling anything I can get down my throat. Not healthy. Portion your food and savor it in small bites. Better for your digestion and easier to control portions.

3) Sip, nibble, repeat. One of my best girlfriends in Los Angeles is an incredibly elegant woman from Burgundy who, despite twenty years in the States, has yet to develop our gulping patterns. Francoise dines. She sips, she nibbles, she repeats. And I love her enough to wait it out with her at times when I have long since polished off my own dinner. And yes, she is lovely and slim.

4) Liquor is quicker, but wine is fine. A lot of the cocktails and aperitifs in France tend to be wine-based, like a kir or Lillet, rather than being made from the hard-stuff. They don't swill the Grey Goose and Red Bull as a way of "preparing their palates." A lovely glass of something bubbly wakes up your tastebuds, while a glass of red or white with food promotes better digestion. And the French drink in a very different way than most Americans. Wine is served at both lunch and dinner, every day, but the French take a long time over every meal, so that two-hour lunch makes a single glass stretch quite awhile. Much has been made recently of studies that show the health benefits of daily, very moderate wine consumption versus the weekend "binge" model of drinking that dominates our college campuses and Friday happy hours nationwide.



5) Coffee is not dessert itself. I have a friend who works at Starbucks who once told me the zillions of calories to be found in one of those mocha-latte-caramel-whipped-cream-venti-crazyccino things. The French drink espresso or cafe au lait in small portions, that's it. (I adored the lovely little automated coffee machines and café tables at the rest stops along the A4 motorway from Burgundy to Paris.) Ditch the calorie-filled, whipped cream dessert coffees, but take the time to savor the smaller portion you do order. And drink it from a real cup.

SOURCE

 
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Nice nice
there's actually a book about this.. ive been meaning to buy it but never had the time

 
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lol ! i saw that book at Smith, it seemed funny.

all true ! though sometimes i have a hard time eating slowly.

about the wine thing, it's not that common, i have the feeling wine is usually now kept for special occasions, birthdays, christmas, friends or family at home for the weekend or just a meal...

 
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We're accustomed to eating a bunch of merde.

I saw that on Oprah years ago - the lady that wrote the book was there and talking about how she moved to America and got all chunky then went back to France and got all skinny. It's just portion control, basically.

My new french word: merde.

 
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too many wrong foods and lack of exercise is a huge problem in our country. you know millions of people consume hundreds, maybe thousands of calories alone on soft drinks and other sweetened beverages? ladies-step one to being skinny- drink only water and other unsweetened beverages. why drink your calories when you can eat them? and remember- sugar is the enemy!!

 
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when I spent 6 months in the US I immediately noticed the differences. All my friends who were exchanges students in the US gained weight, and my american friend who lived in Austria for a year lost soo much weight just eating Austrian stuff and walking around like we all do

The differences I noticed was

- high consumption of sodas!!!

- portions are so much bigger

- even healthy food is "americanized"..take Olive Garden for example. Even salads come with heavy dressing, cheese, croutons, bacon bits, etc

- the food they serve in high school cafeterias is a joke..well at least the one I went to. You could choose between sandwiches, pizza, ham- and cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets, fries etc.

 
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Originally Posted by mrom /img/forum/go_quote.gif sugar is the enemy!! LOL! When I was a kid, I used to sneak sugar cubes out of the cabinet as a snack. I'm no better now. Sugary drinks and foods, I don't think I'll ever be able to live without...
 
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I have mentioned before that I had an 83 pound weight loss that I have kept off. The biggest difference for me was eliminating 95% of all soda consumption from my diet. I went from three diet sodas a day to maybe 1 or 2 a month. The effect of diet soda is actually worse than the effect of regular soda according to one really good scientific study I saw which linked it to weight gain.

 

Lia

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Originally Posted by Andi /img/forum/go_quote.gif when I spent 6 months in the US I immediately noticed the differences. All my friends who were exchanges students in the US gained weight, and my american friend who lived in Austria for a year lost soo much weight just eating Austrian stuff and walking around like we all doThe differences I noticed was

- high consumption of sodas!!!

- portions are so much bigger

- even healthy food is "americanized"..take Olive Garden for example. Even salads come with heavy dressing, cheese, croutons, bacon bits, etc

- the food they serve in high school cafeterias is a joke..well at least the one I went to. You could choose between sandwiches, pizza, ham- and cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets, fries etc.

The portions are absurd ! Everything is enourmous! And fast food is cheap
 
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I dont get why people consider Olive Garden to be a fancy restaurant. lol Anyways they are chaging the food in schools, atleast in ny they are.

 
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What kind of stuff do you eat where you're from andi? ITA with all of this.

 

Lia

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I know i'm not Andi, but i imagine she eats more like me than you.

Basically, what is the most important thing here is that most of us, from the poorer to the richer, at lunch eat REAL FOOD - and that means:

Beans, rice, meat or poultry or fish, and some eat salad. That's the basic course here. Most people don't lunch fast food. In USA what i missed the most was real food, homemade, with taste. The thing that would get closer was the chicken they sold at Boston Market , that also would come with mashed potatoes, a spinach cream and those beans that come on a "stick" (forgot the name).

People now are getting heavier because they're eating more and more fast food (USA influence, and it's because is cheaper to buy a juice and a small snack than have a proper food).

 
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Well in Austria it´s common to eat a salad with lunch, as a starter. Or often a soup. Those things are low in calories and fill you up before the main course, so you´re not starving by then and pig out and get 2 plates.

And people will very rarely drink soda with it, we usually drink water or fruit juice.

Restaurant food-compared to the US:

portions are MUCH smaller, the desserts are not as high in calories, and just as as home we usually order a salad before anything else.

Fast food is not widely available and it´s not as cheap as in the US. Most people also barely have any snacks at the house (like chips, popcorn, chocolate), that´s still considered "special".

For most people in Europe it´s the thing that those "extras" were too expensive before. Also the meals they served in kindergarden were always healthy. Lots of vegetables etc, and you´d only get dessert if you finished your vegetables.

Well what do I eat? I actually eat a lot more than you´d think. I have a naturally fast metabolism so I have to eat every 3 hours or else I´d get shaky and cranky. That allows me to always have a somewhat full stomach and I barely ever pig out and eat plate after plate. I like to eat healhty (with the exception of desserts of any kind lol) so there´s no chips, frozen pizza, soda or fruit juices at my house. I try to make all my snacks ealthy, and just add honey to a fruit salad for added sweetness.

 
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When you come to the US you have to know where to go. Alot of the restaurants that do have good home cooking food are like in other boroughs or in areas where out of towners dont usually go. Boston Market is still a fast food place and its in no way healthy. You just have to learn where the good food is. I agree about the fast food thing, i mean if people are broke and only have $3 they rather have a burger and fries from the dollar menu than a $6 salad. lol

I also want to add those really high in calorie starbucks drinks, im scared to drink any frappuccinos or machiattos. lol

 

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