While French women absolutely can get fat, those that don’t, while eating cheese, wine and butter, follow and live by these 11 reasons French women don’t get fat. In fact, anywhere in the world, if we were to follow these French eating principles, we wouldn’t get fat either. The notion that French women don’t get fat was introduced to us in the US by Frenchwomen Mireille Guiliano in her book “French Women Don’t Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure,” after a move to the US left her 20 pounds heavier than when she had arrived. According to the book, here are 7 reasons French women don’t get fat.
1. High Quality Foods
One of the first reasons French women don’t get fat is because they select high quality foods. Yes, they might be eating cheese and bread frequently, the ingredients used and consumed in these products are fresh, local and in season. They are able to eat less while enjoying more because their bodies are satisfied through real, wholesome foods.
2. Limit Sweets
French women understand balance. They know that sweets should be saved for a treat but that a treat should always included! Whenever a craving strikes, instead of having an entire piece of cake, they enjoy an bite or two and are completely satisfied. The same goes for wine - they enjoy one glass, rather than an entire bottle and are content and not drunk!
3. Savor Each Bite
In France, meals are savored and enjoyed very slowly, often taking up the entire afternoon for the lunchtime meal. While eating, every sense is engaged allowing you to fully enjoy each bite. A meal is never eaten in the car, on the go or in a rushed environment. Instead, each meal is enjoyed in the accompaniment of others sharing conversation, laughter and delicious food! Distractions, such as the TV, computer or paperwork, are set aside during meal times.
4. Reduce Portion Sizes
Because each bite is savored and high quality food is consumed, smaller portions are satisfying and enjoyed. Large portions are not only avoided but they are not necessary either. Traditional French women enjoy the foods that they want, just in much smaller amounts. They don’t count calories or journal every bite that they eat; they simply enjoy less of more decadent foods.
5. Daily Physical Activity and Walking
While you will likely not find many traditional French women in the gym, you won’t find them lounging around all day either. Instead of one hour devoted to daily exercise, the French women devote all day to physical activity. They walk as often as they can, take the stairs instead of the elevator and they are not afraid to lift and tote heavy items. French women are simply more active on a regular basis.
Traditional French women enjoy all kinds of foods, never limiting what they can or cannot eat. They eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, while also enjoying baguettes and chocolate. They enjoy their wine and champagne but they also drink plenty of water throughout the day too. They have lots of variety in their diet causing them to never get bored with the same foods.
7. No Food is off Limits
For traditional French women, no food is off limits. They truly believe that it is a lifestyle rather than a diet and that no delicious food should be shunned off forever. While they still enjoy their favorite treats, they also enjoy them in much smaller portions. No good meal would omit chocolate or wine! In order to prevent deprivation, no food is off limits.
8. Lots of Flavor
Have you ever noticed how some ethnic foods are just so rich and full of flavor? For the French, that's a great way to control eating. Enjoying a luscious couple of bites of something full of herbs and seasonings can be surprisingly satisfying.
When the French are having a wonderful meal with another person, it can help them control what you eat. The French make mealtime a big deal, often dragging it our for hours, which gives families and friends time to reconnect and share the day. Getting distracted by conversation with loved ones helps French women moderate how much they eat.
10. Never Skip Meals
The French like to savor every meal, which can really help control the appetite. Skipping a meal only leaves a person ravenous and unable to make healthy food choices. The French know that they'll be sitting down to another delicious meal in a matter of hours so why overdo it this one? Knowing that can help you push away from the table a bit sooner, like the French do!
The French do a pretty good job of balancing their food intake with their activity level. Take a lesson from them and skip dessert at dinner if you already had it at lunch. Or go ahead and indulge, but then take an extra lap around the block on your afternoon walk. That way you keep the ratio of calories in to calories out even.
As you know, anyone can gain weight by eating a poor diet and French women aren’t the only ones that don’t get fat! These healthy eating concepts and lifestyle changes can help everyone fight off unwanted pounds. Do you follow any of these traditional French eating principles?
This article written in collaboration with editor, Eliza Martinez