Happy Friday everyone! How did your week go being French? For me, my week went very well (except for last night and this morning, I'll get to that in a moment). I was very mindful of eating well planned, balanced meals, with plenty of fruits and vegetables, and lots of water. I ate my main meals at lunch time which made me consciously eat a small dinner. This saved me lots of fat and calories as I usually prepare the heaviest meals of the day at dinner. I enjoyed small portions of the dinner entrees, but was mindful that my stomach was not screaming with hunger after I had had a larger lunch. I walked every day for about 25 minutes despite the below freezing temperatures outside. I also consistently journaled my food intake on my new Twitter account. I think this act alone helped a lot of the mindless snacking I fall prey to during the day as I would have had to write it down if I did.
Last night however was horrid! I had had a headache all day long and by dinner time was just worn down from it. I made bacon, egg and cheese burritos and ate mindlessly without enjoyment and ate FAR too much bacon (yes, 10 slices). This morning I again woke with the headache, (it has dissipated now thank goodness) and ended up eating two bowls of cereal. The act of typing those two meals into Twitter however was very therapeutic and forced me to recommit to eating healthier and more mindfully.
Despite last nights, um, indiscretion, I realize what I accomplished this week just eating mindfully, slowing down, chewing my food thoroughly, planning my meals, and walking a little ever day, was a weight loss of 4 lbs. Four pounds merely changing how I think about eating and being more mindful of it. Plus, eating mindfully the rest of the week still compensated for a loss of control for two meals. Amazing.
This week we will be discussing Chapters 9 and 10 from Mireille Guiliano's book French Women Don't Get Fat. Are we all sitting in our imaginary bistros, immaculately dressed and ready to discuss? Fabulous.
Chapter 9: Bread and Chocolate
Mireille talks about the French's love of chocolate. Yes, French women love their chocolate and consume it on a regular basis without getting fat. American women see chocolate as a sinful thing some even going so far as to "give it up" for Lent (or when dieting) whereas French women see it as an essential pleasure. Why?
Americans were brought up on the idea that chocolate is that light brownish stuff that comes from Hershey. The amount of cacao in a Hershey product is small however compared to the amount of sugar and cocoa butter in it. It all is uniform and tastes the same. When Mireille speaks of the French women's reliance on chocolate as an essential pleasure, she touts the complex flavor profiles and high cacao content of high end, dark chocolate. Again, it comes back to quality. If you have really great chocolate, you will be satisfied, and feel so much more pampered, with less.
In this chapter, Mireille also talks about the French love of bread. Bread is not evil, but eating it mindlessly is what can lead to weight gain. Enjoying a slice, or two, of bread WITH meals (rather than gorging on the bread basket before meals) is what bread is for.
Chapter 10: Moving Like a French Woman
I really relate to this chapter. A few years ago we belonged to a gym. It was a really nice place, but after driving there, dressing down, working out on a little machine in front of a T.V. next to sweaty, huffing people, showering, dressing and driving back home again, it took a good two to two and a half hours! Once I had children, I just couldn't afford that luxury in time. Plus, I just hated the smell of that room with the sweaty people in it huffing on machines. Mireille reassures us that French women hate to sweat and don't like to dress down. This is something I hate as well. It is so much easier for me to leave my house in the same clothes I wore during the day, with the addition of some walking shoes, walk for 20-40 minutes around my neighborhood, rather than going to a gym. I can easily fit 20-40 minutes into my day rather than waiting until I have a huge time block available to go to the gym. I can even walk with make-up on which makes me feel very French indeed. Having two rambunctious boys at home also, I love the quiet that a walk affords me. I get so few moments of quiet during the day and really relish that time.
Besides formal walks, French women also find ways to fit little movements into their days. They walk up stairs instead of taking an elevator, they walk down the hall to deliver a memo instead of putting it in interoffice mail, etc. I love cleaning house as a way to up my activity level. It is very gratifying to have wake up to a clean house and I know I burn extra calories making the beds, bending over to pick up toys, scrubbing out the sinks, etc. How can you fit tiny extra movements into your day so they seem second nature and not like "formal exercise"?
My goals for this week:
1. Continue to eat mindfully and eat two servings of yogurt a day.
2. Continue to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
3. Continue to go for a daily walk.
4. Continue to use my Twitter food journal.
5. Fit a "little pleasure" into my day. Perhaps a square of chocolate, or fresh flowers. Hopefully this will quell my "need" for a day of gorging next week!
What are your goals this week? Next week we will finish the book with Chapters 11, 12 and 12 bis. However, I have been enjoying French Fridays so much that I am going to extend it into the month of February (and beyond with a monthly book feature). In February we will be reading French Women for All Seasons also by Mireille Guiliano. You can read a description here. In this book, Mireille not only shares more tricks French women use to stay slim, she also goes into more detail on how to dress and live "French". We will start with the first couple chapters on Friday, February 6.
In the meantime, bonne chance living French this week mes amis!