23 January 2009

French Friday #4

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!  


Pierce said...

Grrrr...I'm behind in reading but, in my defense, I read this awhile back and I found your site long after you started reading :-) But I am reading though!

I think this book is more attuned to an average female lifestyle than Will Clower's book - "Why the French Don't Diet". Now, that being said, Clower's book had my family on the French track and we did lose weight. I like Mireille's style though. Lookign forward to her follow up book.

Don't beat yourself up over the bacon indulgence. Goodness, we all have set backs and bacon isn't the worst vice, right? And you still lost weight!

I have 10 to 12 pounds to go and walking is very helpful. Moving...just moving...like you mentioned about taking the stairs, walking down the hall to hand deliver something.

Reeni♥ said...

Congrats on your loss! That is fantastic!! I didn't have a loss this week-that darn Pastichio was my downfall. But I do have something good to report-I have started my yoga routine again-after almost a year away from it. When I was doing yoga before I kept off the weight I had lost for a year and a half. Since I stopped I have regained a lot of it. I have been trying to get going with the yoga for months now. I am going to continue with my yoga this week, drinking more water and eating slower and watching my portions. Have another great week!!

Varsha Vipins said...

Great going Joie..:)

Anonymous said...

The female half of the Duo spent two weeks in Paris in December, and when you say exercise like a French woman, it all makes sense now. Never done so much walking!!!! It was intense. And all those metro stairs...forget about it! That's why they're skinny. :)

Curry Leaf said...

What u say about chocolate is true,herseys has considerable amount of sugar and butter.Dark chocolate on the other hand is energy boosting.I love reading about your food journal and especially this French Friday Post.Its definitely inspiring.

Sunny said...

4 pounds is amazing!! Congrats! Sounds like you had a great week. Don't feel too bad about the bacon, it's protien at least... better than eating 10 pieces of white bread. :)
When I'm craving something sweet during the week, a square of really good dark chocolate is just what I need!

Debbie said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. And yours? Well, I love to read it. And I'm seriously thinking about buying that book!!
Keep up the good work.

Brownies for Dinner said...

There are definitely worse things than bacon... and congrats on the weight loss. I've had a decent week. I've been very conscious of drinking at least 8 glasses of water each day. I've started having yogurt daily and am moving to twice daily now :) I've also continued with my 20-25 minutes of yoga in the mornings. I have lost about 2 pounds despite some indiscretions.
Next week I plan to make lunch my big meal and add a little more movement (walking or running).
The biggest thing I have re-learned from the last couple of weeks is that when I eat mindfully and get plenty of fresh fruit and veggies... I feel good and when I eat 5 mini banana cakes in 1 day I don't feel so good (go figure!).

I'm glad you're going to continue French Fridays!

Lori said...

What a huge loss this week. Congratulations! Hang in there two, we all have set backs.

The chapter on exercise was one component of the book I struggled with. Don't get me wrong, I would love to do only what she suggests. However, my body won't respond to walking. I try and try and I have to put in an intense 30 to 45 min cardio session to lose weight otherwise it won't budge.

I had hoped our move abroad and me walking everywhere I go would help, but it didn't. I don't mind though because I like the gym. I worked in one for a long time and it is comfy atmosphere for me. I totally can understand why people aren't big fans though. :)

Stash said...

wow i thought you were going to go somewhere completely different with chapter 9- i always liked how they have the guts to dip bread in chocolate

Juliet said...

Congrats on the great week (and no worries on the minor slip up). I sometimes get migraines and I have to give in and eat more than I would otherwise want to. I try not to worry about it as I know my body needs fuel and energy during those times in order to feel better. It is just important to bounce back quickly. :)

Tangled Noodle said...

My biggest issue currently is movement! It's so cold here (MN) that walking is literally painful for me and my walking bud, Cruise the Boxer (short-haired breeds don't do well in subzero temps, even if they have their own jackets). The next is my consistent Achilles' heel - drinking enough water during the day. But I'll keep at it and not get discouraged. Great job on your loss this week!

Foodycat said...

Another interesting summary. Sorry about your headache - do you know what caused it? Might help you avoid the trap for another time.

Pierce said...

Joie de Vivre - I took a snap of a French shop bearing your name! Check it out:


Kim said...

Hi there! Well, I sure hope your headache is gone by now! I get bad headaches like that sometimes and I just have to quiet everything down in my room and lay in darkness! I'm with you on trying to have some goals each week to stick to. One of mine is trying to fit all my tasks in a day yet feel productive at end of the day. I also have to exercise more since I too love to walk. So, thank you for inspiring me this week! :)

Robin Sue said...

I am still loving the book but I am reading much slower than you are. Sorry. I am on the yogurt chapter. I think I would like to try eating some yogurt daily like she suggests and it sounds fantastic with just a little honey instead of that overly sweet stuff the store sells. Our TJ's sells a nice greek yogurt with honey too. Joie the thing I am enjoying about the book is how feminine it is. I makes you want to take care of yourself because taking care of yourself it BEING so feminine. She is teaching us how to sensibly be healthy in a sophisticated way without it really being a diet fad but more of a way of life and enjoying our food in such little portions.

Good for you on your weight loss. I hate having headaches- I get them one to two days per week. And when I have them I eat what ever tastes good- junk! Which probably makes it worse. So I hear on on that front. I should stick to a smoothy and call it a day when I get headaches.

I am glad you are continuing the series, it gives me something to look forward to as I am lagging behind. Thanks for all your hard work and keeping us all involved and setting a good and honest example.

Joan Nova said...

Thanks for visiting FOODalogue and commenting on the tour. Why don't you join us for France and post something 'healthy'? You have about a week to pull it together. Just joined twitter and I'm going to follow you there. You're an inspiration.

Chef E said...

Moderation is working for me...and the fact I am so busy I forget to eat to much...I also do not like gyms...I always thought if you can walk, swim, or bike, then no excused to do things outside. I see runners in the winter too...

Bacon I love, but hubby keeps me away...he cannot stand the smell of it cooking, go figure...

lisaiscooking said...

I think I inadvertently approach chocolate like the French. I don't need/crave chocolate, but when I have some I want high quality stuff for maximum flavor. Then, a little is enough.

Helene said...

I just got this book, I'm glad you talk about it. Can't wait to read it.