30 January 2009

French Friday #5

This being our last Friday in January means that we are now finished reading French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano.  However, don't despair!  I've had such positive feedback from this weekly series that I am extending it.  In February we will be reading French Women For All Seasons also by Mireille Guiliano followed in March with Mindless Eating:  Why We Eat More than we Think by Brian Wansink (thanks Tangled Noodle for that recommendation:  I loved it).  After March I'm not sure of the reading schedule yet, but I'll announce it ahead of time so you have a chance to get the books and read along with me.

What did you think about French Women Don't Get Fat?  What I love about the book is that it teaches us how to pamper ourselves and that it is sensual and feminine to do so.  I have started slowing down and enjoying my food and surroundings so much more.  I don't feel deprived, quite opposite actually, I feel pampered and luxurious when I pay attention to how I present my food, how it smells and tastes and just enjoy being in the moment.

Our reading assignment for this week was Chapters 11, 12, and 12 bis.  Let's get started.

Chapter 11:  States of Desire

In this chapter, Mireille discusses a French woman's sensuality and sexuality as being linked to their ability to enjoy food, life, sex, love, laughter with all of their senses.  They enjoy little moments in everyday life and fully experience them.  In terms of food, it is their ability to not only make food that tastes good, but their ability to extend that food experience to all of their senses that makes them special.  They set feasts for the stomach, yes, but it is their ability to set the mood, plate the food, set the table, set the mood lighting, and find moments to laugh with their loved one that enables them to be completely satisfied and feel more pampered with less food.

It is this joie de vivre, that inspired me to start this blog in the first place and I think what helps me to continue to lose weight.  When my senses are stimulated, I realize that my "hunger" is not related to my stomach at all.  I was eating huge helpings of food because I was bored, I wasn't taking care to think of my other senses.  Live fully in your every day life and enjoy all those little moments to the fullest.

Chapter 12:  Life Stages

Mireille breaks down life into different stages here and speaks specifically about special nutrition requirements or activity requirements each stage needs.  I will let you read your own specific stage.  What I really gleaned from this chapter, especially last year when I discovered this book for the first time, is that yes, I am no longer a teenager any more (I haven't been for a long time!), yet my eating habits were still the same as when I was a teenager.   I needed to look at my eating habits and ask myself which specific "childish" things was I holding onto?  How can I "grow up" my eating habits?  For me, I was holding onto many childish eating habits, eating too late, eating whatever, eating too much fat, not looking at nutrition of the foods I was eating, etc...as I said, the list was long.  If I accept that I am a thirty something woman, I could accept that if I want to be healthy, my eating habits must change.

Chapter 12 bis:  The Plan for Life

So, now that you know the secrets of the "French Paradox" what are you going to do about it?  Mireille looks at specific habits that French women have in this chapter that help them to stay slender.  She says it is her "American" way poking through with her desire to put things in bullet points.

We'll finish this book with one of Mireille's "gems":  "French women don't get fat because they have not allowed new attitudes and modern theories of how the body uses food to overrule centuries of experience.  They see no contradiction in eating bread and chocolate, having a bit of wine, and so on and remaining not only slender, but healthy.  They do, however, understand that each of us is the keeper of her own balance, and when that balance slips, each must devise her own plan of correction, based on personal preferences."  When I realized that I am in charge of my own balance, it made all the difference in the world to me.  I cultivate my own pleasures.  I am in charge of my own health.  I am in charge of my own weight and how I am choosing to live.

Next week, we will continue French Fridays by beginning French Women for All Seasons by Mireille Guiliano.  Your assignment is to read the Overture, and Chapters 1 and 2.  Please join me at my virtual sidewalk cafe next Friday and we'll discuss!


Helene said...

I'm not done reading the book but I like to enjoy food so I do like her and eat what I want, but in small portions. Great life.

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Chef E said...

Actually I told 5 Star this...I have always eaten small portions and love soup too, but my hours of working prevent me from eating at a normal time, and late nights, so the exercise is lacking...but I will do it...and we place the 'bottles' in the closet as a preventative, lol

Funny a few other bloggers revealed their enormous weight gain over the past few years, so we all are in the same boat...so to speak *tipping*

Matt said...

yup, just for me :)

Sophie said...

Glad you're keeping the French Fridays up, I read that book years ago and forgot a lot of the key lessons, we could all do some good eating more "French!"

Reeni♥ said...

I have really enjoyed the French Fridays even though I don't have the book. I'm glad your continuing it! It is helping me a lot to change my habits. Thank-you!!

Curry Leaf said...

Glad that you r extending the series.Even thgh I do not comment on a regular basis,I have read most FF post.What you said is true.It is not just for stomach we r eating,when I get bored,then I gorge on whatever I think/want whether hungry or not.Now I am trying to reduce this thing.

Thanks for following me too dear.Actually I am an amateur foodie compared to you.Thanks ,Cheers

Tangled Noodle said...

The key word for me is 'balance' - it's what I try to achieve each day so that I can enjoy food and yet eat healthily. That's what I am slowly regaining - that sensuality and enjoyment of life, including food. I got caught up in counting calories that eating was a case of love/hate for me. As I get older, I realize that my body works differently than it did 20 years ago; it doesn't mean I'll let myself 'go' but I'm learning to accept that my body knows what is good for it and that I should listen!

Thanks for your e-mail! The in-laws are in town this weekend so I will hopefully respond at length soon but I think your ideas are great. I am really looking forward to collaborating with you!

Pierce said...

Good book. I enjoy refering to this one every once in awhile. I look forward to the next book.

Thanks for your comments on my blog :-)


♫ Vii ♫ said...

That sounds interest.

I think I'm gonna read that book.