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!