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Health and Fitness News

Eat Like the French

How to enjoy cheese, bread, and chocolate and still lose weight.

When you think of the French diet, foods such as wine, cheese, bread, pastries, and chocolate likely come to mind. But do they know a secret you don’t? While approximately 30 percent of Americans are overweight, only 11 percent of the French are 30 pounds or more overweight. Yet they enjoy foods that you may avoid, as they’re considered unhealthy or high-calorie.

Author Mireille Guiliano wrote in her 2004 book, French Women Don’t Get Fat, about her now-famous approach to healthy living. Not considered a diet book, this bestseller presents Guiliano’s wisdom to staying fit, slim, and healthy. Could you be the next French-tastic weight-loss success story, without even having to diet?

The Goals

If they’re not busy counting calories and are able to indulge in their favorite foods, just how do French people lose and maintain weight? According to Guiliano, the path to weight loss includes a few steps that you can take with ease.

Aim to eat a variety of high-quality, seasonal foods in small portions. When it comes to food, choose quality over quantity. As you enjoy healthy foods, eat slowly and savor each bite. There’s no room in the French diet for distracted eating or eating in a rush.

What food is your weakness? A few bites of high-calorie foods are all you need to enjoy the treat. So grab your favorite treat and enjoy it. Just keep it in moderation.

Additionally, you should plan to eat three meals a day, at the same time each day. Drink more water to hydrate, remove toxins, and reduce bloating.
You should also get regular physical activity, as this is a part of the French lifestyle. Walking is many people’s exercise of choice, and many simply incorporate it into their daily life by using their legs for transportation. Weight training is also recommended and encouraged in France.

You’ll also notice the French practice proper posture. So do the same by sitting and standing up straight, keeping your body in alignment.

The Theory

Rapid weight loss is possible with fad diets, but the plans are difficult, unsustainable, and have a poor long-term success rate. Cutting carbs and restricting calories will lead to weight loss, but when you return to your former way of eating, your metabolism gets confused. As a result, your old weight plus a few extra pounds quickly return.

When you mimic the French, you realize that food is a gift to be enjoyed, not abused. Therefore, eating and enjoying food should not be associated with guilt and food should not be a way of dealing with emotional problems and the stress of life. It should taste good and give you the energy you need to do the things you need to do.

The Phases

The first phase of this French-esque eating is known as the wake-up call. During this period, keep a food journal that tracks what you eat and drink. Note what’s good and bad about your diet.

Next, take time to learn about correct portion sizes, French cuisine, and the benefits of drinking water.

Now, it’s time to take what you’ve learned and put it into practice until you reach your weight loss goal. Start with two days of eating a special leek soup recipe to jump-start your weight loss. After this, food choices are yours.

The diet and lifestyle habits should now be permanent enough to maintain weight loss.

The Pros and Cons

Have a ton of weight to lose? Then the French woman’s way to weight loss may not be structured enough for you. Unless you join an online community of like-minded people, you’re largely on your own when dieting like the French.

The recommended recipes are simple enough, but making the meals requires you to plan ahead, grocery shop, and spend time in the kitchen. Fresh foods (like those the plan advocates for) are typically more expensive than prepackaged, more processed foods.

Though it will take time, sticking to Guiliano’s diet and lifestyle plan will lead to lasting weight and health improvements. If that’s what you want, then today’s the day to get started!

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