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Book Review: French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano — 18 Comments

  1. This sounds like an American diet book packaged as being “French”, but none of the ideas you’ve mentioned here sound French at all. French people don’t eat in between meals, period. They eat a small breakfast of mainly bread, a big, multiple-course meal for lunch, and a smaller dinner. The concept of snacks don’t exist for anyone over school age. The closest they come would be the ‘apéro’, which is pre-dinner drinks and nibbles. And spending a whole weekend eating leek soup? No way. French people will skip meals altogether if they feel they’ve over eaten, but they’ll never deprive themselves by going on crash diets. They love food too much to eat like that. They get a lot of everyday exercise (not necessarily in a gym, but by walking everywhere), and one very unhealthy way that French women keep off the weight is by smoking and taking diet pills, which are very popular here.

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  3. I have often said I am going to write a diet book.

    It will be called ELMM

    I will be one page long.

    Eat Less, Move More.

    $20 please. 🙂

  4. Congrats on losing 5 lbs. I am probably not the person to give diet advice-as I have never had a weight issue. That said I am very active and have noticed as I age that you have to keep in shape it does not happen. I think that everyone needs to find what works for them. There are the obvious, do not eat sugar, white wheat etc and exercise. I do not think that anyone will ever get fat from eating vegetables (potatoes and anything else that is starchy is excluded). One trick to staying full is remembering that fiber fills. Try to eat lots of fiber. I read this book and enjoyed it however I will never do 48 hours of leek soup. The French have and advantage in that they walk more than we do and their food is not as processed.

    Where in France are you going?

    • We’re taking a garden tour that will start at Versailles and Giverny then move into the Loire Valley. We’ve tacked on four extra days in Paris at the end. Can’t wait!

  5. Great post. I have that book sitting somewhere on one of my shelves next to all of the other Frenchie books. I’m going to check it out! Anyway, congrats on dropping the weight and I hope you have a wonderful trip abroad! I just blogged about wishing I were on a trip to France, bathed in wine, myself. 🙂

  6. Interesting. I’ve looked at this book and I think I need more structure (I have a lot to lose) from what you describe. But it seems like a good approach to keeping it off.

    Have a wonderful trip to France!

  7. My daughter told me an interesting story just last week. One of her school friends went on a three month exchange to France. She was so excited that she would get to eat real French food. Well, the family that she stayed with didn’t cook, they bought all premade packaged food. Rather icky stuff. She was so upset and it spoiled her experience to eat such poor food. So not all French people eat wonderful food.

  8. I wish they would not always throw all the people of one country together and make them all the same. There are fat French women just as much as there are slim Americans. And there are terrible eaters, just like Heather said, as well as mindful ones.

  9. I’ve been curious about this one, so I’m glad to see your great review. I always lose weight in Europe/UK despite eating whatever I want. I attribute it to all the walking. And I was going to write the same book as Caite!

  10. I lived in France for a while, and there were plenty of overweight French women there and plenty of thin and average women as well. I always thought Mireille Guiliano was a little arrogant in her claim. But I am glad you found what works for you, losing weight is such a individual experience for each person.

  11. I’ve wondered about this book. The approach makes sense, but I really like Judith Beck’s advice that hunger is not an emergency… so sensible! My sister hosted a German exchange student a couple of years ago and she gained 20 pounds while she was here, too.

  12. I think overweight people in France are thought to be that way because they eat like Americans do! It’s true that people within the same country can eat very differently, but it does seem that paying attention to what you’re eating is the basic idea behind eating like a French woman.

  13. I was just thinking about this book the other day when I picked up French Kids Eat Everything and the author was talking about the paradox of the French eating and staying so slim. I wonder how much of it boils down to them being more active (LOL to Caite’s book pitch) and eating less processed foods. I’m desperately trying to instill healthy eating habits in my daughter but I find it tough when my husband has terrible eating habits.

    I do think it’s important to listen to hunger cues. This is something that I certainly could be more mindful of.

  14. Great post Joy! Congratulations on losing all that weight, it sounds like you have a wonderful trip coming up. I read this book way back whenever it was released, so I don’t really remember too much detail. The notion of 48 hours of leek soup did stick with me- and no, I didn’t do it either. My lingering memory is about portion size.

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