Have you ever wondered how skinny French women can eat all that bread, cheese, wine, and not get fat?
I wondered the same thing years ago before I met my French husband. When I spent the summer in France for the first time, I was amazed at how thin the women were and how they seemed to eat whatever they wanted without any worry. After spending nearly 3 months of summer living in the French lifestyle, having five-course meals twice a day, chocolate croissants for breakfast, and (I’ll admit it) drinking a vineyard’s worth of wine, I was afraid to step on the scale when I got back home. Needless to say, I actually lost weight!
Five years later and 20 pounds lighter, I am here to share the secrets of skinny French women with you.
1. They walk
Do you fight for the parking space closest to the entrance of wherever you are going? This doesn’t really happen in France. The first thing I noticed is that the French walk everywhere. Gyms are also virtually non-existent, except for the dudes with biceps bigger than my waist. For those skinny French women, light exercise is key. Instead of sweating in the gym for hours, they just walk as much as they can. You can too. Take the space farthest from the entrance, take your dog for a longer walk than usual (he’ll appreciate it), and if the store is nearby, skip the car.
2. They only drink wine, water, and coffee
These are the 3 essentials of French women. They drink a lot of water to stay hydrated, they drink a lot of coffee, and they love their wine. Red wine, especially. Red wine is pretty much the only type of alcohol that has any health benefits, too. It’s a great antioxidant and it prevents cardiovascular disease when consumed in moderation. Moderation means 1 glass a day for women and 2 for men. However, I think that should be up for debate, considering French women usually drink more than that and their health is generally much better than that of American women.
3. They relax
It’s something so simple yet so hard to do! But really… Stress raises your cortisol levels (the “belly fat hormone”). Take some short breaks throughout the day and try to relax more. And take that lunch break! The French typically take a 2-hour lunch break. I know that doesn’t really exist in America unless you are one of the lucky few, but at least eat your lunch somewhere other than at your desk and enjoy the “you” time. Which brings me to the next tip…
4. They take time for themselves
One difference I have noticed between French and American women is how much time they take to focus on themselves. Whether it’s shopping for something new to wear, a coffee date with a girlfriend, or reading a great book, French women know that they need to take time for themselves. When you treat yourself as someone you love, you’ll do more to have the body of your dreams and gain the health for a longer life.
5. They eat in moderation
French women eat whatever they want. BUT, in moderation. This is the #1 key to weight loss success. I think we all know that “diets” don’t work. At least, not in the long run. That weight comes back eventually, because it’s too hard to live without the things we love. Have the chocolate. Have the wine. But be mindful of the portion size.
6. They have table manners
Table manners aren’t just for sitting pretty. When I went to France and was eating pizza (yes, they eat plenty of it), it took me a while to realize I was the only one eating with my hands, while all the skinny French girls were eating with a fork and knife. Then I realized you end up eating slower when you’re cutting pizza up, and then you feel full sooner because your body has had the time to signal your brain that you’ve had enough. So take notice of what you might look like at the dinner table. Are you a slob devouring your food? Or are you a lady with dignity enjoying a meal? The mirror will eventually tell you.
I hope these have helped, ladies! Remember, this doesn’t all happen overnight. If you want to lose weight and KEEP IT OFF, it’s a lifestyle change. It takes a little time at first, but soon enough you will start losing weight without even trying.
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