Customer Reviews for

French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

17 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

It's working for me

I read this book in late December just before the New Year and decide it was going to be my New Year's resolution. I just graduated college 'at 138 pounds' and I want to get back to my high school weight '128 when I left high school, now I'm shooting for lower so I can ...
I read this book in late December just before the New Year and decide it was going to be my New Year's resolution. I just graduated college 'at 138 pounds' and I want to get back to my high school weight '128 when I left high school, now I'm shooting for lower so I can wear a bikini on my vacation' and so far I've lost a total of 7 pounds since January 1st. I realize this isn't very fast but I'm calling it my lifestyle change. I drink tons of water, make my own yogurt and even tried making her baguettes. I still eat meals every night with my family and that includes steak and potatoes, that includes shepard pie. I'm eating much of the same food I was before but I'm also eating smarter which is the quintessential thing you get from this book. I highly recommend her book to you. I never have done other diets, but this isn't a diet. I had a Lindt chocolate truffle the other day, just one, but it hit the spot. I'm finding that I can't eat some of the things I used to enjoy, they're simply too sweet and once you realize how savory some things can be you'll realize that her book will help you. She doesn't 'bash' Americans, what she points out is something that anyone with eyes can see. She points out that how we're eating is leading to the problem 'duh, I know' but more importantly that we've forgotten how to enjoy food without gorging ourselves. Thinking of food as a sinful pleasure is part of the problem she says, and I fully agree. The other day I was craving a cinnamon bun, so I made one, my mom told me I'd blown my diet now. I quoted the book, 'Oscar Wilde says the only way to beat temptation is to give into it.' Well, I gave into my craving and I'm still losing weight. This book is about an attitude adjustment towards food. I've done it and it's working, I'm thrilled that my skinny pants are loose and I'm hoping that when I go back to school and visit for my friend's birthday in April that I'll have reached my goal weight.

posted by Anonymous on January 19, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

9 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

Nationality or....Wealth?

Married to a French man, I lived in France for many years and could relate to some of what she says...the French, on average, do walk more, drink more water, and eat more fruits and vegetables. No secret that such things will keep you leaner! But to me, much of what s...
Married to a French man, I lived in France for many years and could relate to some of what she says...the French, on average, do walk more, drink more water, and eat more fruits and vegetables. No secret that such things will keep you leaner! But to me, much of what she described had more to do with being part of a priveleged upper class... 'nannies and cooks and 'good wine' with every meal, etc.' than being French. There are plenty of 'metro-boulot-dodo' 'average working class' French that eat fast food and frozen food, shop at mega-marts twice a month for packaged food, and spend too many of their non-working hours between traffic jams and daycare to have time for sitting down to eat a half a banana with a knife and fork and napkin. S'il vous plait, let's be serious! Besides, some of her recipes were just plain wierd. Very NOT French, I think.

posted by Anonymous on April 15, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2008

    It's working for me

    I read this book in late December just before the New Year and decide it was going to be my New Year's resolution. I just graduated college 'at 138 pounds' and I want to get back to my high school weight '128 when I left high school, now I'm shooting for lower so I can wear a bikini on my vacation' and so far I've lost a total of 7 pounds since January 1st. I realize this isn't very fast but I'm calling it my lifestyle change. I drink tons of water, make my own yogurt and even tried making her baguettes. I still eat meals every night with my family and that includes steak and potatoes, that includes shepard pie. I'm eating much of the same food I was before but I'm also eating smarter which is the quintessential thing you get from this book. I highly recommend her book to you. I never have done other diets, but this isn't a diet. I had a Lindt chocolate truffle the other day, just one, but it hit the spot. I'm finding that I can't eat some of the things I used to enjoy, they're simply too sweet and once you realize how savory some things can be you'll realize that her book will help you. She doesn't 'bash' Americans, what she points out is something that anyone with eyes can see. She points out that how we're eating is leading to the problem 'duh, I know' but more importantly that we've forgotten how to enjoy food without gorging ourselves. Thinking of food as a sinful pleasure is part of the problem she says, and I fully agree. The other day I was craving a cinnamon bun, so I made one, my mom told me I'd blown my diet now. I quoted the book, 'Oscar Wilde says the only way to beat temptation is to give into it.' Well, I gave into my craving and I'm still losing weight. This book is about an attitude adjustment towards food. I've done it and it's working, I'm thrilled that my skinny pants are loose and I'm hoping that when I go back to school and visit for my friend's birthday in April that I'll have reached my goal weight.

    17 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2008

    Simple eye-opening advice

    This is the one 'diet' book that actually worked for me and truly changed my life. She really made me re-think how I looked at food and I came to find out that I was not overweight because I love food, but truly because I hate it! Focusing on eating good quality food that I actually like and not putting food in my mouth because it's convenient or just because I want it has helped me loose 25 pounds so far. She does offer some advice that is not practical for everyone to follow, but the key to changing any bad habit is not to follow a list of what someone tells you to do, but to discover what works for you through trial and error. Instead of being a prisoner to some diet, for the first time in my adult life I feel free to enjoy desert if I want it, because I know that I will balance it out with what I eat for the rest of the day. Most importantly it has made me look at the eating habits of my children 5,3, and 1. Even though they are at a healthy weight now, when I see them walking around eating mindlessly, it helps me to see what I am teaching them. I don't think this was an American-bashing book at all. People in this country are too sensitive about what others (especially French) say about us. What she said is true and many, many people in America need to listen.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2008

    Nationality or....Wealth?

    Married to a French man, I lived in France for many years and could relate to some of what she says...the French, on average, do walk more, drink more water, and eat more fruits and vegetables. No secret that such things will keep you leaner! But to me, much of what she described had more to do with being part of a priveleged upper class... 'nannies and cooks and 'good wine' with every meal, etc.' than being French. There are plenty of 'metro-boulot-dodo' 'average working class' French that eat fast food and frozen food, shop at mega-marts twice a month for packaged food, and spend too many of their non-working hours between traffic jams and daycare to have time for sitting down to eat a half a banana with a knife and fork and napkin. S'il vous plait, let's be serious! Besides, some of her recipes were just plain wierd. Very NOT French, I think.

    9 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2007

    What Mom Always Said

    My mother wasn't French, but she could've been. She and my aunts stayed thin all their lives while enjoying real food including dessert. So did I until I became brainwashed by the gospel of no-fat, long workouts, artificial sweeteners, and the myth that as we get older we just get fatter, especially if we're desk-bound as so many of us are. What this book did for me was remind me what my mother taught and give me hope that even though I've gained weight by a pound a year or so each year over the past 30 years, all is not lost. I've lost 3 pounds in the past week just by cutting back a little here and there, reacquainting myself with fruit, vegetables, and yogurt and walking my dog a few minutes more every day. Our food bill is less, not more, because I'm not buying junk. My dog and I hit the farmer's market most Saturday mornings and when I cook during the week I'm reminded of the fun we had there. I work long hours and never spend more than 20-30 minutes cooking on work days, yet we eat well now. I feel better, have more energy, and best of all, can see my thin self becoming reality again.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 13, 2011

    Really!

    I am French and I do not even know how Mirielle who is French herself can imagine French women like that. First, Mirielle lives a very privileged life. I cannot imagine French people in general having "Champagne" in their refrigerator. Can they really afford it! Can a woman working in an office all day long can medidate and run to a cocktail party. She has to get her children either in a "garderie" or a "l'etude" at school, get supper ready, bathe her children, cook without Champagne and finally go to bed. She walk, YES, distances are shorter in France. I was not impressed whatsoever by this book. Being very stereotyped!!!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    French Women Don't get Fat

    This is an interesting book about healthy eating. It gives you different types of recipes, and it also gives you some everyday tips. This a fun book to read and it gives you a lot of good advice with healthy living.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2007

    Change your eating habits

    I have always believed that changing your eating habits vs a fad diet is the only way to lose weight permanently, and this book will show you how. I did not find her book snobby, the author loves living in America. Granted we all don't have access to farmer's markets, but her ideas are pure common sense, something that is missing from most diet books with all these ridiculous 'phases' you must endure. I lived in Europe for a year, I ate a fresh croissant every morning with real butter and Nutella. I lost 15 pounds in one month and kept it off until I returned to the States. I remember eating alot of fresh salads, vegetables, soups, meat, fruit and I had dessert every day! I walked everywhere because I did not have a car, and took the bus or my bicycle. What I did not do is a)snack b)eat after 8:00 pm c)consume junk food d)eat a heavy dinner. Lunch was the biggest meal. Good concepts to adhere to, which I am trying once again to do with 30 pounds to lose!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2006

    Read for the sake of your body and mind.

    I've always been fascinated by the French culture, and reading this book has been an experience I truly treasure. I suffered from both anorexia and bulimia, so my relationship with food was far from acceptable or normal. I was either starving or gorging, and this book has taught me to find a happy balance and appreciate food without overdoing it. If you're looking for a concrete plan to follow, or if you're just looking to lose a few pounds fast, this isn't the book for you. But if you're looking for a lifestyle change and are tired of depriving yourself of your favorite foods and obsessing over food, give it a try.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2006

    40 pounds down, that's all I've got to say

    I started college, somehow didn't gain my freshmen fifteen in the fall, and yet, by the next summer was up to 155lb from my high school 130-135. I was always half- trying to loose some weight during high school, but then I realized I was fairly happy and secure with my 130-135 (`m 5¿5). But after I hit 155lbs I was miserable. I know your weight level is separate from your happiness or confidence levels, but I was way beyond the weight where I felt I was me. I picked this book up on a whim, tried the leek soup stuff and it didn't work. But I kept reading (might as well read it since I paid for it), and I slowly started to loose weight. A year later, and I am 115 lbs, a weight I never thought I could ever reach and I feel great. In fact, I am even considering putting some weight (like 5lbs.) back ON. I don't follow the book exactly, I weigh myself 1-3 times a week just to get of sense of what I'm working with, but I love this book. It's not a diet at all, it's about realizing to appreciate your food. It¿s a guide to developing a respect for what you eat. I realized I couldn¿t eat a fast food meal and really savor it. I realized that drinking sugar-filled fruit juices may not be working for me, and due to this book, I now shop at farmer¿s markets and probably eat healthier than I ever have in my life. It¿s not that I don¿t splurge, the author does a great job of explaining the balance between eating right and having your treats, I do, but I just enjoy them more so I don¿t do it as often. I walk way more too, and I found that once I lost my excess weight that I just felt like being more active and have begun to take up jogging. I love this book, I love the concept of the ¿diet¿ (honestly though, it¿s been a lifestyle change for me) and would give this book ten stars if I could. I take the book with me when I travel or go off to college so I can always read it a bit in case I ever get off track a little. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone, even people who are just trying to loose 'vanity pounds' or are trying to be healthier.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2005

    The title of this book should be a little clue

    In this book, no one is more than 20 or 25 pounds overweight. No wonder then that it can make the claim that after six weeks or so you should be halfway to your weight loss goal. There, there, doesn't life seem simpler already? Feeling better? Read on, to find that you should avoid the hideous American supermarket and purchase your food at the open-air farmer's market. The author states she lives in a New York penthouse with ready access to high-quality (and we can safely assume high-price) farmer's market veggies; if your choices are between the Acme and the Piggly-Wiggly, or you happen to live in Minneapolis where it is too cold seven months of the year for a farmer's market, well, that is not of any consequence, is it? Also, don't exercise. These American women with their sweaty exercise and the obsession with the health club -- we get the distinct impressions it is considered so distasteful and unladylike, no? Why not follow author's lead and walk everywhere? And if you live in the suburbs with no sidewalks on the streets and a 30-mile workday commute on the freeway, and the nearest grocery is five miles away, well, that is not of any consequence either. Finally, don't avoid chocolate, rich foods, breads, etc. If Americans would just learn a little control, instead of filling their plates with food, why then, they could eat all these foods just as the French do. In this running observation about the differences between French and American cultures, the scale is rather rediculously one-sided. Doesn't this just make you want to run out and buy a ticket to Paris right away?

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2007

    Smart and True

    Some of her comments can be taken as 'American Bashing,' but if the shoe fits... The reading is light and easy and the recipes are delicious.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2005

    MISLEADING and INCOMPLETE

    What is not said in this book is that in France we have a habit of eating fresh, unprocessed food, there are less additives and chemicals in them. When I go back home, I find that everything tastes lovely, has savor, is delicate on the palate. A simple tomato salad and slices of mozarella with baguette in any Cafe will make you salivate and reveal each savor in a way that I do not find here in the US where even organic food is pretty tasteless. So, of course, you are going to need less process, less spices, less fill up, so to speak.It is misleading to try and convince americans that the recipe for being slim is just in the french way of enjoying !Many books have been written on this subject, I am surprised that this one is successful. Being on Oprah is not a guarantee of authenticity, or is it? I agree with the previous remarks : the condescending overtone is annoying!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2011

    Meh

    The author didn't really say anything groundbreaking. This pretty much sums it up: eat less, drink more water, and walk more. There were a few decent recipes. The author's attempts at humor often came out as snide. Overall, prorbably wouldn't recommend it to a friend.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great fun, ma petite chou.

    Wonderful insight into the French in general, men and women.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2007

    Another opportunity to bash Americans

    I read this book and thought it was great for a few pages. Then the condescending, American-bashing started. This author does not waste any opportunity to bash anything we Americans do that could be related to a weight problem. I work full time and go to school 3-4 nights every week. I don't have time to walk everywhere I go, besides it would not be practical to walk 10-15 miles to work and school and home again everyday. I also don't have time to shop several times every week. I do my best to buy organic whenever it is possible. Plus, I live in Illinois, so, how am I going to get to a farmer's market like she suggests? Last time I checked there aren't any open in the dead of winter. She makes a few good suggestions that are worth trying, like eating lots of fresh fruits and veggies and drinking more water-not exactly novel ideas- and making your own yogurt, which is doable. She mentions a lot that her upcoming suggestion will cost more, but it is worth it. She can afford to spend bug bucks on her food, she's selling this book for more than it is worth. Save your money and purchase another book that doesn't make you feel worthless because you are a stupid, fat American and not a slim French woman.

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2006

    Ted (in Paris )says it so well...

    The philosophy in this book caused me to sigh and relax, a first step needed to reconnect with an internal wisdom. Will this wisdom let me know what must be eliminated and what added to my life in order to feel better in my own skin? I think so. The body gives feedback if we pay attention. To me the book is about the joy of being a physical being, and somehow it never occured to me that too many calories dulls the experience of being alive. Tomorrow, leeks.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2006

    It's not rocket science.

    Fad diets don't work, permanent weight loss doesn't come in a pill, control your portions, and move. Basically, change your relationship with food and you'll lose weight for life. It's the same basic information that we've heard before, and even the author admits it. But there is a tid-bit of worthy information here and there, some good recipes, and plenty of motivation (you don't have to slave away at the gym to obtain a normal weight). There is a lot of French dialect that isn't always translated (a bit annoying if you've never had French). But overall I would say it's a good read and worth the price (I got it on sale). Oh yeah, the author recommends this book for people trying to lose 30 pounds or less.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2005

    An Epiphany!

    I loved this book. Although it is common sense, it really struck me. Three meals a day of fresh quality food, with little snacking. That's the ticket! We can compare this lifestyle to the 50's in the USA. Three squares a day shared with family, and of course more physical activity. I do live in Florida, so fresh produce is available all the time. I really don't know why some reviewers were so critical. You have to modify and be flexible. I don't have creme fraiche, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the book. No, I couldn't find dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa, but I found one with 60 percent. It's an attitude, and a wonderful lifestyle to adopt. So what you don't have open air markets, you can still adopt the lifestyle.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2005

    Great Book - True Principles

    Having lived in another country prior to the U.S., I do understand the author's first weight-gain experience. In my freshman year, I successfully added 15 pounds. I do think it's the result of the sedentary lifestyle in the U.S. (office jobs where you sit for 9 hours or more a day), the large portions and the highly processed foods. While some of us may not be able to afford the costs of organic foods or have the luxury of farmers markets, there are many principles in this book that you can apply to your life: 1. Drink more water, 2. Move more 3. Control your portion size 4. Eat more vegetables and fruits. I do believe it's beneficial to record one's eating habits as the author mentions, because you may be amazed by the many 'offenders' that creep into your diet. The author also implies that we are the ones that have control over what we eat - it would benefit us all if we exercise that self-control more regularly, and we will feel empowered.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2005

    A great way to enjoy food and life and still lose weight

    This little book is full of succulent recipes and sage advise about losing weight. Let me tell you my own experience eating the French way. I went to France a few years ago for about three weeks. I stayed in Paris, and then in Chartres. I could only afford to eat in little cafes and bistros, but I vowed to eat only my favorite foods and go back only to restuarants that were to die for. I ate my favorites - chocolate made fresh every day, chocolate mousse, home made ice cream, omelettes, pizza with goat cheese and cream sauce, quiche of every kind - you name it I ate it. I also had a glass of wine with dinner every night. We snacked almost all day in between meals on fresh fruit. All of the food was fresh - no chemical additives and nothing packed in pastic bags. We also walked every morning before breakfast and every day after lunch. When I got home and got on the scale I was shocked to see I had lost 25 pounds, and two dress sizes. I had to laugh because we complained the first few days about how long it took us to get served, and how long each meal took. After the second day we were so into really tasting the food we shared, we shut up and stopped hurrying through each meal. It took less than a week for me to get back into my harried life - eating on the run, shoving food in my mouth while I talked on a conference call and simultaneously completing and emailing reports. I was back to the fast lane and fast food take out. When I got this book it took me back to France, and back to why the French have less than an 11% obesity rate. They simply eat the freshest food in season, and they enjoy what they eat. We cannot avoid food. We need it to survive. But we can choose fresh foods in season that we love, make meals with a few favorite ingredients and savor every bite. Once we slow down and let our taste buds enjoy great food again, we will give our stomachs the twenty or so minutes it needs to signal - hey that was delicious but I am done now. You can stop. Save the rest for another time. Granted, we should not use food as a deterrent for issues we are not dealing with in life. We need to ask - what exactly is eating me right now? And deal with it. Get help from good books and from professional therapists. In the meantime, we can learn the pleasure principle of food, and lose a few pounds along the way.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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