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

Average Rating 3.5
( 110 )
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(37)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

15 out of 15 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

8 out of 11 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, 2005

    wonderful cook book and guide to wellness

    Mireille Guiliano serves us well to remind us of the obvious (or what should be obvious but apparently hasn't been to too many people, myself included), and that is the notion that pleasure is not only important but mandatory. Eat foods you enjoy, in moderation of course, but eat what pleases you, and savor it. It's when you eat less satisfying foods (low-fat, etc.) when you feel you must keep eating, all the way to gluttany, trying to satisfy yourself with something that can't do it. This book has changed how I will eat meals. A wonderful book!

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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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2005

    Mysteries Revealed

    French women are mysterious, at least to me, and convey an aura of confidence and elan. How do they dress the way they do, eat what they do, look the way they do? Here¿s one Frenchwoman who lives mostly in New York but also in Paris, who lets us into the minds and secrets of her chic compatriots who eat for pleasure and don¿t get fat. Eating without guilt and without dieting? Talk to me. I bought this as a present but frankly could not put it down--it is such a good read--and it became too worn to give as a gift. So, I am the happy owner of Madame Guiliano¿s part memoir, part how-to prescription, part cultural analysis, part lifestyle self-help treatise, part cookbook, and 100% very well written and amusing volume. It seems French women eat as much with their heads as with their stomachs (no surprise there), prefer quality over quantity, enjoy three meals a day but never leave the table stuffed, don¿t snack or eat in a rush, walk by gyms but incorporate exercise into their daily lifestyle by walking and by taking the stairs as their first option, don¿t diet and find diet talk boring, embrace pleasure in as many ways as possible, enjoy a glass or two of wine with meals, drink gallons of water, think sex is better than a snack, and according to Guiliano, dress to take out the garbage (you never know, she remarks). They even love and enjoy bread and chocolate. Talk about love: I¿m in love. Lots of good observations and insights, common sense, truth and wisdom well presented here ¿ downloading even a small part of it into any head should result in some long-term gains, though in this context would probably equate to pounds lost and spirits raised.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2005

    true: just common sense...

    common sense that can belong to French women, as well as to American women, or Italian women (as I am), in fact not all American women are overweight. And one very wise and precious suggestion, that is to learn to enjoy the pleasure of 'the quality' (also in small amount, since quality obviously is expensive), rather than just looking for 'quantity': this actually can improve all aspects of your life! Yes, this is a snobby book, but you already can assume this from the title: French women are supposed to be chic and quite snobby. I don't agree with all the statements of the author and I believe that her suggestions don't resolve the problem of binge eating and other psychological problems (I don't think that this was her purpose either). However, the book is original, pleasant and enjoyable to read (if you are able to laugh of your weaknesses) and basically can help those people who just need to correct their eating and exercising habit, to lose a few pounds and are willing to success.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2005

    Great Lifestyle Book

    I love this book. This book focuses on lifestyle changes instead of offering up a new fad diet. Living in New York I am guilty of convenience shopping at the supermarket and rarely take the time to go to the many farmers markets the city has to offer. That is change number one! I finished the book in four days and found it to be very entertaining. I have recommended it to all of the women in my life. This book reminds American women to stop rushing through meals while multitasking and instead to break out the 'real' plates and savor dinner with a good glass of wine or champagne. Bon appetite!

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