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

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

3.7 110
by Mireille Guiliano

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Stylish, convincing, wise, funny–and just in time: the ultimate non-diet book, which could radically change the way you think and live.

French women don’t get fat, but they do eat bread and pastry, drink wine, and regularly enjoy three-course meals. In her delightful tale, Mireille Guiliano unlocks the simple secrets of this “French


Stylish, convincing, wise, funny–and just in time: the ultimate non-diet book, which could radically change the way you think and live.

French women don’t get fat, but they do eat bread and pastry, drink wine, and regularly enjoy three-course meals. In her delightful tale, Mireille Guiliano unlocks the simple secrets of this “French paradox”–how to enjoy food and stay slim and healthy. Hers is a charming, sensible, and powerfully life-affirming view of health and eating for our times.

As a typically slender French girl, Mireille (Meer-ray) went to America as an exchange student and came back fat. That shock sent her into an adolescent tailspin, until her kindly family physician, “Dr. Miracle,” came to the rescue. Reintroducing her to classic principles of French gastronomy plus time-honored secrets of the local women, he helped her restore her shape and gave her a whole new understanding of food, drink, and life. The key? Not guilt or deprivation but learning to get the most from the things you most enjoy. Following her own version of this traditional wisdom, she has ever since relished a life of indulgence without bulge, satisfying yen without yo-yo on three meals a day.

Now in simple but potent strategies and dozens of recipes you’d swear were fattening, Mireille reveals the ingredients for a lifetime of weight control–from the emergency weekend remedy of Magical Leek Soup to everyday tricks like fooling yourself into contentment and painless new physical exertions to save you from the StairMaster. Emphasizing the virtues of freshness, variety, balance, and always pleasure, Mireille shows how virtually anyone can learn to eat, drink, and move like a French woman.

A natural raconteur, Mireille illustrates her philosophy through the experiences that have shaped her life–a six-year-old’s first taste of Champagne, treks in search of tiny blueberries (called myrtilles) in the woods near her grandmother’s house, a near-spiritual rendezvous with oysters at a seaside restaurant in Brittany, to name but a few. She also shows us other women discovering the wonders of “French in action,” drawing examples from dozens of friends and associates she has advised over the years to eat and drink smarter and more joyfully.

Here are a culture’s most cherished and time-honored secrets recast for the twenty-first century. For anyone who has slipped out of her zone, missed the flight to South Beach, or accidentally let a carb pass her lips, here is a buoyant, positive way to stay trim. A life of wine, bread–even chocolate–without girth or guilt? Pourquoi pas?

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Julia Reed
At the very least, we would all do ourselves a favor to make like Colette, for whom the table was ''a date with love and friendship '' instead of the root of all evil.
Lilly Burana
Grilled peaches with lemon thyme, tartine au cacao, chicken au champagne and halibut en papillote -- have we heard the "indulge within reason" spiel before? Oui. But not lately with such élan and joie de vivre. It's hard not to be enlivened by a "diet" book that celebrates both chocolate and bread, and espouses such wisdom as "Life without pasta? Perish the thought."
— The Washinton Post
Publishers Weekly
Guiliano's approach to healthy living is hardly revolutionary: just last month, the New York Times Magazine ran a story on the well-known "French paradox," which finds French people, those wine- guzzling, Brie-noshing, carb-loving folk, to be much thinner and healthier than diet-obsessed Americans. Guiliano, however, isn't so interested in the sociocultural aspects of this oddity. Rather, befitting her status as CEO of Clicquot (as in Veuve Clicquot, the French Champagne house), she cares more about showing how judicious consumption of good food (and good Champagne) can result in a trim figure and a happy life. It's a welcome reprieve from the scores of diet books out there; there's nary a mention of calories, anaerobic energy, glycemic index or any of the other hallmarks of the genre. Instead, Guiliano shares anecdotes about how, as a teen, she returned to her native France from a year studying in Massachusetts looking "like a sack of potatoes," and slimmed down. She did this, of course, by adapting the tenets of French eating: eating three substantial meals a day, consuming smaller portions and lots of fruits and vegetables, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, drinking plenty of water and not depriving herself of treats every once in a while. In other words, Guiliano listened to common sense. Her book, with its amusing asides about her life and work, occasional lapses into French and inspiring recipes (Zucchini Flower Omelet; Salad of Duck a l'Orange) is a stirring reminder of the importance of joie de vivre.(Jan.) Forecast: Guiliano, a champion of women in business who has been profiled in numerous magazines, will promote the book-with a 100,000-copy first printing-on an 11-city author tour, which should result in plump sales. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Think of French cuisine: the buttery croissants, the decadent pastries. Yet French women manage to remain svelte. What is their secret? Guiliano, CEO of Clicquot, Inc., insists that it's cultural. French women don't snack, eat fast food, eat hurriedly, drink hard liquor, flavor their food with sugar and fat, or weigh themselves. French women do eat three meals a day, eat until they are satisfied but not stuffed, drink lots of water, savor wine, walk everywhere, take the stairs, consider the presentation of food as important as the taste, and regard dining as a sensuous experience. Guiliano, who gained 20 pounds as an exchange student in the United States (and took them off when she got home), celebrates her French heritage and gives the reader a glimpse into the French way of food shopping and preparation. Each chapter offers mouthwatering recipes that are easy to prepare. Recommended as a unique addition to health and nutrition collections; expect demand following an 11-city author tour. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/04.]-Florence Scarinci, Nassau Community Coll. Lib., Garden City, NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
“It’s hard not to be enlivened by a [weight-control] book that celebrates both chocolate and bread, and espouses such wisdom as ‘Life without pasta? Perish the thought.’”
–Lily Burana, Washington Post Book World
“The perfect book for the more literate dieter . . . A blueprint for building a healthy attitude toward food and exercise . . . Full of down-to earth advice . . . We’d all be thinner (and happier) if we followed it.”
–Miriam Wolf, San Francisco Chronicle
“You’ve heard it before . . . But somehow, when the advice comes from Mireille Guiliano, you actually listen. A perfect, slim (and slimming) read for dieters and bon vivants alike.”
Marie Claire
 “Ah, Paris, the ideal destination for museum-hopping, couture shopping–and quick weight loss? Mais oui, insists Mireille Guiliano . . . For those who can’t hop a plane whenever their zippers won’t close . . . her new memoir-cum-‘nondiet’ book [is] filled with slimming secrets.”
–Kim Hubbard, People
“She spurs readers to give up the guilt and dieting extremes, to eat smarter and more joyfully . . . Readers can practically hear the rustling of fallen leaves beneath the narrator’s feet as she forages for mushrooms . . . Her writing, like her three-meals-a-day diet, is all part of her joie de vivre.”
–Rosemary Feitelberg, Women’s Wear Daily 
“Delightful . . . Hands down, this is the best of the newest crop of weight-control books.”
–Nanci Hellmich, USA Today
“The past few years have been dominated by ‘scientific’ diets . . . I welcome this break from the usual kind of quick-fix diet book . . . Will this book transform one’s eating habits? Its good sense is unanswerable–and, personally, I love the bit about not going to the gym.”
–Lynne Truss, bestselling author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves, The Times (London)

“Part Proustian memoir, part guide to living well, part recipe for Miracle Leek Soup, this book announces its distance from the Zone, the Atkins and all the rest on the very first page . . . Even the most skeptical and envious woman will find it hard to hold out against the charms of a beautifully written book that features both chocolate and love as key ingredients in a balanced diet.”–Allison Pearson, The Daily Telegraph (London)

“Mireille Guiliano's book is slender, elegant, well-spoken, sensible, and unembarrassed by the frank embrace of stratagems–just like the French women whom she holds up to the reader to admire and, if we can, to emulate.” –Adam Gopnik, author of Paris to the Moon

“I recognized things from my own French background and discovered quite a bit more. An important and fascinating book for all those people out there who’ve ridden the vicious diet roller coaster to failure.” —Nicole Miller

“Not only delicious, but a true story from one of the greatest ladies in the world.” —Chef Emeril Lagasse

French Women Don’t Get Fat is not only charming and witty, but useful. It made me want to run out and buy a pound of leeks and a bottle of Champagne!” —Sharon Boorstin, author of Cooking for Love and Let Us Eat Cake

Product Details

Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Abridged, 3 CDs, 3 hrs.
Product dimensions:
5.65(w) x 4.90(h) x 0.97(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1



I love my adopted homeland. But first, as an exchange student in Massachusetts, I learned to love chocolate-chip cookies and brownies. And I gained twenty pounds.

My love affair with America had begun with my love of the English language; we met at the lycée (junior high and high school) when I turned eleven. English was my favorite class after French literature, and I simply adored my English teacher. He had never been abroad but spoke English without a French accent or even a British one. He had learned it during World War II, when he found himself in a POW camp with a high school teacher from Weston, Massachusetts (I suspect they had long hours to practice). Without knowing whether they’d make it out alive, they decided that if they did, they would start an exchange program for high school seniors. Each year, one student from the United States would come to our town and one of us would go to Weston. The exchange continues to this day, and the competition is keen.

During my last year at the lycée, I had good enough grades to apply, but I wasn’t interested. With dreams of becoming an English teacher or professor, I was eager to start undergraduate studies at the local university. And at eighteen, naturally I had also convinced myself I was madly in love with a boy in my town. He was the handsomest though admittedly not the brightest boy around, the coqueluche (the darling) of all the girls. I couldn’t dream of parting from him, so I didn’t even think of applying for Weston. But in the schoolyard, between classes, there was hardly another topic of conversation. Among my friends, the odds-on favorite to go was Monique; she wanted it so badly, and besides, she was the best in our class, a fact not lost on the selection committee, which was chaired by my English teacher and included among its distinguished ranks PTA members, other teachers, the mayor, and the local Catholic priest, balanced by the Protestant minister. But on the Monday morning when the announcement was expected, the only thing announced was that no decision had been made.

At home that Thursday morning (those days, there was no school on Thursdays but half days on Saturday), my English teacher appeared at the door. He had come to see my mother, which seemed rather strange, considering my good grades. As soon as he left, with a big, satisfied smile but not a word to me except hello, my mother called me. Something was très important.

The selection committee had not found a suitable candidate. When I asked about Monique, my mother tried to explain something not easily fathomed at my age: My friend had everything going for her, but her parents were Communists, and that would not fly in America. The committee had debated at great length (it was a small town, where everybody was fully informed about everybody else), but they could not escape concluding that a daughter of Communists could never represent France!

My teacher had proposed me as an alternative, and the other members had agreed. But since I had not even applied, he had to come and persuade my parents to let me go. My overadoring father, who would never have condoned my running away for a year, was not home. Perhaps my teacher was counting on this fact; but in any event, he managed to sell the idea to my mother. The real work then fell to her, because she had to persuade not only my father, but me as well. Not that she was without her own misgivings about seeing me go, but Mamie was always wise and farsighted; and she usually got her way. I was terribly anxious about what Monique would say, but once word got out, she was first to declare what a fine ambassador I would make. Apparently, Communist families were quite open and practical about such matters, and she had already been given to understand that family ideology had made her a dark horse from the start.

And so I went. It was a wonderful year—one of the best of my adolescence—and it certainly changed the course of my entire life. To a young French girl, Weston, a wealthy Boston suburb, seemed an American dream—green, manicured, spread out, with huge gorgeous homes and well-to-do, well-schooled families. There was tennis, horseback riding, swimming pools, golf, and two or three cars per family—a far, far cry from any town in eastern France, then or now. The time was so full of new, unimagined things, but finally too rich, and I don’t mean demographically. For all the priceless new friends and experiences I was embracing, something else altogether, something sinister, was slowly taking shape. Almost before I could notice, it had turned into fifteen pounds, more or less . . . and quite probably more. It was August, my last month before the return voyage to France. I was in Nantucket with one of my adoptive families when I suffered the first blow: I caught a reflection of myself in a bathing suit. My American mother, who had perhaps been through something like this before with another daughter, instinctively registered my distress. A good seamstress, she bought a bolt of the most lovely linen and made me a summer shift. It seemed to solve the problem but really only bought me a little time.

In my final American weeks, I had become very sad at the thought of leaving all my new pals and relations, but I was also quite apprehensive of what my French friends and family would say at the sight of the new me. I had never mentioned the weight gain in letters and somehow managed to send photos showing me only from the waist up.

The moment of truth was approaching.




My father brought my brother with him to Le Havre to collect me. I was traveling on the SS Rotterdam. The ocean liner was still the transatlantic standard preferred by many French people in the late 1960s. With me was the new American exchange student from Weston, who would be spending the year in our town.

Since he had not seen me for a whole year, I expected my father, who always wore his heart on his face, would embarrass me, bounding up the gangway for the first hug and kiss. But when I spied the diminutive French man in his familiar beret—yes, a beret—he looked stunned. As I approached, now a little hesitantly, he just stared at me, and as we came near, after a few seconds that seemed endless, there in front of my brother and my American shipmate, all he could manage to say to his cherished little girl come home was, “Tu ressembles à un sac de patates” (“You look like a sack of potatoes”). Some things don’t sound any prettier in French. I knew what he had in mind: not a market-size sack, but one of the big, 150-pound burlap affairs that are delivered to grocery stores and restaurants! Fortunately the girl from Weston spoke little French, else she would have had a troubling first impression of French family life.

At age nineteen, I could not have imagined anything more hurtful, and to this day the sting has not been topped. But my father was not being mean. True, tact was never his strength; and the teenage girl’s hypersensitivity about weight and looks wasn’t yet the proverbial pothole every parent today knows to steer around. The devastating welcome sprang more than anything from his having been caught off guard. Still, it was more than I could take. I was at once sad, furious, vexed, and helpless. At the time, I could not even measure the impact.

On our way home to eastern France, we stopped in Paris for a few days, just to show my friend from Weston the City of Light, but my inexorable grumpiness made everyone eager to hit the road again. I ruined Paris for all of us. I was a mess.

The coming months were bitter and awkward. I didn’t want anyone to see me, but everyone wanted to greet l’Américaine. My mother understood right away not only how and why I had gained the weight, but also how I felt. She treaded lightly, avoiding the unavoidable topic, perhaps particularly because I had soon given her something more dire to worry about.

Having seen a bit of the world, I had lost my taste for attending the local university. I now wanted to study languages in a Grande École (like an Ivy League school) in Paris and, on top of that, to take a literary track at the Sorbonne at the same time. It was unusual and really an insane workload. My parents were not at all keen on the idea of Paris: if I got in (hardly a given, as the competition is legendary), it was going to be a big emotional and financial sacrifice to have me three and a half hours from home. So I had to campaign hard, but thanks in part to the obvious persistence of my raw nerves, in the end they let me go back to Paris for the famously grueling entrance exam. I passed, and in late September I moved to Paris. My parents always wanted the best for me.

By All Saints’ Day (November 1), I had gained another five pounds, and by Christmas, five more still. At five feet three, I was now overweight by any standard, and nothing I owned fit, not even my American mother’s summer shift. I had two flannel ones—same design, but roomier—made to cover up my lumpiness. I told the dressmaker to hurry and hated myself every minute of the day. More and more, my father’s faux pas at Le Havre seemed justified. Those were blurry days of crying myself to sleep and zipping past all mirrors. It may not seem so strange an experience for a nineteen-year-old, but none of my French girlfriends was going through it.

Then something of a Yuletide miracle occurred. Or perhaps I should say, Dr. Miracle, who showed up thanks to my mamie. Over the long holiday break, she asked the family physician, Dr. Meyer, to pay a call. She did this most discreetly, careful not to bruise me further. Dr. Meyer had watched me grow up, and he was the kindest gentleman on earth. He assured me that getting back in shape would be really easy and just a matter of a few “old French tricks.” By Easter, he promised, I’d be almost back to my old self, and certainly by the end of the school year in June I’d be ready to wear my old bathing suit, the one I’d packed for America. As in a fairy tale, it was going to be our secret. (No use boring anyone else with the particulars of our plan, he said.) And the weight would go away much faster than it came. Sounded great to me. Of course, I wanted to put my faith in Dr. Meyer, and fortunately, there didn’t seem to be many options at the time.


For the next three weeks, I was to keep a diary of everything I ate. This is a strategy that will sound familiar from some American diet programs, such as Weight Watchers. I was to record not only what and how much, but also when and where. There was no calorie counting, not that I could have done that. The stated purpose was simply for him to gauge the nutritional value of what I was eating (it was the first time I ever heard the word). Since nothing more was asked of me, I was only too happy to comply. This is the first thing you should do, too.

Dr. Meyer demanded no great precision in measurement. Just estimate, he said, stipulating “a portion” as the only unit of quantity and roughly equal to a medium-size apple. In America, where the greatest enemy of balanced eating is ever bigger portions, I suggest a little more precision. Here’s where the small kitchen scale comes in. (Bread, which sometimes comes in huge slices here, might be more easily weighed than compared with an apple, which seems bigger here, too!)

Three weeks later, I was home again for the weekend. Just before noon, Dr. Miracle, distingué, gray templed, made his second house call. He also stayed for lunch. Afterward, reviewing my diary, he immediately identified a pattern utterly obvious to him but hiding somehow from me, as I blithely recorded every crumb I put in my mouth. On the walk between school and the room I was renting in the Seventh Arrondissement, there were no fewer than sixteen pastry shops. Without my having much noticed, my meals were more and more revolving around pastry. As I was living in Paris, my family could not know this, so when I came home, my mother naturally prepared my favorites, unaware I was eating extra desserts on the sly, even under her roof.

My Parisian pastry gluttony was wonderfully diverse. In the morning there was croissant or pain au chocolat or chouquette or tarte au sucre. Lunch was preceded by a stop at Poîlane, the famous breadmaker’s shop, where I could not resist the pain aux raisins or tarte aux pommes (apple tart) or petits sablés. Next stop was at a café for the ubiquitous jambon-beurre (ham on a buttered baguette) and what remained of the Poîlane pastry with coffee. Dinner always included and sometimes simply was an éclair, Paris Brest, religieuse, or mille-feuille (curiously called a napoleon outside France), always some form of creamy, buttery sweetness. Sometimes I would even stop off for a palmier (a big puff pastry sugar-covered cookie) for my goûter (afternoon snack). As a student, I was living off things I could eat on the go. Hardly any greens were passing my lips, and my daily serving of fruit was coming from fruit tarts. I was eating this strangely lopsided fare without the slightest thought and with utter contentment—except, of course, for how I looked.

Now this was obviously not a diet I had picked up in America, where one could hardly say the streets are lined with irresistible patisseries (though then, as now, there was no shortage of tempting hot chocolate-chip cookie stands and sellers of rich ice cream, to say nothing of a mind-boggling variety of supermarket sweets made with things infinitely worse for you than cream and butter). But as I was to learn, it was my adoptive American way of eating that had gone to my head and opened me up to the dangers of this delicious Parisian minefield. For in America, I had gotten into some habits: eating standing up, not making my own food, living off whatever (n’importe quoi, as the French say), as other kids were doing. Brownies and bagels were particular hazards; we had nothing quite like them at home, so who could tell how rich they were?

Meet the Author

Born and raised in France, Mireille Guiliano first lived in America as an exchange student and came back for good early in her professional career. She is president and CEO of Clicquot, Inc., whose headquarters are in New York, and a director of Champagne Veuve Clicquot in Reims. Married to an American, Mireille lives most of the year in New York and makes frequent trips to Paris as well as across America.

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French Women Don't Get Fat 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 110 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Sophienette More than 1 year ago
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!!!
Scat30 More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was enjoyable and I really like some of the recipes.
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