Sunday, September 20, 2009

French Women Don’t Snack. Words of Wisdom for the Weight Gaining Season.

svFRENCH_wideweb__470x3520.jpg French Women image by brideincalcutta04

Welcome Fall (in the northern Hemisphere), the season when many of us begin to slow down, eat more carbs, and maybe gain a pound or two.

For inspiration and encouragement, here is a list of habits that reportedly help French women keep their weight down—and this, within a cuisine based on butter!  The list has been around a long time, passed around from friend to friend.  Mine’s stuck permanently on my refrigerator.

I think it’s pretty clearly aimed at American women, pointing out many of our really unhealthy habits. 

French women don’t: 


Graze by the light of the fridge

Eat lunch at their desks

Keep a stash of food in their office

Eat huge portions

Have breakfast for dinner

Use bottled salad dressing

Drink sodas—diet or regular

Buy “fat-free” or “lowfat” versions of real products

Eat on the run

Drink alcohol, except wine with meals

Refuse to eat what’s served

Eat popcorn and candy at the movies

Count calories or fat grams

Say no to dessert

Eat cheese before a meal (only after)

Go to all-you-can-eat buffets

Have croissants for breakfast every day

Buy in bulk

Eat in front of the television

Ask for seconds

Eat bread before meals

Is one or more of these a special problem for you?  If you could say goodbye to one bad habit on this list,  which would it be?  (For me, snacking and eating at my desk). 




~h~ said...

I'd fail miserably in France if "Happy Hour" is ignored and cheese is meant to be adored after dinner! Wine and cheese BEFORE dinner is a must in my life. ;)

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I'm not really guilty about any of these....except Diet Cokes. That one would be tough.

Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...

I don't say no to dessert often enough and have been known to have a glass of wine before the meal out on the terrace - oops, and then another with the meal.

Rosaria Williams said...

What nobody tells you is that Americans work through their lunch, or have a miserly thirty minutes to swallow something. As a teacher I had thirty minutes from bell to bell. If a student wanted to ask me a question, he/she took a bit of that time, if I needed to go to the restroom, know ten minutes, if I walked to the cafeteria, knock another ten. See? No time for lunch. We all work too many hours, drive too many hours, and put in more hours in a week than any other country.

Northmoon said...

I'm suprised by the 'Have croissants for breakfast every day' what do they eat for breakfast?? I pictured a cafe aux lait and croissant as the perfect French start to the day.

I crave a croissant from Starbucks every so often when I get my morning coffee. At least it isn't sugar laden like most of the other choices. If I have something sweet for breakfast it sets up more cravings all day for sugar stuff. said...

Buy in bulk, wine is a must but have cut down to the weekends while trying to loose a few pounds, more than a few. Sneaks up on you.

The Small Fabric Of My Life said...

What an interesting post. I have gained weight recently. I blamed it on the fact that I am injured and can't exercise but really it is because I am guilty of doing everything French women don't.

Susan B said...

I'm a lunch-at-desk offender. But it's difficult not to...really no place comfortable in our office building to sit and eat and I don't have time to go out every day.

Darla said...

"Graze by the light of the fridge" would be my weakness. If you eat in the middle of the night it doesn't count, right?


Jean said...

Eat huge portions. That'll be me then....

Life Potentials Network said...

hmmmmm....great list but according to this list I am French! Why the big thighs then?????? <;-)

Cynthia L. H. said...

I'm breaking a lot of rules.

Expat mum said...

In defence of some American women - most of my friends work out every day and weigh less than their kids. Most depressing!

Cheryl said...

Darn. I do all of those more or less. Except buy in bulk because I live in a studio. The hardest ones to give up, for me, would be all you can eat buffets, soda, and eating on the run.

Thanks you, by the way, for your wonderful comment the other day. It makes blogging and writing worthwhile when even just one person understands what you're trying to express :)

French Fancy... said...

Loved your post but I have to say - as a Londoner living in France I think this list is really about Parisian women, a breed apart. I live in the French region of Brittany where a lot of women are on the larger size - hurrah. I see them eat croissants for breakfast, I see their trolleys in the supermarket and spot pizzas, I see their treats for the family - fattening unhealthy things.

One thing I have noticed when eating in French restaurants - that French men don't eat the bread on the table either. Of course the English families not only eat the bread they are given, it is then refilled and that is eaten as well. It's too delicious not to.

Duchesse said...

They don't eat buttered bread, either. (If there is butter it's usually baked into it, as pastry or piecrust.) But they DO smoke. Not all of them,but far more than North Americans.

I'll eat a my desk and about 4 pm will eat anything in sight.

Saz said...

l can vouch for this totally.....
they sip every thing, take small bites, and chew each mouthfull a zillion times, they put the fork down between bites

My english half though overcomes my french half and so I am heavy...doh

Antonia Rosina said...

Having spent some time in Paris, I was really surprised by the typical skinny Frenchwoman's approach to breakfast: Just coffee. Perhaps a small pastry if she is feeling daring. Over here, we are told over and over by experts that a healthy breakfast keeps you slim (and sustained for most of the morning). I like my huge breakfast. I've learned the French way of picking at my lunch and dinner from my French friend Yuuki. It works! Act as if eating is not the reason you are there. Sip, talk, move food around your plate while looking contemplative, leave your eating utensils alone...anything but actually consume what's in front of you :)

lagatta à montréal said...

This is fun, and Frenchwomen do on the whole still have a lower obesity rate than women in much of North America (including us cousins in Québec) and several other European countries, but a) obesity is increasing in France too, as are bottled salad dressings, prepared foods and rushed meals b) this has always been a generalisation, differing by region, urban/rural and social class.

I've often attended after-work parties in France where there was not only wine and cheese, but also saucisson!

Northmoon, most frequently a "tartine" of crusty bread (an exception to the no butter on bread rule, this can have butter and jam) though nowadays people also eat yoghourts and different things for breakfast. I'm a bad Frenchperson as I need a bit of protein in the morning or I get a headache - no, not a "full English" greasy breakfast but often a slice of lean chicken, that sort of thing.

We have to keep in mind that this "Frenchwoman who doesn't get fat" is part of a larger myth that has little to do with contemporary life in that country.

Maria Killam said...

I love the way french women eat, so smart! And thankfully, I make my own salad dressing, never drink pop and unfortunately do not eat croissants every day for breakfast. When I was in Paris a few years ago, I did though, and felt very french!

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