Sunday turned out to be a welcome surprise…
For the first time in many days, we didn’t have to wake up before the rooster crows, and we enjoyed every minute of it. It was also the first day in a while that I realized what the rat race has been doing to my figure. Rings look great on the finger, and around Summer 2016 pool toys, but less so around 40-somethings. Eating on the run was spontaneous and fun in early March, but now all those empty calories have me re-assessing my small decisions and reaching for the Spanx. (Side note on that…Spanx are not that comfortable, IMHO, but dang do they do their job when they are needed! Everyone should have some).
This morning, I woke up thinking about the research I had done before our Paris trip, about how to “eat like the French.” I may have mentioned in an earlier blog post that despite my inability to thrive on very little sleep, I would go anywhere and do anything to support my friends. Oops, I remembered this week that there is an area where many women go that I cannot, and that is in to “Dietland.” If you were to ask me to join you in a diet, I might agree and even show up, but you should know that just before I meet up with you, it’s likely that I will have just eaten a burger and fries with a side of pizza. :). This seems to have gotten worse AK (after kids). In those early years, being able to finish a whole meal was as elusive as seeing a rainbow, and I learned to chow quick when the opportunity presented itself. Now that the kids are older, it’s not necessary anymore, and I can slowwww it down.
Photo taken at my daughter’s softball tournament in Tri-Cities Washington
Instead of heading in to diet deprivation to whittle away that waistline before summer, I’m turning to what the French call “bien dans sa peau,” which means to feel good in your own skin. Plenty of French women and ex-pats alike have been acknowledging the benefits of this lifestyle. Mireille Guiliano documented it well in her best-selling book “French Women Don’t Get Fat.” You can catch her talking about it on video here:
The core principles seem to include the following steps, which in my opinion, are FAR easier to get behind than counting calories and eating flavorless diet foods.
Product and image found here at BarnesandNoble.com
1. Put the fork down between bites, and savor what you’re eating. (Already I can tell this is probably going to be THE biggest take away for me) It’s a hard habit to break, but the last couple of days have been so easy and enjoyable just by taking advantage of this step. Case in point, my daughter and I went out for breakfast Sunday to The Sweet Life, and I enjoyed a buttery croissant over the course of about an hour and a half, which I normally could have devoured in less than 10 minutes. I probably ate less than half of it, because eating slowly left me completely full, with the bonus of allowing me more time listen to my daughter and really enjoy our time together. She picked out the salted caramel petit four pictured above. When we got there, she commented “Mom, I love Eugene, with all these fun little restaurants that are tucked away.” 🙂 It made me realize that if I had chosen for us to stay home eating rice cakes for breakfast, I would have missed out on an “experience” with her that was wonderful.
2. If you follow Step #1, it naturally leads to eating less, which allows you to enjoy foods that make you feel full, satisfied, and that bring you pleasure, without putting on extra pounds. These include the following staples of bread, cheese, champagne…you get the idea. Yeah baby, now we’re talking my language.
3. Eat a lot of in-season fruit and vegetables, and use the best ingredients you can afford. This is where I put the focus on our dinner tonight and the difference was delicious!
All those Pinterest pins of mouthwatering strawberry “this and thats” will have to wait until the summer when the berries ripen up in our area. I opted instead for a roasted pork loin, simple sautéed mushrooms with Gruyere, and crusty bread – but this time I used the best ingredients I could find. This 7oz package of Swiss cheese was on the expensive side, but the recipe called for only an ounce, so we have six ounces left for other meals.
Maybe it’s not such a bad deal to splurge on really, good ingredients if you don’t need as much. I will tell you it was worth it for the satisfied looks on my family’s faces, so if you want to stop reading the blog now and go make the cheesy mushrooms, I would completely understand. They are that good. Note that the pork loin recipe doesn’t give details on how long to cook it. For reference, it was 3 pounds of perfect after 1 hour and 15 min.
4. Drink water during the day, so you can drink wine with dinner. I have good intentions, but rarely drink as much water as I should. To me, it’s just one more to-do on a list that is already way too long. However, if you tell me that by drinking more water during the day I can freely fill my glass to the widest part with wine, well then, that’s a different story.
5. Eat at the table. Enjoy the conversation. Apparently, while we are standing around with one fork in our mouth and washing another fork in our hand, French women are sitting down and savoring their food bite by bite…and it’s keeping them thin! While researching restaurants we should try in Amboise, France last year, I stumbled on this article about a waiter who told the writer “Madame, I cannot serve you if you do not have enough time for lunch.”
6. Make life your excercise. Think about all those images of skinny French women with shopping bags that are walking their adorable dogs.
It makes great sense that it would take a lot of calories to keep up that lifestyle, so here’s to maintaining a healthy figure by doing things that naturally bring pleasure. Along with that, these walking tours in Eugene, Oregon look pretty fun to try.
There are so many great articles about the secrets to why the French have lower obesity rates and a higher quality of life. Here are some links on this phenomenon that I think are good ones:
- 13 Ways French Women Treat Themselves Right (a must read!)
- French Women Don’t Get Fat (great recipes!)
- Eating Like The French
- The Baguette Diet
- The French Woman’s Diet: A Love Affair With Food
- I Tried The French Woman’s Diet For A Week And This Is What Happened
While I am too much a fan of our Oregon hazelnuts and microbrews to move to France, I’m excited to see if I can make these small lifestyle changes work in my life. In fact, sweet cantaloupe and pain au chocolat…I’m looking at you two this morning!
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