Friday, October 9, 2015

French Women Don't Get Fat - Mireille Guiliano

French Women Don't Get Fat
Title: French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure
Author: Mireille Guiliano
Publication Date: 12/28/05
Pages: 263
Genre: Self-Help / Food / Nonfiction
How I Found It: It's been around for a while now.
Date Completed: 9/25/15

Summary: Guiliano explores the idea that French women have a secret to staying thin. Their diet includes all sorts of things Americans find guilt-inducing: chocolate, wine, bread, rich foods. Yet, the obesity levels in France are far below those in America. Guiliano wants to get to the heart of the issue.

What I Thought: I am not in the habit of reading diet books. Although, I have put on a good 15 pounds since getting married three years ago, a fact with which I am extremely uncomfortable. Still, I know what needs to change if I want to lose that weight: diet and exercise. Portion control and physical activity are the way to a healthy lifestyle. It's well proven, but none of us like to hear or enact that wisdom.

Instead, Americans love diet fads. We love someone telling us there is another way - some secret path to success that doesn't require exercise and allows us to eat all of our favorite things. Guiliano is, whether she would admit it or not, appealing to that exact desire. The book is marketed in a way which makes you think it shares one of those secret pathways.

Instead, Guiliano is really just advocating healthy lifestyle. She's preaching moderation, not perfection, a message I can get behind. Guiliano recognizes that the average American lifestyle does not support such a lifestyle. We don't exercise and we don't eat well. So, she packages healthy as French, a concept any francophile such as myself may find more palatable. Walk more, eat and drink in moderation, drink lots of water - all things people in any country should be doing to stay healthy; Guiliano just happens to think the French lifestyle is built to support this and, thus, the French have fewer issues with obesity.

She does break her method into a makeshift diet. As someone who has never read a diet book, I did not love that aspect. I suppose, however, that a diet book without action steps does not make much sense. 

Guiliano's principles were a good reminder for me, although they were nothing I had not heard before. I did appreciate her support of healthy over being a particular weight. She is adamant that life should be lived in a healthy, but pleasurable way. She does not want her readers sacrificing pleasure, rather accepting it in moderation. Here, I can agree with her fully; moderation and balance is the key to nearly every aspect of life. 

Quotes I Loved:
  • "Most Americans eat at least 10 to 30 percent more than needed, not to survive but to satisfy psychological hunger. The trick is to manage and gratify your appetites, while determining how, when, and what to reduce."
  • "Learning to eat right is like learning a language - nothing works like immersion."
  • "The pleasure of most foods is in the first few bites."
  • "French women typically think about good things to eat. American women typically worry about bad things to eat."

Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Will I Re-Read: I doubt it.
If You Liked This Try: Lunch in Paris 

A Reduced Review: Guiliano preaches the French diet as a method for healthy weight loss and maintenance. 

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