Wednesday, August 09, 2006

French Women Don't Get Fat (copy)

What is it about diet books that make you hungry? Is it the impending deprivation between the lines? For example, my mother’s Sunday school class all gained weight when trying the Christian based diet book, Weigh Down by Gwen Shamblin. Why? Mom claims they all had a tendency to snack while reading.

Usher in a new book that puts a cultural spin on weight loss. French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano is your typical diet book; nothing new or earth shaking here. The common sense tips like drink plenty of water and eat smaller portions reduce weight. No mystery really, although, we secretly feel those Frenchies hoard a skinny gene from Gallic ancestors.

The book's strong point is an eye-opening glimpse into French culture. French women shop daily for fresh in-season produce and meats. French women endure many courses in one sitting by only tasting the selections and chewing slowly. Then there is the magical (natural diuretic) leek soup recipe found on page 26.

Author Giliano begins the book with her own story. At 19 she spent one year in America as a French student participating in a high school exchange program. Upon her return to France, her own father greets her with, “Tu ressembles a un sac de patates.” In English that means you look like a sack of potatoes. Quel horreurs!

Giliano claims she gained weight because of a weakness for pastries. Her solution, when face-to-face with dessert, eat a bite or two for taste and then launch into a funny story. As you deliver the punch line your company will have eaten their last morsel. Then out of politeness pass yours aside and enjoy coffee.

As in real estate, chubbiness is all a matter of, “location, location, location”. Plop a skinny French woman in Dixie and she would be chubby in a month. First, buckle her up in a car, no more walking to the market, and introduce her to fast food. Next, teach her to marinate the Southern way; bread and soak all manner of food in hot grease until golden brown. Lastly, take away her smokes, a sure 10 lb. gain. French women see cigarettes as a classic fashion accessory. The French term “le smoking” actually means dinner-jacket.

To recap, French women don’t get fat because they don’t live in the US and they probably smoke. So, don’t feel so guilty, we have more obstacles to overcome.

The book has an instant appeal for those of us that think France is so romantic. Who wouldn’t want to live like Gigi, dressed in black cigarette pants, white swingy top and black beret toting market fresh French bread, wine and flowers ala Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina through the cobbled streets of Paris.

Listen, save your money on this book and if you must read it, check it out at the library. If you are really serious about losing weight here are the keys. Drink water, exercise regularly and do not eat anything white specifically flour, sugar and salt. When you reach your target weight, eat slowly and in moderation. Vive la difference!