Friday, June 6, 2008

Sorry, Mom* – I Want to be French!

Well, maybe not BE French. But wouldn’t it be great to be able to eat cheese, chocolate, and baguettes without the guilt? That was the premise behind the guest post on Get Fit Slowly from Jeremy Geiger of about Food, Drink, and Decadence: How the French Stay Thin. It definitely got me thinking.

The great thing about all of this is that it doesn’t seem to be all about genetics. These results can, at least in part, be replicated by changing our behaviors. I definitely noticed some of the things he points out when I lived in Germany and Switzerland. Europeans in general eat a lot more whole foods (as opposed to processed stuff) and tend to actually sit down and eat their meals rather than mindlessly shoveling it in while watching TV. (Or is that just me?) And back when I was living there, that’s how I ate, too. I didn’t even think about it – I just conformed to the norms around me. And I feel like I was much healthier for it. I may not have dropped weight like crazy, but I didn’t gain it either, despite enjoying many of the rich foods that were so readily available.

I think I can apply some of these concepts to my life again. It just takes more effort when it goes against the greater culture, let alone my current lifestyle… One main obstacle for me is our lack of a table to eat at. I have been cultivating the awful habit of eating in front of the tube. The problem is that I secretly love it. There is something decadent about it in a way. It may take some doing to pull away from that. I have to really decide that it’s something worth doing. I may put this on the back burner while I concentrate on eating mostly whole foods at meals and cutting down on the snacking. Baby steps, right?

So here is my preliminary action plan to eat more like a Frenchie:
- Buy and eat mostly whole foods (local as much as possible).
- Stop with the artificial sweeteners.
- Focus on portions (eat only until satisfied).
- Snack mostly on fruits in vegetables, if needed.
- Do fun exercise (yoga and running – I do consider this fun, especially the social aspect of Saturdays).

Books to get from the library:
- The French Don’t Diet Plan by Dr. Will Clower
- In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
- French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mirielle Guiliano

*My Mom is not a fan of all things French. I think there was some serious language related trauma at a young age…


Anonymous said...

I loved the french women book and the sequal (probably more). That's why I now drink a glass of water in the AM and several other habits.

The one thing I *wish* I would have learned was to put myself together better. Hmm, maybe I should work on that now.



Dina, thanks for letting me know you liked those books. I will definitely have to give them a read now. Also, I know what you mean about putting myself together better. Why is it so hard for me to motivate? I’m hoping that I’ll have more time/inclination to put the effort in when I run in the mornings and go into work later (Tuesdays and Thursdays). One can hope!!!

Anonymous said...

One of the best thoughts I saw on the whole French thing came from the Omnivore's Dilemma... where he mentioned that American beef is corn fed, which is not natural. Basically, it messes with the acidity of the animal such that we can't break down the fats, etc. from the corn feed beef like we could the grass fed.

I say make it easy and Go Veg!

Always love checking out your blog!


Metroknow said...

Hi Amelia - I'm really glad you enjoyed the article. I'm also really enjoying reading through your posts here - you have a great writing style.

I was going to let you know that you might check out - it is one of my favorites for motivation on how to do the things you want to do in life. The writer, Leo, is one of my chief inspirations in making changes toward a more European lifestyle (particularly French). While that is not his focus, he has really identified some simple principles in getting things to work for you.

Take good care,
Jeremy (Metroknow)