Monday, June 30, 2008

Book review – FRENCH WOMEN DON’T GET FAT, pt 2

Captain's Log, Supplemental

Continued from last week about my favorite new diet book, French Women Don’t Get Fat.

The author says to eat smaller portions of meat and fish (4-6 ounces per person per meal). For me, this works. I tend not to like large meat portions—I’m usually happy with 2-3 ounces. This is just the way my body is. I feel heavy and sick if I eat too much meat.

This wouldn’t work for some other people, but that’s why the South Beach diet or the Atkins diet works for them but not for me.

She doesn’t discourage eating pasta, rice, and bread (she writes: “Life without pasta? Perish the thought.”), but she warns about portions and says to savor these dishes slowly so you end up eating less.

This has totally worked for me. I have been making vegetarian pasta dishes—interesting dishes, some a little higher in fat, but most very low fat because the recipe calls for a simple sauté in olive oil.

I have been eating pasta almost every day, but smaller portions, and I have been losing weight.

In order to make my taste buds happy, I have been choosing to cook unusual pasta dishes, like fava beans with marscapone cheese, lemon zest, a splash of marsala wine, and pistachios over linguine.

It’s so flavorful! And I am learning how to savor it, so I don’t even notice I’m eating a smaller portion than I would have a month ago.

I think this has been the key for me—flavorful, interesting dishes so that I savor it but don’t eat as much.

She also encourages “compensation”—meaning, if you indulge a bit too much one day, just go for an extra walk the next day, or eat a salad for one meal, or whatever you can do to balance it.

This has worked for me because it’s reduced the guilt factor. I feel like I can “make up” for eating a bowl of popcorn one day with an extra 30 minute walk with the dog the next day. I find I don’t mind eating a salad for lunch the next day if I’ve had a gargantuan piece of tiramisu for dessert the night before.

She also supports exercise, but nothing strenuous. Walking an extra 20 minutes at work, or to and from work, all in your work clothes, is adequate. She encourages extra exertions like taking the stairs or walking a little further rather than long gym sessions.

I like this because my joints simply cannot take anything too strenuous (I inherited my grandmother’s bad knees—she’s had both knees replaced). Walking fits my lifestyle and my body. Other diet books have been about people becoming marathon runners or some type of athlete, and that just really does not appeal to me.

Her philosophy for everything—learning to eat smaller portions, learning to exert yourself more, losing poundage—is “little by little.” In typical French fashion, it’s all individual and it’s all at your own pace. I’ve lost about 0.5 to 1 pound a week in the past four weeks.

This isn’t really a diet book. It’s more like a lifestyle book. The principles have resonated with me, and made me change what I eat (more flavorful, interesting dishes) and how I eat (slowly savor, which is easier if the dishes are flavorful and interesting).

So, it might not work for everyone else who wants to lose weight, but it’s certainly been working for me! I haven’t felt so positive about my weight loss before!

4 comments :

  1. I've browsed this at Borders, and it's interesting. I'm just not certain if it will work for me because I don't like veggies! I'm a fruit girl. Any insights into this?

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  2. She encourage readers to eat lots of fruit! Apparently her family ate lots when they were growing up, and French people in general supposedly eat more fruit than Americans because of the plentiful farmer's markets available.

    Since we joined our organic coop, I've also noticed that the veggies are sweeter and better than the Safeway stuff. Even the Captain, who doesn't like veggies in general, likes the green beans and broccoli.

    I've also been creative about how I cook my veggies so that I actually enjoy what I eat versus just eating lots of boring salads. I'm always on the lookout for more interesting cooked veggie recipes.

    Camy

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  3. Camy, your review inspired me. I need to get back on track. A few years ago I lost about 20 pounds by eating healthy food and smaller portions and exercising. Didn't deprive myself of things I like, just ate more sensibly. Now I've gained it back--and more! I need to make a decision to go back with my whole heart.

    Thanks! I received Symphony of Secrets (won in your drawing) and plan to take it with me on a trip next week. Glad you're giving away books (like gold and jewels to me).

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  4. Just the kind of diet7lifestyle change that would work for me. I'm going to start on it today.
    Blessings from Costa Rica

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