Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Guest Post: Book Review of "French Women Don't Get Fat"

Our amazing and uber-talented little sister (who is waif-thin, by the way) offered to do a guest post on "French Women Don't Get Fat." And considering that she certainly hasn't gotten fat, despite having a baby this year (I know, curses!), I think she might have the authority to speak on this one. 


But I also have a sneaking suspicion it may have something to do with the behavior exhibited above... Well, without further ado, here's our awesome sis, Katie:


I love food, and I mean LOVE food. To give you an idea, when I was dating my husband J, he had a heart to heart with my sister's husband. My brother-in-law, who had been married to my sister for quite sometime, and was more than well acquainted with the four girls of the family, had one piece of advice for J: "All you need to do to keep the girls in this family happy is feed them."  I laughed when he told me this. We sound like puppies. Just make sure not to miss mealtime and all will be well with us. Sadly, this is true.  I was lucky enough to marry someone who loves food as much as I do. Some of our greatest travel memories are the different restaurants we have stumbled upon all over the world.

(Hawaii)

When a friend recommended French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano as a good read, I was skeptical. I do not diet. I never have. With the exception of giving up dairy while nursing, and an occasional abstinence from sugar or meat during Lent, just for the challenge, I have never bought into the idea that diets are worth it. Why keep yourself from things you love? She assured me it was not a diet book.  And so, in my reluctance, I began to read. It turns out this was no diet book at all, and was in fact catered to me who had refused to diet all along.


Mireille writes about her experience moving to the states from her home in France as an exchange student and returning home fat. This book wittily describes what it is about American culture that makes us fat. Upon her return to France, her family quickly hired a doctor to take care of their daughter's "health issues" and get her looking slim again. I love her description of the "French Paradox." Have you ever wondered how french women can eat bread, pastries, wine and cheese and still stay as slim and slender as they do? Mireille takes a humorous approach to how lifestyle can determine the size of your body.


I love everything about this book. It reminds you that moderation is the best way to enjoy life. It helps you appreciate the French and all their quirks while also poking fun at Americans and all their quirks. It makes me remember all the reasons I love food so much. And it has a load of recipes to boot. Who wouldn't want the secret to a perfect croissant. Yes, I said croissant. I am talking, the buttery-flaky-whole-day's-worth-of-calories-croissant. That is totally allowed and encouraged.

 via

My mouth is watering just thinking about it. In honor of this new year, I am not pledging to starve myself and eat only Special K for 80 days.  I am not joining a fancy gym.  I am not going to read a thousand diet books.  But, I will read this one again, master my pain au chocolat, and enjoy myself a whole lot more! How about you?

12 comments:

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  2. OK, so now I am hooked. I will search it out and relish it as I read the ponderings of the French Paradox!
    Love you girls!

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    1. I hope you do :) Thanks for dropping by. It's so good to see you!

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  3. I love that book! Her carrot soup and veggie soup are staples for me and both freeze well. I really like her emphasis on eating foods in season. ~ Maureen

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    1. Me too. Sometimes I have to remind myself to eat the seasonal foods in moderation too. One grapefruit- good. Twenty grapefruits- a problem. It's citrus season here and I can't help myself! :)

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  4. I loved that book. And it all makes so much sense. I'll never forget years ago going to one of the museums in NYC that had an elegant cafe. A lovely and slim woman was sitting by herself at 3:00 in the afternoon having a pain au chocolat and a cappucino. I remember at that time my typical afternoon snack was baked potato chips from a bag. This image of that woman has stayed with me and I have cut out the diet snack food, and try to eat something real and delicious but in a small amount.

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    1. Oh the small amount thing is what gets me every time! I blame it on growing up in a large family, where you had to eat fast for a chance at seconds. We learned to stuff our faces as children, and I am still trying to overcome it. But perhaps if I was eating pain au chocolat, I could restrain myself... Or maybe that's just an excuse to eat pain au chocolat. Either way, it's going to be a lovely afternoon. :)

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  5. Oh, I am a French teacher, I work with French people, and I have been to France. Hands down, they are thinner than Americans. Women wear skirts and heels while bike riding. They also haul groceries DAILY, walking on those heels. They take small portions and eat WHAT THEY WANT in total moderation. What a great way to live..you can have your cake and eat it too....in smaller amounts!

    Miriam, thank you for visiting! So kind are your words! Anita

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    1. Oh it is no wonder that you have such a taste for what is lovely, Anita. I think that just comes along with the whole French way of life. I really think you are right about their daily practices keeping them fit. I am half tempted to wear a skirt and heels to ride my beach cruiser around the neighborhood, but I don't think my neighbors have an appreciation for that type of thing ;) Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. I just saw this book on another friend's blog, and it's true...French women don't get fat! When my girls went to Paris, they said that the food was amazing, and yet the people stay slender. Maybe it's all the walking they do from place to place. These croissants look oh so good.
    ~Sheri at Red Rose Alley

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    1. Oh I know! I felt that way in London too. Everyone was so slim. I was thin by our standards, and still felt like a 'Fat American.' And yes, those croissants make me actually feel like making some myself, and since I know it takes like 40 hours, that says something!

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