How Do French Women Stay Slim

Written by on May 8, 2017 in Gastronomy, My French Life

French women are famous for being able to achieve and retain a slim physique. Well I can tell you, I live in France, and not all women are slim. But, statistically French women are slimmer than British and American women – so how do they do it?

Is it iron will power? Is it a Mediterranean diet? Or perhaps it’s something else? When I moved to France I gained weight almost from the first day. All those fresh cooked croissants, cakes like little works of art and the fabulous wines take their toll. So I asked my slim French women friends – how do you do it?

Here are 5 tips for how French women stay slim – and some of them may surprise you.

1. Always allow 20 minutes between courses

This, say my friends, gives your brain time to acknowledge “the food has arrived in your stomach.” It’s something that mothers teach their children in France. It’s a simple rule and because most kids accept what their parents tell them (French children are generally well-behaved and French parents are stricter), it’s a habit that stays with them when they’re adults.

2. Drink water with your meal

Another very basic rule. Yes French people do drink wine with their meal but they tend to pour a smaller glass than we’re used to in the UK. Drink a big glass of water, small glass of wine.

3. No snacking

Actually, snacking is becoming more popular with young people, and kids are allowed a snack after school, usually a very small cake. But on the whole, French people don’t snack and they teach their kids to leave at least four hours between meals. One of my friends told me, “When I go to Britain I am truly shocked to see people eating in the streets, we wouldn’t dream of doing that here”. They avoid the need to nibble between meals by eating breakfast, a large lunch, often three courses (even at school) and sensibly sized dinner.

4. Use Smaller plates

French women who are on a diet use smaller plates. It’s an old trick but a good one. Smaller plates equal smaller portions. They also make the food look beautiful.  A lettuce leaf, tomato and wedge of cheese won’t cut it. Dressing, nut sprinkles and shaped cucumber slices don’t add many calories but enhance the eating experience because the food looks so much more appetizing.

5. Never drink coffee or any hot drink with cheese.

One of my French friends assures me that the cheese solidifies in your stomach. “Surely everyone knows that, don’t they?” she asked as I looked astonished. The cheese course in France is served before dessert which comes with coffee. It doesn’t help digestion she says to have cheese last, and if there’s one thing French women are hung up about – it’s digestion.

If all else fails, I did once see a woman forego the dinner menu and order a bowl of lettuce and a bottle of ketchup at the Cafe de la Paix in Paris!

Related Articles

Indulge your passion for fabulous food in northern France

In 2010, UNESCO awarded French cuisine ‘World intangible heritage status’, reflecting the importance of great food in France. A nip across, or under, the English Channel to northern France reveals a wealth of gastronomic delights. From lush produce at street markets, to tasty treats at the supermarket, cheese shops, wine shops and boulangeries that smell so […]

Continue Reading

How to do coffee, the Parisian way

At some point in history, it just became a fact that everything is more stylish in Paris. Of course, lot of other cities have their own version of “cool”, but there seems to a be a special way in which the Parisians do things that make everything seem so effortless and so… chic. Coffee is […]

Continue Reading

Cheese and Wine – the flavours of France

Nothing characterises French cuisine like cheese and wine!  Both have been made for centuries in France, it is said that Cantal cheese from the Cantal region in the Auvergne has been enjoyed for at least two millennia and it’s mentioned by Roman historian Pliny the Elder in a document dating back to 1 BC. There […]

Continue Reading

How to make friends in France | Entente Cordiale

“When I move to France I only want to have French friends”. This was a line in an email I received from a couple of Brits. They wanted advice on where to move to in France and this was one of their criteria. They also wanted to be near a town that has a market, […]

Continue Reading

Truffle hunting in Dordogne

Truffle hunting in Dordogne

Written by on January 2, 2019 in Aquitaine, Gastronomy

Truffles are one of those foods that you either love or hate. They’re not a take it or leave it type of thing – they’re too pungent for that. In Dordogne, everyone loves them, they’re one of the region’s prized treasures… What are truffles? Truffles are a form of mushroom, an edible fungus that some […]

Continue Reading

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.

Top