Diets for Weight Loss: Eat Like the French to Slim Down Naturally
Recently, the French phenomenon of successful weight management has been attracting both scientists and slimmers. In the country known for its rich, fattening foods, the percentage of obese (that is, people with BMI index of 30 and above) is only 16.9% of the adult population as compared to 33.9% in the USA.
In other words, the nation which traditionally doesn’t bother to diet or exercise (there isn’t a single magazine published in France on these two subjects!) happens to be exactly twice as fit as the diet-conscious, low-fat-obsessed, exercise-driven America.
Quite a few useful diet books and magazine articles have discussed this paradox lately, and they feature lists of helpful tips based on this particular weight loss system. Still, all those lists boil down to three pieces of advice. Here are the three tips for a healthy weight loss diet borrowed from the French. Next time you’re in Paris, look around and you’ll see that the locals rarely stray away from the three commandments of their personal weight loss system.
Your Body Needs Time to Digest Every Meal — Do Not Snack!
The French have a very rigid meal schedule and they stick to it religiously. The famous continental breakfast before leaving for work — usually a cup of coffee and a chunk of a baguette with some jam on top — will have to last them until lunch break at exactly 12 a.m. The whole country closes between 12 a.m. and 2 p.m. for a hearty meal consisting of a salad, a main course, a cheese plate and a dessert, often washed down with a half-bottle of wine. I have to admit though that the younger generation tends to abstain from alcohol altogether and sticks to fruit juices and herbal teas.
After lunch, the French leave their stomachs well alone because the next time they’ll see any food is back home after work: at 8, 9, or even 10 p.m. No snacking in between, and even a mid-afternoon cup of tea or coffee is often frowned upon. The French believe snacking to be an obnoxious and unhealthy habit, only suitable for small children and the seriously ill on doctor’s orders.
Doctor François Baudier of the CFES admitted that “the French, in contrast to Anglo-Saxons, hardly ever snack outside of meals”. And you learn it quickly after catching a few piteous glances the French give you whenever you reach for that little something.
Make Balanced Meals From Scratch With Fresh Ingredients and Only Eat at the Dining Table
Many writers have commented on the fact that in France, mealtimes are leisure time, not a second-rate activity that accompanies “important” things like TV watching, working or reading. Statistics show that 75% of the French “eat at home at the dinner table”. A typical French meal can take well over an hour or two, filled with a friendly conversation rather than with hasty chewing.
These are also very balanced meals, containing a lot of protein and healthy fats, as well as complex carbohydrates. In France, ready-made and packaged foods are usually saved for emergencies like a long-distance train trip. Most homemade meals are cooked from scratch using fresh ingredients, preferably organic. Currently, France is living through a true organic craze when even low-income families spend their last centimes on expensive organic produce instead of saving money by buying cheap supermarket alternatives. For the French, quality food is top priority: they spend on groceries more than any other European nation and 4.5 times more than Americans.
At schools, too, children are faced with neat tables covered with crispy tablecloths, complete with sets of cutlery and a complex four-course meal, different every day. The site France This Way describes French school lunches as “an extravagance of quality ingredients, well prepared into delicious dishes”.
For Best Weight Loss Results, Eat Healthy Balanced Meals in Moderation and Don’t Overeat
Do not kid yourself thinking that French women are naturally slim and therefore can get away with murder food-wise. Their best-kept weight loss secret is: they actually eat quite little.
After a food-free afternoon at work, a French woman returns home to prepare a four-course dinner for her loved ones, but she herself doesn’t touch much of it. She may eat a small helping of each course, or she may skip the dessert, replacing it with a yogurt or a piece of fruit. Contrary to popular belief, they don’t drink much wine either, and stick to water or herbal teas.
Whatever they themselves may say, most French women are very self-conscious of their image, and stuffing one’s face is simply so not ladylike.
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