How To Eat Like French Women

How To Eat Like French Women


For the past 25 years I have managed to maintain a healthy weight for my height without ‘dieting’ (even after 4 children).  I wasn’t always like this though.  During my youth, I was on every diet known to man.  My weight went up and down like a roller coaster, and I know this because there was never a day that I didn’t weigh myself.  For many years my whole day was consumed by my weight and often it was only a good day if the scales said it could be!

But then, like the French women, I learned how to eat properly.

Learn to enjoy a variety of food, without the rules. 

Every Saturday morning, I go out for breakfast before doing our weekly shop.  Recently, I overheard a woman stating loudly and for over an hour all the rules she has on eating; she fasts one day per week, she didn’t eat after a particular time of day, she cut out this, couldn’t eat that, etc.  I was being put off my beautiful breakfast of mushrooms with shaved parmesan on toast with a café latte.  It was an incredibly dull conversation, especially knowing that my family and I all enjoy meals of pasta, slow cooks, curries, cakes, muffins, quiches and rice and I enjoy a glass or two of wine with my meals, yet we are all a very healthy weight.

Like her diet, most diets have rules which make choosing what to eat more complicated, not easier.  Over the years I have watched many people lose weight initially on fad diets - until they lose interest as the diet rules are too limiting in food options. They have learned little, if anything, about nutrition and healthy eating.  Food becomes ‘the enemy’, but an enemy they love, and once off the diet they don’t only put on the weight they lost, but they put on more.

French women don’t follow rules and you will never hear French women discussing monotonous diets.  Never.  They enjoy staying slim simply by eating a well-balanced diet.  They do not eat unhealthy, preservative-packed, salty and sugary takeaway food.  But they also don’t skip meals and they don’t fast one day per week!  They don’t replace meals with slimming shakes or protein drinks.  They enjoy eating a variety of foods and many courses at lunch or dinner.  They take their time out to eat their food, never rushing.  It is very rare to see a French woman eat with her hands.  They eat small amounts of food at a time using cutlery.  They take their time to savour and chew each mouthful and enjoy what they are eating.  They happily have a glass of wine or two with their meal and they love to share tricks of the kitchen with close friends. 


This is how they stay so slim. Now I know some of you may be thinking that this is a huge generalisation, that not all French women are like this. But you just have to walk down the streets of Paris (as a sceptical friend of mine did only last month) and see that there are very few overweight French women!

Like them, it’s time to enjoy a balanced diet and to form a great relationship with your food and your body.  Food is to your body what petrol is to your car.  It keeps you healthy and happy.  It is time to start exercising your palette and start to enjoy eating a greater variety of food that is going to benefit your body, your health, your mind and your skin.

When shopping at the supermarket, try to buy food that is has nutritional value.  French women only buy what they need from the supermarkets.  They don’t fill up their baskets with chocolate bars, biscuits and chips.  Think how many times you have walked past the pantry and thrown down a chocolate bar or a couple of chocolate biscuits on the run?  Did you take time actually to taste it or enjoy it?  Did it give your body any nutrition? To eliminate this problem don’t be tempted to buy these items to start with. 

French people eat a lot of seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables, and but fresh meat and fish.  They don’t eat products that have been stored in a cool room for months.  They also don’t eat a great deal of red meat, but eat a great deal more fish and white meat.


Six Tips From French Women’s Habits to Get You Back On Track:


1. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables in season.


2. When eating out, choose places with nutritional food, not take away/fast food.

3. Don’t eat preservatives.

4. Take time out to prepare and eat your food. Enjoy each mouthful and chew slowly.

5. Use a knife and fork to eat.

6. Sometimes swap red meat for fish.


Some Extra Tips From Me:

One thing I have learned is to enjoy eating 15 plant foods per day. As this includes fruit, vegetables, seeds, pulses, etc. it is very simple to adopt.  Another is to experiment with recipes that are tasty.  Enjoy using herbs and spices in your cooking and enjoy the taste explosion.  You will decrease your salt and sugar intake and enjoy all the new flavours.  Cooking becomes a joy.

Learning to make salads tasty and healthy, using a variety of vegetables, herbs, seeds, nuts and proteins, such as brown rice, couscous or quinoa, will also make eating raw food much more interesting. 

Once you start to incorporate these tips into your life, you’ll love how much more energy you have, how the weight gradually falls off and enjoy how you begin to have a beautiful, healthy relationship with food.  You will look forward to preparing and eating meals.


Carolyn Rowland is a qualified NLP Master Therapist, Advanced Practitioner of Matrix Therapies, Time Line Therapist, Practitioner of Hypnotherapy, has a Diploma for Business and Life Coaching and A Professional Image Stylist.  Carolyn is happily married to her husband Simon, and raised four beautiful children, who are now young adults and a teenager.

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