Hello or should I say ‘bonjour’ my friend!
So if you don’t already know, I am 100% Polish and also 100% in love with the French culture a.k.a. a huge francophile. I fell in love with the French when I traveled throughout Europe for the first time in college. What I saw were women of all ages that took great care of themselves and part of that self-care was how they approached their food, great wine, and style. What stood out to me, when I observed them, was how they all appeared to really enjoy delicious meals, yet were all thin. I, on the other hand, came with an additional 30 pounds and felt super uncomfortable in my khaki camping shorts and a Gap tee-shirt. Needless to say, I had a long way to go in my self-care and style department. But at the root, I didn’t feel comfortable with myself, body, and therefore wore baggier clothes to try to disguise my extra weight. I would go back many times to both France and Poland, and it’s been so cool to see the transformation that I have experienced in my life from the inside out.
But I couldn’t pass up writing about the French women that I fell in love with on my very first visit and all the things that I have learned through observing, reading, and visiting Paris over the years. I hope that as you read through these 7 secrets, it will spark for you the inspiration to change up a few things to give yourself and your body the proper care it too deserves. This isn’t just for the French women, I’m on a mission to bring back the women in our country to really believing and living a pleasurable life of taking the time to care for themselves and not just everything and everyone around them.
The 7 skinny secrets of the French women
- French women don’t diet. Although over 95% of diets don’t work, here in the U.S. we are programmed to seek out diets and quick fixes believed to whip us into shape by telling us what to eat. Using billions of dollars, the diet industry has done a remarkable job in making you question yourself and your eating instincts. French women continue to have what Americans had in the 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s….an ability to listen to their bodies when it comes to food. They eat when they are hungry, and stop when their bodies signal they are full. Due to countless diets, Americans have lost trust in their ability to recognize when they are full and to stop eating.
- French women eat with the goodness of their overall body in mind. They eat whole foods such as brussels sprouts, asparagus, and chicken with skin cooked in butter, oils, and cream. The food tastes delicious and therefore smaller amounts are much more satisfying. They aim for foods closer to their natural form, and when they eat they think “is this nourishing and do I truly love and enjoy this?” That’s important because when we are on a diet, we eat certain foods because we think they are healthy and good for us, but we don’t necessarily enjoy them. Inevitably, we fall off the diet and often begin to binge on chips, ice cream, cookies and the like. We don’t even taste anything after the fifth bite but because it is forbidden, we truly believe we love it and would eat it all the time if we gave ourselves permission. The truth is, when given the opportunity, our bodies are quite capable of communicating to us what energizes it and what depletes it. When we don’t listen to our bodies, food becomes a drug that we use to distract and numb ourselves from engaging in and living our lives.
- French women eat sitting down. I’m not talking about sitting down in your car or on your sofa, but sitting down at a table that is for eating only. When you give yourself time to sit and focus on one thing, which in this case is eating, you are more relaxed and more tuned into your body’s hunger signals and full signals. When we multi-task, our minds are distracted, causing us to not be satisfied and at times, stuffed. So often we make food a secondary part of our to-do list or our nighttime friend we enjoy on the sofa or at the kitchen counter.
- French women eat 3 meals a day. (This can be a game changer, which I’ll go into more detail with my upcoming blogs). Marketing has done a great job of commercializing snacking, convincing us it is detrimental to be a tad hungry. We become very uncomfortable with hunger pangs even though we know that lunch is right around the corner. So, what do we do? We constantly snack and hardly know what hunger feels like. French women know that food tastes the best when you are truly, physically hungry.
- French women eat a satiating portion and are okay with leaving food on their plate. What if you told yourself that you’d have an opportunity to eat again everything that is in front of you? If you were eating cheesecake for example, would the idea that you will have countless opportunities in the future to eat cheesecake build back trust with your body that you aren’t going to ever deprive it? Diets cause us to lose that trust. We believe we will have to deprive ourselves of sweets and therefore we go crazy when we have sweets in front of us. French women don’t have forbidden foods and to them, eating is about choices. They can eat two or three bites of a dessert and stop knowing they will have dessert again in their future.
- French women incorporate movement into their lives daily. Look at movement and exercise as something pleasurable, not something punishing only done to take off pounds. This is important! I began telling myself that giving exercise to myself is like a spa for my body. My body enjoys when it is moving during a walk, it enjoys runs….but not every day. It’s about doing something for your body in terms of movement every day but as a loving gift unto it and yourself. So, if you pulled a muscle, it’s not trying to get on the treadmill but maybe enjoying a nice walk outside instead. If you only slept five hours the night before, it may mean sleeping in and forgoing exercise that day because that is being kind to your body and giving it what it needs at that moment.
- French women incorporate joy outside food into their week. They love to take care of themselves and bring pleasure into their lives in ways other than eating. What does this look like? Don’t get me wrong, it is great if you can get away, but you don’t have to go on vacation to a spa resort to give a gift unto yourself. I’m suggesting making room in your week for things that invigorate your body and spirit. It can mean reading a spiritual book for ten minutes a day or putting on a facemask once a week for ten minutes. Do things that you can become completely lost in and that causes you to feel so much better when finished. They can be weekly activities that last ten minutes or two hours but are meant to enrich your body, spirit, and soul. When we don’t find time for these nurturing activities, we often turn to food to numb us and we start to feel resentful that there is no enjoyment in our lives.
I hope that these 7 French Secrets will spark your own approach in the kind of life you want to curate for yourself. One that starts with the proper self-care that you too deserve.