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Book Review on "Why French Women Don't Get Fat"

Updated on October 5, 2011


Ever wonder why French women don't get fat?

In her book called, “Why French Women Don't Get Fat”, Mireille Guiliano says that there is much to learn from the French in terms of how to eat without gaining weight.

Mireille Guiliano born and raised in France. She is married to an American and has worked in both the USA and in France. She is versed in American ways and how an American woman can learn from French women on weight control.

The author first came to America as a teenager in a foreign exchange program while in high school. During this time period as a foreign exchange student, she gained 15 to 20 pounds eating brownies and chocolate chip cookies.

Once she returned home to France, her parents had her consult the family doctor who began to train her in the ways that French women have managed to eat well and stay slim. Not only did she lose the weight back then, she has continued to maintain a healthy weight in her adult years. This is in spite of working in the food and wine industry which requires her to eat out entertaining clients.

You may ask, how do French women do it? What can we learn from the French? The author suggests that what we need is a balanced and time-tested relationship to food and life. Unlike us, they don't distinguish between the two as is often the case in America.

Her book is of value for anyone who wants to learn principles, but she specifically focuses on women who have to lose 30 pounds or less. If you have a health issue that affects your weight; it won't be covered here.

The author says, "French women take pleasure in staying thin by eating well, while Americans typically see it as a conflict and obsess over it." Also French women do not skip meals or leave the table feeling stuffed.

She also says, "Learning that less can be more and discovering how one can eat everything in moderation are keys. So is exertion in proportion to calories consumed and a much more plentiful intake of water."

In Phase One, she recommends keeping a food diary for 3 weeks. It's an assessment of what you are really eating, not what you remember you might have ate. It's easy to think it is better than it really is.

Secondly, Phase Two is "re-casting". Re-casting involves learning proper portions and diversity of nourishment. At this point you will identify the key food offenders and temporarily avoid them. This part can take a minimum of 3 months, maybe longer. It is not a boot camp but a chance for the body to recalibrate. There will be some discipline but with flexibility to keep your motivation up.

Phase Three is called "stabilization". This is where you integrate everything back in proper measure. By now you should be at least half way to your goal weight.

Phase Four is "the rest of your life". This is where you are at your target weight and have a stable equilibrium. You know your body and what little adjustments you can do to keep the weight off but enjoy yourself at the same time.

The book also has some delicious recipes that are reasonably easy to do. She includes family favorite recipes that are also representative of typical French family cooking. She starts the recipe section off with Magical Leek Soup which is used to start your weight loss efforts.

If this book review was helpful, you can find more book reviews on diet, weight loss and healthy living at


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