A few months ago I saw a book at the local library’s ongoing book sale called “French Women Don’t Get Fat” by Mireille Guiliano, a French woman who got fat only after she moved to America to go to college.
I picked the book up and promptly laughed at the title. Then I tried to think of any French women I might know and if they were fat or not. I don’t know any French women personally but after looking at photos online Guiliano seems to know what she’s talking about. I mean look at them all – all French and all skinny.
Except, this one lone fat girl, who is probably being shamed on some site by all the skinny French women:
I love that fat woman because she and I look like kindred spirits at this point in our lives.
Since I’m trying to restart my weight loss journey after a four-year break I took the book home out of curiosity. On the front cover were the words “Nationwide Best Seller” and on the inside cover was the author’s signature and a special note from someone who had given the book as a gift: “Merry Christmas my friend and thanks for your friendship and love,” Little heart, Jenn.
Apparently, the book recipient wasn’t very impressed with her gift and may have been offended at her friend’s suggestion she start addressing her weight issues. Or maybe she didn’t like the book because the author is clearly anti-American (despite coming here to get her college education) and likes to remind all Americans that French women do everything better. She doesn’t say this, but she certainly implies it every other paragraph for almost the entire book.
Some eye-rolling-inducing, condescending comments she makes:
“The theory goes that the French, who eat soup up to five times a week for dinner, eat better and less,” she writes.
“Growing up French means eating lots of fruit” (yes, because as Americans we never, ever, ever eat fruit.)
“French women live on budgets, too, but they also understand the value of quality over quantity.”
“Among the French, by contrast, a love of good, natural food is part of the universal patrimony. Not that French women don’t pay more for quality. On average, they spend a much greater proportion of their income on food. But what seems like a luxury to Americans is a necessity to the French.”
In other words, dear Mireille believes all Americans sit on the couch and stuff their faces full of Twinkies and donuts and fast food because Americans are all fat, lazy and stupid. If we’re going to base all our assumptions of one group on a select few, then based on this book I’m going to assume all French are arrogant, condescending and pretentious.
But Mrs. Fancy Pants does have some good points. Despite her obvious feeling of superiority for being born French, the book does have some good suggestions that are lining up with suggestions I’m reading in another book I”m reading by Dr. Carline Leaf about using our mind to eat better.
One of those suggestions is that when you eat anything to sit at a table without distractions and to really think about what you’re eating. Guiliano and Leaf both suggest chewing slowly and savoring each bite and really focus on the flavors of your food, which is why Guiliano says learning more about seasoning your food can actually help to satiate you more with less food.
Reading the book has only solidified what I already know – that I need to do whatever I can to help lose this weight so I can feel better and to do that I don’t need to be a slave to food. I could care less about how I look as long as I can actually accomplish a few things in a day without having to sit down to rest. Guiliano talks about “recasting” which I’ve heard described as “resetting”, your diet and since I know I need to do this, I’ve decided to experiment and become “French” starting more in earnest after the holidays. I want to try some of Giuliano’s recipes (if my budget will allow). Until I have time to gather the ingredients I am going to at least attempt to implement some of the suggestions Giuliano makes and see if the weight falls off of me as it did her.
Leaf also talks about “recasting” but part of her suggestion involves resetting the mind of a person, which she says takes up to 21-days to create a new habit. I’ll touch on that more in future blog posts.
If you’d like to follow along on my journey of pretending to be French without the superior attitude, or simply my weight loss (get healthy) journey, I’ll be posting updates on this blog, where I stumble through this bizarre journey of trying to lose the weight that stress, pregnancy, bad food choices, lack of exercise and thyroid issues tacked on me over the years. If you want to read other ramblings of mine, you can find my main blog at Boondock Ramblings.