It’s Not a Diet, It’s a Lifestyle

French Women Don't Get Fat and Magical Leek

For all those dear fellows who just like me got themselves out of control and gained bunch of weight during holiday season…

I’m not a fan of diets and I never was. Also, I’m not a fan of killing myself at the gym. I strictly believe that being in good shape is easy. All you need to do is just eat healthy, right amount of food at the appropriate time and just don’t sit around the whole day. And you know what? I’m not the only one. About a year ago I came across this really good book “French Women Don’t Get Fat”.

French people are known for their love for food, they simply won’t refuse themselves in these divine pleasures like having a glass/bottle(s) of wine with cheese, baguettes, foie gras, etc. They are also known to have an absolutely opposite attitude towards gyms than Americans. Check out Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik, there is a whole chapter about it and I’m pretty sure nothing changed since the time his book was written. And you know what?  I can’t blame them. We only live once for God sakes!  Let’s just enjoy the good food and not waste our time and money at the gym but still stay in good shape!

So, how exactly did this happen that French women indeed do not get fat? Magic? Genetics? It’s all pretty simple. I’m not going to spoil the content of the book for you. I’m just going to share my personal experience and thoughts about it.

Here is the easiest part. You don’t need to go to the gym. The world is your gym. Just go outside and walk. Yeah, it’s that simple just walk. Walk to work and back, to the grocery store, instead of taking an Uber to the bar, walk there. Also, I would like to add my personal favorite – cleaning your house is a great exercise. So, be active. Bam!

Foodwise…

  1. Make your portions smaller. In life it’s all about quality, not quantity. Same with food.
  2. Don’t eat in front of the TV, don’t read a book while eating and don’t look at your phone. Nothing should interrupt your meal, have no destruction around whatsoever. Ok-ok, you can listen to Vivaldi while having your meal, make it classy.
  3. Chew your food longer and more properly, don’t rush. Try to truly enjoy your meal.
  4. Oh, the most important part is to make your own meal from scratch with fresh ingredients. Don’t buy already cooked or frozen meals.
  5. Also, you need to deduct all the main food offenders. So…No more snacking! For example, I’m personally addicted to French fries (ironic, ha?) and chips. Find out what yours are and get rid of them. But you can still have them sometimes, we are not tyrants here. You can have a very very very small tiny portion of your favorite food offender on the weekend.
  6. Hydration is crucial. Drink more water. I personally begin my morning with a glass or two of water, just to start the system going and then I will have a glass of water before a meal. I believe that helps me not to overeat.

(P.S. There are definitely more really good pieces of advice in the book. But that is just what simply helps me.)

Here is the part where it gets a little bit complicated. But we like challenges, right? They make life more interesting. Before you reload your dietary system and adopt this new lifestyle you need to do one little thing. You need to start from scratch, clean your system, and leeks are going to help you with this. You need to make leek soup/broth and drink it for 48 hours or so. But there is some good news — if you are really hungry you can eat the cooked leeks.

Recipe for Magical Leek Soup
Serves one for the weekend

2 lbs. leeks
Water to cover in a large pot

  1. Clean leeks and rinse well to get rid of sand and soil. Cut end of green parts leaving all the white parts plus a suggestion of green. (Reserve the extra greens for soup stock.)
  2. Put leeks in large pot and cover with water. Bring to boil and simmer with no lid for 20-30 minutes. Pour off the liquid and reserve. Place the leeks in a bowl. Drizzle with a few drops of extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Season sparingly with salt and pepper. Add chopped parsley if you wish, and voilà!

So, I did it. I went through the whole weekend of only leeks soup, boiled leeks, water and sometimes tea. And I need to admit it was not that complicated and I pretty much didn’t feel hungry for most of the time and when I did – I ate leeks and I came to love them. As a result I don’t think I lost weight. However, that’s not the point. The whole point is to clean your system and realize that you don’t need to eat that much to stay not hungry and still be healthy.

The way French women eat is definitely not a diet, it’s a lifestyle and it’s an easy one to help you stay in good and healthy shape.