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TINAJANE76 SparkPoints: (65,247)
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2/5/13 5:44 A

It may be a gimmick, but it's actually quite a sensible one and there's nothing gimmicky about the way the French (and many other Mediterraneans) live their lives. I live in Italy and there are FAR fewer overweight and obese people here and there is FAR less obsession about diet and exercise. Reasonable choices are practically ingrained and most people eat all things in moderation. Light exercise is a part of their daily lives rather than dedicating hours at the gym every week. The average person can learn a lot from this example.

AUDREYUK Posts: 607
2/4/13 4:51 P

Carrie, I'm American too! Just an expat in France at the moment. I always want what I can't have so of course now that I'm surrounded by wonderful French food I crave the naughty things from back home. I grew up in Oklahoma.

Brewmasterbill, there are a few overweight people here, but NOTHING like you see in the US. As someone mentioned, it's mostly grannies who you see overweight. I haven't seen ONE overweight child. I'm at 173 (5Ft7) right now and people KNOW I'm American just by looking at me. I don't dress especially American either (no t-shirts and trainers.) They know I'm American, because I'm overweight. I've only been settled here permanently since December and the pounds are slowly melting off without much effort. I don't think the book is a gimmick. It's just really hard to implement the recommendations in a country that doesn't accommodate that kind of lifestyle (like the US.) It's not impossible, just far from easy. It would be feasible living in a large walk-able city (like New York or Chicago.)

As I hinted at in my last post. It's easier here not to screw up. Fast food is harder to find (and a long walk away), grocery stores are far from 24-7, and walking is mandatory (in my city at least.) It would take a profound effort to be fat here. I really believe that. Also, fast food isn't cheap. A McDonald's meal costs quite a bit more than one in the US, while vegetables at the market are dirt cheap. Things just kind of conspire to help you be healthy here. That's why it's easy. There just isn't the temptation. France is nowhere NEAR approaching obesity like the US is. Whenever I go back to Texas, I am always shocked by the size of people. Of course after a few days it seems normal again, but the initial reaction after being away for awhile is WOW.

35BYMAY SparkPoints: (1,477)
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2/4/13 2:48 P

maybe, but if people take the message to heart about french lifestyles, it can't hurt. Many people don't realize other countries ways of life that make them healthier than themselves...

BREWMASTERBILL SparkPoints: (31,080)
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2/4/13 2:45 P

OK, so the message then becomes don't eat like crap. I still contend that this is a gimmick to sell a book.

35BYMAY SparkPoints: (1,477)
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2/4/13 2:42 P

Bill, I am going to bet the farm that obesity levels have increased there in those who are eating an american diet, lol. (enter European McDonalds). Traditional french lifestyles and cooking do make for skinny french people :)

BREWMASTERBILL SparkPoints: (31,080)
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2/4/13 1:39 P

CALLMECARRIE Posts: 1,598
2/4/13 11:57 A

AUDREYUK - Chicken fried steak is one of my weaknesses! With the creamy gravy...I used to eat it for breakfast with fried potatoes and eggs and toast. It would probably be a horrifying mess to a European. The meat portion alone was the size of a catcher's mitt.

Geez. One of the breakfasts from my former life is like a day's worth of calories for me now.



RIET69 SparkPoints: (47,087)
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2/4/13 11:10 A

I was born and raised in Holland and the biggest difference in lifestyle is all the walking and bicycling plus at that time mostly whole foods.

AUDREYUK Posts: 607
2/4/13 10:54 A

I'll trade you, Carrie! All I want is nachos and chicken fried steak.

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CALLMECARRIE Posts: 1,598
2/4/13 10:40 A

Dang. Now I want brie and baguettes. emoticon

ALORTA SparkPoints: (7,315)
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2/4/13 9:51 A

Yeah, and the scary thing is, its rising!
I remember when I flew over when I was a kid and literally the fattest one I could find anywhere. Little grannies were fat, but otherwise, no. Now, I'm seeing girls bigger than I was before I started my transformation (80kg+), and I'm talking HS girls!!! 10yrs ago that was unthinkable! More and more people have cars, more and more people go for the malls and convenient all in one stores... sound familiar?
But yeah, overall, still waaaaay less than the ol' US (and yes, I'm worried about how I'm going to be able to continue losing once I'm back in cali -_-; ... when I went home last summer I gained back a good 5-7kg and had to work it off for the next semester before I was back at my pre-vacation weight)!

NAUSIKAA Posts: 4,848
2/3/13 5:33 P

I haven't read the book but I too live in Europe and can attest that the lifestyle is much less obesigenic than the US lifestyle. Where I live, walking is the most common form of transportation. Lunch is the main meal, dinner is very very light. I buy about 75% of our food from the farmers' market year-round. Processed foods are far less common and at least in the city where I live there are no American-style fast food restaurants or chain restaurants, just a few family-run restaurants that serve normal portions like you would have at home. We do have pizza places and local fast-food (not chain) places that sell sandwiches and such. There is zero restaurant advertising and all food advertising is for things like frozen peas, plain yogurt, apples, asparagus, etc. I don't know if it's like that in France as I've never lived there. But my point is that it's not just what we eat, it's everything out our daily lives. So if you're going to do it, either move to Europe or commit to the whole thing, not just the food part of it. And don't be fooled -- there are TONS of obese people in Europe. Anyone who tells you otherwise just hasn't read the reports.

35BYMAY SparkPoints: (1,477)
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2/3/13 5:21 P

Their portions are small, meals aren't eaten on the run, and typically, they do not snack in between meals! That, combined with a lot of walking and general moving around all the time, makes them able to eat their brie and baguettes without worrying... so jealous! lol

MARITIMER3 SparkPoints: (124,981)
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2/3/13 2:50 P

I believe that European women walk a lot more than most North American women.

SONICB Posts: 4,259
2/3/13 1:13 P

I studied abroad in France for a brief period, and I would have guessed that French women don't get fat because their lunch consists of coffee and a cigarette. XD

CREATIVECALICO Posts: 300
2/3/13 10:26 A

The reset is psychological rather than physical. But it's hard for me to take two days off from exercise/other commitments to do the leek soup weekend! Audrey, I DID make it a few months ago and I liked it. I would definitely make it again!

Yes, I think it's a lot easier outside of the US (except for a few major cities) to get more daily activity. You really have to TRY to get in more steps.

ALORTA SparkPoints: (7,315)
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2/3/13 9:08 A

I'll second what AUDREYUK said.
I'm actually in EU right now as well and it really is a far different lifestyle than US (I'm from cali).
Here, we walk everywhere. You want to get to school? You grab a bus and then walk to class. You need something from a shop a couple blocks away? You walk. Fuel is about 4x what it costs in the states (it's about the same price per L that in the states is per Gal), the streets are clogged and using your car will only cost you $ and time. People drive, but usually its far easier to walk or grab a bus (then walk) for everyday things. You drive to the mall/store (if you know you're buying too much to carry home), you drive when you want to go out of town, etc. Not when you want to get there fast or if you'll only have a small bag of stuff to carry back. Not practical!
There is junk food, but even that seems to be less processesd and higher quality (beef, especially... the first time in my life I thought McD's tasted good was the year we got here; it's basically uneatable for me back home -_-; With all the yummy places to eat though (that don't cost all that much more than McD's), I rarely feel the urge to go.

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (76,351)
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2/3/13 7:43 A

I'm not sure how a leek soup is suppose to "reset your body" sounds like hogwash to me.

Pretty much every diet, health organization and every nutritional expert out there recommends eating smaller more nutritional meals more often.

Honestly, you could eat cheeseburgers and chips all day and as long as you're burning more than you consume, you wont gain weight. Now, it's not very healthy and the food just leaves you desiring more (and then you gain weight) but it is possible. I weighed 105-115 lbs for years and ate nothing but junk food but because I didn't overeat and I was active I stayed slim. It was when I slowed down and stopped working manual labour, had two pregnancies that the weight caught up with me.

I don't see any secret fat loss insight with this plan that any other diet isn't privy to. The reason European women are generally thinner than Americans is because they are generally more active, there isn't a fast food joint on every corner and they eat less processed foods. Same as women in Asian countries.

Eat healthy, less processed, less refined foods and balanced to properly fuel your body and stay satisfied throughout the day.
Eat smaller more frequent meals to stay satisfied throughout the day and to keep your metabolism burning.
Exercise and stay active.
Stay in your sparkrange; be honest and measure everything you eat.

And you'll lose weight. There are no secrets, there are no special fat burning foods, there are no body detoxes aside from changing your diet to one that includes lots of fresh veggies/fruit, legumes, lentils, whole grains, low fat dairy, lean protein and healthy fats.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 2/3/2013 (07:49)
AUDREYUK Posts: 607
2/3/13 6:30 A

I gave it a try for like a weekend several years ago. I really enjoyed the book (and the sequel) but more for the recipes and scarf tying lesson in the second one.
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I don't know if you've tried the leek "soup" but it's genuinely disgusting--and this coming from someone who loves leeks!

I did take the advice of the book and buy a yogurt maker. I LOVE mine. I still use it when I'm in the US and I need to get one for here.

I actually live in France now. It IS 100% easier to be thin here. The main reasons are that it's hard to come by bad food. The other day I was craving something with gooey melted cheese (like nachos) so badly. Guess what, I was out of luck and because I literally couldn't find the ingredients, I didn't have my high calorie fix (we do have shredded swiss cheese here, but it's rubbery and wouldn't be good on nachos.) Yes, we have a McDonald's but it's a hike (literally) to get there and it's not open 24 hours or anything. Most foods eaten here are whole foods and walking is compulsory. I don't think the advice in the book is bad, but I do think it's much harder to follow those things in the US than it is in France.

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (57,056)
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2/2/13 11:04 P

What exactly are you "resetting"? The body can't be reset; it's not a computer (just like it's not a toilet, it can't be flushed.)

High quality food is always a good thing, as is water and exercise. I don't see anything in this plan (other than the weird reset thing) that's different from SP's plan.

CREATIVECALICO Posts: 300
2/2/13 9:17 P

Has anyone followed the French Women Don't Get Fat plan? You start by "resetting" with a weekend of leek soup, then eat small portions of high quality food instead of large portions of poor quality food. The plan also emphasizes drinking a lot of water and getting in as many steps and stairs as possible.

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