French Women Don’t Get Fat

While living in Paris as a study abroad student I quickly learned the lesson that it’s compliments to the chef to finish everything on your plate. I got lucky when it came to my home stay. Sure, I lived in a great apartment in the 8th, not far from the Champs-Elysee with a view of le Tour Eiffel from the living room, but the real perk was Suzanne, the cook. My roommate Bridget and I (we lived in the servants quarters) would dine with Madame Balsan twice a week as part of our program. Every week we looked forward to those meals with incredible homemade soups, stuffed tomatoes, fresh fruit compote and more. Over time, all I needed was a glance from Madame Balsan to say, ‘you finished your plate, now finish the rest’ (which I did, only because it was too good to pass up…besides, it was compliments to the chef). But by some miracle, with the incredible food, wonderful wines and boulangeries on every corner I didn’t get fat. I walked like it was my job (and it was fun); I got legs of steel from the metro (even when I had the option of the escalator I took the stairs). And then of course, there was my beloved hip-hop class. The beauty of my time in France was the lifestyle where I could enjoy and “indulge” without a worry, unlike when Mireille Guiliano spent time in the U.S., discovered brownies and quickly ballooned. As the author of French Women Don’t Get Fat she shares the tricks and trades of living like the French (not a bad way to live if you ask me). From eating fresh/seasonal, portion control, variety in your diet, it’s really doesn’t have to be a chore, and Mireille shares her tales with humor and poise in a great read. You can start with a dose of her recipes here. C’est si bon! Ah, to be in Paris again…

(thanks for the book, Michelle! I loved it!)


  • Hehehe… I really know exactly what you mean. I have asked myself many a time in Spain, HOW are these women so small?  I realized that their diet is totally different, and they walk immensely more than I do back home in the states, for one. I try to follow my European lifestyle as much as I can while back home but, unfortunately there is no time for siesta, and the tapas bars aren’t exactly on every corner! This is why I patiently wait for my next time abroad…full of walking for hours, smaller portions of DELCIOUSLY fresh food, and, more tiny women walking down the stylish streets. Until then, au revoir!

  • This is too funny as I and a friend were browsing for summer reads in a local bookstore yesterday. She almost purchased this book! I lived in Paris for five years and ate some of the richest food in my life and did not gain anything! Like you, I walked everywhere, took the stairs, etc. Of course my portions were smaller but I never felt as if I were depriving myself of anything, unlike in the States. I now live in Korea where the food is laden with vegetables. Love it!
    Korean women don’t get fat either! Hmm, another book idea! I claim that! Ha!



  • I love that she includes champagne and dessert as part of a normal diet. You’ve gotta love the French. Now if they could just teach us how to tie a beautiful scarf…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *