Why don’t French women get fat? There are many theories. The one I choose to reference is Mireille Guilino’s French Women Don’t Get Fat: The Secret Of Eating For Pleasure.
I certainly know what it’s like to be fat. I also know what it’s like to be skinny. I know what it is like to be called long legs and spaghetti arms. In my late twenties, someone even says to me, “you look two dimensional you are so flat looking at you from all sides”. I know what it’s like to be handed a sarong at The Country Club because I look too fat to only be in my swimsuit. Post unsuccessful pregnancy. Of course, I don’t say anything about that and accept the sarong. I know what it’s like to be completely out of control with needing control and the only control available in my mind’s eye is to make food a weapon.
In seventh grade, still stick thin, I remember my health teacher discussing puberty. “One day you will wake up with curves and your clothes won’t fit” she says. I think, not me. It happened. Ninth grade. I end the high school years with a weight of 150lbs. In those years, that is where it all started. My struggle with image, food and weight. Anorexic. Bulimia nervosa. I develop an interesting relationship with spaghetti too. Not the Sophia Loren kind either. I find it the easiest food to barf in my bulemic days. Spaghetti and pancakes. Spaghetti is also the best carbo load. As are pancakes. Both great for me in my true distance training running marathon days. Much has happened since then and the times of counting calories in gum and toothpaste and finding myself lying on a bathroom floor. I am now able to function if I don’t run seven miles a day six days a week to burn calories.
By the time I had arrived to this book, French Women Don’t Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure, the first time, I didn’t need to learn to be skinny or pass my own zipper test, (I weigh 107-110lbs at 5’6″ at this point) but how to eat. Really eat and cook. I am not suggesting this book a prescription for any clinical disorder. It is a positive approach to viewing food and eating. I find this book a huge help and a reminder for me to remember a healthy relationship with food. Mireille celebrates eating, ingredients and feeling good while enjoying delicious meals. And with that, comes feeling good in your clothes and in your own skin. Small changes, very impactful. This is not a diet but a lifestyle. Time and patience required. The recipes in this book are simple, elegant and delicious. She provides sample menus per season and offers helpful suggestions. Eat while sitting down (I still can’t always do this unless at a dinner party), chewing your food completely (definitely a good idea), and drinking lots of water is necessary. Champagne is magic! Chocolate, Vahlrona, of course. Both satisfying and should not be avoided.
I will soon be 40 years of age. My body is changing. While I mostly maintain a US size 2-4 in my 5’6″ frame, still run a few days a week and practice yoga, I want and feel that I need to reassess. I rarely eat three meals a day. Maybe one actual meal a day. I eat like I am a guest at my own cocktail party most of the time and at the oddest hours given my schedule. Sometimes, pâté, baguette, fruit and champagne on my kitchen floor at 4:am by the light of the refrigerator. Sometimes cold press juice. Sometimes, nothing but a LARA bar and sparkling water. You see the need to reassess? I take the weekend to participate in the making and consuming the magical leek soup. That is what Mirille calls it. “Magical Leek Soup”. Water and leeks. Maybe a little olive oil and salt and black pepper. It is much harder and easier than I remember.
Leeks are a vegetable and party of the onion family. Allium ampeloprasum. They are sweet and mild in flavor and can be prepared on their own or in a number of ways in many styles of cuisine. Leeks usually mature in the fall months. They are an source of vitamins K, B6, C and A. Leeks are said to promote cardiovascular health and are noted for playing a large part in detoxifying the body.
***Friday.. Late start…photo shooting first..while making soup.. this of course delays in the eating..my friends say if they want to go on a diet they should come to my home.. I photo shoot everything food.. almost everything…takes hours before anyone can eat anyway….****
Friday. I didn’t wake up until 11:am and after meditation and coffee (for me, coffee is allowed, I decide) eating schedule look like this…
12:47 leek chips and sampled the leeks for the soup..
2:47pm cup of leek soup
5:14pm leeks and broth
6:47pm I am so hungry.!! Leeks and broth
My already flat stomach is getting flatter..
10:56am cup of broth heated is better as is the second day
2:00pm broth and leeks
4:37pm leeks and broth
Coffee in the mornings..! I couldn’t not..
5:46pm topped off the leek broth from 4:37pm finishing now
somewhere between 7:pm and 7:45pm I find myself at the Wallis Theater passing up the Prince of Venice Pasta Food Truck. Sparkling water instead.
11:pm broth leeks heated
11:34 am leek broth
Last day: I can eat!!
Finally after thawing, seasoning. cooking and photo shooting of this post, I get around to eating..I am so hungry I am surprised I can wait.
Salmon, veggies and berries for dessert…
It has been a couple of weeks since my leek soup and salmon finish. I feel lighter and more clear headed. I notice more habits. Somehow, my food tastes different. I practice eating sitting. I notice it is still hard for me to eat three meals day as my appetite isn’t in agreement with the three meals a day. Sometimes one and a half meals and a snack or a few snacks equalling little meals or a juice and lean protein seems to be my style. I will get better over time.
Read this book. Understand once and for all why French women don’t get fat. Give the magical leek soup, recipes and Mireille’s view point a try. Enjoy your life and your food. Enjoy being in your own body! And, don’t forget the champagne..
Until Next Time..