Food and drink 18 comments

Let Them Have Cake and Eat It, Too… How to Look Like a French Girl


It seems like the French can have it all.

They eat four times the butter we Americans consume, 86% of French adults get more than 30% of their calories from fat, and 96% of French people eat more than 10% of their diet in saturated fat (found in foie gras, butter, red meat).

But the French are also two and a half times less likely to die from heart disease and an average French women weighs 30lbs less than her American counterpart.

So what gives? What’s the secret that allows most French women to live a healthier AND skinnier life than us Americans, all while eating some of the richest foods on the planet?

Here are 12 ways you can adjust your eating habits to get that enviable French girl body without giving up any indulgences:

1. Use internal cues instead of external cues.
Cornell University researchers have found that French women use internal cues (no longer feeling hungry) to stop eating, while American women use external cues (the plate is clean, the beverage is finished, the movie is over).

Switch your attention to your internal cues instead of the external ones and you’ll notice a major change in your eating habits.

2. Never diet.
That which you resist persists. Particularly that pastry you passed up this morning.

If you systematically limit food from your lifestyle, you’ll only want it more. And by more, I mean more often and in a larger quantity. So do yourself a favor and indulge when you feel a craving, just do it in moderation.


3. Moderate indulgence, don’t deny it.
Enjoy a chocolate truffle after lunch, not 2 slices of cake. Sip a beer without getting wasted.

One of the great strengths of French culture is moderation. It allows the French woman to satisfy her cravings without going off the deep end. In fashion, she wants Hermes but will buy a basic black bag so that it goes with everything. After work, she wants a sweet snack so she’ll pick up one macaron.

Indulgence doesn’t need to mean excess.

4. Only accept the highest quality available.
I remember one of the first meals I cooked for myself in Paris. I’d bought a single chicken breast from a butcher because I could barely afford anything else, yet I felt I needed to have meat for dinner.

I browned some butter in a sauce pan and added some wine – just because I could! Then on went the chicken breast and the lid to the pot. A flip and some minutes later, I cut into what looked like a simple meal.

“What is this taste?!” I almost audibly exclaimed. It was as if I’d never had chicken before. And I hadn’t really. Not a cage-free chicken, not from a butcher, not freshly prepared that day, not covered in European butter.

The mere ingredients I had used turned my simple supper into something orgasmic – $5 for sublime pleasure, genetically pure, no toxins added.

This is a great French secret. Fill your body with products of the earth and not factories – your taste buds and your body will marvel at how much more bang you get for your bite.

Conversely, if you treat yourself like a garbage dump, don’t be surprised when your body looks like one, too.

5. Give eating your full attention and respect.
The main reason you find benches aside food trucks and why you won’t see many people walking while eating in France is not because this is unattractive. It’s simply just a distraction.

More and more young people in France are taking their lunches à porter (to go), but eating it en route is just as absurd to the French as trying to pee while you finish your report in the loo!

Some things are simply not meant for multi-tasking. For the French, eating is one of them.

6. Slow Down.

Give yourself time to taste your food. Not only will this be more enjoyable, but you’ll have time to recognize when you’re full.

Eating doesn’t need to be a task you rush through. Enjoy!

7. Follow big meals (even desserts) with a cheese course.

The enzymes in cheese (particularly raw cheese) help aid in digestion of almost all foods – except for cheese, which is why the French typically eat it at the end of a meal, even following dessert. Shops like the Truffle Cheese Shop in Denver will help you pick out a selection of cheese for a end-of-meal cheese plate.

If you’re lactose intolerant, you can try the same practice with fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, or kombucha, which are also digestive aids.


8. Drink some wine.

Like cheese, wine has some dietary benefits as well. Red wine is not only one of the least caloric alcoholic beverages, it also helps your stomach break down food when you drink it over the course of your meal. It’s particularly helpful for cutting through fatty meats or rich butters – some of our favorite things!

Wine is most efficient when consumed slowly, starting before you eat. This allows the stomach to interact with the wine and produce a digestive acid before your food joins the party.

9. Reduce your stress.

Cortisol, the stress hormone, is strongly linked to excess belly fat.

Take a cue from the French and value a de-stressed lifestyle. Take a looooong vacation. Stop the glorification of “busy.”

Your cortisol (and fat) will start to melt away.


10. Shop for produce first, meat second.

The French eat an average of 5 times the amount of fruit and vegetable servings that Americans consume. While Americans tend to focus their dishes around a particular type of meat, the French will often shop for seasonal produce first and choose their meat as an afterthought.

This ensures your dish is veggie-heavy and veggie-focused. If you picked your veggie first, you’ll be less likely to ignore it on the plate or think of it as just a “side dish.”

11. Portion yourself.

Indulge on PROportion, not portion.

Indulge yourself in a diet proportionally rich with butter, pastries, and cheese, but don’t over-portion your meals. Pace yourself, slow down, listen for your internal cues, and follow bites with some wine. You’ll find you actually eat less.

In 2003, researchers concluded that the average entrée portion size in Paris was 25% smaller than in Philadelphia. Remember this when dining out. Prepare yourself to leave some food on the plate or split an entrée with a friend.

12. Make lunch your biggest meal.

If you think about food like an energy transfer, you’ll understand why it makes sense to eat your biggest meal in the middle of the day. You want time after you eat to use that energy.

When the French truly indulge, they indulge mid-day and augment with a smaller dinner. And if you like to dine out, it turns out lunch time is the most frugal time to splurge, too.

Do your eating habits align with the French way of eating? What are your thoughts on the French diet or French physique? Let me know in the comments!


  1. Tiffany | Baking at Tiffanys

    Love the idea of being able to eat what I want :) But moderation is definitely what makes the difference, and eating what is actually delicious instead of junk. Hm…now I want to go to Paris so I can eat all that cheese.

  2. Emily Grossman

    Woohoo! So glad it resonated with you, Keri!

  3. Emily Grossman

    Right!? It’s amazing how much less you eat when it’s actually delicious! I read somewhere that movie popcorn is intentionally stale to make you want to eat more – how tragic! I’m all for a cheese trip to Paris!

  4. YES! I nodded more emphatically with each entry I read on the list!

  5. Loove your tips! Thank you for remembering about lactose intolerant people(like me) . I never noticed but I live by most of these rules every day and it’s really easy to keep fit and healthy, I eat whatever I want except of chocolate but I’s because I don’t crave it. I’d rather have steak with green salad:D I can’t wait to go to Paris this year, my first trip and there is so much I’d love to do and see X

  6. Emily Grossman

    I’m so glad you liked it, Dott! You will LOVE Paris! Have you checked out some of my favorite food destinations yet? ( How long are you staying? You’ll have to tell me all about your trip!

  7. I agree completely with all of this! I’d just add one more thing, which I have definitely noticed here in Japan and have heard is the case all over Europe as well. While in American exercise is relegated to a specific activity at a specific time (running in the morning, spin class, etc), other parts of the world embrace an active lifestyle. Viewing walking or biking as a primary mode of transportation rather than driving, dates that are strolls instead of movies, etc. It not only gets you exercise, but also keeps you moving, aiding your digestion, all day instead of just during you work out time, and gets you more sunlight, providing vitamins proven to improve your mood!

  8. 正規品 アナスイ 2WAYトートバッグ 「ブルーマー」 ネイビー 02P30


  9. ヤマト工芸 掛け時計 【パズルウォールタイプ W】 YK09-104 ウォールナット 掛け

    私の一日を私は 求める 約 最高 サイト取得するには 1。あなたは私にしてくださいアドバイスでした、場所を正確に私はいくつか得ることができますか?

  10. マッサージクッション cumo キューモ 電気マッサージ器【あす楽対応】【送

    はそれはそれはだあなたが与えるが含まれていない恥ドルボタン!私は思います間違いなく与える現金 素晴らしいのためのウェブページ! MSNのバランス私は当分の間としていることを私は個人のフィード意志私最高の非常に最高の最高をを含むと一緒に満足してブックマークをすることでしょう。 最大 間違いなく私を利用| ウェブサイト インターネットウェブを共有する最近のメッセージとはなります前方つまり私の外観のFacebookまたはTwitterのチーム:)

  11. TIOGA タイオガ Inner Tube (French Valve) インナーチューブ 仏式 26" ×1.00~1.25" ×1.50~1.75" ×1.80~2.125" ×2.30~2.50

    しかしたくはこれは本当にこれがあると言います。お気に入りに保存| コンテンツ素材コンテンツ、

  12. ※欠品中※《幅91×奥行46×高さ151cm》【送料無料】メタルラック4段MR-9015J(高さ1

    フレンセンroces rubberheadスタージス輝き安定財政thorman bunkuminの

  13. パナソニック 丸形スリム蛍光灯 「スリムパルック プレミア」 (20形?ナチ


  14. I do appreciate that youve added relevant and intelligent commentary here

  15. 【激安市場】iPhone6s iPhone6 ケース ワンピース ハードケース (麦わら一味サニー号)


  16. 【激安市場】iPhone5s iPhone5 ケース Die slimestデュオアル (ブラック&レッド) 【iphone5s iphone5カバー

    私はちょうどだったこの情報 しばらくの間、。連続の時間| 6 6の後、Googleing | Webサイトサイト 最後に、最終的に私はあなたにそれを得ました。リストの一番上にある 有益|ランクこのの種類のタイプを | ないにしない、Googleの戦略の欠如は、| 何が何であるかを私は疑問に思います。 通常 ウェブサイトはごみでいっぱいです。を聞い

  17. 【激安市場】スマートフォン ねころん スマホスタンド (三毛猫)【 スマホ

    先月、私はあなたの{ブログを訪問したときに:あなたはトピックを整理する方法本当に好き種類の、I | 1 1です|あなたのウェブログは

  18. Wait, I cannot fathom it being so stdroghtfiawarr.

Leave a Comment

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