I've always liked the French, if you really want to know. This doesn't make me very popular with my dad, but it has helped me in other areas of my life. I took so many French courses in college that I almost had enough for a minor and I used that to once order a Caesar salad on the French side of St. Martin and even tell the waitress that it was good. Truly, I did.
The love of French paintings, sculpture, and architecture also pushed me to receive my bachelors of arts in Art History which has really taken me far in life. I can go into any art gallery in the world and I know exactly how to stand in front of a painting with my left hip jutted out and my right index finger resting just slightly on my bottom lip and a small furrow in my brow and then I say things like, "I love how the artist used a shifting perspective in this painting," . . . and "Will you look at the perfectionism in this brushstroke!" . . . and "This artist doesn't even care about brushstroke, it appears he painted this work with a palette knife. The effect is breathtaking!" . . . and don't forget, "Isn't it marvelous how the artist completely removes himself from the painting. He disregards the infantile notions in his head and makes the work about purity of art and nothing more." Yeah, I can out-pompous the best of them when I put my mind to it.
But the greatest thing that the love of French has done for me is encouraging me to read French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano. Any diet book that claims one can lose weight while still eating chocolate and bread is the diet book for me! And it works! This book helped me to lose forty pounds three years ago and keep [most of] it off.
I don't know that one needs to be a Francophile for this book to work, but it definitely helps. She mainly just gives some good common sense advice that we have lost in our calorie-counting, food-fearing culture and encourages us to look at food in a whole new light. As she says, "American women worry about what is bad to eat and French women think about what is good to eat."
In one chapter, Guiliano discusses the ritual of eating and she says that for each course, you should use a different plate, so that every course feels special. She goes on to say that you may complain about having to do more dishes, but how does that compare to getting fat?
I gotta tell you, those seven words "how does that compare to getting fat?" are really what drove me to lose forty pounds. I asked myself this countless times throughout the day: "I don't feel like running. How does not going for a thirty minute run compare with getting fat?" "I want a second helping because the lasagna was so good. How does that second helping compare with getting fat?" "I had something salty to eat, so now I need something sweet to balance it. How does that compare with getting fat?"
We tell ourselves all sorts of things when we're trying to lose weight: I don't like carrots, I don't have time to exercise, water doesn't taste good (That one kills me! Water is water! It's not hard to drink! It tastes like nothing! Just drink it!). Ask yourself, "How does that compare with getting fat?" And remember that picky people are usually heavier than non-picky people.
She also recommends that you write everything down for the first few weeks, treat each meal as a special occasion, and eat what's in season. She also gives some good recipes in the book. The only thing about the book that I don't like is how she doesn't stress exercise enough. For me, exercise and eating right go hand and hand. Eating right makes me want to exercise and exercising makes me want to eat right. But as with any life-changing thing you undertake you must "know thyself" and pick and choose what works for You! And . . . drink water.
Just remember, like most things in life, it's a head game. Don't expect to be something that you can't be. Like me, I have . . . well, let's just say that I birthed my 10.1 pound daughter with not much effort and only four or five pushes . . . we can safely call my hips "child-bearing." But I'm okay with that. In fact, I kind of like it. I don't want to look like a teenager, I want to look like a woman. Embrace the things that you can't change about yourself.
Embrace those things and buy this book if you need some good advice.