Why is it that the French love food so much and still stay slim?
American food writer Susan Loomis, who owns a cooking school in France, answers this in her book, Tarte Tatin, by explaining that the French are passionate about food and make time to eat. They tend not to overeat or snack between meals and fizzy drinks are not a part of a daily diet but wine with dinner is (it’s well known that red wine is good for you). She adds that, “excellent ingredients make excellent food, no matter how simple it is, and when you eat excellent food you are satisfied.”
It’s not that French food is healthier than anywhere else – they say the three most important ingredients in French cooking is, butter, butter and butter – it’s comes down to your attitude and habits.
Stop eating when you are satisfied – If you learn to recognise when you are satisfied, (rather than full or over-full), this alone can cause you to drop kilos. It takes a bit of practice not to over-indulge, but is worth it for not feeling stuffed and bloated after your meals.
Give up sugar – Sugar is a terrible temptation which is horribly bad for you because it is empty calories. It just gives you an energy high followed by a depressing low, which makes you want more sugar. Some of the sugar converts to fat and if you are already overweight, your ability to burn energy decreases and you store more fat. It’s a roller-coaster and you either make the decision to get off sugar or you stay addicted and risk the killer disease diabetes.
Chew your food – The French spend hours at the dinner table and really savour their food. Eat more slowly and taste each mouthful and each flavour. Doing this will really help you achieve Tip No. 1.
Read food labels – Once you start reading food labels you will be horrified at what you find in packaged goods. Labels can be very confusing, but ingredients appear in order of quantity, so if sugar is listed first or second, you know it is going to be full of useless calories. Another thing to look for is the energy value stated in kilojoules (kj) or kilocalories (kcal). Kilojoules mean nothing to most of us, so divide the kj’s by 4.2 to get the kcal (calories), then stand back and see how many calories you are eating over and above the recommended 1940-2000 calories per day for women and 2500 for men. There is an easily understandable outline about food labels on the Virgin Active website.
Go for a walk – Yes, it’s as simple as that! Our bodies are perfectly designed to do it, yet few people think about getting fit this way. It is low impact, fat burning, stress relieving and beneficial to the whole body. Good footwear is the only equipment you need for a healthy effective walkout, so find a beautiful spot, pick up the pace and go smell the roses.
Drink more water – Start the day with a glass of water, to rehydrate after a night’s sleep and kick start the digestion. Then have water available by you all day long. The caffeine in tea and coffee has a diuretic effect, so don’t count all that water as part of your daily intake.
What are your tips?