For French women it's all about moderation
For French women it's all about moderation

No snacking and slow eating: The secret to how French women stay slim

In a place known for rich desserts and wine, just how do they do it?

Sarah Young
Wednesday 25 January 2017 13:04
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For a country where you’ll find mouth-watering pastries and fresh baguettes on every corner, most of its inhabitants have little trouble staying trim.

Just as famous for its foie gras and fine wine as it is its beautiful lithe women – think Coco Chanel, Lea Seydoux and Brigitte Bardot – this is what’s widely known as the French Paradox.

So what’s their secret?

Enamoured with high-octane glamour, French women have a mindset that helps them stay slender with very little effort at all.

Unlike us Brits who wolf down ready-made sandwiches at our desks in record time, for the French eating is a leisurely experience to be enjoyed with friends and family, Dr Carrie Ruxton told MailOnline.

For them, it’s about taking time over your main meals and eating for pleasure rather than necessity. That way, you’ll be less tempted to say ‘oui’ to snacking – a serious no-no for staying trim.

When it comes to what to eat at mealtimes, French women tend to opt for hearty, homemade meals in small portions. And, while we tend to favour a low-carb diet, in France, bread and pasta are enjoyed on a regular basis.

Here, it all comes down to portion control. Instead of an over-stuffed deli sandwich brimming with meat and all the trimmings, French women are ruled by moderation.

Of course, this means no fast food too - an industry they blame for the countries rising waistline – and in its place are home-cooked meals where every ingredient can be identified and measured.

And while wine is enjoyed regularly, it's sipped in limited portions - there's no binge drinking culture in France.

And where we might switch out butter and sugars for artificial substitutes, French women prefer to enjoy the real stuff in moderation, taking the view that natural is better.

David Benchetrit, director of the Clinique du Poids , told WebMD that part of the secret is the French mindset. He said many French women simply refuse to accept the idea of getting fat.

Natural yoghurt is another secret - the relatively low-calorie, healthy snack is used to deal with any hunger pangs between meals.

Finally, exercise: French women aren't known for hardcore gym sessions, but instead take an approach of being generally active - walking rather than taking the car for example. It's easier to stick to, and it all adds up.

Our continental neighbours are relentlessly admired for their slim, poised figures - but without even trying, we can emulate this too. Just ditch the ready-meals, linger over your food and see the bad stuff as an occasional treat. Et voila.

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