Book Review: French Women Don’t Get Fat

I am sure many of you have heard of a very popular health and cooking book called, “French Women Don’t  Get  Fat”. It was an enormous commercial success amidst a transition in the diet and health industry towards favoring a holistic,  pleasurable, “slow food” approach to long-term health and weight loss, in stark contrast to the obsessive calorie-counting, restrictive, puritanical tone to achieving your ideal body that had dominated the weight loss industry. If you have not yet read the book, I highly suggest you do so.  It will shift your attitude towards your ideal body, the traditions and ritual of food preparation and enjoyment with the larger goal of discovering and cultivating your little pleasures.

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Giuliano writes this diet book within the context of her own weight loss story after some late adolescent weight gain after a study abroad trip to the states. The experience of reading this diet book is so different from any other you may read because it is a story that Giuliano tells so charmingly well. It is an incredibly liberating and enjoyable experience to see the subject of food and weight loss presented in such a way that puts back the ritualistic and sensory pleasures of dining. There is no mention of calories, counting, fat, carbs, gym memberships. and the endless other unpleasantness that are found in any other weight loss book. Just sensible portions, fresh and seasonal ingredients, some light walking and other slow and easy shifts in your habits is what this book is about. A distinctly French method that emphasizes pleasure over deprivation and shuns the “no pain, no gain” approach to living in and loving your ideal body.

Although the concepts are simple enough to remember and apply in my daily life, and while I may not eat certain staples of the conventional French diet such as wine, cheese, or bread, I still find myself reaching for this book every once in a while just to enjoy Guiliano’s storytelling. I find that this book is more than just about weight loss; it’s about getting to know yourself and cultivating your own pleasures in not just food, but also in life. I think that we all work very hard to create the lives we want to live and between the demands of schooling, work, and family, this book has helped me to learn how to take my moments to take care of myself and perhaps its can bring about that same shift for you. 

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