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French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure [Mass Market Paperback]

Mireille Guiliano
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 26 2007 Vintage
The million copy, ultimate #1 bestseller that is changing the way Americans eat and live

Don’t Diet
Eat Chocolate
Drink Wine
Take Long Walks
Enjoy Life
Stay Slim
the French way
Experience the joie de vivre
of French Women Don’t Get Fat
by Mireille Guiliano

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From Amazon

The message of this book could be a blessing or a curse, depending on your perspective. There is no hard science, no clearly-defined plan, and no lists of food to have or have not; instead, you'll find simple tricks that boil down to eating carefully prepared seasonal food, exercising more and refusing to think of food as something that inspires guilt. It's both a practical message and far easier said than done in today's "no pain, no gain" culture.

Author Mireille Guiliano is CEO of Veuve Clicquot, and French Women Don't Get Fat offers a concept of sensible pleasures: If you have a chocolate croissant for breakfast, have a vegetable-based lunch--or take an extra walk and pass on the bread basket at dinner. Guiliano's insistence on simple measures slowly creating substantial improvements are reassuring, and her suggestion to ignore the scale and learn to live by the "zipper test" could work wonders for those who get wrapped up in tiny details of diet. She sympathizes that deprivation can lead straight to overindulgence when it comes to favorite foods, but then, in a most French manner, treats them as a pleasure that needs to be sated, rather than a battle to be fought.

A number of recipes are included, from a weight-loss enhancing leek soup to a lush chocolate mousse; they read more like what you'd find in a French cookbook rather than an American diet book. Most appealingly, these are guidelines and tricks that could be easily sustainable over a lifetime. If you agree that food is meant to be appreciated--but no more so than having a trim waist--these charmingly French recommendations could set you on the path to a future filled with both croissants and high fashion. --Jill Lightner

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--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Guiliano's approach to healthy living is hardly revolutionary: just last month, the New York Times Magazine ran a story on the well-known "French paradox," which finds French people, those wine- guzzling, Brie-noshing, carb-loving folk, to be much thinner and healthier than diet-obsessed Americans. Guiliano, however, isn't so interested in the sociocultural aspects of this oddity. Rather, befitting her status as CEO of Clicquot (as in Veuve Clicquot, the French Champagne house), she cares more about showing how judicious consumption of good food (and good Champagne) can result in a trim figure and a happy life. It's a welcome reprieve from the scores of diet books out there; there's nary a mention of calories, anaerobic energy, glycemic index or any of the other hallmarks of the genre. Instead, Guiliano shares anecdotes about how, as a teen, she returned to her native France from a year studying in Massachusetts looking "like a sack of potatoes," and slimmed down. She did this, of course, by adapting the tenets of French eating: eating three substantial meals a day, consuming smaller portions and lots of fruits and vegetables, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, drinking plenty of water and not depriving herself of treats every once in a while. In other words, Guiliano listened to common sense. Her book, with its amusing asides about her life and work, occasional lapses into French and inspiring recipes (Zucchini Flower Omelet; Salad of Duck à l'Orange) is a stirring reminder of the importance of joie de vivre.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars French women live in France Jan. 6 2005
This is definitely a non-diet book! It is enjoyable to read, and the recipes look good. It's a book about life more than diet. It does, of course, talk quite a bit about proper attitudes toward food, but most of the changes Guiliano recommends are more than just to eating habits, and would involve real lifestyle makeovers for some people, such as preparing all of the food served in your house from scratch, never purchasing convenience foods, and being sure to make each meal a significant and satisfying event. I really like the concepts in this book, and my lifestyle will allow me to make many of the changes without disruption, especially since I already do make most foods from scratch-I have the time! However, I know at least one of my friends would not find abandoning the warehouse grocery stores in favour of daily trips (on foot) to local markets with her 3 children under 4 years of age in tow worth the effort. I highly recommend this book, especially if you are a bit of a foodie already, but I think some of the suggestions will be difficult to implement for families such as those with 2 working parents, 3 kids in hockey, and a volunteer commitment or two (Guiliano's mother had a nanny, a luxury few North American families experience). Guiliano shows that the French Paradox is not based on lucky DNA. It is, however, based on culture, and we are, after all, in Canada, not France, and there are not fresh food markets in walking distance of each of us, and many have little time for a satisfying lunch experience with friends and champagne. The North American lifestyle-and sometimes the weather-does not support the concepts in this book. Read more ›
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Common sense with a French accent Feb. 24 2006
Format:Audio CD
As author Mireille Guiliano, executive of the company Champagne Veuve Clicquot (for those who don't know, one of the better Champagnes in the world), states, it is of course true that there are some French women who do get overweight. However, there are some common sense ideas that she learned as a child, and observed in seeing the general differences between her time in America and her time in France.
Guiliano works through her ideas on menu, diet, nutrition, exercise and lifestyle with anecdotal and personal experience rather than scientific studies; thus, some may disagree with her conclusions. Guiliano does not put out this book in any way to insult the American lifestyle -- on the contrary, Guiliano has had a love affair with the English language (French being her first language) and American culture since her school days.
One of the first stories Guiliano recounts is her school year spent in America, during what in this country would be known as high school. A prestigious award, she was excited to learn all about American culture; what she also learned about was chocolate chip cookies and brownies, and ended up returning home after a year abroad by at least 15 pounds heavier.
Guiliano reiterates some of the common aspects of French living that Americans have already recognised -- the benefits of red wine on cholesterol, for example, but haven't adapted their general eating habits to reflect good health. Indeed, some have used the use of red wine as an invitation to eat more!
Guiliano's recommendations are in many ways common sense. It makes sense to eat a variety of different kinds of food, and always (as French people who shop in small, street-side farmer's market kinds of shops will know) always pick the fruits and vegetables that are in season.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A friend lent me her copy of this book and I am glad to have read it and glad not to have paid for it. Throughout I oscillated between complete agreement with her precepts and disbelief with her examples. Yes, we should eat in moderation, eat only the highest quality and savour what we eat. But no, most North American women are not going to walk to a market every day nor are we going to pick our own leaves for tisane. The author leaves it entirely to you to determine how you could follow her guidelines without living in France. I don't say this as a criticism of the book. She provides enough explanation of her approach to life so you could figure out how to adapt it when you don't live on an estate where you can pick your own chestnuts, blueberries, strawberries, etc. A few more examples of how she maintains this balance while living in the U.S. would have been helpful, but aren't necessary. There is also a gentle undercurrent of condescension in the book. So the overall message I took away from what she said and her way of saying it, is that if we do drink tisane we'll have to settle for the oh-so-inferior store-bought blends and realize that while we can imitate the French, we can never truly be French.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A great book about foods and ifestyle choices March 2 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It's a great book about lifestyle choices and some fantastic attainable changes in your view on foods, what you eat and the way you eat. Love this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable read April 5 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It's an enjoyable read. It introduces a new way of thinking about food. Food is not your enemy but something to be enjoyed. It introduces the European womens approach to food and weight control. A must read to women who don't enjoy sweating at the gym everyday. Simple recipes. I highly recommend this book.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Just Common Sense
I didn't like this book. It was overpriced common sense. I already knew the so-called "secrets", and if I had the time, ability, and inclination to live life as French women do... Read more
Published 24 months ago by R3aLiTY_bYt3s
5.0 out of 5 stars Must have!
This is an amazing and inspiring book! I recommend it to every woman, no matter her weight or body image! Read more
Published on Nov. 5 2011 by G. Larouche
2.0 out of 5 stars Good read but impractical for family
I enjoyed reading this book but found it completely impractical for busy family with kids and working parents. Read more
Published on Oct. 31 2011 by Dureska
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it!!!!!!!!
Very pleasant read!!!!
Common sense book- brings you back to the basics!!!!!!!

Enjoyed the authors love for food, brings you back to childhood memories and mom s... Read more
Published on Sept. 26 2011 by Anna Rogic
5.0 out of 5 stars A "Must Read" for all non-Frenchwomen
Having read and re-read this book, it has become my go-to book for the how's, what's, and wherefores of not onlyeating, but total lifestyle.
Love it
Published on Sept. 12 2010 by David Edward Cooke
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun to read but take with a grain of salt
There are some really interesting recipes in this book that I will definitely try out and there are a lot of good pointers on how to improve your diet through the Mediterranean... Read more
Published on Jan. 7 2010 by Isabelle Green
5.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoy this book... Its just delicious
This book shows a nice lifestyle, no punishment at all. I enjoy all her stories... She helps me to become a yogurt maker expert... Many easy recipes yet elegants... Read more
Published on Aug. 5 2007 by Claudine
5.0 out of 5 stars A Charming Memoir about Eating, Drinking and Living Well
Whenever I have traveled to France, I have found myself marveling at two things:

1. I usually lose weight even though I eat great meals and drink more wine than at... Read more
Published on July 15 2006 by Donald Mitchell
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoy your food
It turns out that you CAN lose weight while still loving food, as long as you remember the following commandments:
1. Read more
Published on May 24 2006 by -Eva-
3.0 out of 5 stars Not entirely doable outside France but good advice.
Personal touch works! Well structured and conveyed as a story, it is pleasant (with a long section on food preparation/acquisition). Read more
Published on April 9 2006 by Carolyn
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