The craze to be “Paris thin” has been around for years and for good reason. Not only do the French have lower rates of cardiovascular disease, but obesity rates are 3 times higher in the US than they are in France.
A new book, The Parisian Diet: How to Reach Your Right Weight and Stay There, reminds us of the many subtle practices that the Parisians (or the French in general) follow to remain thin and healthy. Author and nutrition expert Dr. Jean-Michel Cohen notes that of all the things Parisians do to stay thin, it really comes down to 3 main behaviors:
3 Ways Parisians Stay Thin
They value quality over quantity. If you’ve ever seen the buffet lines on a cruise, you will know exactly what I mean. Americans (and other cultures) are very much used to consuming large quantities of mediocre food and will actually complain when given smaller portions of quality food. For Parisians, when you eat quality food – prepared with fresh and flavorful ingredients – small portions (and fewer calories) go a long way.
They savor the dining experience. Like many Americans, I often rush through my meals, whether it’s to get to my next appointment on time or because I’m subconsciously keeping pace with my dining companions. This rushing through meals (or mindlessly snacking) can lead to overeating because we don’t let our stomachs register that we are “full” until after we are already stuffed. In contrast, Parisians believe dining and the meal itself should be about the experience – the smells, the taste, the textures, and especially the company you’re with.
They eat what they love. That’s right, Parisians don’t avoid their favorite foods – be it cheese, meat, or wine. Instead, they eat what they love in smaller portions. In short, if you just can’t bring yourself to eat another salad, have the small hamburger, but skip the fries.