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Thread: Four ways French women stay thin

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    Default Four ways French women stay thin

    4 Ways French Women Stay Thin (Without the Gym)





    By Mireille Guiliano

    Editorís Note: Mireille Guiliano is the internationally bestselling author of French Women Donít Get Fat. Her latest book, Women, Work and the Art of Savoir Faire: Business Sense & Sensibility will appear in October. She can be reached at mireilleguiliano.com and frenchwomendontgetfat.com.

    From the 15th floor windows of my New York City apartment, I have a clear view of a big and many windowed "health center," (aka a four-story gym complex). September is one of the gymís busiest months. Right after Labor Day, active women, who I hope are incorporating daily outdoor activities with a seasonal summer flavor into their daily routines, flock indoors to the gym and an artificial routine of treadmills, exercise bikes and medieval torture devices. I see them sweating early mornings and late at night from my windows. I see them going and coming from my daily walk as I pass the gym.

    It is a sign of the times ó but also our American culture ó that many women seem to have only two modes: sitting or spinning. Theyíre either avoiding even the slightest heart rate increase (like those women in my apartment building who take the elevator to the second floor) or theyíre sentencing themselves to hours at the gym as punishment for their indulgences throughout the day. So often I see the begrudging look on womenís faces and hear the phrase, "I donít want to go to the gym, but I have to." Pourquoi? If you are eating mindfully, and eating the correct portion sizes, you donít have to torture yourself on those metal contraptions or run a marathon to stay trim. French women reject the notion of "no pain, no gain," opting for a more pleasurable notion of mild, sustained exertion. We prefer all-day movement, what I like to call "the slow burn," and we practice it as second nature instead of attacking it like boot camp.


    Exercise requires the same sense of balance we require in other aspects of our life. We know by now that most dieting has a yo-yo effect and fails; we must recognize that too little and too much exercise meet the same fate. Overexertion at the gym may actually sabotage your weight loss goals. Too many women I know go overboard on the treadmill, and then eat more as either mental or hunger compensation. Eating a protein bar loaded with chemicals and calories just to burn them off seems silly. Or is it just to moi? The overheated workout also often leads to defeatism (I give up!). My window survey confirms those overcrowded gyms in January are half as crowded in February and March. Those New Yearís resolutions may provide us with the motivation, but after a few weeks of killing ourselves on the elliptical, we burn out.

    French women see exertion as an integral part of the day. I encourage you to look at everyday movement (what you do in street clothes, not spandex) as essential to your overall wellness, and not to see exertion as something assigned to the gym. Here are a few French tips on how to stay fit without ever setting foot in la gym.

    1.) Donít save your steps, multiply them! Instead of driving your car around in circles to find a close spot, purposefully park far away and walk the couple extra feet. Do you know burning a mere 50 extra calories a day equates to five pounds a year?! Burn those calories creatively; think thrice about using interoffice mail, walk that memo to your coworkerís office. Take an extra few laps around the block at lunchtime, take the long way home when walking your dog at night. The principle is to squeeze as much physical exertion as possible during a few intervals a day into what were once routine tasks tied to avoiding any physical efforts.

    2.) Incorporate simple resistance movements into your daily routine. Use your own body weight as resistance wherever possible. Isometric exercises, discreet but effective, are very French. This can be done before you even leave the house in the morning. For example, while waiting in traffic or on the subway, contract your abs for 12 seconds with your back pressed against the seat (itís better for you than road rage). When reading a magazine at home, try sitting on the floor with your legs stretched and apart in a V and your hands on each side; this is a great stretch for your inner thigh muscles.


    3.) Take care of your core. Iím a firm believer that we need to attend to our abdominals as we age. These are the muscles that hold all our vital organs in place; they support good posture and a healthy spine, something we must take care of as we get older. Do a few sit-ups as part of a little stretch/exercise/yoga routine in the morning ó itís never too early or too late to start this ritual.

    4.) Acquaint yourself with small to moderate free weights (3-5 lbs.), especially if youíre over 40. A bit of extremely simple resistance training is an antidote to hours spent on gym machines. Short but focused movement with small weights is a good way to preserve upper body tone and bone density and supplement the cardiovascular benefits of an active lifestyle. A little goes a long way, and that only increases the older you get, so donít let extremism overtake you.

    To read steps 5-7 click here

    [Photo Credit: Shutterstock]

    Source: 4 Ways French Women Stay Thin (Without the Gym) on Shine

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    Elite Member WhoAmI's Avatar
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    In France, walking up and down stairs is a perfunctory part of our day. We rarely spend an hour stair climbing, but you should know that climbing stairs burns a stunning 1100 calories per hour. Climbing a couple flights a day will surely go a long way.
    I agree with this article to some extent, but this part cracked me up. Considering that it takes about a minute to climb two flights of stairs, you'll burn off 18 calories. That's "a long way"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by WhoAmI View Post
    I agree with this article to some extent, but this part cracked me up. Considering that it takes about a minute to climb two flights of stairs, you'll burn off 18 calories. That's "a long way"?
    Yea the stairs at my office take what, a few seconds to climb?

    Ripped abs here we come!!!

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    A*O
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    The "secret" of French women staying slim has more to do with the fact that they eat smaller portions of good quality fresh food instead of crap from KFC.
    If all the women in this place were laid end to end, I wouldnít be surprised - Dorothy Parker

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    The book French Women Don't Get Fat was a big disappointment to me--I didn't even get halfway through it. Donated it (with a bunch of other things) to the local thrift store just this morning, in fact.

    It was kind of like this article--repackaging the obvious.
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    Quote Originally Posted by A*O View Post
    The "secret" of French women staying slim has more to do with the fact that they eat smaller portions of good quality fresh food instead of crap from KFC.
    You summed it up perfectly

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    I agree with this article, especially the part of walking instead of driving everywhere.

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    This isn't French, it's just plain common sense.
    Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege.

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    One of the main reasons French women stay thin is that many of them smoke like chimneys.
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    ***** celeb

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    Super Moderator twitchy2.0's Avatar
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    I totally agree. It's the portion sizes.
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    Elite Member Tiny Pixie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pandora View Post
    French women see exertion as an integral part of the day.
    Do we???


    1.) Don’t save your steps, multiply them! Instead of driving your car around in circles to find a close spot, purposefully park far away and walk the couple extra feet.
    Come on that's common sense !


    2.) Incorporate simple resistance movements into your daily routine. Use your own body weight as resistance wherever possible. Isometric exercises, discreet but effective, are very French.
    Waaah I'm learning so much about my country right now :p
    That's just silly.

    I don't know if French women really are slimmer or anything, but this article's just crap. I wonder what's written in her book now.
    I'm French, and slim (well kinda skinny actually) and it has more to do with what I eat and the amount of things I eat than exercise or parking my car 300 feet from where I want to go ... and I don't smoke btw :p

    I really wonder where that things comes from, this kind of obsession about French women being thin ... Japanese women are pretty thin too if you think about it.
    Fluctuat nec mergitur
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    The skinny French woman always seemed to be a myth to me. Oh well.

    Those real skinny types you see in Paris (and every other big city, not only in France) smoke a lot. If that's of any use, lol.
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    yeah, like the clean Metro system... and good hygiene (I mostly kid you, French ladies)
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    Elite Member MsDark's Avatar
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    There's a lot of thin, attractive people here in Miami. But there's lots more to do here. And better quality food more readily available. Though it's here, I almost have to go out of my way to get fast food where I live. I've lost a few pounds already just from being more active and eating better. And sweating my ass off about ten times more on a regular basis certainly doesn't hurt.

    Also, a no brainer....warm weather=less/skimpier clothing=more body showing=more incentive not to look gross.

    I still haven't lost enough that I don't feel like a heifer here at least half the time. But when I go back to MS in a couple months to visit I'm gonna feel positively tiny.
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    Elite Member cmmdee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkly View Post
    This isn't French, it's just plain common sense.

    Thank you.

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