Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Eating the French Skinny Way, in a Nutshell

I've mentioned before that I am now looking at food in a totally different way and have been losing weight in a steady manner and enjoying every minute of it. I have been a healthy eater for years, organic, whole foods, home cooking, and all that but it wasn't helping me to lose any weight! In fact, I have been holding on to an extra 12 pounds since my daughter was born 4+ years ago, but I have now lost 13 ( and 1-2 sizes) in 2 months. Some of you wanted more detail on how I suddenly turned this all around, so I will attempt to be more specific in this post.

It probably helps that I have been obsessed with all things French for the last year and I love a lot of their lifestyle (you know, facials, lingerie, great fashion, great food, the architecture...mmmm.....oh,are you still with me?)  except they are a bit too stand-offish for me, I am definitely a friendly California girl! So, when I saw the blog entitled " The French Skinny Experience," I was obviously drawn to it. The blog has since changed focus a bit since the blogger whose experiment it was, has lost her desired 35 pounds and is now living the good life and looking gorgeous too! I read through and gleaned as much as I could from the pictures, the wisdom and the suggestions. In the beginning, I had to read it daily to remind myself how it was done, even though it seems easy. Definitely look at the blog for yourself for great inspiration (check out day 120, November 30, 2010 especially and her epiphany )  but I'll summarize here what I took from it and what has worked for me.

Words of wisdom:
1. Only eat when you are truly hungry (I mean, pay attention, does your stomach feel empty or do you just have to burp, are you thirsty or is it just meal time?). You may think you are always hungry like I used to but when you actually start eating the right amount you will know what I'm talking about.

2. Only eat until you are satisfied. You should NEVER feel like lying down on the floor when you are done eating. You should still feel like you can go for a jog. And no, you will NOT be hungry, you will be comfortable. But you MAY have to get over the psychological feeling that you should be stuffed when you are done eating, it took me a day and a half.

3. Never eat processed foods. Only REAL foods. No bars, no protein powder, no fruit roll-ups. Eat fruits, veggies, meat, cheese, bread, home-made pastries (not sold in a plastic bag!!), nuts, seeds, anything dairy, pasta, rice, cornmeal/polenta, chocolate, wine, etc. There are many things to eat and you can eat them all, whatever you want, when you are truly hungry and if you stop when you are satisfied.

4. You only taste the first 3-4 bites, after that why are you eating? However, you must sit down with a plate ready in front of you and concentrate on how good those bites are. No mindless snacking, or munching while you are cooking, etc. We have busy lives but it doesn't take long to focus on 4 unbelievebly good bites!

5. Have a few different things to eat so your mind and palate feel satisfied that you've had enough to eat and eat them on a small plate. Your portions will be much smaller than you are used to in America where we eat like Sumo Wrestlers, I have come to realize.
Karen at French Skinny ate a small ramikin full of her main dish and I did/do also as a guide. Also, a serving of meat is the size of a deck of cards so that's what I try to have. I serve myself those portions on a small plate and leave the rest on the stove for tomorrow's lunch. Sometimes, now, I even leave some on my plate because my stomach says it's full. It's pretty amazing what it tells you when you listen!

6. Have dessert if you are still hungry (yes, whatever you want in a SMALL portion) or a piece of cheese or fruit work well too as a finisher.

How I started:
I started by cutting my portions in half at every meal. I allowed myself a small snack (an apple, whole or sliced with cinnamon or a few nuts-maybe 8) mid-morning and mid-afternoon...IF I needed it, which I did for the first few days. Then I weaned myself to having a cup of tea in the afternoon when I wanted something but wasn't hungry. After a week, I wasn't hungry most of the time, unless it was meal time, and now, I might even skip a meal because I truly am not hungry.

I've noticed I feel awful if I overeat and I am hungry at all 3 regular meal times unless I overeat at another meal that day. Then, I don't eat that meal, or I have a small snack if I do get hungry later. But most of the time, I like to eat 3 meals so I don't eat too much at one time because I am looking forward to the next delicious meal I am going to have (see, you NEVER feel deprived, that's the key!)

I truly eat whatever I want, including full-fat foods, butter, fattening cheeses, pastries, steak, etc. However, because I am so health conscious, I also eat lots of vegetables and fruits, whole grains and nothing artificial which I think is the real killer, hidden things like corn syrup and MSG. I think the additives trick you into eating more somehow, really!

This is a typical breakfast for me with some variations:
That is decaf coffee with 2 small spoons of sugar and frothed non-fat milk and one heaping soup spoon full of Greek yogurt drizzled with honey and strawberries. This holds me until lunch time.

Othertimes, I have homemade crepes. I used to eat 2 at first, now I only need 1. Crepes are easy to make and very thin and delicious. The batter will save for a few days. My favorite is with butter, powdered sugar and lemon juice, just like I had them in France.
And yesterday, I had one fried egg and a piece of buttered toast for breakfast with a few (5 large) blueberries. Totally full. Yum!

Once or twice a week, I eat breakfast out, like while Bella's in ballet and I have a half a chocolate or ham and cheese croissant and a regular (whole milk) cappuccino with 2 sugars from the bakery. I give the other half to Bella of course or share with a friend (in the first few weeks I had half of each and she had half of each and I lost lots of weight).

So this is how I eat now and forever and it's great. I'll go more into lunch and dinner in another post, but hopefully this will get you going! I'm another pound down today, you can do it too!


  1. merci beaucoup! im getting started today. oui! will keep you posted on how it goes...

  2. Jackie, Je vous en prie de rien, I think that means "you're welcome!" I'm so excited for you! Happy Eating!!

  3. okay, officially started today. i figured that
    starting while on vacation wasnt the best idea!