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8 French lifestyle secrets: stay slim, live well

Mireille2It seems not only that French women don’t get fat, but that they have the secret to enduring good health, too.

The delightful Mireille Guiliano, who recently took part in an ad campaign for the Australian dairy industry, is downunder to judge the Grand Dairy Awards. The famed author of ‘French Women Don’t Get Fat’ had good news to share with ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ readers: it’s time to stop dieting!

In an interview with Linda McSweeney, Guiliano shared eight simple tips for living well – lifestyle secrets that the French have known for a very long time.

How many of these French recipes for a healthy lifestyle do you follow every day?

1. Drink water

“The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is to have one or two big glasses of water,” Guiliano tells SMH readers. “Each of us has to find what the correct amount of water is.”

2. Get moving

After her two glasses of water, Guiliano does “some movement, whether it’s 20 minutes of yoga… or going for a walk.” “Incidental exercise” is also a good idea: park further away from your destination, or walk to the office.

3. Always eat breakfast

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because that sets you up for the day.” Guiliano’s “magical breakfast” consists of “yoghurt, a teaspoon of flax oil, two tablespoons of lemon juice, a teaspoon of honey and then some unsweetened cereal. I put oatmeal in it and then some walnuts.”

french-women-dont-get-fat

4. Sit while eating

“I sit down very quietly and eat my breakfast with a cup of coffee, and that keeps me in great shape until one, two o’clock,” she says.

5. Eat natural food, moderately

“There are all these trends of not eating carbs or not eating this or that,” says Guiliano. But the real secret to staying slim is eating “good, natural food in small portions” and in moderation.

6. Cook your own food

Time to spend more time in the kitchen! “Cooking helps you control what you put into your body,” Guiliano explains.

7. Spoil yourself, but not too much

For Guiliano, it’s all about treats in moderation, whether this is a glass of wine, some dessert or a piece of chocolate. Easier said than done, perhaps…

8. Be grateful

This is by far my most favourite piece of advice. I can see her – my favourite French well-being sage – kindly taking my hand in hers and telling me:

“To me, life is a gift and every day I try to see how lucky I am to be alive, especially at my age when I see many of my friends are gone or many are unhealthy. To have your health is the most important thing. It’s not money. It’s not your career. If you don’t have your health, there’s not much left out there because you are physically unhappy and psychologically unhappy, and you are probably making a lot of people around you unhappy. It’s a responsibility of everyone to try to lead a healthy life, and it starts with eating well.”

Ah, Mireille, vous êtes tellement sage !

Read the original Sydney Morning Herald article here.

Et vous ? Do you know any other secrets for living healthy and staying slim – French or otherwise? Join the conversation in the comments box below.

Image credits:
1. Mireille Guiliano by Cuesa, via Flickr.
2. French Women Don’t Get Fat, via WhatCulture.


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1 Comment




  1. Ellen Burns
    5 years ago

    I wouldn’t say these tips are uniquely French, but I agree with all of them!