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How the French Stay Thin

I was asked about my recent blog post “The French Formula: Enjoy your food = Enjoy your life” concerning how enjoying food leads to a happier life. The question: Is there a connection between enjoying food and staying thin? It is a great question! The answer is yes, absolutely.

I thought about my mother, who was thin all of her life, and remembered the advice she gave us. When we’d sit at the dinner table, she would always say it was important to end a meal still feeling slightly hungry. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but her point was correct. It takes 20 minutes to feel full after you eat. That is how long it takes for your brain to notify you that you are full.

When you wait to feel full before you stop eating, you are consuming more calories than you need. That extra food turns into extra weight.

That concept is built into the way the French eat. They sit down to meals and focus on the food they are eating. Taking time to enjoy each bite gives our bodies the necessary pause it needs to start the digestion process and your brain time to signal that it is full.

The other day, I found myself walking around taking bite after bite of a banana without tasting any of it. I wasn’t paying attention; instead I was just chewing and swallowing. I had a desire for a banana, consumed it, and had no recollection of eating it. I would call those wasted calories.

That is why in France you won‘t see people eating on the run. When it is time to eat it is also time to sit down and enjoy that food.

That concept: eating and appreciating the food that nourishes you is the basic principle behind why the French stay slim and enjoy their meals.

Eating needs to happen with all your senses.

Here are three basic rules that the French abide by to stay thin

  1. When you are ready to eat sit down and enjoy your food.

  2. Chew your food slowly so you can savor the flavors and give your body time to start digesting.

  3. Leave the table still feel hungry. It takes your brain 20 minutes to send signals that it is full.


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