I went to Paris this spring break with my family. We did a stopover on our way back from our visit to Spain. My kids loved Paris and they loved the food.
My older daughter suggested I write a post about why Parisians don’t need my weight loss management method and why they don’t get fat although the food in Paris is just superve!
Here I am, a few weeks after my return, trying to recover from the Paris indulgences, thinking about how to structure this post.
It is not easy to explain why Parisians don’t get fat in a post not too long and not too boring, avoiding terms like metabolism, trans fats, and other nutritionist "lingo".
So I have decided to just give you a tour on a traditional day for a Parisian, have a view as an observer, and see if you notice any differences in comparison to the routine of the inhabitants of other cities of the world.
So imagine, you are in Paris. You just woke up, and now your day begins.
Go out for breakfast. You’ll find many boulangeries selling fresh bread and croissants.
Get inside, and you won’t see a bored employee dumping in the oven frozen bread and croissants manufactured from a giant food industry brand and full of unpronounceable ingredients and crazy fats. Instead, you’ll see the boulanger (the baker) mixing flour, water, raisin agents, salt and butter and shaping simple and basic bread and croissants, before baking them in the oven right in front of you.
If you sit in the bakery while having a coffee and a croissant you’ll see a person after person going in and out to get the bread for the day and maybe a croissant for breakfast. That’s it, ONE croissant. Crunchy, spongy and delicious.
You walk to the metro station. On your way, you'll find plenty of convenience stores, but what you can see on the displays aren’t packages of cookies, sugary drinks and candy bars.
Instead, you'll see fresh fruit and bottled water. So if hungers catches up with you - a hunger attack, or need for a quick lunch on the go - you have fresh food and water always available.
A quick look inside a story, and you’ll see wine, lots of wine, probably for those on the way home who ran out of their stock. Oh, and plenty of vegetables too, for you to fetch fresh ingredients for the home-cooked meal.
Keep walking and you’ll see many people with shopping bags on their way to buy fresh fish, fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry and cheese - all amazingly presented by the owners of the small stores overlooking the streets.
It’s difficult not to stop by to admire a fish, some farmer’s cheese or an amazingly fresh watermelon offered in convenient small pieces. A paradise to your senses!
On your way, you'll surely see the florist watering her beautiful plants and flowers. Oh Paris...
As tourists exploring the city by foot,my family and I needed to go to the bathroom at some point and when into a McDonald's in the middle of Montparnasse.
And imagine my surprise to find a beautiful restaurant, with people eating, not stuffing themselves, and espresso coffee machines!
Where else but in Paris could you find an espresso machine in a Mc Donald’s? (Well, probably only in Rome.)
Now I regret that I haven't checked whether the menus are the same as everywhere else and what/how people eat, but we were in a hurry to get to Montmartre on time for lunch.
Walking up Montmartre made us feel really hungry, but fortunately there were plenty of offers for healthy food.
We saw so many people enjoying food outside so it took us some time to find a table. Those people eating on the terraces weren’t tourist, they were Parisians enjoying lunch and wine with friends. No cell phones, just food and conversation.
It took us some time to find a place with free tables, and by the time we did the kitchen was already closed.
I was going to feel sorry to have to finally eat in a “pizza by the cut” place, but what a pizza! Fresh ingredients only!
Time for dessert in one of the many patisseries we passed by during our search for a restaurant. It was impossible to choose what to have!
We finally chose a small chocolate and a caramel cake, and what a pleasure! It provided us with enough energy to go up and down the Montmartre streets. And you know what? Except for masses of tourists walking in a group altogether, there were many, many locals just walking up and down the streets and stopping in an art gallery for a coffee and a piece of cake.
On the way back to Montparnasse, many Parisians were having a beer or wine with some nuts as an afternoon snack.
Slowly, talking and savoring the food, drink and good conversation.
To find a place for dinner was a challenge too. So much to choose from! There was so much flavor and diversity. We ended in a non-traditional French but exotic restaurant where the fix menu was exceptional: high quality moderate size plates, with wine and dessert at a very affordable price.
So this is why Parisians don’t need my weight loss management method:
- They eat in moderation.
- They love fresh ingredients including fruit, vegetables, fish and meat.
- They walk, a lot.
- They eat fats (butter, cheese) that make them feel fuller (in moderation, of course).
- They eat every 3-4 hours.
- They eat mindfully, enjoying every bit and letting the brain recognize that they have eaten enough and is time to stop.
- They don’t eat manufactured food with unpronounceable ingredients but a basic diet of healthy, rich and nutritious ingredients.
However, if you move from the middle class areas of those cities, into areas with less economic resources, the situation will change dramatically, and you will see large supermarkets with ready to eat manufactured meals, and fast food chains.
People there will always be in a hurry and will eat and feed their families whatever is most easy and affordable, and you will see that less and less people are taking the time for the traditional cuisine.
And that’s why, while the percentage of overweight people in Paris has been maintained fairly stable for the last few years, in the surrounding areas and in most of the rest of France, the percentages of overweight people are going up year by year.
Maintaining a great relationship with food, enjoying it like crazy while maintaining their weight. Shouldn’t we all be able to do that?
Do you want to (re-)learn the appropriate relationship with food to maintain your healthy weight while enjoying food and be the healthiest you have ever been?
Then what are you waiting for? Schedule a free 20 minutes session with me.
Till then, our revoir!