French Women Don’t Get Fat


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Written by Mireille Guiliano, French Women Don’t Get Fat is a weight loss book designed to inspire women to ditch the trends of fad diets and short term weight loss solutions. Guiliano’s book describes the lifestyles of French women, who embrace the indulgence of a variety of foods, but focus on monitoring their portion sizes in order to stay thin and trim.

How Does the Diet Work?

Guiliano explores the various differences between American and French culture, as she has lived in both countries, and illuminates the positive patterns and choices that promote weight loss. Guiliano does not promote a clearly defined calorie counting program, or a program that restricts food choices; instead, she advocates that dieters should strive to enjoy a variety of seasonally fresh, non processed foods in smaller sizes, so that dieters do not feel deprived, are not overcome with food cravings, and do not feel restricted. Ultimately, the French Women Don’t Get Fat philosophy focuses on core concepts, such as:

  • Control portion sizes
  • Eat a variety of foods with nutrients and vitamins
  • Exercise regularly
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid correlating food with feelings of guilt

The Author’s Experience

The author begins her book by describing her own weight gain and weight loss experience as she traveled between France and the United States. As Guiliano grew up in France, she took advantage of a short term study abroad opportunity to the United States. After touring areas of America, Guiliano realized she had quickly put on excess pounds, resulting in fatigue, inability to fit into her regular clothes, and a general poor feeling of health. According to Guiliano’s observations, some of the factors that promoted her weight gain while visiting in the United States were common culture choices that Americans make every day:

  • Lack of water and hydration
  • Lack of physical exercise, as French people tend to walk more, while Americans drive more
  • Increased portion sizes
  • Increased amounts of processed and unhealthy foods
  • Lack of satisfying foods, so Americans tend to overeat

Balancing Foods and Weight

Instead of restricting dieters’ options, Guiliano also teaches dieters how to balance less healthy food options with healthier food options. For example, if one chooses to eat a chocolate croissant for breakfast, then one should also choose to have a salad for lunch, or eat a vegetable-based meal instead of a hearty meal later in the afternoon. Or, another alternative to balance the less-healthy choices is by taking an extra walk after work, or by skipping the bread basked when going out to dinner. Adding to this, Guiliano does not promote the use of a scale to assess one’s weight. Instead, dieters should try her “zipper test,” where dieters simply must eat to ensure that their desired clothes fit, which is the greatest indicator of weight loss or weight gain.


French Women Don’t Get Fat provides dieters with an abundance of recipes, ranging from a variety of courses and snack options. Guiliano advocates that dieters take advantage of seasonally fresh and/or locally grown foods to boost nutrition and well being.

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