Don’t believe what everybody says. French women do get fat, unfortunately. I would know, I happen to be French (and British, actually). Is it middle age? Is it the food over here, in London? I had a huge shock on the scale a couple of months ago. Damn it. True, I had been less careful recently. You have got to live a little bit, right?
The thing is, I was not that fat. My BMI, as they say, was still in the ‘healthy’ range (well, on the upper limit, if you must know). I really felt that I wasn’t being that bad with food. In my local coffee shop, most days, there is a lady stuffing her face with two or sometimes even three ham & cheese croissants. Compared to her, I was eating very reasonably.
That said, I couldn’t continue like this. Compared to 10 years ago, I was a stone heavier. Where does it stop? I knew that I had to take action, but I was still finding myself excuses not to do anything. For instance, French guys say that, after a certain age, a woman has to choose between her bum and her face. They must be right: I chose my face. At least, that was my excuse. No injections needed, all this fat is keeping me plump, right? I was also telling myself that I am fatter because I have young kids. The thing is, my younger one is nine years old. I can’t blame my pregnancies any more, right? I just didn’t like my reflection in the mirror, and was tired all the time.
So I took the plunge: 3 workouts a week and an appointment with a nutritionist at Kensington studio. There was simply no escape. It had to work.
I started by writing down was I was eating on regular days, and quickly understood that I was addicted to sugar and bread. Being French doesn’t help, actually, because I grew up having bread, pasta or rice at every meal and every snack. What was needed wasn’t a diet, but a radical change of lifestyle.
So I changed. 10 weeks down the line, I am not craving sugary biscuits any more, which is unheard of. I cook with coconut oil, and I have protein at every meal. It makes me feel fuller. I am not out of the woods just yet, but slowly getting there: I still find it hard to resist the urge of eating bread in the middle of the afternoon. That said, I have massively cut down on carbs and sugar. The results are there: I have lost the extra stone (YAY!). I simply didn’t think it was possible. But the biggest benefit is that my energy levels have shot up. I sleep and generally feel so much better. Even the colours around me seem brighter.
So what now? Well, I want to maintain my weight loss. It will take time, but there is no going back. Friends of mine have told me that I should have turned things around the ‘French way’ by starting to smoke and taking a lover. Well, what can I say? I am British now, and I will stick to a better diet and some exercise. Much safer, right?
Muriel is an author and a journalist. She blogs at http://www.FrenchYummyMummy.com.