My French Plan

You know, something Camilla said in the comment section of yesterday's post got me thinking about something I want to address before moving forward: this isn't entirely about weight loss (nor is FRENCH WOMEN DON'T GET FAT).  It's not about my loss of perspective, and it's not about my self-criticism.  I mean, I certainly have both from time to time, but this is not a case of either.  It's about putting on your favorite pair of pants and they won't button.  It's about me eating food I don't even like because I'm eating for other reasons than hunger.  It's about eating unconsciously, without thinking, without sitting down...and, thus, eating more than I might normally.  It's about food becoming a chore...something to struggle with...rather than a source of pleasure, joy, and happiness.  And because all this has happened, weight gain has been a by-product.  But it's not the focus.  My hope is that I'm going to recalibrate my body and my life and, if weight loss results, then that's fabulous.  But what if it doesn't?  Well, then it doesn't.  It wouldn't surprise me - I'm getting older, after all.  My focus is on pleasure, happiness with myself, health, eating mindfully, and feeling in control of my own actions and body.  Truly, that's THE focus.

I share this because it's a good reminder about why I'm re-centering myself and it also serves as a reminder of my ultimate goal.

Okay, so let's get on with my plan.  First, I want to point out that this is my plan.  My plan may not work for you.  It's fluid, it's not black-and-white, and it will change a lot.  That's really the point of FRENCH WOMEN DON'T GET FAT: everyone is individual and you need to do some soul-searching about what works for you.  So with that in mind, here's where I'm starting:

  1. Re-read FRENCH WOMEN DON'T GET FAT from cover to cover.  I've tried to do this a couple of times this last year, and I never got more than a chapter or two in.  This time, I'm reading the whole thing.  I won't stop until I'm done.  I'm starting as soon as I finish this post.
  2. Do the Leek Soup "cleanse" from FWDGF (more on this later).  I actually didn't do this part of it the first time I "went French" in 2005 because, at the time, I didn't love leeks like I love them now.  I'm on board this time.  And I think it'll be a great way to jump-start this process.
  3. Stop eating anywhere but sitting down.  I won't eat at the kitchen counter or in front of the TV or, god forbid, while walking down the street.  If I can't sit down and enjoy it, then I'll wait until the moment I can.  Likewise, I won't read or check my phone while eating.  When I'm eating, that is the one and only task I'll be focused on.  This helps me stay conscious of what is going in my mouth and increases my enjoyment of the great meal I made.
  4. The saying goes that if you're not hungry enough to eat an apple then you're not truly hungry.  I'll use this as my guide to whether or not I eat...and, if I decide I am hungry, then a piece of fruit will work perfectly.
  5. My plan is to stick to 3 meals a day.  No snacks.  Now, if I'm hungry, I will eat a snack; deprivation is not part of this plan.  But I will make smart decisions about when I eat and what I eat.  And while we're at it, I'm also getting rid of processed, junky foods.  I had started eating them again, and that's no good at all.  
  6. I will pick one pair of pants and one shirt that do not currently fit me, and they will act as my "Zipper Test" (more on that later too).  I won't weigh myself because it's too unreliable (water weight, muscle gain, etc.), not to mention that it's not as fun nor as sexy.  Instead, the pants and shirt will be the method I use to gauge my success.  I will no doubt love the moment when they, hopefully, slip right on and button up with no trouble.  That is sexy and fun. 
  7. I will limit my intake of wine to two glasses a day, to be spent how I like: one at lunch, one at dinner...one with dinner, and the other post-dinner...
  8. Get inspired.  I've already told you about my major Pinterest addiction.  Well, I went ahead and started a French Inspiration board - I'll be posting there regularly.  Also, as I'm re-reading FRENCH WOMEN DON'T GET FAT, I'll post quotes from the book here, as well as on Twitter and Facebook.  This will keep me accountable for re-reading it all, and hopefully it'll inspire some of you too.  Likewise, I have all kinds of other Frenchy books - I'll pull quotes from there too.
  9. Move my butt a little each day.  The weather was pretty miserable on Friday so I didn't want to do much walking outside...so I walked up the 7 flights of stairs to my apartment instead (which, coincidentally, doesn't take any more time than the elevator in our building)...I was out of breath, of course, but I didn't sweat at all.  This morning, rather than walking straight home from taking Bug to school, I walked to the East River.  I added a few laps around a track and then walked home.  I added about 2 miles to my usual walk, hardly broke a sweat, and was greeted with this view:

I'm starting there and we'll see how it goes.  Again, it's not like I've set these as hard-and-fast rules with no room for interpretation or leeway.  The idea is that if you're too tyrannical with yourself, you will have a very difficult time being successful (and you certainly won't enjoy as many pleasures).  What if I have friends over for dinner?  Well, chances are very good I'll drink 3 glasses of wine and eat more than I might normally.  Rather than berate myself or feel as if I've failed, I'll compensate elsewhere.  The next day I won't have any wine, or I'll have a slightly smaller breakfast and lunch...you get the idea.  

Stay tuned!  I'll tell you all about the Leek Soup, the Zipper Test, being French when you have a family to cook for, inspiring music, and more...  And don't worry - I'll still be posting my usual recipes and photos as well!

Eat, drink, and get moving!


carina said...

This comment is for this and the previous post... I too have struggled with weight for many years. How you feel is so personal and can't be compared with other people's experiences. As you say, it's all about feeling comfortable in your own skin. Your plan sounds great and I'm rooting for you from across the ocean.

joanna said...

I'm going to read along with you, Laura. That book has been on my list for years.

aclantis said...

So proud of you, French girl! Love you!

Jennie said...

I'm in! But instead of a zipper test, I have a muffin-top test, as that's my biggest issue and I'd rather spend my $$ on a pedicure than new pants.

Trying to get the book read by this weekend, which is when I plan to do my leeks. Mmmmm... leeks. (Although I usually eat them with potatoes and heavy cream. Ah well.)

Unknown said...

Thanks, Carina! Any chance we'll see a "How to Eat Like a Dutch Girl" anytime in the future? 8-)

Joanna, so glad you're going along for the trip! Again, you may read parts of FWDGF and think, "What?!" But it's really all about tailoring it to your own needs - as MIreille Guiliano points out, the book/program serves as more of a template than a regimented plan.

Jennie, I am SO WITH YOU on the muffin top plan! Though, even when I could get into a size 2, I felt like I could never get rid of my muffin top...and I blame pregnancy for that. Only a tummy tuck could fix mine, I think!

Thanks, ST! Love you too, my fellow girl in Frenchness! XO

Unknown said...

Jennie, I thought of something to add about your comment...

One thing I love about FWDGF is that, once you're "on track" and truly eating a la francaise, you CAN have leeks with potatoes and cream! How cool is that?! The idea is that, in a short while, you'll be making conscious and smart choices about your portion sizes and tastes. Have some creamy leeks! Just watch the portion, and compensate with a few tweaks a day or two afterward! Voila!