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french weight loss methods

Weight Loss Methods Learned From The French and Italians: Time

french methods to lose weight

The French have leisure time. Does this help them to stay slimmer than other cultures?

 New Series On Weight Loss On the Blog


I hesitate to write a series on weight loss. I hesitate because I don’t like to give false hopes to anyone. I hesitate because my personal health, eating and fitness plan helps me to stay the same weight year after year, but there is no guarantee that this will be the same for you. You. You that read these articles and my suggestions that could help you to lose weight.

I hesitate also because there is the French and Italian cultural influence on how I eat and live and it may not be easy to translate my French lifestyle to other countries and lifestyles.

And lastly, I hesitate because one of the most challenging areas as a nutritionist is to help clients lose weight and keep this weight off for the long-term. For every 100 clients I counsel on weight loss, only 3 of them have a chance to succeed in long-term weight loss.

These statistics are dismal. But that is because a person’s body weight is based on many factors; some that we have little control over, such as genetics.

I know how to help you lose weight. I know the tricks to help you keep your weight off. I know the ways that you can feel emotionally detached from food and focus on enjoying what you are eating and feeling better on how you feel about your body.

It isn’t easy. For some of you it may take more than my nutritionist’s advice on how to lose weight. It may take some soul-searching, seeking help from other health professionals in the medical field and some real changes in your lifestyle.

This is what is scary.

It is never too late to lose weight. It is never too late to make small steps, even if our weight-loss goals might be too high and unreachable, it is never too late to begin.

New Weight Loss and Weight Control Series

In last month’s newsletter (you can subscribe to our newsletter here) I promised you I would start this series on weight loss.

I don’t want to hesitate anymore. I feel ready to launch. I hope to support you in your efforts to lose some weight. Are you ready too?

What I expect from you is to be open within yourself, to make changes in your eating habits, lifestyle and exercise schedules.

What you can expect from me is real concrete advice from a dietitian/nutritionist who walks the walk, and talks the talk.

I will tell what I do to stay slim, and I do not promote any quick fix fad diets (although I do believe quick weight loss diets have their place to help adults loss weight under certain conditions.

What you can expect from me is honesty and support and I hope to help you to reach your goals.

The French Way to Lose Weight

Most of you have heard of the best seller book “French Women Don’t Get Fat.” It is only half true. French women do get fat, but less French people get less fat than other cultures in the world. French men get fat too, so do French kids, French teenagers, French grandparents. But less of these populations get less large than in populations in other countries.

There are sacred eating and lifestyle habits in the French culture that help a person stay more weight stable than in other cultures. I have lived in France for 11 years. I know what works here. I know what doesn’t work.

I follow the French way of eating. It works for me.

And I will guide you on the tricks and cultural standards on what works here in France, along with a twist of how you can use these standards in your eating plan in another culture, particularly in America or the United Kingdom.

So, without further adieu, let’s get going! If you have the time:

Do you have the time to lose weight?

On the first part of this weight loss series I am going to ask you think about your time. Your free time and your time that is taken up at the moment but that you are willing to put towards losing weight.

If you have very little time free because of your current life situation, you are going to find that losing weight is an uphill battle. I will tell you that straight forward. It is really difficult to focus on losing weight and staying healthy if you are just too busy. But don’t stop reading here.

Those lucky French have time to stay lean.

One difference I see in the French culture compared to the American culture is that French people have more leisure time. They have more vacation days at work and spend less hours working during the week. In fact, the French have leisure time as a sacred part of their lifestyle. Can you picture a French café? What are people doing? Spending a half-hour having a coffee or aperitif!  I believe that one reason French people (and Italians who have a similar lifestyle) have less weight problems is because they have more free and leisure time than in other cultures.

More time free=more time to relax and less stress. More time free=more time to cook and plan healthier meals, less take out and fast food. More time free=more time to work out and spend leisure time doing sport on the weekends.

If you don’t have free time, what can you do? If you are serious about losing weight, you will have to find some time to do it.

Weight Loss Method Tip #1 : Finding the time

Take out a piece of paper and write down all the days of the week. Where do you currently spend time working out, leisure time to relax, meal planning and preparation time?

The three main areas you must have time for are:

  • Meal planning, shopping and meal preparation time
  • Exercise time including walking or whatever exercise you like
  • Leisure time: Relaxing

Do you feel you have enough free time? If not, where can you substitute some of your day for focusing on weight loss?

Give me your examples of what you do by commenting in the “Leave a Reply” section below. My example was when I worked full-time: I did a daily 45 minute power walk during lunch hours at work because I had no other time to exercise during the day.

Got a minute? Write down the time you are going to concentrate on losing weight.

To give a ‘Vive La France’ example: I spend at least 6 hours a week exercising, 6 hours to plan meals and cook, 6 hours to relax. And you?

Remember, if you have no time free, this weight loss process will not work.

If you have time that you can concentrate on for your weight loss program, keep reading. The next article in the series is coming very soon. If you need more support, you can also contact me with any questions at:

If you are looking for one to one counseling via Skype or telephone, I also counsel private clients. Contact me and I can send you a list of my services.

Hope you enjoyed this first part on weight loss. I would greatly appreciate you sharing this article to those who may benefit from the information.

Thank you for your support and here is to a happy and healthy year ahead!



french weight loss methods

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3 Responses to Weight Loss Methods Learned From The French and Italians: Time

  1. Elita October 6, 2014 at 16:07 #

    I currently live in France and stumbled on the website partly by accident. I have lived here ten months and in the ten months I have lived here, I have gained weight like crazy. I have put on 25 kilos since I have been here and it’s done nothing but stress me out! I come home from work crying, upset and disgusted with myself when I realize things I wore last year in the US no longer fit me. Things that fit me big now fit me extremely tight. I am afraid to eat anything anymore! For fear that I will gain even more weight. That weight has become a burden between me and my husband because I just feel like my husband does not understand. I’m hoping that I can follow some of your advice here on the site. Thank you for your advice!!

    • mbrighton October 7, 2014 at 12:45 #

      Hi Larina! I am so sorry that you are experiencing a lot of weight gain here in France because it is usually the opposite (gaining weight in America). Keep reading the blog and if you need any additional help, let me know. Perhaps you are very sensitive to diet changes? Or have done less exercise here in France? Drank more wine? Eaten a lot of the French rich foods (pâté,cheese,saucission) that the French eat in smaller quantities? COURAGE as they say in French! Let me know how I can help.

  2. Lety January 29, 2014 at 11:06 #

    Dear Mary,

    this post is really precious! I was really surprised in seeing that all French people are thin. It was puzzling, according to my ideas of a diet based on foie gras and milk cream. I was wrong!! Completely! And as much completely I agree with you about the importance of relaxing to lose weight. And to use bike, instead of car, or walking, if bike and walking are the preferred physical activity! Or swimming, or trekking and so on! French people do all these things! In Italy is almost the same. But in North of Italy, lifestyle is more similar to French lifestyle than in South of Italy. In fact, in South of Italy there is a serious increase of obesity rate. But this is another tale! 🙂

    Thank you again, Mary!


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