Weight Loss Strategies for Weight Watchers
I just got back from my Weight Watcher's meeting where the topic for this week was PLEASURE…
Taking care of yourself is more than eating healthfully, sleeping eight hours a night, and getting some exercise. It's about the little things too, that have nothing to do with food or losing weight. These small but powerful bursts of pleasure help you nurture your relationships and balance your life.
Make room for moments like these, and you'll be more likely to follow through on taking care of yourself in every way - including weight loss. And no, it isn't selfish. (Remember the airplane direction to put on your own oxygen mask first?) So, unlink the words "guilty" and "pleasure."
(Weight Watchers Weekly, July 5-11, 2015)
I've been intrigued by the French lifestyle and how French women balance their love of food and desire to stay slim since first visiting Paris decades ago.
A topic Mireille Guiliano explored in her best-selling book, French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure .
French Weight Loss Secrets That Can Work for Weight Watchers
1. Focus On Quality Not Quantity
Quality matters and the French cultivate quality time, relationships and appreciate high quality food. Increased quality allows you to be satisfied with less.
My Weight Watchers Translation: Eat smaller amounts of really satisfying high quality food.
2. Create Supportive Rituals
Establish regular meal times where you sit down and really savor your food, take time to honor yourself with a bit of self love and appreciation each day, spend a few minutes visualizing your perfect day each morning and then take little steps to realize it.
My Weight Watchers Translation: Create healthy routines that nourish your body and soul. Pay attention to your food when you are eating it. Stop eating on the run, standing up, or in the car.
3. Savor Life
Take time to smell the roses. Find simple pleasures. Engage your senses. Savor your food - see it, smell it, taste it, notice its flavors and textures.
My Weight Watchers Translation: Sip, don't slurp. Nibble don't gobble.
4. Make time For Solitude & Relaxation
Take 5 minutes and do some deep breathing or read something inspirational. Find something to be thankful for.
My Weight Watchers Translation: Take a deep breath. Be grateful. Be still. These things will help lower your stress, which makes weight loss easier.
5. Clear Away Some Clutter
Any clutter, not just kitchen clutter. Getting rid of closet clutter can be powerful too since everything is symbolic and interrelated.
Follow the lead of savvy French women and focus on simplicity and quality with your clothes. Get rid of the clothes that don't fit or make you feel beautiful and bring you joy.
If you want help with this, I highly suggest The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up : The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, which I've been reading and implementing this summer.
You are better off with just a few articles of clothing that really fit and flatter you.
My Weight Watchers Translation: Get rid of the junk that is weighing you down. It's a lot harder to cook healthy meals in a cluttered kitchen. And it's nearly impossible to feel good about yourself with a closet full of clothes that don't fit.
Here's a three part video series from the elegant Jennifer L. Scott, exploring the French Weight Loss Secrets she discovered as a French exchange student in Paris...
#1 French Weight Loss Secret: Snacking isn't chic - thoughts on eliminating mindless snacking.
Notes from the video:
In this video, Jennifer opens up her discussion of French weight loss tips, that were included in her book, Lessons from Madame Chic.
Jennifer is re-exploring this in her current life because she has weight to lose after having her third child.
Chapter 1 is called Snacking is so not chic. This was a personal challenge for Jennifer, a serial snacker. When she got to Paris she learned quickly that her host household was a strict no snacking one. She managed to adopt the no snacking lifestyle for the six months she lived in Paris but quickly reverted to her old habits upon returning to California and becoming a parent.
She found herself snacking for comfort.
Disclaimer: not talking about necessary snacking for health reasons, but the mindless munching of cheetos in front of the television.
We consume so many calories, fats and sugar with our constant snacking. All of these little snacks all day long do add up.
Eliminate mindless snacking as much as you can!
#2 French Weight Loss Secrets: No Deprivation
Notes from the video:
In this video, Jennifer talks about her observations during her time studying abroad living with a host family - "Family Chic" - in Paris. She noticed that none of the people she came to know in Paris were overweight.
Her host mom, Madame Chic, was by no means skinny, but a normal healthy weight. A mother of five, she didn't obsess about her weight and didn't obsess about her weight. In Chapter two of Jennifer's book - Deprive Yourself Not.
Jennifer found it incredible that everywhere she went the food was decadent, rich and creamy. When met with a meal they sit down with family's at the table with proper etiquette, without television, enjoying the meal and each other's company. They ate reasonable portions in a controlled way.
Everybody had a healthy attitude in food. She found this so different from the attitude here in the US where after a decadent meal we groan and begin talking about how many calories did I just eat, I need to hit the gym. Everyone gets obsessive. In France the attitude about the food was positive and appreciative, discussing the meal, dishes, recipes and merits of the meal. Enjoy the food!
#3 French Weight Loss Secrets: Exercise in Everyday Life
Notes from the video:
In this video Jennifer talks about Chapter 3 of her book: Exercise is part of life, not a chore. She relays a story of the first time she went to visit Madame Bohemienne, the host mother of her boyfriend from California was also in her study abroad program.
She was invited to a dinner party in their home on the fourth floor of an elevator-less apartment. After exiting the train station and walking up several hilly, cobblestoned streets, then making the several story climb to the apartment, Jennifer arrived at the door breathless and sweaty and dumfounded that anyone could live so high up without an elevator.
Jennifer discovered that life in Paris is an active one. The family Bohemienne walked up and down the stairs without struggle several times a day. They were extremely fit.
In addition to climbing the stairs, Madame Bohemienne walked all over the city - running errands, going to work, and visiting friends. The family had one car - but rarely used it.
Jennifer's host mother, Madame Chic, did all her daily shopping on foot.
While it may not be practical for us to do our shopping without a car, we can take a page from the French lifestyle to be more active wherever we can. Add more steps to your day. Look at everyday life as a way to be active.
How the French Approach to Staying Slim Can Work for Weight Watchers
The bottom line is that to lose weight, you need to figure out a way to eat less. For me, eating less seems a little easier when I try to do it like I imagine a French woman would.
You need to gradually develop behaviors you can imagine engaging in forever. Allowing yourself little pleasures along the way can help.
Try it for yourself. Begin by adopting just one behavior that has you focusing on nourishing/pleasuring yourself instead of depriving and beating yourself up.
It can be as basic as taking the time to sip your morning coffee on the patio, getting a manicure, picking up a new book, playing a favorite song or heading out for a matinee.
Love yourself first and everything else falls into line.
~ Lucille Ball
Thought from a reader...
Martha, I too have lived in Europe/France and you neglect to mention the amount of walking that they do, and the lack of sitting on their bum watching television contributes to their healthy weight. They eat throughout the day, stopping at the patisserie for a bite, or some cheese, not to mention the amount of wine they consume. I think in addition to moderation, walking is the answer....not endurance training, but simple walking, which is highly underrated in the U.S.
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