How do the French Stay Slim?

As many of you know John, Alex and I recently took a trip to Paris and Burgundy. I was very struck by how healthy and slim the French people were. Even women and men in their 50’s and 60’s didn’t have pot bellies and were nicely presented. In the 3 weeks I was there I didn’t see a single obese or markedly overweight person – man, woman or child. So how do the French stay slim and what do they do that we don’t do.

Here’s what I noticed:

They walk the metro to get to work and around the city. The metro is a whole underground city, with lots and lots of stairs to climb up and down

They don’t eat between meals and I didn’t see anyone snacking on candy bars on the street.

They don’t walk around eating. They sit down with friends and enjoy their food – and they take their time eating. They don’t wolf their food down quickly.

They ride bikes and they walk alot!

They don’t eat crappy, junk food like burgers and fries at every meal. They love their seafood and fresh veggies and enjoy fresh produce and inventive food!

They respect their food and go for the best quality- not quantity, although quantities are more than ample, esp. when accompanied by the bread basket! Apparently, even eating bread does not make them fat.

Parisian women take pride in their appearance and style which means they don’t let themselves go like Americans often do. They don’t use age as an excuse to put on weight and get ill. I saw many trim women in their 50’s and 60’s who dressed stylishly (note I did not say “expensively”) and with panache.

Families are closer and celebrate together in restaurants, friends gather in groups and women have strong female friendships for support so they likely don’t turn to food for comfort. Importance is placed on close friendships. I heard so much laughter and happy banter between friends that I felt very envious.

They go out after work to meet their friends- not home to crash on the couch and watch TV.

They drink more wine rather than higher carb/calorie sweet cocktails and beer.

Which of these habits will you adopt?


Elena Vaillancourt is a successful Integrative Nutrition, Holistic health coach who specializes in helping women in menopause lose weight and regain control of their lives. With a background in Public health and Psychology, she knows what works best for different personality types and how best to help you reach your goals! You can read more about her services here. 



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