This book is funny, thought-provoking and was one of the books that changed the way I thought about eating. It tells the story of the French author, Mireille, who went to America as a slim teenager and returned to France fat. Her doctor reintroduced her to simple French food (which sounds a contradiction) and eating for pleasure rather than guilt.
The tag line for this book could be ‘a little of what you fancy does you good.’ This is the basic premise of the book and is one of the most basic aims of any eating disorders counseling services. Eating disorders are all about eating too little or too much. People with an eating disorder need to regulate and enjoy what they eat without feeling guilty. This book is not about eating disorders but I think it’s a book that people who have eating disorders should read. It celebrates food but at the same time suggests – all the way through the book – that it’s ok to eat but it’s not ok to eat too much. Whenever I’m hesitating about eating a slab of cake or a piece of chocolate, this book invariably springs to mind. I think of this book and I will have that piece of cake but not a huge – just enough to enjoy without feeling guilty.
Mireille talks about eating three times a day, eating slowly, drinking water between your glasses of wine, and moderate exercise – which just means frequent brisk walks and walking up the stairs instead of taking the lift. It’s all about moderation and enjoying food and life! Some quotes from the book:
- “French women typically think about good things to eat. American women typically worry about bad things to eat.”
- “We can’t imagine anything more boring than to live with someone who doesn’t care about food or eating or sharing meals.”
- “French women love bread and would never consider a life without carbs.”
- “Less is more …… A single piece of fine dark chocolate can be as enjoyable as a dozen Snickers bars”
- “Eat ritually. Eat only ay the table sitting down. Use real plates….. Do not watch the telly or read the paper”
- “Learn portion control slowly. Cut back gently. You won’t notice the change in satisfaction, but bodily change will astound you.”