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Forks, Portland, Lyon - France, Paris - France, Portland and ending up in Bellingham.... the adventures of my life!

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The French Paradox

There's this thought that goes around called the "French Paradox"... it's this concept that although the French eat higher amounts of cheese, wine, bread and whole fat milk products- they are much healthier than those in the States.  Now, I've been living in Lyon for over a year now.. and can I honestly admit this paradox?  Yes.  Yes I can.

When I first moved to Lyon I was about 64 kgs, or 141 lbs. This was a steady weight gain from first meeting Bri, to visiting Lyon in the winter time.. to not really focusing on getting in shape.  The tipping point was a trip to Spain.. I ended up gaining another kilo (2 lbs) and I was frustrated.. but I didn't change much of how I ate (just no croissants every morning of course).  I was a size 8-10, and I felt unhappy... so I decided to live French and hope for the best!

Bri + Me in Spain, August 2010
The biggest changes happened in regards to movement.  In the States I would constantly drive everywhere, to the gym, to the store... I would never walk.  In September 2010 I moved into my new apartment, on the 4ème étage 'sans ascensor'.  Meaning every day I climb down, I have to climb back up 102 stairs.  Often I go out maybe 2-3x a day, that's like 306 stairs!

Going grocery shopping meant walking 1/2 mile to the store, buying what's needed, hauling it back 1/2 mile and then up the stairs.

The French Paradox relies on several factors:
  1. We walk everywhere, and elevators are rarely used.
  2. We have a Velo'V system that allows us to bike all over the city,  for example I use this to go to work and back every day.. 1.5 miles each way.. so I bike 3 miles a day
  3. The food we eat enables us to purchase more fruits/vegetables, which we eat, regularly
  4. Our bread is usually whole grain and made fresh with no preservatives
  5. Most our food is non-preservative laden
  6. We eat only whole fat, non sugar added dairy products
  7. Products rarely have corn syrup
  8. We don't eat with salad dressing, only vinaigrette so we get our whole fats in our food as well as a daily dosage of vinegar
  9. Often we drink one glass of wine a day
  10. Our meals are often a few courses of smaller plates that aides in digestion
Now sometimes I splurge, I'll do patisserie items, or enjoy a lovely Sunday fat rich meal- but I rarely eat Fast Food, restaurants don't do take out and we eat several small meals a day.

Now.  Proof of the paradox?

Me testing my Spain bikini (July 2011)

I see the difference, definitely.  I'm now 56 kg, or about 124 lbs and a size 4-6.  I lost more than 15 lbs in a year, but with no starving myself and no intensive workouts- just simply a change of eating in the French Paradox way.  The largest change I saw was in my waist- I went from 29 inches to 25.5 inches.  I never lost to that point in the states- crazy!

My official goal is 54 kg, or 120lbs.  I find for my height, that weight is appropriate- but I know now it will come off as it wants to.

So.  Now Americans should try out the paradox...


1 comment:

  1. Very inspirational! I am in the same boat that you were last year! I hope the France french lifestyle helps me out a bit. BTW I love your blog! It's actually given me alot of insight for my future move to Lyon :)


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