Mireille Guiliano, how I love thee! Ms. Guiliano had a major impact on my life with her book, French Women Don’t Get Fat. When I read FWDGF in 2005, I was at my highest weight: 260 pounds. I am 5’10” tall, so I’m not short but I was certainly obese.
I was not an overweight child; however, my diet consisted of fast food junk. My mom worked long hours and commuted as well, so we rarely had a home cooked meal. She also did not like to cook so when she was home on the weekends, dinner was usually from a can and heated up in the microwave. My father was self-employed and worked from home so he would usually take us to McDonald’s or some other fast food place for dinner during the week or on weekends. I rarely ate fruit or vegetables.
In addition, I loved to snack and graze on food on the weekends. I would lay with a bag of potato chips in front of the television, wasting precious time on mindless entertainment and precious calories on low quality food. My only saving grace during this period is that I was very active in sports, which kept my weight down during my teen years (a fast metabolism helped, too).
In my 20’s, I put on a tremendous amount of weight. I stopped playing sports and I wasn’t active in any other way. I was in college and I sat around a great deal, studying and chatting with friends. My only “activity” was to go to parties.
Fast forward to 2005. My husband and I had adopted a baby boy and we were adjusting to life as parents. Even though my son was only a baby, I knew that time would pass quickly and that I would want to be an active participant in his life; I did not want to be a mom who couldn’t play outside with him because I was too overweight and my back hurt too much to interact with him. I knew I had to change my lifestyle.
I read Ms. Guiliano’s book and began incorporating her ideas into my life. I started grocery shopping more often in order to obtain fresh produce. I planned out regular meals and did not eat in between. I did have to learn to cook! Up until this point, we would either eat out, order take-out, or I would have some box mix of macaroni and cheese, jarred spaghetti sauce or something similar for dinner. Fortunately, the recipes in FWDGF and her subsequent books are not labor intensive, so it wasn’t too difficult to make the transition. I learned to enjoy the process of preparing a delicious and aesthetically pleasing meal.
The weight began to fall off rapidly! I was extremely overweight, so it is easier to initially lose weight just by making small changes. I was thrilled with my new life. I felt so much better and had incredible energy.
I eat a diet that nutritionists would call healthy, but I don’t deprive myself of full-fat cheeses, yogurt or meat (I eat small portions of these things). My diet is balanced out with plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains. I walk as much as possible, do Pilates and yoga. I even became a Pilates instructor.
On the eve of my 40th birthday (I will be 40 in January), I am so much healthier than I was when I turned 30. I am also so much happier. I enjoy my life every single day, even difficult days. Losing weight made me feel stronger in other ways, as well, so I feel more able to take on life’s challenges and learn from them. I hope to pass on this new-found joie de vivre to my son!