Chic Weight Loss

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!

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22 Responses to Chic Weight Loss

  1. Stephanie says:

    This is so inspiring! Thank you for posting about this.

  2. Rebekah says:

    Wow, we’re pretty similar! I’m 5’10”, and at my fattest was 270 pounds. I have enormous leg muscles (should have been a speed skater!), but it wasn’t all bone and muscle. After employing many of the chic lessons from FWDGF and Chic and Slim, I was able to lose 50 pounds. I’ve since learned that grains and sugar are my worst enemy, so I’m living a low-carb lifestyle with a nod to French and Italian cuisine; I’ve lost even more weight easily.

    I just turned 40 in September, and I’m thankful that my 40’s will be a chicer decade than my 30’s. The blogging community was very helpful and inspirational in helping me cross the Rubicon. The Rich Life and Stepping My Way to Bliss were invaluable!

    • Juliana says:

      That is wonderful, Rebekah! Congratulations on your weight loss! I know of others who forgo grains and sugar completely and have a lot of success, as well. I keep sugar to a minimum (usually I have dessert once per week on Sundays or I will treat myself once per week to a croissant). I do eat grains, but I keep portions small and most of my carbs are from fruit and veggies. Here’s to a chic new decade for the both of us!

  3. Fiona says:

    Juliana, thank you for posting your story. It is wonderful. Congratulations to you on turning your health around like that. For most of us, the way we grow up is the way we are. I am inspired by your refusal to accept that. I think the unexpected bonus on top of losing weight is how much energy you have and how good you feel. Even after a few days of more junky foods and less fresh fruits and vegetables I feel absolutely revolting – no energy, headaches, irritable. By recognising that and adding more protein and fresh produce into my meals so I don’t want to snack on rubbish, I feel revitalised straight away.

    • Juliana says:

      I know exactly what you mean, Fiona. Since I’ve lost the weight, there have been a few times when I’ve ended up eating lower quality (ie: visiting family out of town I ended up eating what they served for dinner which was a lot more processed food) and after a couple of days I found myself craving junk. After returning home, I went back to my good eating habits and after a few days I wasn’t craving junk food any longer.

  4. Wow, what you’ve achieved is amazing. It must have taken a lot of work, learning and the guts to let go of old habits. You must (should) be so proud. People here look at me in a funny way sometimes because I do a trip to the shops nearly every day – how else would I always have fresh food in the house? I don’t understand the people who do one major shop per week and that’s it…. Ah well, that’s just me though 😉

    Thanks for your lovely comment on my blog, I really appreciate it. Love from London xo

    • Juliana says:

      Thank you, Mademoiselle Poirot! Once I learned to cook, I began to love shopping frequently. And my son likes to go with me and help pick out the produce. 🙂 The most satisfying part of all of this is having a 7-year-old son who has very high standards when it comes to food!

  5. madrilicious says:

    I am so happy for you, that was really a big change. I read the books from Mireille and also found them inspiring, especially that they are not diet books but more appreciating life and taking care of ones health books.

  6. Julie Wade says:

    You go girl, I have the book, read it and need to follow it. Way to go.

  7. Bravo, Juliana! What a great testament to the power of lifestyle change, and the principles that have kept many French women trim and healthy. I shared your story on my Facebook fan page:!/mireille.guiliano.fanpage

    • Juliana says:

      Thank you so much, Ms. Guiliano! I am honored that you shared my story. I am a big fan of yours and have all of your books and your cookbook. Your writings have impacted more than my eating habits; your recommendations have helped me improve every area of my life!

  8. Melissa MacKenzie says:

    This is great! I will be 40 in July 2012 and need to lose a little weight. I got Mirelle’s book here and I’m going to re-read it again and this time will stick to it. Thank you for giving me the inspiration and congratulations on your success and have a great Birthday in January!

    • Juliana says:

      Thank you, Melissa! I am sure you will be able to do it! Once the weight begins to come off, you will see how much better you will feel. It will certainly encourage you to keep going and eventually, it will just be habit to eat and live this way. Your 40’s can be your chic-est decade ever!

  9. I am glad I found your site via FWDGF facebook site.
    I absolutely appreciate her and your advice! It is a lifestyle and as a student it is hard to always eat well but I have lost 11 pounds by simply moving. Not dieting but eating well and not belonging to the clean plate club!

  10. Fabiana says:

    Hi Juliana!!
    I’m not obese but I’m not feeling we shouldn’t buy new clothes when we become fatter because you can loose your mind like you don’t know anymore which is your real size..or I should say..which your size was!
    Anyway I really need to work to be happier with my size and weight. Tks for your posting!! I spent 9 months working hard in Paris and I could loose 10 pounds..but I found it again! =/

  11. CJ says:

    Hi Juliana,
    Congrats on the weightloss. Your story caught my eye because we’re the same height. I was very nearly your weight at your highest. Having lived in Scotland for a while (very cold weather); the pounds had sneaked up and gently added a thick overcoat…sigh. Fortunately, they’re mostly gone but it is a lifestyle (def. not a diet!) that keeps the correct mindset. Enjoying your writings a lot – it’s great to see another perspective.

    • Juliana says:

      Thank you, CJ. It is, indeed, a lifestyle. I had gone on diets before and, like so many others, lost a little weight only to gain it back. I checked out your lovely blog and am enjoying your writing, as well. Cape West Coast looks like a beautiful place!

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