Who’s the typical Parisienne?
Audrey Tautou in Amélie? A tall young woman with hazelnut brown eyes walking her dog in Jardin du Luxembourg? A slightly tanned, middle-aged lady carrying a baguette in her Chanel bag while entering the Metro? Whatever picture may cross your mind, I suppose the woman you image will rather be fragile and delicate than obese or even fat. It’s the common cliché, the famous secret of the Parisienne. And it’s as well the reason why all these women around the world that are unhappy with their bodies are about to freak out when they meet her. How is it possible that I diet all the time and can hardly maintain my weight whilst she is eating all these maccarons and baguettes and croissants without gaining a single pound?, they might ask. Well, I guess that’s why it’s called a secret. But probably it’s not even as mysterious as you might think in the first place.
Let’s firstly look at the very basic eating habits of the Parisienne. Most likely, her day starts with drinking a little black coffee, mostly accompanied by the first cigarette of the day. This kind of „breakfast“ preferably takes place on her tiny balcony while she watches people on the street passing by and still wears her bathrobe. During the day, in her lunch break or if she finishes work early, the Parisienne visits her favourite café as often as possible. A Parisienne doesn’t mind being alone, she doesn’t pretend to be busy and you won’t see her currently looking up something on her smartphone or laptop. Probably she will just be sitting there, reading a book, thinking or making plans. Before 4pm she orders espresso, afterwards red wine.
Dinner takes place around 8 or 9pm and for the Parisienne it’s the main meal of the day. In the evening, she will cook at home on a week day or even more probably go out in a restaurant with her partner or girlfriends. In the French culture, food is an integral part of the joie de vivre and French people don’t mind spending quite a lot of money on it. So you will very rarely see the Parisienne eating „on the go“ and in a restaurant she would never order something like a salad without dressing. Instead, she eats an appetizer, main and (bien sur) dessert. And here it comes to revealing the secret: it is all about the balance. The Parisienne doesn’t restrict, but it’s definitely quality before quantity. She doesn’t forbid herself anything, but she pays attention to eat consciously and just the amount that her body tells her is right for her.
So it’s not like the Parisienne stays in shape because she avoids food or because she constantly starves during the day. Even contrarily. She eats when she’s hungry, she stops eating when she’s full. She appreciates her body and if it tells her that it needs food around two hours before dinner, she will eat something just then. And if she passes a bakery and is attracted by the delicious looking pastries, she will buy one. I think this kind of intuitive eating is the main thing we can learn from the Parisienne. Especially if we met Ana, it is so important that we learn to value ourselves and our bodies again. So try to listen to what your body is telling you and act according to that.
In this spirit: Bonne Appétit!