It’s hard enough to watch your weight at home – but in France, the home of croissants and fromage, it is even harder. Even if you start your trip looking like Catherine Deneuve – you just might give into temptation and wind up as Gerard Depardieu. That said, I have uncovered some great ways to watch your weight when in France, so that you can still fit into your chic clothes. I have years of practice under my (Dior) belt, and I also wrote the book on staying slim and fabulous while traveling. I’m the author of the bestseller, The Globetrotter’s Get-Gorgeous Guide: Diet and Beauty Secrets of Travel and Beauty Pros, Traveling Executives and Celebrity Travelers, which hit Number One on Amazon.com.
Here are some tips I’d like to share with BonjourParis readers:
Pack your own Splenda or Stevia. Though you can sometimes get a no-calorie sweetener at some cafes and restaurants, it’s smart to stash your own in your bag, for your café au lait and tea. This way, you won’t have to worry about packing on excess sugar pounds. While you’re at it, order a Citron Presse – “sans sucre” – and you can enjoy your French lemonade without extra sugar. Citron Presse, a mixture of fresh-squeezed lemon juice and water, is a mainstay of all French cafes.
Make a new friend: Monoprix. J’adore Monoprix! At this wonderful French version of Target, you can find all kinds of goodies, from clothes, to accessories, to cosmetics, to food. If you want a healthy lunch, pack your own picnic: some Sveltesse nonfat yogurt, and some fresh French bread and a small amount of cheese, along with some fruit. You’ll ensure that your Chanel still fits.
Nibble on Nicoise. Salad Nicoise – a staple at every French café – is a healthy lunch, and by ordering the dressing on the side – “a part” – you can easily control your calories. It’s loaded with eggs, potatoes, delicious tuna, anchovies, and vegetables, so you get a healthy dose of protein and carbs to fill you up – not out. You also can’t go wrong with a nourishing, lowfat Middle Eastern meal of hummus, tabouli and pita bread, which is easy to find in Paris.
Eat the perfect trio: fish, salad and vegetables. I’ve always watched my weight – that’s how I have remained a size 4 at age 56. But I’ve never met a good meal I didn’t like! I’ll never forget one of the best French meals I’ve ever had, at a small café in Nice. I had a simple piece of roasted salmon, topped with a small amount of olive oil, ratatouille, and a salad. Voila! I was satisfied faster than you can say, “svelte.”
Have one treat per week. You won’t stay trim if you start eating Nutella crepes made by street vendors, every day. But once a week? Bien sur! In fact, I find that having one special treat per week gives me a lot to look forward to, and I never feel guilty. So go ahead – visit the best chocolate shop in town, have that Berthillon ice cream – considered the best in Paris — or a great glass of wine – you deserve it. Remember, one or two servings won’t devastate your diet, and you’ll actually savor each bite even more. If you must have Laduree macarons for dessert, make a smart swap and forego the French bread with dinner in favor of your splurge. And always have a small treat on the very last day of your trip, so you can relish the experience as you head home.
Walk, walk, walk. Whenever I’m in Paris, I walk absolutely everywhere. There’s nothing more charmant than, say, walking down the Champs Elysees and knowing that I’m simultaneously exercising, burning calories and sightseeing.
Who knows? If you follow these tips, you might even lose weight – giving you all the more incentive to go clothes shopping at Galeries Lafayette.
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