Developing a Healthy Relationship with Food: Diet Tips from the French
One important part of improving your healthy diet and living an optimal life is having a healthy relationship with food. Many of us obsess over food. We obsess over what to eat, how much to eat, and when we can get our next indulgent fix. You want to be able to enjoy a healthy lifestyle without getting anxious around food or letting food control you.
If your behaviour around food is obsessive or you have an eating disorder, food freedom as a goal can help set you free and help you have a better quality of life and be healthier. A healthy relationship with food is something that the French are quite known for.
The French paradox is something that has puzzled many experts for years. How can a country that is famous for pastries, red wine, and indulgent food be one of the healthiest in the world? Today, I am going to outline a few French diet and lifestyle tips for fat loss and optimal health.
Obviously, if you love food, these diet and lifestyle tips may seem ideal. You can still eat what you want, remain healthy, and achieve fat loss, but it depends on your diet and lifestyle. On a quest to learn how I can live without needing to obsess over food and while still achieving optimal health, I find myself drawn to this way of eating. Is food freedom really as simple as following a few French diet and lifestyle tips? Naturally, you still want to stick to healthy foods and ingredients as much as possible, but there is so much we can learn from them.
Here are a few diet and lifestyle tips from the French for optimal health:
They Do Not Eat, They Dine
Two-hour lunch breaks are enjoyed regularly, and it is custom to sit down and eat mindfully. You will not find the average French person eating on the run, in their car, or in front of their desks. It just is not part of their lifestyle. Meals are meant to be enjoyed while sitting down with friends and family. Making your eating time a social event, and not eating while distracted can not only help you eat less, but you also end up enjoying your food more.
They Do not Deprive Themselves, but Practice Portion Control
If they want a treat, they have it, but in a reasonable portion size. They do not overeat, and stop eating when satisfied. I guess this is what I admire most, as I tend to eat more than necessary. When faced with the opportunity to eat dark chocolate, I would rather eat the entire slab in a day than space it out and enjoy it over a few days.
They Stick to Real Ingredients
Although they consume pastries and desserts often, these are usually made with ingredients that are not as processed. They eat real food, which is one of the best tips you can follow. Luckily, this one is not too difficult to apply to the average lifestyle. If you are going to indulge, just make sure that whatever you are eating is made from ingredients that are as natural as possible.
They Admire Quality Over Quality
Instead of eating a big slice of cheap cake bought at the supermarket, they would rather eat a few blocks of dark chocolate, a properly made mousse, or a cake from a proper pastry and dessert shop. This also applies to savoury meals. They choose the best-quality foods, and are a lot less likely to reach for junk food.
They Focus on Mealtimes Instead of Snacking All Day
I usually have a few snaccidents in my day. I cannot help but taste the food over and over again while cooking. Like many people, I eat too frequently and end up messing with my health, because I could not say no thank you to a few random mouthfuls of momentary bliss. I would like to stick to three meals a day, but it is a little hard sometimes. It is a good thing to space out your meals, as it gives your digestive system a break and triggers fewer insulin spikes.
Taking longer breaks between eating also gives you fewer opportunities to lose control around food in your day.
They Have a Healthy Attitude Towards Food
The French do not stress about every calorie they consume. Diets are frowned upon, they typically do not follow fad diet tips, and a healthy attitude towards food is encouraged. This healthy attitude is one of the main reasons I think they have such healthy lifestyles. Stressing about food and diet only affects your health negatively. They do not have to stress, because they eat in moderation, stick to good food that is made with high-quality ingredients, and do not consume a lot of processed food.
Health is about far more than just what you eat. Your emotional and mental state also affects your health, wellness, and longevity. If you notice that you are starting to feel anxious around food or are becoming a little too obsessed, keep the French in mind and the way their behaviour around food is benefitting their health.
They are proof that you can indulge while being healthy and that you can live a life where you have food freedom. An easy way to incorporate this into your lifestyle is by having the mindset of following the 80/20 rule, where you only require yourself to eat perfectly 80% of the time, and allow yourself to indulge for the rest.
This allows you to indulge without judging yourself for not being perfect. Now that is food freedom. You can incorporate it in any way you like, such as practising portion control and sticking to healthy foods at mealtimes, but having a small dessert at the end of the day, or eating healthily during the week, but allowing spontaneity around your diet on the weekend, so that you can indulge when going to social events, a food market with delicious options, or on a date.