One Quarter French, One Quarter Skinny

french women don't get fat

Originally written in October, 2010 I feel this post is worth repeating for new readers since then and worth reminding myself that my goal is to become more “French” this spring!

I read quite a bit about the myth of the skinny French women.  I enjoyed reading Mireille Guiliano’s book French Women Don’t Get Fat because it’s stereotypically funny – and it’s just plain interesting.  Mireille also participated in an awesome Twitter Live Chat that I attended where she was charming and helpful.  I also love reading a good rant from writers and bloggers who rage against Mireille pointing out that, indeed, French women get fat.  They actually take the time to write about how many French women are fat, what they are trying to do about it and how it’s society’s fault that they are fat.  It’s all hilarious!

My mother was half French and Irish.  My father was half Irish and German.  Therefore, genetics says that I am roughly a quarter French.  So, I am quarter skinny!  For most of my life I was unbelievably skinny.   I ate ice cream, cheese and milk every day but remained the smallest in my class.  In high school I was still the thinnest, but grew taller.  College was more of the same with me being the skinny girl who ate like a lineman for an NFL team.  These facts (I didn’t say scientific facts), along with my intense love for chocolate prove that a small French gene can, and will, dominate over all others.  The only hint of Irish and German in me relates to my love of a good drink and my stubbornness.

IMG_0318After the birth of my two children I became less French.  I guess my “Frenchness” was expelled with the placenta because almost instantly new hips, thighs and a pooch in my stomach appeared out of nowhere.  If I had been born 100% French then perhaps I would still be skinny.  It’s my story and I’m sticking to it!  It has nothing to do with me eating the same and exercising less.  Mind you, I am not fat – just not considered skinny anymore.

Each year when I return to Paris to get my “French on” I find myself thinking about the debate between the American version of skinny and the French one.  I have come to the conclusion that, in general, French women look skinnier because they take the time to purchase clothes that flatter their existing figures.  They choose better options for clothes that accentuate their assets and diminish their flaws.  They are not interested in purchasing volumes of clothes; they are only concerned with achieving the right look for the occasion and accessorizing it all perfectly.  I own too many of the wrong clothes, too little of cool belts and shoes, but I have a fabulous handbag and scarf collection.  I am only getting the fashion thing a quarter right.

I secretly hope that consuming French bread, coffee, champagne and  cheese from French cows will awaken sleepy French genes causing them to rally – to battle the rest and restore my inner French dominance!  A girl can hope, can’t she?

10 Comments
  • Monique
    Posted at 08:42h, 10 May Reply

    Hi Priscilla,

    I can relate to what you said that after having kids you became less French! The same happened to me after I had my daughter. I remember being able to eat everything and not gain a single pound. And funny enough, I am 1/4 French, 1/4 German and 1/2 Portuguese.

    Now my daughter is preparing a presentation about France for her International Day at school and she told me “Mommy, French women are so fancy and skinny”… She is only 7 and she already notices that! But I do agree that they do know how to dress and I wish I had that skill… Maybe more frequent travels to Paris will help me 🙂

    Thanks for your lovely website, I am a fan!

    Monique

    • Weekend In Paris
      Posted at 08:53h, 10 May Reply

      Hi Monique!

      So happy to hear from you! 1/4 French doesn’t seem to be enough these days…

      LOL, isn’t it funny that your daughter “got it” without being told anything?

      More travel to Paris is the answer! I will be there in July and again in January. I hope to see you there!

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post and comment. It means so much to me!

      Cheers,
      Priscilla

  • LandLopers Picks of the Week
    Posted at 17:23h, 10 November Reply

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  • John in France
    Posted at 21:11h, 02 November Reply

    I stumbled somehow on to your lovely blog site. When I read this article I knew what Paris meant to you even with your mixed up gene pool!!! My daughter has been living in Paris and presently making documentary on her time there. You can see her trailer by following this link. Anyone wanting to be inspired for ones love of life and Paris should see it. Maybe you’ll enjoy too!!!

    http://thefrenchway.wordpress.com/2010/11/01/life-in-24-frames-per-second-part-2-of-2/

    • Weekend In Paris
      Posted at 12:18h, 06 November Reply

      Thanks for your comments and for introducing me to your daughter’s website. It looks very interesting!
      Hope you continue to follow Weekend In Paris!
      Cheers,
      Priscilla

  • trishgillis
    Posted at 11:46h, 16 October Reply

    Love this: “I own too many of the wrong clothes …” – but since I am Irish and English on all sides … that may be expected 🙂

    • Weekend In Paris
      Posted at 11:56h, 16 October Reply

      Hi Trish,
      This weekend’s mission is to relieve myself of several items that I know don’t fit well, aren’t the right color or just plain aren’t in good fashion. I don’t know why it’s so difficult – but since I watched two French movies yesterday, I feel I must push through the uncomfortable feelings and purge!
      Less is more I am thinking – besides I only wear about 30% that is in there anyway. What a waste! Going to give them to GoodWill and hope that someone else wears them well.
      Cheers,
      Priscilla

  • LandLopers Picks of the Week |
    Posted at 18:08h, 15 October Reply

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  • Christine Myles
    Posted at 07:29h, 15 October Reply

    Priscilla:

    This has to be the most adorable thing you have written so far on your blog! It’s all great! But this piece, you should submit this to your newspaper!!!!! So Cute!!!

    BTW….So too bad for the Karle/McCarthy side of our family….for me at least : (

    • Weekend In Paris
      Posted at 08:37h, 15 October Reply

      Hi Cuz,

      What’s very funny is my dad doesn’t even talk about himself being German, he only says he’s IRISH!

      Your side of the family will just have to visit France a lot and try to get “French” by eating and drinking all things French!

      Thanks for reading and saying sweet things. It’s nice to have the support of my big cuz!

      XO,
      Priscilla

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