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Author speaks to College women

Kristen Edelen | Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mireille Guiliano, author of the international best-seller “French Women Don’t Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure” spoke Saint Mary’s Wednesday.

Guiliano, who has appeared on many national television shows, including “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and “Dateline,” warned students about the temptations that exist in the dining halls in the Little Theater of Moreau Center for the Arts.

She advised students to be wary of the pizza bar because it’s available on a daily basis. Guiliano is someone who knows about poor eating habits in college and the “freshman 15”, which she believes is more accurately described as the freshmen 10 and the sophomore five.

She studied in America as a teenager and learned to love chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and ice cream, she said.

“As a student I was living off things I could eat on the go, no greens and my only fruit intake came in the form of fruit tarts. By the time I went home for Christmas I had put on 20 pounds and looked very much like a little Michelin tire,” she said.

Her weight gain in the United States as a young woman became the inspiration for writing her book, which is a memoir and a lifestyle book. It also includes suggestions for recipes, and is highlighted with colorful anecdotes about the eating habits of French women in comparison to American women.

During her presentation she read one excerpt from her book – a list of what French women do in regards to lifestyle choices:

“French women don’t eat on the run, French women love to sit at a café and do nothing but enjoy the moment, French women walk everywhere they go, they take the stairs, get dressed to take out the garbage, drink water all day long, love bread and would never dream of a life without carbs, think dining in is just as sexy as dining out, adore fashion, never diet, and French women don’t get fat,” she said.

Next, Guiliano described a scene she had witnessed in Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport before appearing on Oprah. She saw herds of Americans from one terminal to the next eating burgers and pizza and gulping down monster sodas all while tapping away at a laptop or flipping through a newspaper.

Guiliano said she could not detect pleasure on a single face. She stressed the importance of finding pleasure in food. The ability to enjoy food and maintain a healthy weight is not genetic, but cultural, she said.

“At a restaurant, French women will order an appetizer, cheese, main course and wine,” she said. “American women will order only a main course with maybe a diet soda and then snack throughout the day. French women don’t snack.”

Guiliano then went on to explain the value of eating three meals a day with no snacking in between. She emphasized the importance of breakfast and said, “coffee does not count.”

There was no scolding however, when the lecture turned to chocolate because apparently, French women love their chocolate, she said.

In her book Guiliano wrote that on average French women eat about 12 pounds of chocolate a year.

“If you really enjoy something, as I adore chocolate, there is a place for it in your life. But we cannot allow guilt-ridden scarfing. Only with cultivated pleasure can you enjoy chocolate – the same goes for other excellent foods Americans have come to consider no-no’s.”

Curious of how many people in the audience were chocolate lovers like herself, she asked for a show of hands.

Guiliano later took questions from the audience and later signed books, which could be purchased for $25.