9.27.2010

The Top 20 Things I Learned While Living in Paris- #17- Deprive Yourself Not



Of pastries that is. When I first arrived in Paris I would regard the shop windows of the Patisseries with simultaneous longing and fear. The desserts looks so delicious- so tempting. What if I ate them and gained weight? Finally, I just succumbed and figured "when in Paris"... (I could always hit the gym when I got back to L.A.)

But then a miraculous thing happened. I wasn't gaining weight and I found I was really enjoying myself. I learned there is absolutely nothing wrong with having one gorgeous, decadent well made pastry or dessert a day, if that is what you desire.

The key factor (and this may sound strange) is to enjoy it. Every moment.

Enjoy it slowly. Enjoy it with an espresso. Enjoy it alone or with a friend… or even better yet- with a lover! But make sure that you by all means enjoy it thoroughly and in the present moment. No beating yourself up over it, s'il vous plaît .

Chocolate éclair? Divine, savor that delicious filling. Tarte aux fraises ? Fabulous, how do those seasonal berries taste? Don’t think about calories, or your thighs, or how you’ll have to put in an extra hour at the gym. That sort of thinking is rubbish (and so unsexy). What is the point?

Relish it with extreme pleasure, and eat slowly and mindfully. That way you are less likely to have two or three (and let's face it- we've all been there before).

And finally make sure that you are savoring a high quality dessert- Twinkies, Ho-hos and other inferior products do not count- in fact banish them from your repertoire. If a well made pastry (or chocolate) is not within your reach, you’ll simply have to go without- never settle.

Yes, one of the sweeter lessons I learned while living in Paris is not only are pastries and other sweet delights OK- but they are a necessary part of living a pleasurable existence. Deprive yourself not.

Won’t you stay tuned for #16?

The above picture was taken of me at some café in Paris (there were so many!). I’m not sure why I’m laughing with my head in hand here. I believe my afternoon tea companion kept stopping passers-by to take my picture and it all became a bit ridiculous. Even the waiter is looking the other way…

My book, Lessons from Madame Chic: The Top 20 Things I Learned While Living in Paris will be published by Simon & Schuster and re-released in the fall of 2012.

12 comments:

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

I love this decadent and tasty tip....slowly savour and enjoy sans guilt!
I am tuned in...bring on #16...

Kamani said...

Great post. I plan on giving it a try tomorrow.

Michael Rivers said...

Another great thing learned! Loving the series.

Rose said...

eat in the moment- that is the key to enjoyed food isn't it

Josephine Tale Peddler said...

That photograph is adorable. I really do believe in this law. I hope all is well with you and your family. I have to share that my agent sold not only Poets Cottage (my 1930s/present day mystery) but also another book for me. I am so happy as you can imagine. I had to share with you as you've been so supportive over the time we've been Blogging together. xx

Anonymous said...

Gosh, I love this post. It does confuse me though. Since the French do not snack, when do they eat these delicious pastries? Is it part of a meal?

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Hello everyone- Thank you for your comments!

Josephine- I am so thrilled for you! I hope you got my comment on your blog. I can't wait to read Poet's Cottage! xx

Anon- Thank you for your question. It is a bit confusing so I'm glad you asked it! Most French people I observed ate their pastry or dessert with a meal- either lunch or dinner. We had dessert every single night at Famille Chic's house. I'm sure they would have no qualms about sitting down to an afternoon espresso and a decadent pastry as well- not every day (although I must say- I did!) but on occasion. So my post was a bit misleading because I actually usually ate two pastries or desserts a day because I never refused dessert chez Madame Chic's. But I still never gained any weight. There will be future posts in the countdown which might further explain my lack of weight gain in France :) I hope you stick around for them! And I hope this answered your question.

Anonymous said...

It certainly answers my question beautifully. Thank you. I look forward to hearing a lot more about the lack of weight gain with such a wonderful lifestyle.

Colleen said...

Hi, I've been reading through your lovely series and am really enjoying it. This particular one made me smile...a few years ago while I was living in Germany, I became friends with a French woman. We went out for a gelato one day and after we ordered, I started on about how I was trying to lose weight and she told me exactly what you wrote here.:) That if I enjoy it and don't worry about weight gain, just concentrate on savoring every mouthful, I wouldn't gain weight. (Of course in regards to treating oneself occasionally not consistently snacking.:) It's been proven, she finished with a shrug. I didn't quite believe her at the time but I certainly remembered the philosophy.:)

It just goes to show the difference in culture I think. In Canada and perhaps the States, we are pretty much taught to feel guilty about enjoying delicious cake or ice cream etc., there they simply enjoy as if it was their due.

Colleen said...

Oh and just to add that while I lived In Germany as well, the family I lived with sat down every afternoon together and enjoyed a coffee and piece of cake from the local bakery. They also didn't snack any other time of day. It was so lovely!

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Colleen- I'm so glad you are enjoying the series! Please check back regularly with the blog as I am turning the series into a book and will have it out before the end of the year. I'm so glad your experience in Paris was similar to my own... it does make sense doesn't it? We might as well enjoy ourselves if we are going to indulge in rich food... why just now I had a pineapple truffle from Sees and it was divine :)

Colleen said...

Sounds lovely.:) I will happily check back and think it is wonderful you are putting these thoughts into a book! I look forward to hearing more about that as its completion draws near. I am really interested because I think that these concepts are so foreign in the culture I live in and wish they weren't. I sometimes find myself in need of reminding that there is another sort of woman out there in the world. Does that make sense? Anyway I appreciate your blog and hope your book is finished soon!:)

 
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