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10 Ways to Make the French Diet Work for You

How to fit French diet strategies into an American lifestyle
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6. Sensible Pleasures.

If you love chocolate, regularly treat yourself to small amounts of high-quality chocolate. Deprivation can lead to overindulgence.

How to Americanize this suggestion: We tend to be an "all or nothing" society. But there is such a thing as moderation. If there's a food you really love, learn to enjoy small amounts of it when the time is right. Wait until you're truly hungry (or thirsty if it's a beverage), then go to a quiet, special place and savor every bite. If your pleasure is chocolate, you may be happy with a few slow, sensual bites rather than needing to choke down an entire bar. If you adore fancy cheese, enjoy it with some slices of fresh pear (or other fruit) and make it part of your meal!

7. Exercise is Part of the Equation.

Trade in the American concept of "save a step" for the idea of "walk as much as possible." Use a pedometer if you think it will help remind you to move. Guiliano says that there's no need to slave away on a machine at the gym if you just add more walking to your day. She suggests buying some hand weights and using them two to three times a week for arm and upper-body strength.

How to Americanize this suggestion: The typical American lifestyle, with commutes and computers, sets us up for being sedentary. And many Americans simply aren't the "just walk more" type. So find out what type of exerciser you are, and set up everything in your life to help you keep exercising regularly -- whether you need a gym, a partner, a pedometer, a home exercise machine or video, or whatever. Look for both formal ways to get more exercise (gyms, classes, equipment) and informal ones (walking from the far parking lot, taking the stairs, walking the dog, walking to a store or restaurant, moving around while you talk on the phone, etc.).

8. Don't Go by the Numbers.

Pay attention to how you feel and how you look; use the zipper test instead of the scale. Find a favorite pair of pants that fits snugly. If you feel the zipper getting tight, it's time to reevaluate what you're eating, how much you're eating, or whether you've been moving enough each day.

How to Americanize this suggestion: If you're number-oriented, move your scale out of clear sight so you aren't tempted to weigh yourself too often. Shift your focus from numbers on the scale to the numbers on your pedometer. And shop at clothing stores where you usually have a good "sizing" experience. My favorite store doesn't have the usual sizes; it just has 0, 1, 2, and 3.

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