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10 Ways to Make the French Diet Work for You

How to fit French diet strategies into an American lifestyle

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.

9. Use Your Head (or When All Else Fails, There Are Always Trade-Offs).

If you eat a heavy lunch, enjoy a lighter dinner or make it a point to take a longer walk. We all occasionally have days when we don't eat as well or exercise as much as we should have -- just don't make it a routine.

How to Americanize this suggestion: I hate to say it but, "Don't worry, be happy." Don't beat yourself up about a heavy meal or a day without exercise. Just do your best to compensate for it that day (eating light at the next meal or walking after dinner). But don't get obsessed about this, either. If you are hungry, eat. If you haven't exercised yet, try to fit in some type of movement later. Don't make it a big deal.

10. H2O Therapy.

Often, when we think we're hungry, we're really just thirsty. Try drinking a large glass of water before eating a snack and between meals.

How to Americanize this suggestion: Fortunately, Americans generally love water! We like it from the spring, or bottled with bubbles, or with essence of lime or lemon. The best way to drink more water is to set up your life so it's convenient. Keep herb tea bags at work for an early-morning cup of tea. Keep your favorite mineral waters in the refrigerator for a cold treat when you get home. Pack your car with water bottles so you can enjoy water every time you step in the car.

Reviewed on May 06, 2005

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