Interview with Mireille Guiliano

August 2015

Do you know that you can enjoy food and still not get fat ? This is what Mireille Guiliano pushes in her book French Women don’t get fat. Having been a long time a spokesperson and CEO of Veuve Clicquot, she has been recognized as an «ambassador of France and its art of living» by very popular papers such as the Figaro and USA Today.

Here at Slow Control, we have been very much attentive to her book that lauds that people should eat for pleasure. She offers nutrition thoughts with her joie de vivre and friendly girly tone.

The most interesting part is that it isn’t a conventional diet book, it is about lifestyle. As she likes to say it : «French women think about good things to eat; American women typically worry about bad things to eat.»

1. How did the idea came to you to write a book French Women don’t get fat ?

Been there done that.  As an exchange student in Weston for my last year of high school I started eating n’importe quoi at any time…and got fat. Back to France and with the help of a family doctor who simply put me back on track applying the French lifestyle (and my mother’s), I lost slowly but surely and within less than a year was back to normal.

Later when I returned to America I was offered a job with lots of temptations but decided to keep my French lifestyle. It worked for me as I have been able to keep the same weight (including during and after menopause) all my life pretty much effortlessly and without deprivation just moderation and eating mindfully.

During all these years I helped many friends and colleagues and it always worked… they all asked me to write a book and finally I gave in. I’m glad I did… not saving the world but making a difference and helping lots of women around the world still now starting the second decade of that first book.

2. What are your best discoveries since you started working on the subject ?

Best maybe not, surprising  yes…that so many women have issues with food, basically a bad relationship,  and so many women keep making the same mistakes…yoyo diets now called not eating this or that but same issue.

3. What do you consider being the worst mistake about diets?

They are boring, not sustainable, a torture for people who love good food and variety but worse of all they destroy a woman’s metabolism so for some of them after twenty years of yoyo-ing it is more difficult to adapt the French lifestyle.

4. Could you please explain how your vision has progressed in the last 20 years based on the know-how that you have built?

You’ll need to read the second book Women for All Season and the fourth The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook (the latter was not translated into French)  which gives my feedback on what I learned.  Remember, unlike diet books …I don’t say do this don’t do that or eat this don’t eat that but rather give templates so each of you can apply according to food preferences, cultural differences, budget, lifestyle, work schedule, etc. My chapter of eggs for example is something I’m proud of as so many people think eggs are bad for us…on the opposite and it is also a fast, simple and inexpensive way to feed a crowd and/or give your family the good proteins.

My magical breakfast is also a big hit as many people realize that they need a good breakfast to start the day and in the French lifestyle of my family it means a combo of glucids, lipids and proteins…and oh the walnuts is a wonderful protein for your brain in the am and the flaxseed oil and lemon juice terrific at that time. Photo credit : Tim Knox (first photo)