When I first moved to France just over four years ago, I was nervous about how I would adjust to the French way of living. As a California native, it had always been easy for me to maintain a healthy lifestyle—healthy food options were endless, gyms were open from dawn until midnight, and a general "need-to-be-fit" mentality was widely accepted and celebrated as the norm.
As I settled into my new life in Paris, I decided the best way to adapt would be to live like the locals. It didn’t take long before I was enjoying four-hour dinners with cheese and dessert courses, replacing evening runs with glasses of rosé on the terrace, and stopping almost daily at the corner boulangerie for freshly baked baguettes that could seduce almost anyone within a two-block radius.
Within a short period of time, I realized that my new routine was not sustainable—or good for my waistline. But I didn’t understand. I was living like a local, right? The Parisian women around me seemed to be effortlessly maintaining thin frames, beautiful skin, and this je ne sais quoi sex appeal. Yet, they never stressed about making it to the 6. a.m. spin class (which would have been impossible since gyms don’t even open until 8 a.m.) or trying out the new fad diet or detox that would help them lose 10 pounds in a week. I was intrigued—what was their secret?
While I can’t claim to have solved the mystery, I can share five ways French women know how to live right—and in the process stay thin and happy: