How to Eat Like the French and Lose Weight

Getty Images

How come the French can eat leisurely multi-course meals filled with butter, cream sauce, wine, and dessert and never gain an ounce? You may think this is Impossible but no, it is right and you can do it too. Here’s how to eat like the French and still lose weight, remarkable.  

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 1 hour, daily

Here's How:

  1. Eat Breakfast. Dashing for the door with your keys, phone, and coffee in hand? Being twenty minutes late for that mandatory morning meeting is no excuse for skipping breakfast. Numerous studies have shown that people are better able to maintain their weight when they eat breakfast regularly. How does this relate to the French diet? The French never skip a meal. Grab a yogurt, an apple, and a handful of nuts on the way out the door for a natural energy boost that will boost your metabolism and fat-burning all day long. Better still get up a little earlier and sit and eat your breakfast quietly and steadily to make the weight loss even better.
  2. Be Careful On Coffee Breaks. Snacking is virtually unheard of in France. Now slowly back away from the pastries, in France these are reserved mainly for breakfast. It’s as simple as that.
  3. Eat a Full Meal. Eating a full meal is one of the most puzzling habits that the French embrace. They eat meals usually consisting of several courses that may include bread, cream sauces, dessert, and wine. The key is that they slowly savor small portions, yet eat a little of everything across a whole spectrum of foods, which also may well be fresh and seasonal.
  4. Sample the Garden. French cuisine is full of fruit and vegetable courses, many of them seasonal specialties. Take some time to visit your produce section or local farmer’s market and buy garden-fresh ingredients to use in your kitchen.
  5. Enjoy a Glass of Wine. The French traditionally take pleasure in a glass of wine with their meals. An antioxidant compound in grape skins called resveratrol aids in weight loss and overall good health. Does this give you permission to knock back cocktails with every meal or start drinking on your lunch break? Not a chance! Just try to substitute wine for other alcoholic beverages when you can. And remember, always drink alcohol responsibly – the French live long lives and so should you!
  6. Get Active. Don’t be a slave to the elevator. Studies have found that fitting in ten minutes of moderate activity periodically throughout the day helps people maintain a healthy weight. The slender French are living proof of this fact. They frequently walk places instead of using private or public transportation. You don’t need to train for a marathon. Just take the stairs or park your car on the far side of the garage to sneak in extra activity for yourself.
Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Hall KD, Kahan S. Maintenance of Lost Weight and Long-Term Management of Obesity. Med Clin North Am. 2018;102(1):183-197.  doi:10.1016/j.mcna.2017.08.012

  2. Tabrizi R, Tamtaji OR, Lankarani KB, et al. The effects of resveratrol intake on weight loss: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2020;60(3):375-390.  doi:10.1080/10408398.2018.1529654

  3. Yang YJ. An Overview of Current Physical Activity Recommendations in Primary Care. Korean J Fam Med. 2019;40(3):135-142.  doi:10.4082/kjfm.19.0038