The Parisian Diet

The Parisian DietAny diet book that has a sub-chapter titled, “I Want Wine, Chocolate and Bread,” is a book worth reading.  The Parisian Diet, How to Reach Your Right Weight and Stay There written by Dr. Jean-Michel Cohen, who is like the Dr. Oz of France, is an easy to read, straight forward meal plan that I think most people would find viable.

Weight loss is a complex issue and he delves into the cultural, scientific and psychological reasons behind the growing trend of obesity.  His belief is that you have to understand the causes of your weight gain before you can modify your behaviors through diet.

The toughest part for me to read was actually in the preface where he wrote, “I fell in love with American culture…So today, I am perplexed to see a country that has always exuded such strength and vitality now allowing the world to view its typical citizen as obese and its national cuisine as junk food.”  Ouch!

Tough love aside, his plan allows for the occasional indulgences, such as wine, chocolate, cheese and pasta, provided you do the recovery plan afterwards.  He notes a major cultural difference between France and the United States, which is that French people eat three meals per day and spend up to two hours savoring each bite versus Americans who snack in a rather chaotic fashion throughout the day, eat at their desk and miss out on the social and pleasurable factor of food.  He suggests eliminating snacking and taking time to enjoy your food.  diet_secret_img

The diet has three phases:  Cafe Phase (most restrictive phase, should only be done for about 10 days,) Bistro Phase (follow for two to three weeks,) and the Gourmet phase (follow for three months.)  During this time period he states you can lose up to 30 pounds.

He also gives you a way to calculate your “right weight,” recipes, strategies for overcoming common stumbling blocks (“I’m hungry,” “I’m tired,” “I messed up the diet,”) and suggestions for what to order when you are dining out.

I’m currently training for my next bodybuilding competition so I’m on a very strict diet, but when my show is over and I’m in the off season I actually want to say bonjour to The Parisian Diet.  I miss chocolate, wine and bread!


P.S. – I was not compensated for this post, just given a copy of the book to review.  The opinions expressed here are entirely my own. (c) 2013 Lisa Traugott.  All rights reserved.  No portion of this blog, including any text, photographs, and artwork, may be reproduced or copied without written permission.

9 thoughts on “The Parisian Diet

  1. I can’t speak to the book as I’ve not read it, but having lived in Paris for 4 years and subsequently been married to a French man for 9, I can vouch for the French (and to an extent, European) “diet”. I put it in quotes because most people have a simple, healthy relationship with food and don’t consider their way of eating a sacrifice or a restriction in any way. Yes, you’ll see articles on diets in women’s magazines, particularly in the summer, but for the most part people just eat fresh, natural food cooked simply, and their portions are waaaaay smaller that the typical American-sized dishes. They eat a variety of foods, they save sweets for special occasions, and as you mention, they savor the food and enjoy it instead of gulping it down. Another note is the accompanying physical lifestyle — people walk everywhere, or at least walk to the metro/train stations. And the kitchens are smaller, without the gigantic refrigerators we’re used to, so the shopping is done every 3-4 days. Many apt buildings (or metro stations) don’t have elevators so people are doing stairs. My husband lived on the 4th floor, so we were hauling groceries up those stairs regularly — talk about weights and cardio….:)

    Did you read a similar book published 5+ years ago called French Women Don’t Get Fat (or something like it)? It also provides interesting insight into the French/European diet.

    The only downside is that body building/any type of muscles are rarely encouraged in men, let alone women in France. Men are fit and slender, and most women are slim, but very few have much muscle tone or really care to (apart from athletes) as far as I can tell from reading women’s magazines.

    1. Yes, there are a lot of cultural differences. I think it’s good for Americans to be open to the best ideas from other countries, since we’re such an eclectic nation anyway. I’ve heard of that book that you mentioned but have not read it yet.

      Bodybuilding is such a small niche sport it is rare to find many people participating. But I love it and enjoy being strong versus just slender. It’s not for everyone though, which is why I like to review different nutrition books so people can find the best fitness solution that works for their situation. 🙂

  2. Good luck on your upcoming competition, Lisa. And thank you for the nice feedback on the Parisian Diet! I’ve also sent this to Dr. Cohen and the Parisian Diet nutritionists, and should you wish to follow the diet after your competition, they advise you to follow the Gourmet phase, plus an additional 200 calories a day (called the Gourmet-Plus option on the online version)—and that very well is the equivalent to a serving of wine, chocolate, or bread. 🙂

  3. Hi all., I just saw the author on french tv and was utterly shocked to see how he was trashing the US, the culture and the americans. He was really condescending and was clearly sounding like he was just basically taking us for idiots. You can always google his appareance if you speak french (dr cohen le supplément canal plus). It is not the first time a diet author uses France to sell books, but I was really shocked as his way to talk about americans. a few quotes: “i went to crappy towns such as Minneapolis” (really??), ” or you present to them Croque Monsieur (grilled cheese with ham) and they instantly think you invented sliced bread”.. I felt compelled to share his incredibly arrogant attitude to future readers.

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