French Diet & American Women (cont.)

ZELMAN: Sounds like yogurt is one of the foods you use to balance overindulgences?

GUILIANO: Yes. It helps a lot. When eating a "normal" breakfast you'll have cereal, a piece of fruit and some bread. After this big meal, you'll need to reduce a little bit and relook at nutrition, on a weekly basis, and balance it.

Yogurt is great because when you have it for breakfast, it has carbs, protein and fat. This is what you need in every meal. It's the one perfect meal that is well balanced that will keep you going for the morning and has almost no calories.

ZELMAN: Do you think the research on dairy and weight loss works with the French lifestyle?

GUILIANO: Yes, we eat a lot of cheese. When I'm in Paris I always have cheese for lunch or dinner and have two yogurts. Dairy has the protein, but also the calcium which is very important for women, particularly for our bones. We feel it's very important to consume dairy.

ZELMAN: How about vitamins and minerals?

GUILIANO: If you have a balanced meal you don't need to take vitamins -- if you eat quality fresh foods. Of course a lot of people eat garbage like preserved foods and things you buy in the supermarket that are ready. The food industry has to put preservatives in for shelf life.

ZELMAN: But what if you are eating lots of fast food?

GUILIANO: If you're eating this type of food then you need to take additional vitamins because you are lacking major nutrients.

MEMBER QUESTION: I understand that the French are adverse to exercise. If this is correct, then why am I wasting my time lifting weights, doing Pilates and running around like a crazy woman?

GUILIANO: My philosophy and that of most of my French women friends, is that this is not how we like to spend our time; spending hours every day going to work on a machine. For us, walking is the most simple, the most inexpensive exercise there is, besides what it does to your waist line. It is also exercise for the mind because it gives you time to relax, to think, to dream, and to look at the sky or the buildings or at nature. So it has many other effects that go with the French lifestyle of body and mind.

ZELMAN: Research suggests that women need weight lifting to keep bones strong.

GUILIANO: I mention this in my book. Buy those little weights and use them two or three times a week. To us, the idea of going to a gym and changing and going on the machines or equipment is not attractive and takes a lot of time that we don't like to spend in that way. We prefer to walk, walk up the stairs and do things all day long while doing other things -- not having to go to a gym. At the end of the day the idea is to move your butt, because all of us spend too much time sitting in our work, in the car, in the subway, in the bus, and so we need to put our metabolism in motion.

ZELMAN: How do you manage this physical activity if you travel?

GUILIANO: Walking is ideal. This morning, for example, I took a walk at 7 a.m. in Washington. I know I will be sitting all day in interviews, I have a lunch and then I'm taking a plane to Houston. I will do a little yoga when I arrive in my hotel, I will make sure that today I drink more water because planes are dehydrating, and I will watch carefully what I have for lunch because I'm going to sit all afternoon in a plane.

MEMBER QUESTION: Are there any tricks I can use to limit the amount I eat? How can I push myself away from the table, so to speak?

GUILIANO: You learn, first of all, that many times when we think we are hungry we are actually thirsty. I've helped many people that cannot believe when they want to go to the fridge or eat more food, or think they want to eat, that they should have a big glass of water, wait 20 minutes and keep themselves busy doing something. After that if they're still hungry, they can have a piece of fruit or yogurt or a few nuts. The feedback most of the time is that they forget they're hungry, or they realize they were not hungry to begin with.

"If more people would walk...we could make a difference in our obesity statistics."

When you are in a restaurant, and I agree portions can be enormous, just learn to stop -- you don't have to finish your plate.

ZELMAN: But what if you are still hungry after eating your small portions?

GUILIANO: That means probably that you're eating too fast. Many of my readers give me stories of how they first felt suspicious that if they would sit down and slow down they would eat less. One woman who was eating oatmeal was eating a cup and a half but she was watching TV, eating standing up and talking on the phone. After 10 days of trying sitting down to eat, which she was suspicious about, she couldn't eat past a third of her oatmeal. It was all she needed.

ZELMAN: I understand that you drink plenty of water. How much do you drink and don't you agree that water satisfies thirst and not hunger?

GUILIANO: I think it plays a great role. First of all, water flushes your toxins, but most importantly, and this is the big difference between American and French women, we drink 2 to 3 times more water.

Americans think they drink water because they have their little bottles, but a sip doesn't count. Every time you drink one glass of water you set your metabolism in motion and you lose 20 to 50 calories. This has been proven by a medical establishment in Germany. If you drink 8 or 10 glasses of water a day you lose weight. Many of my readers are only doing four things I suggest and losing weight. The first thing they try is drinking more water. It always works.

Reducing portions, walking, yogurt, leek soup and having a glass of wine with meal because wine is food and wine is very rich in nutrients -- these also help.

ZELMAN: Let's talk about other liquids. You say champagne is the best. Besides the fact that you own a champagne company, why is champagne better?

GUILIANO: Champagne, besides being a milder diuretic like leeks, has a lot of nutrients like calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc. It also has natural traces of lithium, which regulates your mood.

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