Tuesday, January 8, 2013

You're so vain... Or, the French Solution

Well, actually, I'm so vain. I feel about 25 and skinny inside but the reality is fifty and overweight (but not yet obese, officially). I don't want to look fifty. I don't want to be tubby. I am also, and I state this unequivocally, the world's laziest bint. I have a gym membership but haven't used it in ages. Just the thought of hot gym-based sweatiness in a Sydney summer makes me want to lie on the sofa with a chilled glass of pinot grigio. Lying on a sofa won't help my thunder thighs though; summer is especially awful for me as wearing skirts or dresses means my big inner thighs rub together and get sweaty and uncomfortable unless I wear panty hose or thigh-length underwear. So I spend summer in trousers or shorts, even on the hottest days.

Having perused several books by French women or Brits and Aussies writing about French women (Almost French by Sarah Turnbull, Parisian Chic by Ines de la Fressange, All You Need To Be Impossibly French by Helena Frith Powell and - like millions of others - French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano, among others), I have decided to pursue a French solution. French women don't go to the gym. They simply move a lot. They walk. They take the stairs rather than a lift (although an office block of 30 floors would defeat me). Having spent five days in Paris walking my arse off last year there's something about Paris which compels you to walk everywhere, because there is so much to see and the city envelopes you in Parisian-ness. Um, western Sydney doesn't have the same charm but I'm doing my best. Even downtown Sydney doesn't have the same pull walking-wise but curiously central Melbourne does.

(Why French? you may ask. Because I've always thought French women to be chic, and while I was born without a chic gene, it doesn't stop me trying.)

Another part of the French solution is eating like the French. Not being guilty about having a glass of wine with dinner (but of course, one is not supposed to drink the entire bottle as some of my girlfriends do!). Not eating huge meals. Eating seasonal produce. Eating whole foods. Eating freshly prepared meals rather than package ones (something I have always done anyway). I've also cut down on the carbs, especially after 5pm. Except for the wine. I view wine as 'good carbs'. Heh heh, I've rattled on about diets etc on this blog before, but basically I eat protein and veggies at every meal, and don't have carbs every day. I have also cut down dramatically on sugar, particularly processed sugar. The Christmas season, with its jolly Christmas cake and irresistible Christmas pudding and home-made brandy custard and catching up with friends to - frankly - FEAST has taken its toll however and my weight is creeping up again.

So I have pledged to walk or cycle to the shops unless it's stinking hot in which case the airconditioned car gets a run, I gallop up the stairs in my house several times a day, the diet is back on track, but wait, there's more.

Those canny French women spend a bleedin' fortune on their skin, not just anti-ageing but anti-fat as well. I've been doing some research as I don't have the kind of budget which allows me to spend $200 on a face cream or anti-cellulite/slimming cream. Nor do I have a budget for regular facials, or regular anti-cellulite massages.

One thing and another led me to the No Lipo Lipo program by Carole Maggio, who has a day spa in California. One thing I had been researching was dry body brushing, something you can do in the privacy of your own home at the frugal cost of a sisal mitt. Lo! Carole's program includes dry brushing and also deep knuckle massage. Because I can't go to California for a six week program, I bought Carole's knuckle massage DVD which shows you how to do it all at home.

I put the DVD on yesterday, made notes to take into the bathroom and gave it all a go. Jesus!  My arms will certainly get toned as giving yourself a massage with your knuckles is hard work! You're supposed to do the massage three to four times a week but I'm going to try and do it every weekday while G is at work.

Carole also sells her Facercise book, which for a modest sum looks like it can supplement the skincare cream I use anyway and keep the wrinkles and double chin at bay. The book arrived in the post a few days ago and G flicked through it. "God!" he said. "I hope you won't be doing these exercises in front of me!" The exercises are well illustrated with photos, and some of the facial expressions you have to pull as part of the exercise program are a hoot!

So I'm also doing the exercises while G is at work. They make your face ache :-), which is probably proof they are doing their thing. I'll be intrigued to see if there is a difference. I've noticed the corners of my mouth turning down over the last year or so, and I hate that. I look like a grumpy old cow. (Probably because I AM a grumpy old cow 9-5 Mon-Fri!) Facercise has an exercise to stop your mouth turning down at the corners.

So here's the goal. By Easter, when it's time to hoe into all those cheap chocolate eggs, I'll be a clothing size smaller with a mouth that doesn't turn down. I'll be bien dans ma peau.  C'est tres bien, non?

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