Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Fifi Project

In 2004 I discovered the world of French Chic via a few different resources. Firstly I came across Anne Barone's wonderful Chic & Slim website. I ordered her books - my favourites of which are the first three - 'Chic & Slim', 'Chic & Slim Encore' and 'Techniques No. 1'. I have read these countless times since they arrived in my mailbox and I continue to be inspired six years later.

My next most influential resource was the Yahoo group 'French Chic'. I used to visit this forum daily and gathered so many inspiring posts and quotes that I also re-read regularly.

I have dipped into my French Chic books and printouts periodically over the years, and am revisiting them in more depth at the moment. I have had some changes happen in my life and so the normal routine is thrown. At times like this all chic flies out the window and I comfort eat and drink and the resulting tight clothing is horrid.

One cannot feel chic and capable when one struggles to button ones jeans. So this is the first area I will be looking at. I have no problem being thrifty and frugal because I look at these things as fun, and debt and overspending is for losers (harsh as that sounds). If only I looked at overeating in the same way.

Just as it is unchic to be buried under credit card debt from unstoppable shopping, so is it unchic to be physically buried under the results of indiscriminate eating and drinking. A chic diet is my goal.

I want to look good in the clothing I already own and I want to feel fabulous in my skin and be inspired to look after myself. I know you aren't meant to measure yourself by weight, but weight is where I can keep a track of myself easily and it works for me. At my height of 169cm (5'6½") I don't feel great at 71.2kg (157 pounds, BMI 24.9) which is what I am right now. I would like to have my weight range be 63-66kg (139-145 pounds, BMI 22.1-23.1).

I can achieve this quite quickly using Weight Watchers points, and I may do this, but the trouble with points is I'm either on them or off them. Which means my weight goes up and down. I would like to try the European eating way once again and lose it slowly by changing habits. I've read about it so often over the years in various books and magazines, but this time I think I'm ready for it.

I want to eat real food that nourishes and satisfies me. I want to stop eating when I'm full. I want to be a food snob! I understand that junky food never satisfies or nourishes and that is why I cannot stop eating it once started. My physical body needs me to look after it.

Years ago I wrote to Anne Barone to thank her for sharing her information in her books and on her website, and told her how a no-carb diet had been a dismal failure for me (I only lasted 24 hours before I felt weak and dizzy). She responded that 'The body just wants the kind of balance of foods it has had for thousands of years'.

On a special anniversary dinner out a while back my husband and I had a cocktail at a bar before we went to the restaurant. Along with our cocktails the waiter brought us a tiny dish of olives - about 4-5 of them. I remember thinking this was so stylish and the olives were delicious. So this morning I walked to a nearby gourmet food store and chose a small jar of olives. I tasted a few different ones before I bought them. I discovered I like olives that are 'crisp' rather than soft, and without added flavours like blue cheese or pimentos. They are in brine rather than oil.

Tonight with my pre-dinner drink, rather than have a brandy and ginger ale with a bowl (or two) of potato chips, I will sip on a glass of wine and have a tiny dish of olives. Don't get me wrong, I will really miss my brandy and dry, and chippies, but they often ruin my appetite for dinner and it's only a habit after all.

If I was the French woman of my dreams (named Delphine, or Sabine) I would most certainly nibble on a couple of olives and pour a glass of chilled Chardonnay (my favourite wine varietal) as I recline in my Paris apartment with a book, and my Le Crueset bubbling on the stove. I do best by being inspired by daydream situations that others may think silly. By pretending I am that person I am inspired to do better.


  1. very inspirational post. I have struggled with this same issue this past winter.
    Same as you, I just want my clothes to fit right!
    your blog is beautiful. I love the pictures, colors, everything. thanks for sharing

  2. The colors and header of your blog are absolutely lovely! It's so soft and pretty. Even the title of your first post is powerful. That's what it is about isn't it? Working on ourselves in our own special way. I've done the same thing you have with WW and flipping back and forth between trying to eat the French way, then trying another diet, low carb, whatever. But I've never really stuck with it long enough and been consistent with it and honest with myself to see it through all the way to my goal weight. Bravo to you!

  3. Kristi and Stephanie, thank you so much for reading! Last night at home was so enjoyable. My husband and I both love nights in, but often Saturday nights can be eat- and drink-a-thons where all sorts of crap is consumed. Sort of a 'let loose at the end of the week' mentatility.

    I decided I could do whatever I liked as long as it was chic and real. I ended up not opening my new jar of olives, but had camembert on crackers and a small sherry before dinner, one and a half glasses of Chardonnay over dinner (roast chicken, potato and pumpkin, steamed brocolli and cauliflower dressed in olive oil, and gravy) and a hot chocolate for dessert.

    My husband was amazed he happily had a small sherry and one beer the whole evening. He also chose to forgo potato chips and had some bread dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar instead, for a pre-dinner nibble.

    Repeats of Frasier are on tv at the moment so we were inspired to set up a silver tray with a decanter of sherry and four glasses. We already had the decanter and the sherry/port/liquer glasses, my sister was getting rid of the tray and we bought a nice bottle of sherry during the week.

  4. Fiona,

    I was so inspired by the picture of Audrey Tatou you posted that I took a photo of it on my computer screen and showed it to my hairdresser yesterday and she styled my hair just like this. I normally wear it straight. It looked so fantastic! I felt so chic and I'm definitely going to start curling it myself. You never know where inspiration will hit you!

  5. That's fantastic Stephanie. I think bobs are the chicest of all haircuts. If only you had kept your curling tong!

  6. Even though I've followed your blog for a while, I've never read this far back. Fabulous first post, I am partial to olives myself!


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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