Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Parisian Diet: How to Reach Your Right Weight and Stay There by Dr. Jean-Michel Cohen

I feel like I've been dieting for years and while I've gotten a bit of diet fatigue, I'm still interested in reading well recommended diet and fitness books. Dr. Cohen's The Parisian Diet: How to Reach Your Right Weight and Stay There seems like a sensible guide, it reinforces much of the advice that I've come across through other programs and through Weight Watchers.

First, Dr. Cohen makes a point of suggesting that instead of following a table with your suggested weight based on your height, he recommends computing your "Right Weight" based on your weight history and current weight. First add your healthy and light weight at age 18 to your heaviest weight then divide this number by 2 (A1). Then add the lightest weight you'd ever been after 18 years of age and your current weight then divide this number by two (A2). Add both A1 and A2 and divide this by 2, this is your "Right Weight". When you've gotten used to this weight and maintained it for at least 6 months, you can then use the same formula again to come up with your next "Right Weight" and so forth until you are at a healthy weight and are happy with your weight (and it also follows the healthy BMI listed in the table). This Right Weight then tries to get you to lose the weight slowly, encourages you to change your behavior and to be able to maintain the weight loss.

The book includes a list of spices and herbs with different ways to use them, suggested ways to pair the particular spices with various vegetables, fruits, poultry, fish, meat and dairy. I found this section interesting as I'm always looking for new spices and ways to flavor my food without falling back on butter or oils, etc. For instance, I'd never considered pairing cloves with cabbage and haven't used cloves on meat or soup much and am looking forward to experimenting more with the spice.

There is also a food equivalency section that I found interesting/helpful. For instance, 4 oz of fish = 4 oz of chicken = 2 eggs = 4 oz of shellfish = 4 oz lean meat = 2 oz hard cheese = 3 oz lean ham = 1.5 cups (12 oz) nonfat yogurt

Through the Weight Watchers program, I've gotten used to using equivalencies and points instead of specific calories and it was easy to start using Dr. Cohen's equivalency system.

The diet has 3 phases which he calls "Cafe", "Bistro", and "Gourmet." Cafe kickstarts the diet and is expected to bring about a loss of 1 lb/day and shouldn't go beyond 10 days. Bistro period lasts for 2-3 weeks and is expected to bring about an 8-11 lb weight loss. The final phase is Gourmet which is expected to bring about a 8-11 lb weight loss in the first month and 6-9 lb per month for the next 3 months. It looks like the diet mainly relies on portion control and gives tasty recipes and menus. Dr. Cohen stresses eating mindfully, appreciating the food, savoring the entire experience so that you feel more satiated with your smaller portions. Also, quit snacking between meals, eating on the run, etc. Drink more, eat more fruits and vegetables, have lighter dinners ("eat breakfast like a prince and dinner like a pauper"), and exercise regularly - all familiar advice and helpful habits. The lifestyle changes that he suggests will likely lead to weight loss if you're willing to stick to the actual diet.

Here are a few of the meals that I thought particularly interesting/tasty: 3 oz of cod, 2 cups winter squash for lunch followed by vegetable soup for dinner; apple pork and carrots, beet and apple slaw; scallops and capers; porteugeuse-style baked fish fillet and green beans; grilled flank and vegetables (eggplant), apple meringue, artichoke salad and yogurt. You can't eat all these items at the same time, but each dish looks flavorful and satisfying.

I'm wiling to give the Parisian Diet a try - and will definitely make use of the recipes.

ISBN-10: 2080201395 - Hardcover $26.00
Publisher: Flammarion (January 1, 2013), 288 pages.
Review copy courtesy of the Amazon Prime program.

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