73 of 75 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2006
I've read The Fat Fallacy, taken Dr. Clowers' PATH training, and met the man in person. This book is like sitting down and having a conversation with him. It's clarity, it's promise, it's decadence in moderation.
I owe my life to Dr. Clower. In 2004 I had hit my highest weight ever, been diagnosed with chronic hypertension and Type 2 diabetes, and I could barely move or walk without pain and being out of breath. I was on the verge of submitting to weight loss surgery! I wholeheartedly adopted the principles in the book "The Fat Fallacy" and I've dropped nearly 70 pounds, reduced my hypertension, nearly reversed my diabetes AND had a happy, healthy bouncing baby boy! And, no weight loss surgery, either.
And this was accomplished even without all the wonderful information I've learned in the last couple of months with the PATH training and what is in "The French Don't Diet". I realize now that I have more room for improvement and I'm eager for the changes and continued good health and weight loss. Never has eating and being active been so fun and delicious.
I've never lived a 'low-fat' life, but I did overeat for decades and I ate many bad-for-me foods. Now, I don't eat it if I don't know what's in it, I don't buy it without looking at the ingredients, and I've begun to step out of my comfort zone and actually prepared foods for myself like bread, gravies, salad dressings. Things I felt inept at creating, so I bought pre-packaged and pre-prepared versions chock full of chemicals and faux foods and health-sapping components. I've tried several recipes in Dr. Clower's books and they are amazing! And easy! So easy it's crazy. I spent years avoiding creating in the kitchen out of fear. Fear and laziness. Something the food industry capitalizes on. But, not anymore!
I appreciate the knowledge Dr. Clower and his books have imparted to me and my family and friends. We now know what's healthy and what's not. We enjoy our food and our lives so much more now, and we're losing weight and getting healthy in the process!
The best thing you can do for your self and your family is read this book and adopt the principles contained within. This isn't a 'diet' it's a lifestyle. A French lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle. Mind, body, spirit.
Once you do this there is no going back to the Standard American Diet. The SAD will kill you.
60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2006
A couple of years ago I swore off diets forever, and I still think it's one of the best moves I've ever made. So why did I pick up this book? I wasn't enjoying my meals like I thought I should, and enough of an obsession with food remained in my psyche to spoil my peace of mind. Past experiences with the European approach to eating had been wonderful, so I was curious to see what Dr. Clower would say. I read the book as a "how to eat well and love it" manual rather than a "lose weight" guide, avoiding parts of the book that even hinted at calorie or portion recommendations. The results have been great. For the past six weeks, by eating higher-quality and tastier food, slowing down and really relishing my food, making mealtimes a relaxing break in the day, etc. I've been enjoying my food more than I have in years. Rarely do I feel any anxiety about food and mealtimes now. Also, I've been fascinated at how this approach really makes me satisfied with less. I always thought eating less would mean less to enjoy, but this hasn't been the case. When I'm satisfied after a few bites, I just look forward to the next meal. Enjoying my meals and rarely having that too-stuffed feeling is a wonderful change. Eating less has also balanced out the expense of switching to better food. I've lost some weight, all while drinking whole milk, eating 2 or 3 leisurely meals rather than the diet-gurus' recommended but unmanageable 5 to 6 meals a day, not obsessing over carbs, etc--in other words, while breaking all kinds of diet rules. What beautiful irony! But the best thing about this approach is the sense of well-being and peace it promotes. Read selectively, this book helped me step farther away from the artificial, diet-obsessed insanity that's out there. My reason for 4 instead of 5 stars is that this book still promotes itself with one foot in the "diet" camp. But all in all, it's an inspiring, useful, and almost therapeutic book. I'd even say life-changing, except that it's been just six weeks, and only time will tell how well these changes settle into my life over the long run. Great recipies too, by the way.
43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2006
Wouldn't you stick with a program that encourages you to enjoy moderate amounts of artisan bread, butter, cheese, wine, and chocolate? There are so many contradictory messages today about what we should or shouldn't be eating - it is a relief to find someone promoting moderation and common sense. This book builds on the principles of Dr. Clower's first book The Fat Fallacy and provides real-life techniques to help you enjoy real food, manage stress and improve your health. Too often, North Americans are "penny wise and dollar foolish" about their eating habits; focusing on micromanaging every nutrient instead of changing the lifestyle habits that contribute to bad health and excess weight.
I've been following Dr. Clower's advice for over two years and it has greatly improved my health. I've lost those last few pounds, my gastro problems are gone, my skin tone has improved and my cholesterol levels are great all from eating real food in moderate amounts. Since I've been cooking with a moderate amount of real fat (butter, olive and nut oils), my family and I have been eating more vegetables - they just taste better. I shop for ingredients not products. Yes we eat white bread, but it's wonderful chewy artisan bread that tastes great so one or two small slices is all you need to feel satisfied. I rarely eat fast food, junk food or candy now; not because I don't think I should, but because I've lost my taste for it. So if you want to relax, enjoy your food, lose weight and improve your health, I recommend that you buy this book.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2006
After reading the French DON"T DIET plan and being introduced to the concepts outlined in The Pathonline - a companion course - I enjoy eating even more than I did before, but I've also lost that elusive last 10 pounds while doing so. Dr. Clower's book and his philosophy behind The Path made it relatively painless and instead of making "food the enemy" he showed me how to make better choices in how I eat, prepare and buy food. Real food, I should say, as opposed to faux food.
This is where his book scores. I've always prided myself in knowing what I was ingesting, but Dr. Clower quite specifically shattered that illusion. He has a very thorough knowledge of the chemistry of the digestive system and the food industry but deftly combines that with a profound understanding of human behavior - the tricky part in wanting to diet.
What I like about his approach is that it doesn't put you in an adversarial position in relation to food - after all the book's title is headlined DON'T DIET so I don't think of it as a diet at all, just a more enjoyable and rewarding way to eat and live my life. The byproduct is I get a deeper satisfaction from my meals and don't need to eat as much, or as often. And so the flab falls away.
The book feels more like a conversation with someone who has thought through it all - going into specific detail on every aspect of eating with very simple, but well thought out suggestions. His style of presentation makes it an easy read and as a result I was able to digest the information quickly and put it into action. When I enter a grocery store or restaurant I am now an educated consumer. When I sit down to eat I am no longer a consumer - I view meals as time out from the world, a special treat to be savored, a gift for my body, as opposed to ingesting fuel for a race. Not only have I lost weight, but I lost my anxiety over the whole food thing - it's not that difficult, thanks to Dr Will.
I highly recommend this book.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2008
I read Dr.Clower's first book, "The Fat Fallacy" and while I loved the principles he put forth in that book, I had a hard time putting them into practice. I eventually fell back into my 'low-calorie' way of life and did a bit more yo-yo dieting for a few years. You know, gaining & losing those same 15 pounds can get pretty depressing after a while! I thought I'd look his information up again, and saw that this book was now available. I read it and it was exactly what I needed: a break-down of how to incorporate the "Fat Fallacy" principles in an American lifestyle. I still struggle with my mindset of wanting to rush the process of weight loss, eating whole fats is still a mental leap for me, but I have decided I'm not going to diet any more. Even if I gain a few pounds while I figure out how to enjoy my (wholesome!) food, I will take it in stride and simply adjust in the future. This is more than "what" to eat, it's HOW to eat, which is the missing element from all of the other diets I've tried. When I'm eating with other family members who are inhaling their food, I still find myself struggling to eat slowly and enjoy my food, but I know this is all a learning curve. With time it has gotten easier, and I know eventually it will simply be a way of life. I highly recommend this book as a new WAY of eating, not a 'how to reduce your calories to fit a certain equation' diet. Yes, there are foods that one shouldn't eat (junk food) but like other reviewers have mentioned, after you've been eating delicious, naturally occurring food, junk food just doesn't appeal to your palate!
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2006
If you're tired of trying diet after diet and ready to make a lifestyle change, this is a great book to read. While doing post-doctoral work in France, Dr. Clower noticed what seemed to be a paradox. The French were eating great food (bread, butter, cheese, chocolate) and were thin. Even better, he was eating like that and losing weight.
This book will take you through the Mediterranean lifestyle and how to apply it to a hectic American lifestyle. It outlines the great foods to eat along with how to go about eating the food (i.e. eating slower). The last section of the book takes you through some ways to reduce stress and ways to stay active that you will enjoy.
I highly recommend the book. It has given me great ideas that I have implemented, and I have seen the results.
124 of 150 people found the following review helpful
Taking full advantage of the popularity of Mireille Giuliano's "French Women Don't Get Fat" and other books that deify the French idea of chic, neuro-physiologist and PATH website founder, Will Clower again capitalizes on America's fascination with weight loss and the food-savvy French in his new volume, tellingly titled, "The French Don't Diet Plan: 10 Simple Steps to Stay Thin For Life."
As explained in his 2001 bestseller, "The French Fallacy", Will and his family spent two years in Lyon France where a real-time application of the French Paradox, which has supposedly baffled nutritionists for years, was experienced, observed and duly exemplified to formulate the basis for Clower's burgeoning real/slow food eating and dieting mini-kingdom. Clower and Co. followed a typically French regime of eating all the American dietary no-nos: full-fatted dairy, chocolate, wine, and sumptuously-sauced entrees and sides and discovered that instead of packing on the pounds as anticipated by all the leading nutritional experts, they actually shed excess weight while looking and feeling fabulous. Blame it on American ingenuity, but Clower delighted by the new freedom that he found as his waistline whittled down to haricot-vert size decided that adapting the French way of eating to life on the other side of the pond was well worth pursuing and voila: "The French Fallacy" was born accompanied by a website that sponsored an associated regime bolstered by weight loss suggestions and factoids.
Those of us who have contributed or participated in the site and the Yahoo and Marie Claire Message Boards pretty much know the drill by now. The "10 Simple Steps to Stay Thin for Life" have been reiterated, not nominally, but within vast discussions as the members struggled to create a methodology that followed the characteristic American-style macro-nutritional diet plan---specifically menus and recipes that would detail exactly the right pound-slimming intake of fats, carbs and proteins for each of the three meals. On his web site and now in his new book, Clower adamantly refutes the need for such gram-counting minutia, suggesting instead that adhering to his easy franco-specific tenets will ensure not only weight loss but good health down the line.
As propounded in "The Fat Fallacy", good eating, good health and optimal weight relies on feeding the body food---not the chemical miasma prepackaged in boxes by mega-corporations intent on sales where quantity outweighs quality. Obviously, since any engineered substance must not be ingested, the inverse, spectacularly prepared, organically grown seasonal foods are definitely allowed and encouraged to bring out the inner French food snobs in us all. Along this line, as one becomes more adept at discerning the different tastes and textures of `real' food, a body-protective sensitivity to low quality sweeteners (i.e., high fructose corn syrup) added to most processed food will manifest, happily disallowing such items to be `enjoyed' as they once were.
After restating `what the French eat', Clower moves on to the again familiar ground of `how they eat'. Here his tips includes the importance of eating slowly, thinking in smaller portion sizes, resisting the `toilet bowl' effect of washing down more food than necessary with gulps of beverage and eating only during appointed mealtimes (sorry, no snacking allowed.)
The remaining three steps suggest lifestyle changes a la Arbor's "Joie de Vivre" labor of love regarding his childhood reminiscences of eating in France. Way back when, those of us who are the sons and daughters of 20th century immigrants ate en famille, around an old-fashioned table, sans television, with no late night scheduling problems or the factoring in of too many individual activities. Controlling portions, eating slower and actually relaxing in the environment created are better realized when talking amongst family and friends. Along this line, Clower emphasizes the importance of stress relief and a large portion of laughter as a big part of our daily existence. People in France don't work out in gyms like we do, they choose something they absolutely love to do and then indulge accordingly. Finding that excuse to be outside, move our muscles and rejoice in being alive transports exercise to the realm of passion rather than the mundane necessity of ticking off another to-do item from the already fully encumbered daily list.
Clower's final chapters include recipes for fifty-one fabulous food substitutes, For example, making `Magic Chocolate Ganache' with wholesome ingredients like half and half, semisweet chocolate, butter and vanilla extract bans the faux food Hershey's Chocolate Syrup equivalent (Clower is pleased to list the chemical ingredients to this seemingly benign product as he did in "Fat Fallacy") from the mainstream American comfort food spectrum while crafting one with an alluring French panache.
One of the biggest problems I think people have had while attempting to implement Clower's ideas is the lack of specific menus that will jumpstart weight loss and prove that yes, eating good food in small quantities will work in the long run and stop the need for dieting forever. In this volume, Clower still refuses to suggest sample menus; instead he offers a template for breakfast, lunch and dinner with specific tips if you are in a hurry, on the road, eating in a restaurant or brown-bagging it. Personally, I think better food combinations need to be suggested; I only lost weigh after investigating different nutritional needs and trying them out on my body. Clower mentions the French love of dairy, but then not all his meals include dairy. Check out Jan Klauer's `How the Rich Stay Thin' for a more informative plan regarding this while using the same basic Mediterranean eating principles. Clower sanctions white artisan created bread, but why eat white when everyone knows whole grain is better? As in all diet books, many of his recipes seem to concentrate on dessert---that reward mentality is hard to put down even in a culture that worships the allure of the French---rather than the more important, (excuse the plebian term) `meat and potatoes' staples of dietary nutrition. The Sonoma Diet's power food inventory makes great suggestions on just what foods to eat and why. While using Clower's ideas explore and experiment with other dieting ideas to find your perfect fit.
Bottom line: Eat real food slowly. Small portions give you the taste and the nutrition. Laugh, love and enjoy life. If you have already received these messages loud and clear-it has been broadcast through many multi-national dieting megaphones---you already know pretty much what this book encompasses in 350+ pages. Buy it only if you haven't followed Clower's progress on the PATH and the various Internet Message Boards or if you want and need all the information at your fingertips. Ranked at three stars only because I already know. Up it to four if you don't.
Diana F, Von Behren
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2006
I confess. I'm a fan of Dr. Will Clower's, and I enjoyed his other book "The Fat Fallacy" as well as his web site about "The PATH" that is centered around the French way of eating. In fact, my testimonial is included in this latest book by Dr. Clower.
There really isn't a whole lot of new material in this book (except some more recipes) compared to "The Fat Fallacy"--it's just that Will does a better job of presenting exactly what needs to be done to adapt your eating habits to emulate the French style of eating.
And as observed by another reviewer, the French are indeed losing their battle against the bulge, as is most of the world. Even the Japanese with one of the lowest obesity rates on the planet, acknowledge increased obesity rates evident in their children.
So what's the answer? The sensible eating steps outlined in "The French Don't Diet Plan." Follow these simple and enjoyable steps, and you will lose weight and keep it off. This book is easy to understand, easy to follow, with a good selection of recipes in the back.
For us Americans bombarded with low-fat/no-fat ads and media hype, this book is hard to accept. You will want to argue and fight against the notion that eating regular food will actually be good for you. You must read ALL of the steps that include not just what to eat, but where, how and when to eat (and drink)! Incorporate the ideas found in this book, and you will be successful in losing weight and keeping it off. I've been plagued over the years with yo-yo dieting--losing weight only to gain even more back. I have now lost and kept my weight off for over 2 years! And it's all thanks to Dr. Clower and the French lifestyle.
This book is worth reading and following. I highly recommend it.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2006
Plainspoken truth, while not always palatable, is the best advice one can wish for. Dr. Clower is blunt, although in a humorous and empathetic way - we eat too much, we eat junk, and we eat like it's a calorie per second contest. With the national attention turning to miles per gallon once again, this book forces you to confront the damage that gluttony does to our health, and that less is more. How to do less while retaining the satiety that a full belly affords is the pressing question, and Dr. Clower delivers convincingly. This book has helped me trace the root cause of the frequent cravings I endure. I had accepted these cravings to a large extent as being a normal demand of an active lifestyle and constitution, but had not recognized it for what it truly was. The substitutes and proxies that pass for food in our supermarket/fast food world leave a void that the body's systems just do not accept. Dr. Clower analyzes this most eloquently, and points to a different path - one that reinforces a healthful return to making good eating a family experience and a lifelong habit. Absolutely nothing wrong with that!! Highly recommend this book.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2006
In the "Fat Fallacy" and now this new book Dr Clower encourages us to remove faux food from our diets and eat more slowly.
In my fast paced, PDA scheduled life, slowing down for a meal works well for the whole family. It's therapy for the mind and body.
With plenty of anecdotal humour Dr Clower leads us through his plan.
The toughest thing for us was purging our pantry. Seemingly healthy things were not. A lot of faux foods were throw away or given to our skinny neighbours.
So: is it a good read and does the plan work?
Yes and yes (so far)