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Taking care of yourself is essential to living the best life possible. And it's not just about the physical body, but also your inner being, or your soul, if you like. How you feel mentally has a huge impact on how you feel physically. And that's not just something I'm saying. It's been scientifically proven.
Stress in all forms and shapes affects our body. That's something I've experienced personally. I've been fighting a silent battle with PCS (Post Concussion Syndrome) for almost 20 years (you can read all about that in an article I've written). Stress is something I should avoid at all cost, but I haven't always managed to keep it away from my life.
But I've learned a lot over the last decade or so, and I've found techniques that have helped me live a better life in so many ways. Not only with PCS, but I've also gained wisdom that have made me look at life itself in a different way than before.
Like I said at the beginning, health and wellbeing is about more than the physical body, but physical activity does definitly also have an effect on your mental health. They're mutually important. Actually, I don't think you can have one without the other.
One year ago, I often woke up feeling completely exhausted, even after a whole night's sleep. So I tried not to have too many plans for the day, but take things more as they came.
My one determination, though, was to do my Yoga Burn Total Body Challenge routine. I had come across it on the internet, and ordered the program because yoga seemed to be a form of exercise that I would be able to do even though I had some health issues. So I started doing it every second day.
(I wrote an article about this back in May 2019. The article is called Why I Love To Do Yoga As Exercise, Even When I Have Zero Motivation, and is about my experience with The Yoga Burn Total Body Challenge, a great program created by Zoe Bray-Cotton. Please note that the link to the program is my personal affiliate link, so I may earn a small commission if you sign up for the program through my link, but at no extra cost to you, of course.)
In my first week, I found it invigorating and not too hard to commit to, so I actually believed that this was something I was going to stick with. (Unlike any other work-out or exercise routine that I'd tried in the past.)
The Yoga Burn Total Body Challenge is a 12 weeks' program, and I seriously thought I'd be able to see it through. The benefits were obvious: Better over-all physical condition, better health, better ME!
Hopefully, I'd even lose some weight and get a more toned, lean and strong body, which was very high up on my list of short- (and long-) term goals, and still is.
It was something I definitely considered to be a part of my Freedom Journey, because to me, freedom is also feeling free in my body. Feeling comfortable in my own skin. Even though I know my body is quite satisfactory the way it is, I still have a strong desire to lose some weight and get a leaner and stronger body, like the one I used to have before. Simply because the way I am now, doesn't feel like me.
I was always lean and strong in my younger days, even after 2 child-births, - but then 20 years ago I had an accident. I got a head injury which then caused PCS (Post Concussion Syndrome) as I mentioned at the beginning of this article. It set me back physically and got me into a downward spiral with less exercise and gain of weight.
When I slowly started to come back to normal, I decided to try and find some kind of exercise that I could do. It wasn't easy, though.
I tried jogging for a while, and I'd always liked running, so I was very motivated when I soon experienced some positive results. But I did my jogging mainly in the streets, on hard surfaces, and this eventually took a toll on my knees, so I had to stop.
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Then I tried following a work-out program with Jillian Michaels, the "30 Day Shred" program, and I really enjoyed that and quickly saw results. To this day, I actually do parts of that program now and then, but not on a consistent basis.
Then I tried the Yoga Burn Total Body Challenge, which I actually followed for quite a long time ... and then I quit that, too. But mind you: That had nothing to do with the program itself, because to this day I truly believe that it's a great program and that anybody who is able to stick with it, will benefit from it!
Problems with following routines
That's just been the story of my life ever since I gained weight. I've had a tendency to fall back into old habits after a few weeks and haven't been able to stick to any program long-term. As much as I enjoy them - and I do, really! - I just can't seem to stick with them.
This has frustrated me immensly and has made me mad at myself more often than I care to think about. Why the heck has it been so hard for me to follow through?
I've been thinking about this a lot, and my conclusion is that I'm just the kind of person who doesn't like to follow routines. I need variation, and I need exercising to not feel like an obligation or some extra task that I have to fit into my schedule. I need it to come naturally.
That's why the solution for me has been to not follow one specific program or routine, but go back to the lifestyle I had when I was in my twenties, which was the French lifestyle.
I've always been a Francophile, and when I was in my teens and early twenties, I was highly influenced by my French friend, whom I met when I was 14 years old. After watching her and her mom and the way they lived, and also visiting France and really get a first-hand experience with the French lifestyle, - I started following the same routines when I came back home. (I've written an article about this before: Why I swear by the French lifestyle.)
Just to recap a little: Back then, I was physically active all the time, without even thinking about it. I had fun with friends. I ate everything I wanted to without putting on weight. I enjoyed food. I walked a lot, played with my young nieces and nephews, played badminton with family and friends in the summer, and I went everywhere on my bike, because I didn't have a car (or even a driving licence) at the time.
I was lean, strong and fit. Life was more or less stress-free. I had no heavy responsibilities in my life. Well, I had my concerns, but they were mostly manageable. I had a good life, most of the time.
But then things started to happen, and everything changed, slowly but surely. I eventually found myself in a situation where keeping up my former lifestyle became more and more difficult. So much so that over the years, I slowly fell into habits that were not at all healthy for me, and it became more and more difficult to turn things around.
I've written at length about that in earlier articles, so I won't repeat any of that here. Let me just say that after a few decades where I've been struggling with PCS (Post Concussion Syndrome) and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), which lead to less physical activity and resulted in me putting on weight and slowly experiencing more and more health issues because of that, - well, it's fair to say that I've learned a lot about the connection between mental and physical health.
Well, I've known for many years now that I had to reverse this situation, and I've tried so many things in order to do just that, - like some of the activities I've mentioned above. But the results have not been significant enough to really change my life for the better. I mean: The results haven't been visible. At least not as visible as I'd like them to be. Mainly because I haven't been able to stick with the routines.
That's why I've returned to the French lifestyle, and now, very slowly, I'm beginning to see results. I've lost a few pounds and a few inches around my waist, and - best of all: I'm feeling less stressed out.
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So what have I done?
# 1) I've gone back to incorporating exercise into my daily routines, rather than making it an extra task that I have to do, which (as mentioned above) I've never been able to stick to for more than a few weeks at the most.
# 2) I do follow some of the programs I mentioned now and then, because I really love them, and they're perfect for the kind of variation I need in my life to keep things from getting boring, - but I no longer beat myself up about not being able to stick with one program over many weeks.
# 3) I've started to enjoy my meals more, to sit down and eat and not just grab a bite "on the go".
# 4) I eat smaller portions and stop when I'm full, instead of over-eating.
# 5) I try to get enough sleep.
# 6) I drink more water.
# 7) I make sure that I take time to do things that I enjoy, like reading,
watching a movie, spend quality time with family and friends.
# 8) I listen to motivational podcasts, talk nicely to myself and remind myself that I'm good enough just the way I am.
# 9) I take time to think about the things I'm grateful for in my life.
# 10) I try to savor each moment and not constantly rush to some new thing on my "to do" list.
# 11) In fact, I try not to have a long "to do list"! Just a few things each day that I want to get done.
# 12) I have (more or less) stopped being a people-pleaser and have started
making ME a priority.
# 13) I have started to declutter my life, physically and mentally, and make more room for the things I really want.
Less attachement to things.
Less house-work and constant tidying up, which means less on my "to do" list.
More purpose to my days.
Visible (positive) changes to my body (mostly to myself so far, but I know others will notice them, too, in a little while).
The list goes on.
This has been transformational for me in so many ways.
That's why I'm on a mission to share my experiences with the French lifestyle with as many women as possible.
That's why I want to impress on you the importance of taking care of yourself first, before taking care of everyone else.
Taking care of your health is so important. And your mental health is actually the most important thing, because it will have a direct influence on your physical health as well.
So tell yourself that you are enough.
Tell yourself that you are just as important as anybody else in your life, and that you need to put YOU time on your schedule and not just make everybody else's "needs" a priority.
Tell yourself that your dreams are important.
Tell yourself that there is nothing you can't do, be or have.
Tell yourself that there's nothing you have to do. You have a choice, every single minute of every day. Do what's important to you, right there and then.
And do things that make you happy. Every single day.
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Sometimes we rush through our days without noticing the things around us. We do our daily routines, and we take so many things for granted:
The alarm clock that wakes us up at the right time. The coffee machine in our kitchen that makes us delicious coffee every morning, or the toaster that lets us enjoy crispy toast with our favourite jam.
The pleasant music on the radio. The clothes we put on. Our favorite shoes. The nice elderly woman next door who always greets us with a "good morning!" when we pass her.
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There are so many moments in every day of our life that just pass us by and that we never really think about. That's really sad.
Because our life is those moments. The tiny bits and pieces that are unnoticeably woven into what becomes our own unique tapestry. Many of us experience similar things, but for each and every one of us everything is a little bit different than for the next person.
So today I want to remind you of the importance of savoring each moment of your life.
A moment passes by so quickly and will never come back. And if you're mostly living your life on a schedule and feel stressed out and discontent, I think you really need to stop for a minute and think about what you're doing.
Is this how you want your life to be? Always running from one thing to the next?
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I bet you don't.
Do you feel like you're in a rut, and you don't really know how you got here?
So did I.
But I came to a point where I just knew that this couldn't go on any longer. So I decided to do something about it.
By taking the time to really sit down and reflect upon my situation, and by being completely honest with myself, I managed to figure out what worked for me and what didn't, and I found a method for how I could bring more happiness and satisfaction into my life right away.
Because we often seem to think that our happiness lies somewhere in the distant future. "When I find a new job ... get a new house ....earn more money .... manage to save up for that vacation ... THEN I'll be happy!"
But this is a dangerous attitude. Because we have no guarantee of the future. We only know about this moment. Right here. Right now. That's all we have for certain.
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Happiness is right here, where you are.
It's in the sound of your favorite pen when it runs across the paper. It's in the touch of the soft fur of a dog. It's in your neighbour's cheerful "Good morning!" In the smell of fresh coffee. The taste of chocholate.
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It's in all those little moments during the day that you're often so unaware of. You're so busy that you don't notice all the good things right in front of your nose.
So today I suggest that you stop in your track for a moment and look around you. What do you see? What do you smell?
Really take it in. Look for the details.
I'm sure that when you take a few minutes away from your busy schedule and your long to-do list, you'll start noticing more of the things you really appreciate. Decide that you want more of them in your life. Cherish them!
One method you can use to bring more happiness into your life on a daily basis, is to create a Gratitude Journal. Write down 3 things every morning that you're grateful for, and 3 more things every night before you go to bed. I'm sure you can find something to be grateful for!
It could be things like "I'm grateful for my children." "I'm grateful for my comfortable bed." "I'm grateful that I get to have another day." Anything you can think of. Small things. Big things.
If you have an over-all feeling of stress and unhappiness in your life right now, creating a Gratitude Journal for yourself can prove to be life-changing.
It's amazing how those few lines that you write down in the morning can set the athmosphere for the rest of the day, and how the lines at bedtime can give you a peaceful rest during the night. Try it!
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Another way you can bring more happiness into your life is to go through all the letters in the alphabeth and see what things pop up in your mind, things that you enjoy.
For example the letter A: Maybe you like apples? Amaryllis? Alaska? You get the picture. Focus on one letter at a time, and see how many things you can find on that letter that you enjoy. Then move on to B. And so on.
This will help you become more aware of the things that you are truly grateful for, and you will notice that your mood will shift and your whole life will seem brighter.
There are so many things to be grateful for, every single day. Sometimes it sure doesn't seem that way, because we might be so worried or stressed out about something that we forget everything else.
But then it's more important than ever that you stop in your track and ask yourself: What matters most? Are the things I'm worrying about really worthwhile? Am I wasting time on something that doesn't really matter in the long run? Could I just throw it away and enjoy this moment?
More often than not you will probably find that all your worries are really just a waste of time. If you decide to let go of the things that don't really matter to you and the things you can't do anything about anyway, you'll find that your life will be less stressful and more filled with happiness.
Trust me. I know!
This was my tip for today.
I hope that this has inspired you to become more aware of all the small pleasures in life, - the things that are right under your nose, and that you'll decide to start living with more intention from now and bring more happiness into your life.
If this is something you feel you need to learn more about, I want to draw your attention to my FREE 5 day course which will start on 6th July. In other words: It's just around the corner!
You still have time to sign up, and I suggest you do so today!
Hope to see you there!
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Have you ever watched the movie "Runaway Bride" with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere? Well, I have, and I just love that movie!
There are several reasons for why I love it so much: I love Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, I love romantic comedies, and I love that there's always something to learn from the story.
In this particular movie, I learned the importance of knowing what you want. I learned that it's important to do things because you love doing them, and not just because you want to please someone else or avoid hurting their feelings.
Still, that's very often what we end up doing: We do certain things because we don't want to look bad in someone else's eyes, even if we hate doing it or at least don't really enjoy it. Maybe you can relate?
Maybe you agree to go on a hike in the mountains even when you don't feel like it. Maybe you say yes to helping people out every time they ask, even if they never do things for you in return. Maybe you always let your friends choose the movie, even if their taste in films is very different from yours. But you never say anything because you don’t want any drama or conflict.
Being a people-pleaser
If this sounds like you, you should stop that. Seriously. It will make you ill.
"But what if the other person gets offended or hurt if I refuse to oblige them on things that are important to them? Shouldn't I just sacrifice my own needs to make that other person feel good?" you might ask.
Well, I'm not saying that there aren't occasions where we should absolutely do that. If someone is having a difficult time, maybe you can help them by putting your own feelings aside for a little while.
And sometimes we all have to compromise. But what I’m talking about is not that. What I’m saying is that you shouldn’t always do that. You can’t always do what everyone else wants you to do.
We're not doing anybody any favor by being totally self-effacing. Not in the long run. We're definitly not doing ourselves any favor by it, and - believe it or not: We're actually just as important as any other person!
You see: I have first-hand experience with this. I used to be like that. More often than not, I felt that I had to say yes to things when I really wanted to say no, and it didn't make me feel happy. In the long run, I will go so far as to claim that it actually made me ill. At least it definitly wasn't healthy.
My point is: you’re not helping anyone by being a people-pleaser.
“I would never end up like this …”
Take Maggie Carpenter in the movie "Runaway Bride": She was so eager to please her boyfriend and "be a good sport", that she was willing to go along with any of his plans, whether it was leisure activities, what they should eat for dinner, - or whatever - even if she didn't really like the things he suggested.
It wasn't until her wedding day that she realized that this wasn't what she really wanted, and ended up leaving the groom at the altar - three times.
Of course, this is the extreme version of people-pleasing. You and I probably wouldn't take it that far before realizing that a relationship or a situation isn't right for us, and that we have to take our own true feelings into consideration .... Or would we??
Let me give you some examples of how I became a people-pleaser, and see if you can relate:
How do we end up as people-pleasers?
I don’t know what your childhood was like, or what you’ve experienced in life. But I grew up in the 1960s and '70s in a small town, in a Christian family. My parents were the best parents you could wish for, but they were very religious and brought me up according to their beliefs.
Because of when and where I grew up, and my family's religious beliefs, there were a lot of activities I felt I couldn’t participate in. It wasn't what was "proper".
Because I didn't want to stir up emotions or create conflict and drama, I ended up just trying to please my parents and my peers and not pursue other interests. I kept it all inside, but I felt bad about it and thought that I was probably not a "good Christian".
I felt that I should try my best to make my parents happy and just do what I thought they'd approve of. So that's what I did. I became a people-pleaser.
In addition, I’ve always hated conflict.
Ever since I was a little girl, I've had a highly developed conscience and I was always in complete agony if I did anything I shouldn't or had even the most innocent argument with my best friend.
If we had words and fell out, I would torment myself for hours with guilt, and could be seen paving the street back and forth outside my friend's house until her father told her to go outside and put me out of my misery and become friends with me again.
She told me this just recently, and I just had to laugh when I heard it, because it was quite typical for how I was back then. I never knew, though, that her father could read me so accuratly and actually told her to go out and talk to me.
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So with me hating conflict and not wanting to disappoint my parents, I did a lot of people pleasing.
Not just as a child, but as an adult too
And I was like this for many, many years, even after becoming an adult.
Even when I was in my late twenties I felt guilty if I did something I thought my parents wouldn't approve of if they had known, like drinking wine or going to the movies. It was crazy!
I understood that I had to change this, because I couldn't go on living my life just to please others, - or be restricted in what I could do or not do because of some misunderstood obligation to my family or religion or someone else.
Because it was misunderstood. Nobody expected or wanted me to behave like that. It was just the little girl in me, the one who didn't want to upset or hurt anyone, that sort of sat on my shoulder and whispered in my ears all the time.
Just like Maggie Carpenter in "Runaway Bride" I had to address each issue and find out what MY opinion was. Did I think that drinking wine was a sin? No! It might not be good for me to consume large amounts of alcohol, but then I never did, so what was the problem? I decided that I liked red wine, and that it was perfectly OK for me to drink some as long as I felt that I was in control.
And did I think that going to a movie theater was a sin? No! I love watching movies, and there are so many good ones out there!
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How always putting everyone else first is self-effacing
Little by little, I started to get out of that destructive pattern of always considering what others would think before I said or did something. I had to work hard on myself to not feel guilty about following my own heart, but I gradually got better and better at it.
But I guess it had been a part of my life for so many years and sort of had become second nature to me, that getting rid of this behavior completely was really, really hard for me. It actually went on for many, many years, - decades, actually. Even after I got married and had kids.
I just didn't feel good about drama and conflict, so I tried to avoid it by being "nice" and put an end to any discussion or bad feelings.
But over the years, it made me feel resentful towards some of the people closest to me, because this pattern of behavior told them that I would accept things if they just stood their ground, so this happened again and again.
I said yes to doing them favors or go along with whatever they wanted to do, even when I'd rather do something else. And they didn't consciously try to manipulate me, either, - they just had more confidence and didn't have any problem with doing what they wanted to do, so that's what they did, and I accepted it.
Over the years, this made me feel more and more bad about myself and my life, and - like I said - it made me feel resentful towards some of the people close to me, because I felt that things mostly went their way and not mine, and that I was somehow being manipulated, even though that was nobody's intention.
I knew that it was really up to me to teach others what I would or would not accept, and that hey couldn't possibly know what I preferred if I never spoke up about it. So of course they did what they thought was best, and never gave it a second thought as long as I never protested. So it was really my own fault.
I knew I couldn't go on like this anymore.
I felt that I had somehow lost myself over the years, and I had felt for so many years that I needed to be someone other than who I really was, in order to be accepted or liked, - even wrongfully so.
This made me feel really bad. I knew something had to change, and as time went by, I became more and more aware of that.
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A life-altering experience
Then, in 2008, something happened that made me realize this to the fullest. I won't go into details about it, but let me just say that I went on a bus journey, and during that trip I had a travel companion who was 20 years younger than me.
We had so much in common, even the same kind of humour, so we laughed and talked and I felt that I could be completely myself all the time without feeling that I embarrassed anyone with it.
When I came home from that trip, I felt different. I felt that I had become more confident about who I was, and that I was actually completely OK when I was just being ME. There was nothing wrong with me at all.
I was just different from some of the people I had around me, and I needed to let them see it if were to have the good life that I knew I should and could have. I had to start being unapologetically ME. No more excuses for that!
From then on, I started searching for ways to manage this change inside. I searched for tools that could help me navigate new waters, navigate myself into a new future where I could live in alignment with who I was.
The power of saying no
That's when I came across some books about how our thoughts create our reality, and as soon as I started reading, I knew that it was true. It resonated with something deep inside of me, something I'd always known, but kind of had forgotten about. And I realized that to live in alignment with who I truly was, I had to find out what was really important to me.
I had to be honest with myself. Dig deep and find out what it was that gave me joy. What did I truly love? What would I do if I could do anything in the whole world? And I had to learn to say NO to other people when they asked me to do things I didn't really want to do. I had to stop being a people-pleaser. Set some boundaries.
I also had to learn how to silence or shut down the negative chat-box in my head. The voice that was constantly talking myself down and taking away my confidence. Because that was something that was deeply rooted in me: My ability to excuse everybody else and beat myself up whenever there was a situation of conflict in my life.
So I did the work. I started analyzing everything in my life. I got clear on what I truly wanted and what was right for ME. And I learned that to be happy, I actually have to choose it. Happiness is a choice.
What happened after that "awakening" on the trip in 2008 is a long story. It's a process that's been going on for over a decade now, a process that has lead to big changes in my life.
The short version is that I got divorced, moved to a new town, started a new life. And my personal inner journey has continued to this day, and will probably never end.
It hasn't been easy, but I'm feeling happier, more fulfilled and more in alignment with myself than I've ever been. I know what I want. I know who I am.
I haven't managed to stop being a people-pleaser all together, - I guess that went on for so many years that it became almost second nature to me, so getting rid of it completely has been hard, - but at least I've reached a point where I correct myself quickly when I notice that I'm back on that path, and I do it with more and more success every time.
Stop being a people-pleaser and start living the life you want
Being aware of these things is a big step in the right direction, and also knowing that I don't have to please everybody else or be the one to make excuses for my opinions or my behavior all the time.
And you don't have to, either. In fact, you shouldn't. You might end up losing yourself and not knowing who you are anymore. I hope my story has convinced you of that.
You need to teach people how to treat you. Set some boundaries, and be clear about them.
You don't have to become aggressive about it. Just start showing others what you truly want, or what you can or cannot accept, and do it in a gentle way.
Find ways to show them that you're no longer willing to be treated like a door-mat.
You can do this!
If you've been a people-pleaser for a long time, you'll probably find it hard to change, but start training NOW. Little by little, you'll make it.
Learn more about living the good life in my course
If you want to know more about how you can stop being a people-pleaser and start living more in alignment with who you are and live with intention, you don't want to miss out on the FREE course that I'm currently creating.
If you want to know more about it, sign up today, and you'll be among the first to get access to more information as soon as it's ready. It won't be long now!
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I originally started on a different article that I had intended to post here on my blog, but that was before the coronavirus affected us all. All of a sudden, the world as we know it completely changed. The freedom that so many of us took for granted, the opportunities that were everywhere, seem to have vanished overnight. Many people are in a panic state of mind, and maybe you're one of them. You worry - about getting seriously ill, about whether or not you'll have enough food to get by, about your job, about your economy ...
There's no doubt about it: These are challenging times. Many industries are seriously affected by this, especially the travel industry, - and businesses might have to shut down permanently as a result of the situation. People may lose their jobs, and thereby their main income, if the quarantine situation has to go on for weeks and months ahead. Of course you're worried!
And of course we must take this seriously. We must all do what we can to reduce the risk of this becoming a long-time situation. We must follow the instructions that the health authorities give us, and stay away from personal contact with other people as much as we can. Home quarantine is necessary in this situation, and we all have to accept that.
If you have a family, staying at home for weeks and maybe even months, can be a real challenge. Kids and parents alike need positive things to do, and at the same time, you all need time and space as individuals. Some alone-time. Depending on your living conditions, this can be a challenge and really take a toll on all of you. There's no question about that. And in this particular situation, which is different from anything we've experienced in times of peace, - FEAR is a big factor that needs to be addressed.
FEAR is something that feels very real for all of us. We all have fears. But if you think of FEAR as "False Evidence Appearing Real", you may have a chance of breaking through them.
Life has always been uncertain
If you think about your life up until now, you might be of the opinion that you've never really been afraid or had any real danger in your life before now. Truth is: You've been surrounded by danger all your life, on a daily basis. Even before the Coronavirus outbreak, the world has always been uncertain.
Just think about it: You've never been able to know for certain what the next minute, hour, day, month or year would bring. At any time in your life, there's been a possibility that you could learn that someone you love has just died, or you could have a car accident, or be diagnosed with a disease, or lose your job.
That's a fact.
Uncertainty has always been there. You just haven't thought about it on a daily basis. Because ... that's life, isn't it? If we were to think about all the potential threats all the time, we wouldn't be able to function. So we create stories about our life that serve us better. We plan for tomorrow, for next week, for our next holiday, like we would live forever. And that's good. That's normal. That's our survival mechanisms, and they usually work very well.
So even if the situation around the Coronavirus is somewhat out of the ordinary, there's really no more uncertainty in this world now than what there's always been and always will be. This, too, shall pass.
I hope this can help you put it all into perspective. FEAR is part of life itself.
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Feed you mind with positive insights and strategies
Even the people who seem most courageous, have fear. You see: Courage is not absence of fear, but mastery of it. This means that we can all learn to master our fear. Because the fear is really all in our mind.
"Fear itself is a creation of your mind. It does not exist independently.
Since it is a fabrication, you don’t have to fight it. Just understand it. Understanding is the key to freedom." - The Ancient Sage
Your brain is wired to keep you safe.
Tony Robbins says that a good way to fight fear, is to read. "Feed your mind with strategies and tools that you can use. You can't hope that good ideas will drop from the sky and come to you. Good ideas must be pursued."
And if you make it a habit to read a little every day, - and especially if you choose to read books that you can learn something from, - you will soon find that you'll gain wisdom and insights that can change your life and help you see things in a more positive light. Knowledge makes you feel less afraid. Fear disappears.
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Also be aware of what your outer environment is feeding you. Reduce the time you spend reading or listening to negative news, or listening to negative thoughts of people around you, however well-meaning they might be. They may have good intentions, like keeping you safe from harm, but they can also limit you and create fear in you. Like Tony Robbins says: "Stand guard at the door of your mind! Because what's getting in there is shaping you."
So if you really want to feel happy and fulfilled and overcome fear, feeding your mind with positive insights and strategies is the #1 tool. If you don't really like to read books, you can listen to books instead. There are lots of Apps for this nowadays, and I won't promote any particular app here, but Amazon Kindle, Audible, Goodreads and Storytel are some of them if you need a few names to get you started.
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This is a good time to audit your life
If your life up until this point has been dominated by stress and worries and a feeling of not having the life that you really want, this time of home quarantine can actually turn out to be a blessing in disguise for you, because now you've actually got a wonderful opportunity to take stock of where you are in life and create a new beginning for yourself.
Instead of focusing on your fear and worrying about what might happen in this pandemic situation, I suggest that you sit back and take a good look at your life. Find a nice place to sit, light a candle, brew yourself a nice cup of tea ... whatever you need to do to feel good and relaxed, and make sure you're not disturbed for a while. If you're on your own, mute your phone and close down social media and other distractions, and then just sit there quietly for a while and try to calm your mind.
First, if you're struggling, remember these things:
1) You've survived every difficulty you've experienced so far.
2) The best day of your life is still to come - and it will.
3) There are still people you haven't met, places you haven't seen and
things you haven't done, but rest assured: You will experience them all.
This, too, shall pass.
Then ask yourself these questions (and you might want to write this down in a journal or notebook to bring more clarity):
1) Where am I in my life right now? What's my situation?
2) Why am I not happy with the way may life is?
3) How do I want my life to be instead? What do I want it to look like?
What would make me really happy?
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Start living with intention by changing one thing at a time
Just reflect upon these few questions for now. A total life audit might take a little more time, and to not get overwhelmed by it, I suggest you just start with getting clarity around these important questions. Because to be able to plan for the future and start living with intention, you first need to know what your starting point is. Sounds reasonable, right?
Then, when you've gained this clarity, I suggest that - as a first step towards living with intention - you make a decision about ONE thing that you're not satisfied with the way it is now, and that you intend to change on a daily basis. ONE thing that you can change right now, while you're in confinement in your home. You can do this! It doesn't have to be hard. Actually, it might even turn out to be FUN!
Changing a habit isn't done from one day to another. Statistics have shown that we need 90 days to do that. That's why you should try not to make too many changes at the same time, but stick to changing ONE before you move on to the next. And make it do-able. Especially if it's a rather BIG change. Then you might need to break it down into smaller steps and do one step at a time until you've managed to change the thing you had in mind.
For example: If you need to change your financial situation, lose weight or work on your marriage, you will of course need to make small changes over a period of time. But once you've gained clarity about what the change need to be, you've already started moving in the right direction and have every possibility of accomplishing what you really want.
I've written several articles earlier about how you should trust your inner GPS, how your thoughts create your reality, why mind control is important, what you should do to start managing your money in a better way, and about goalsetting, just to mention a few. I suggest you click on the links and read them as well. I think you might find them useful. And while you're at it, I suggest you scroll down and read some more articles, now that you have plenty of time on your hands to start filling your mind with things that can help you live with intention.
This is your time. Use it to your benefit! This can be the best day and the best time of the rest of your life.
See you soon, I hope! We're all in this together!
If you liked this blog post, feel free to leave a comment below and maybe share it with someone else that you think might enjoy it, too.
I also invite you to join my tribe, The Sisterhood of Female Life Designers, which is absolutely FREE, of course! When you do, you'll get instant access to The Female Life Designer's Manifesto, which can help you get right on track to living your life with intention. Join today! I'll be delighted to get to know you!
Picture from GoodReads
I don't really know which came first: My love for books or my love for everything French. All I know is that I've been equally passionate about both since my early childhood, and the combination of the two is simply perfect, in my opinion.
When I discovered the local library at the age of 11 or 12 and understood that I could go there and borrow ANY book for free, I felt like a whole new world opened up to me. To walk among the bookshelves, take in the smell of the books, touch them and read their titles in golden print, and enjoy the silence of the place, the serenity ... that was - and still is - one of my favorite activities in this world. I will never get tired of it.
The library is like a treasure chest, full of diamonds just waiting to be discovered. I've found so many gems there over the years, and I've brought them home with so much anticipation and joy, and seldom - if ever - have I been disappointed.
That's how I disovered Pierre Magnan. I was an adult then, and I think it must have been in the early 90's. When I saw those books sitting there on the library shelf, his name immediately caught my attention, since it was unmistakenly French. That alone was enough to catch my interest, and when I took a closer look at the books and found out that they were crime stories, set in Provence, I knew that I just had to read them. I borrowed all of them at once, and could hardly wait to get home and start reading.
Thrilling detective stories from Provence
I wasn't disappointed. The books I read were the ones that were translated into Norwegian at that point, and whose original titles are Le sang des Atrides (1976), Le Commissaire dans la truffière (1978), and Le secret des Andrônes (1982). The main charachter of the books is Commissaire Laviolette, who is a Detective Inspector in Alpes-des-Haute-Provence. The stories are exciting, the charachters quirky and intriguing, and the books describe perfectly the taste, smell and feeling of Provence. I simply loved them from the moment I started reading!
I've later discovered that several of the books have been adpated for cinema and TV, and you can catch a glimpse of some of them on YouTube. My next project will be to seek out and watch all of them!
HPhotos from Goodreads.com
Who was Pierre Magnan?
Pierre Magnan was a bestselling Frenh author of detective novels, born on September 19th 1922 in Manosque, France. He died on April 28th 2012, aged 89. He went to school in Manosque until the age of 12, and from the age of 13 until he was 20, he worked as a typographer. He started writing at the age of 15, and was greatly influenced by another famous writer from Manosque, Jean Giono, to whom he later dedicated a book.
During World War II, he had to go into hiding in Saint-Pierre d'Allevard in Isère, to escape the service du travail obligatoire. He later joined the French resistance for the rest of the war. In Saint-Pierre d'Allevard, he met Thyde Monnier, a well-known female writer, and finally took the courage to show her some of his writing. She persuaded her editor to publish Pierre's first novel, L'aube insolite, in 1946. It wasn't a great success, but he followed up with 3 more novels, which were equally unsuccessful. He kept on writing, though, and to earn a living, he worked for a transport company, where he stayed for 27 years. He wrote a number of novels during those years, but none of them were published.
Finally, in 1976, he got his break-through with the book Le Sang des Atrides, for which he even obtained Le Prix du Quai des Orfèvres in 1978. At the age of 56, his new career opened up in front of him, and a number of books followed. He wrote more than 30 books altogether, and has been translated into 7 languages.
His most famous book is La maison assassinée, which he wrote in 1984, and for which he obtained le Prix RTL grand public. This book has also been made into a movie, like so many others of his novels. The stories about Commissaire Laviolette have also been adapted for television. You may say that Commissaire Laviolette is just as linked to "the land of lavender" - Provence - as Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse was to the colleges of Oxford.
Pierre Magnan won several awards for his writing. According to Goodreads.com, he was never afraid to experiment, and shifted easily from fiction to non-fiction. For example, he wrote (among many other publications) a gentle portrait of his great influencer Jean Giono - Pour Saluer Giono (1990), a study of Provençal novels (Les Romans de ma Provence, 1998) and two volumes of memoirs. In The Essence of Provence (1998) he followed L'Occitaine from roadside soap stand to globally known brand, and his editor at Robert Laffont, Marie-Laure Goumet, has said that Provence was present in all of Pierre Magnan's books.
Pierre Magnan lived in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, in Fourcalquier, all his life. In his last years, he devoted himself to another police novel, called Chronique d'un château hanté, in which the story takes place in Manosque and Fourcalquier in a period stretching from la peste noire (1349-1350) up to the present time. It was published by Denoël in 2008, and was followed by a last book about Commissaire Laviolette, Élégie pour Laviolette, in 2010.
Photos from Goodreads.com
Novels by Pierre Magnan:
As mentioned above, his novels have been translated into 7 languages, and the English titles are (as far as I know): The Murdered House, Beyond the Grave, The Messengers of Death, and Death in the Truffle Wood. You can find most of his books on amazon.com, including both his fiction and non-fiction works.
For a complete list of all of Pierre Magnan's work, check out this French Wikipedia article. It also contains a filmography of his work, which I myself find very interesting. I simply love a good crime story, whether in a book or on film, and the works of Pierre Magnan is something I take a particular interest in.
I hope you've found this blog post interesting! You're most welcome to leave a comment below, and I also hope you'll share the article with someone else.
Look out for my next article in this series about my favorite authors from Provence, which will be about Marcel Pagnol.
If you want to make sure you don't miss out on any of my blog posts or news about upcoming events, sign up for my newsletter TODAY!
Thank you for your interest in my blog, and I hope to see you again soon!
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A new year, and even a new decade, has just begun. It's the time of year when a lot of people make New Year resolutions, because it seems like a good idea. You know: Fresh start, and all that ... Fair enough. We all need that from time to time.
The thing is, by mid-February most of us have already fallen off the wagon. We can't keep it up. It got too overwhelming. Too complicated. Too ambitious. Too ...... whatever. Fill in the blank.
The stats about New Year resolutions and managing to create lasting change from them, are actually rather grim. A study by the Journal of Clinical Pshychology showed that 54 % of people fail to keep it up past six months. And do you know what? Most people even make the same resolutions 10 times without success! Ten times! That's rather sad, don't you think?
Why does this happen, over and over again?
I think there are at least 2 reasons for that:
# 1) We are stuck in habits that we've had for so long that they've become second nature to us, and changing them simply isn't done over night or even in a few weeks. Changing habits actually takes at least 90 days if you want to make them stick, according to scientific research.
# 2) We make the New Year resolutions only in our mind, and that's where we keep them. We don't share them with anyone, because we're afraid we might fail, and that would make us look bad. And then of course that's exactly what we do. Fail, I mean.
Photo by Jonathan Andrew from Pexels
So screw those New Year resolutions, and try something else this year! Are you with me? Good! Let's dive right in and look at ....
3 SIMPLE THINGS YOU SHOULD DO INSTEAD
What I'm going to suggest here doesn't have to be difficult at all. The strategies are actually quite simple, but very few people use them, and therefor very few people get the results that they want. But if you follow the strategies that I'm going to give you, you'll probably be one of the people who do get the results that you want this year and who will succeed in creating a lasting positive change in your life.
Here are the strategies:
# 1 ) Write your goals down
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Did you know that you're 42 % more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down? That's what dr. Gail Matthews, professor of Pshychology at the Dominican University of California, discovered when she did a study on goal setting.
The reason why I mention dr. Matthew's study is that you may otherwise think that I've only made this strategy up in my mind, and since you don't know me, why should you listen to me? Because it almost seems too easy, right? And it is easy! Yet hardly anybody does this! I think that's rather sad.
So write down your goals. It does seem pretty basic, but I can assure you: Most things in life aren't necessarily hard to do. We just have a tendency to make them a lot more complicated than they need to be, because we think that's the way it's supposed to be! So we don't do them!
Maybe you've been taught this when you were younger, that "life is hard", and this belief got rooted in you and made you struggle a lot more than necessary. But you can change that. In other words: It's a choice you can make from this day forward. Tell yourself that life is easy! And then write down your goals, and believe that you'll actually achieve them.
When you write down your goals, don't just do it once and then leave it in your notebook or wherever you write them. I actually suggest that you write down your goals every day. Several times! Even if you don't think it will work. Heck, especially then! Because this isn't some kind of supersticion or whoo-whoo thing. It's about focus. Setting goals and writing them down every day will help you really focus on them. That's what makes it more likely that you'll succeed this time.
For example: If one of your goals is to be a successful writer, you could write down "I'm a successful writer" in your notebook, every single day, preferably several times. To make it even more powerful, you could also read it out loud to yourself, and put some emotion behind it.
I suggest you get yourself a pretty notebook (either buy one or make one) and a good pen, which will make it even more enjoyable for you to do this. And when something feels enjoyable, you'll want to keep doing it. Right?
Now let's move on to the next strategy.
# 2) Make a schedule for when, where and how you'll take action
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Scheduling time for focusing on your goals on a regular basis, and preferably daily, can be the one thing that will guarantee your success.
This has also been subject to research. A study on goal setting and motivation made by social pshychologist dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson, showed that deciding in advance where and when you're going to take specific actions to reach your goals, can double or even triple your chances for success. Those are pretty good stats, don't you think?
So make it part of your "me time" every single day. Find a nice place where you can be undisturbed and really focus on what you want. And set a fixed day and time when you'll do it.
Let's say you've decided that one of your big goals for this year is that you're going to start living "the French way", because you love evertyhing French and you think that's a lifestyle that will be good for you, but you don't know how to get started. So your first goal should probably be to find out as much about that lifestyle as possible, and then your second goal could be to start implementing what you learn on a daily basis.
This is something that can feel less tangible than many other goals, so scheduling this will be really valuable. Writing down you goals, and then actually making time for them in your calendar and sticking to them, n'importe quoi (aka "no matter what!") - will make it so much more likely for you to reach your goals.
Let's say your goal #1 is "Learning about the French lifestyle".
Schedule a time in your calendar for when you'll actually do this. It could be once a day, twice a week ... early in the morning ... at 5 in the afternoon ... whatever you think will work for you. But remember: Don't set yourself up for failure! Make it doable. Ten minutes a day (or even per week) is easier to do than one hour. In other words: Short time periods ensures that you'll follow through and that you'll be able to celebrate wins instead of feeling disappointed in yourself on a regular basis. But I repeat: make sure you schedule a day and a time.
For example, if we break it down to smaller action steps, it could look like this: If you've decided to follow my blog about the French Lifestyle and want to make sure you get my weekly updates, a wise thing to do would be to schedule a time in your calendar every Monday, since that's when I'm publishing new blog posts. This would be your when, and also part of your how. You could also decide that your how would be to read my blog, sign up for my newsletter, join my tribe ... In other words: Take actions that would actually help you learn as much about the French lifestyle as possible and at the same time even help you with your goal # 2: Start implementing what you learn on a daily basis. I would also advise you to follow other blogs on the topic, but it would be wise to focus on just a few to begin with, to avoid overwhelm. Simplicity is always the best strategy!
Then write down where you'll take action. Will it be in your own home? Will it be in a special room? Will you need access to the Internet?
This was just an example, of course.
Depending on your specific goals, where you'll take action could be anywhere from your home to a gym, the seaside, a coffee-shop, a youth-club ... as long as it's a place where you're likely to actually take the action that you need to take in order to reach your goal(s).
Another thing I suggest that you do, is to also make a plan for what you'll do if something happens that could make it difficult for you to stick to your schedule. In other words: A sort of contingency plan, which means that you plan for problems that can occur, or setbacks that you know are likely to happen and that can throw you off track. The better you prepare, the more likely you are to succeed.
Now let's look at the last strategy, which is:
# 3) Tell someone / get an accountability partner
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This one is really powerful! Again, studies have been made on this, and this is what they've found: You actually have a 65 % chance of reaching your goals if you commit to someone. So give updates on your actions to a friend or someone else that you trust and find supportive! And guess what: The same study established that you if you actually have an accountability appointment with that person on a regular basis, say once every fortnight or every month (or every week, which I'd strongly suggest!), - this can increase your chances of success by up to 95 %! Isn't that fantastic!??
And you don't have to make this complicated. You could just make an agreement with your friend that you'll send each other a text message or email (or whatever), say every Friday at a certain time, just to report status quo. It doesn't have to be long, just a few words. That's it. No big deal! But when you think of the stats, - that your chances for success will increase by a whooping 95 % ...! Well, I'd say those few words once a week are worth it, - won't you?
Last, but not least, I will strongly advise that you also - when setting your goals for this year - write down WHY you want to set those goals. This will make your reasons for taking action and following through, even stronger.
Recap of the strategies, and today's Call To Action:
#1) Write down your goals for this year (and WHY you make them)
#2) Schedule when, where and how you'll take action
#3) Tell someone / get an accountability partner
If your goal for this year is to learn more about the French lifestyle and start implementing it in your life on a daily basis, I strongly suggest that you include following my blog in your strategy #2, because I’m on a mission to share everything I know about the French Lifestyle with you and make sure we both live with as much joie de vivre as humanly possible!
We’ll study and go deep into all aspects of «the French way of living», for sure. But slowly, with ease and elegance. Effortlessly! Comme une femme francaise! I’m looking forward to getting to know you, and help you on your way to achieving your goals!
If you're new to my blog and if the French Lifestyle is what interests you, here's a list of some of my previous blog posts:
Why I Swear By The French Lifestyle
12 Ways You Can Become Slim & Chic Like A French Woman Without Even Breaking A Sweat
8 Reasons Why The French Don't Diet, And Why You Don't Have To, Either
And if you'd like to make sure you don't miss any of my posts about the French Lifestyle in the future, sign up for my Newsletter!
Another great way to make sure you achieve your goal, is to join my tribe, The Sisterhood of Female Life Designers. When you do, you'll get instant access to the printable check-list 12 Ways You Can Become Slim & Chic Like A French Woman Without Even Breaking A Sweat, which can put you on the right track to achieving some of your goals and dreams!
If you enjoyed this blog post, feel free to leave a comment below and even share this with someone else who might enjoy it, too!
À bientôt! (aka "See You Soon!")
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January 9th 2020
I regret to say that I haven't been following up my Yoga Burn routine since last August, and I have no other excuse than the fact that I have a general problem with following up on any fixed exercise regime, because I prefer incorporating exercise in my daily routines instead.
That's something I find so much easier! I'm all for simplicity and living a healthy lifestyle that I don't have to think about all the time, because that's what feels natural to me.
That's why I swear by the French lifestyle. It's all about simplicity and joie de vivre, and that is what I want: A stress-free, simple and joyful life!
The French Lifestyle is like that. That's why I write about it so much. I believe it's something that can be life-changing for so many people - YOU included.
I will, however, let you know about any progress I make with the Yoga Burn Total Body Challenge in the future, because I haven't given up on it completely.
I do believe that if I at some point decide to take up a daily exercise routine again, in addition to my daily walking etc. - it will very likely be the Yoga Burn Total Body Challenge.
So stay tuned, and do check it out for yourself if you're interested, because it will probably do you a ton of good!
You can get it through my affilate link: Yoga Burn Total Body Challenge. This will take you to a page where you can also choose from a whole bundle of other Yoga Programs, if you want to check out what suits you best.
If you buy any of the Yoga programs through my affiliate link, I will get a small commission of your purchase, but this will be at no extra cost for you, of course.
Even though my Yoga Burn Total Body Challenge has come to an end right now, I hope you'll still follow my blog and read more about any knowledge and experience I share with you about yoga or any other activity that I believe is beneficial for your health and wellbeing.
If you want to be a part of my tribe, The Sisterhood of Female Life Designers, I'd love to see you there! When you sign up (which is totally FREE, of course!), you'll get immediate access to The Female Life Designer's Manifesto, which will help you start living your life with more intention!
You'll also get access to a closed Facebook page where you can communicate with other members of the Sisterhood of Female Life Designers and share any thoughts or questions you might have about intentional living and The French Lifestyle.
Why not join right now?
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In my previous blog post, I promised I’d come back to how French women act around food and why most of them are so slim.
You do want to know, right?
Because if you look around you in a crowd when you’re in France, it’s very unlikely that you’ll see any obese or even mildly overweight people.
Why is that?
Well, here are 8 of the reasons:
# 1) Food is a lifestyle
In France, food is seen as a pleasure and an art, not just something you eat to avoid hunger and make sure your body gets what it needs every day.
The French have a lifestyle that allows moderation and pleasure to walk hand-in-hand. It’s how they’ve been raised, and it’s how they stay healthy and live life in general.
In fact: No food is off limit for most French women. One reason is that they make sure they get enouogh exercise on a daily basis. They’re constantly on the move, making their daily routine part of their exercise. They walk everywhere, climb the stairs, and so on, - like I wrote in my previous blog post (link).
That’s why going to the gym simply isn’t something they do a lot. If they do, they seldom go more often than twice a week, and definitely not to get ripped. It’s because they’ve found an activity they enjoy, and because they know they’ll feel good afterwards.
Another reason is that deprivation, negative feelings toward food, cutting out entire food groups, or eating factory-made products, just isn’t a French woman’s style. It’s never about deprivation or absolutes. It’s about being smart with choices and quantities, and it’s about eating healthy and also exercising on a regular basis.
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# 2) They get food education from an early age
The French learn from an early age to appreciate fine food and to be proud of their nation’s food traditions. The children learn that meal times are regular, no snacking between meals, and that sweets and sugary cakes are for special occasions only.
This instills healthy eating habits from an early age.
They also learn to eat what the adults eat, and to finish what’s on their plate. This encourages them to try new foods and not be «picky» about what they eat. This is also why you don’t find any «Children’s menu» in French restaurants.
# 3) The Government supports healthy eating
Even in schools, healthy lunches are a priority in France. The French government makes a serious effort to ensure that children are getting proper nutrition. Therefor, three-course, balanced meals are the standard in school canteens, and candy-bars have been removed and replaced with fresh fruits.
Photo by Dana Tentis from Pexels
# 4) Three or four meals a day and no snacking between meals
The French normally have 3 meals a day, and generally don’t eat between these fixed meals. The 3 main meals are breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Usually the breakfast is something light, like a croissant or slice of bread with butter and jam, and a bowl of café au lait. It’s also worth noting that bread in France normally have no sugar added and is therefor usually healthier than bread types you get in many other countries.
Lunch is considered the main meal during the day, and can last up to 2 hours. It consists of several courses: Starter, main dish and dessert. Not the kind of dessert you normally think of, though, like a pudding. Dessert to a French woman normally means fresh fruit.
There’s usually no snacking between meals, but kids who arrive from school in the afternoons eat some bread with jam paired with a glass of milk. This afternoon snack is known as le goûter, according to www.talkinfrench.com .
Then there’s dinner in the evening, normally around 7:30 pm. This meal also normally consists of 3-4 courses, but can sometimes be a lighter meal than lunch.
# 5) Fresh produce – no processed food
The French stick to their traditional eating habits, and frankly: There’s a lot to learn from them. Like the fact that they generally …
The climate in France makes it possible for a wide array of high-quality ingredients to be produced. Everything is freshly picked and cooked to perfection.
This means that the French generally eat «real» unprocessed food and less low-fat, sugar-free and fat-free versions (which are often actually full of artificial sweeteners and other ingredients that are not good for you).
Photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels
Meat is often the center piece in French meals.
Vegetables – the freshest and the ripest – are carefully picked and prepared. These are then cooked into side dishes or as part of the main course.
Cheese is among the things the French can’t live without. It’s always served as a part of a meal, right after the main course and before the dessert.
Bread is common in most meals, especially breakfast and dinner. There’s a wide variety of breads in France, but the baguette is probably the one most frequently used.
Although there are several supermarkets in France, especially in larger cities, offering many imported varieties of food and ready-made meals, - the farmer’s markets are still popular. Traditional French cuisine relies on fresh fruit, vegetables and meat, and the average French person still sticks to the traditional way of preparing food.
Young people may be more open to Anglo influences and be more frequent users of the American fast-food chains that have invaded France in the last decade or so. But the traditional French eating habits live on, and you’ll probably still find most of the fast-food restaurants more or less empty between the official meal times, even though they’re more likely to have longer opening hours than French restaurants and in that way are more available to the public.
Of course, France is a popular tourist destination, and also have many citizens originating from other parts of the world, so the supermarkets and fast-food chains do serve their purpose and have their regular customers. But the average French person still prefers to do their grocery shopping at the local butcher’s, boulangerie and farmer’s market, where they get fresh food.
# 6) They take time to enjoy the food
Another healthy habit is that French people don’t eat «on the go». They sit down at a table, preferrably with family or friends, and enjoy the before-mentioned 3-course meal.
This doesn’t mean that they eat a lot, though. They generally serve smaller portions of each dish and sit longer at the table. As mentioned earlier, lunch is the most important meal in France, and can typically last up to 2 hours. This is because the French really savor the moment, enjoy the food and the company of friends and family, which naturally allows proper digestion.
They also take plenty of time between each dish, which also ensures that they know when they’re full and therefor don’t over-eat.
Because cooking is considered an art in France, and the ingredients are carefully picked, the dishes are usually full of the right nutrients that satiate hunger and maintain proper metabolism.
Photo by Adrienn from Pexels
# 7) They drink a lot of water
Unlike what you might think, the French often drink water with meals. But of course they do also like some red or white wine, but then they stick to one glass or two small glasses, and not a whole bottle of it. In France, you also rarely see a pint of beer or bottles of soda or other sugary drinks on the table at meals.
# 8) Eating attitude
Unlike people from many other countries, the French actually listen to their bodies when they eat, and will therefor feel when they’re full. They say, “Ca va, je n’ai plus faim” (meaning «I’m good»), and then they stop eating. Many other nationalities would stop eating only when the food is all gone, but as long as there is still food on the plate, they will continue to eat.
Those are the 8 main reasons the French women don’t diet and also generally don’t get fat.
Of course, there are no rules without exceptions, but the French lifestyle is absolutely one we could all learn from. For me, it’s the ultimate thing. Depriving myself of food that I like, or shaming myself for not going to the gym or doing heavy work-outs on a general basis, is not for me.
I’m living the French lifestyle now, and so can YOU.
I want to enjoy my life, and the general attitude of slowing down and savoring each moment, is absolutely something that appeals to me and also seems wise. I’ve had enough stress in my life, and it hasn’t done me any good.
I used to live «the French way» in my twenties, and that was the healthiest I’ve ever been. So when I found my way back to that after many years of living a different lifestyle, - a lifestyle where I was struggling with stress and putting on weight, - it was such a relief!
So how about you?
Are you sick of struggling with weight-loss and diets? Do you feel that strickt work-out regimes haven’t paid off for you? Do you feel that your life is full of stress and that you’re sort of running on a hamster’s wheel and not getting anywhere?
Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com from Pexels
If so, I really suggest that you consider adopting the French way of living.
Even if you don’t live in France, it’s not difficult at all. It’s a way of living, an attitude towards life, that you can incorporate wherever you are.
Why not start right now?
Here’s how you can do that:
Having a community of likeminded women to support you and share your thoughts with, is absolutely GOLD! And it’s FUN! So join today!
When you join, you’ll also get a downloadable version of The Female Life Designer’s Manifesto, which is a great way of getting into «the French way» of living right away!
And this is just the beginning!
If you really want to learn more about the French lifestyle, I’m on a mission to share everything I know with you and make sure we both live with as much joie de vivre as humanly possible!
We’ll study and go deep into all aspects of «the French way of living», for sure. But slowly, with ease and elegance. Effortlessly! Comme une femme francaise! I’m looking forward to getting to know you!
If you enjoyed this blog post, feel free to leave a comment below and even share this with someone else who might enjoy it, too!
Why is it that French women never seem to get fat? Have you ever wondered how they can be surrounded by all that delicious food and wine and still not put on weight? It doesn't seem fair ...!
Do they exercise like crazy at the gym every week?
Non. Absolument pas! In fact, you don't find many gyms in France compared to other countries. It hasn't been as popular with the French to "sweat out" in a gym, although there has been a certain development in this area in the last 15 years or so.
The French traditionally prefer sports, like football (soccer), tennis and cycling. Among women, I'd say tennis and walking are the more popular activities. If a French woman goes to a gym on a regular basis, she doesn't really talk about it, and she definitly wouldn't be seen on the streets in a gym outfit! Jamais de la vie!
Do they eat only green salads and deprive themselves of cakes and other delicacies?
Nope. In fact, they eat cakes with great pleasure!
So what's the secret!?
If you've ever wondered about this and want to be like those French women, I would think that you're just as eager to find out as I was ....
Well, today is the day to rejoice, because I'm on a mission to tell you everything I know about the French Lifestyle! Not just because I'm a "Francophile" who have had a fascination for everything French since my childhood, - the language, the food, the style ... the "joie de vivre" that the French are so good at ... - but because I truly believe that the French life-style can be life-changing for you, just as it's been for me.
However, telling you everything in one blog post is practically impossible, because there's so much to be said about the French way of living. The best way to really take it all in, is to digest it the way the French digest their food: Slowly, really enjoying the meal, savoring the moment. But I'll go deeper into that in a later blog post, - I promise!
Today, I'll be focusing on telling you how you can become slim and chic like a French woman without even breaking a sweat.
Photo by bruce mars from Pexels
So here's how you can do that:
# 1) Develop a positive body image and stop
following the trends.
This is at the top of my list for a reason. In today's world we hear and read daily about weight-loss and dieting. Magazines show us pictures of what "the perfect body" should look like, what the latest fashion trend is, and why it's a "must" for anybody who wants to be "à la mode" ...
A French woman couldn't care less about this. She knows that her worth as a woman doesn't depend on how much she weighs or whether she follows the latest fashion trends or not. She knows that the most important thing is how you feel about yourself, and that you learn how to "play with what you've got" and wear clothes that look good on YOU, in shape and color. Your clothing should bring out your best features and be of good quality.
So a French woman has a very relaxed body image. She doesn't complain about her body or comment on whether she's thin or fat. She just doesn't give it much thought. Just as the French have a positive attitude toward eating, they have a positive attitude toward the body and fitness.
And remember: less stress is one of the keys to losing weight, or at least to stop gaining more of it.
# 2) Slow down and enjoy every moment.
I won't claim that all French women are completely relaxed and never show any signs of stress. Paris in particular can be very stressful for a working woman, so I guess you may find some examples of stressed women there. But in general, French women have an attitude towards life that is very laid-back and uncomplicated, and they seem to have understood the importance of savoring each moment.
For example, they always sit down to have a meal, - or even if they only intend to have a drink. You wouldn't see a French woman walking on the street with a hamburger in one hand and a bottle of soda in the other. Jamais de la vie! She would go and sit down in a café or restaurant and take her time to really enjoy the food or her cup of coffee, or whatever she's having.
And meal-times at home are holy. You won't see a French family stand at the kitchen counter and eat "on the go". They sit down at the table and enjoy the food. Digest it slowly. Have a relaxed conversation together. And they eat small portions and stop before they're too full. They take their time to feel satisfied by the food.
And it's like that with any activity, really. French women are in the moment and not just rushing through or thinking about what's coming up next. When they're with friends, they sit down and have a real conversation. If they're doing an activity together, they engage in it.
You get the picture. There's so much to gain by adopting the French woman's way of doing things. So from this day forward, I suggest you start savoring every moment of every day. Take notice of your surroundings. Talk to people. Sit down and relax, and just BE.
And what does this have to do with becoming slim and chic?
Remember: Stress can make you gain weight, so slowing down and being more present in the moment will have a great impact on how you digest your food and the effect it will have on your body.
# 3) Incorporate exercise into every aspect of your daily routine.
Exercise is good for you. There's no doubt about that. But you don't have to spend thousands on a membership at the local gym and torture yourself through an hour-long hard work-out routine 3 times a week to get enough of it. In fact: Spending an hour at the gym may do your body more harm than good if it’s not an exercise you like, or you don’t have the right technique.
20-30 minutes of daily exercise can have a far better effect in the long run, and it's also much easier to incorporate and therefor more likely that you'll actually see it through.
So instead of going to the gym, do like the French woman: Make your daily routine an exercise. When you wake up in the morning, stretch your body a little bit. If it appeals to you and you have the time: Go for a brisk walk around the block. And if you don't have the time (because you're going to work), or you simply don't feel like it early in the morning, just incorporate more walking throughout the day.
# 4) Park further away.
If you need your car in order to get you to work on time, at least park further away and make sure you get that quick walk every morning and afternoon. If you go by public transport, get off at a different stop so you get a few minutes longer to walk.
# 5) Walk the stairs.
If you live or work in a building with several floors, walk the stairs instead of using the elevator. If there is no elevator, - so much the better! Then you don't have a choice, and you already have a certain amount of daily exercise in your life. If you don't feel that's enough, you can always walk the stairs an extra time up and down, or run them.
Photo by Agung Pandit Wiguna from Pexels
# 6) Make shopping part of your exercise.
Depending on where you live, you can walk to more than one store to buy your groceries. This is not only good for your legs, but can be good for your arms, too, if you don't carry too much.
If that's what you have a tendency to do and therefor always go by car to do your grocery shopping, do it like a French woman instead: Bring a trolley bag to put the groceries in, plan your shopping beforehand and stick to your list. In this way, you get more exercise AND you prevent unhealthy shopping habits. Two good things in one, that will help you to become slim and chic like a French woman!
If there's a market where you live, buy your food there instead of going to the supermarket. Fresh food is always better, and good quality meals that are prepared from scratch are much to be preferred to ready-made meals that you just heat in the microwave. A French woman would prefer to buy her food at the market, whenever possible.
It's also much more enjoyable to have that personal contact with the vendors. Take your time and chat with them. It will be good for your social networking, your mood, your stress level and maybe even your wallet, if your friendship with a vendor happens to give you the occational discount.
# 7) Explore your neighborhood.
Of course, if you live in a big city, exploring your neighborhood is rather easy. There will always be some place you haven't seen yet. But if you're living in a smaller place, it can be a bit more challenging to find somewhere new to explore. However, it's not impossible.
Try to be creative about it, and really use your eyes when you're out and about. You might find a tiny new shop, or maybe you'll discover a path through the woods that you haven't noticed before.
Make it an adventure. And why not extend what you call your neighborhood a little bit further out of "your zone"?
If you don't normally go to the library, - do that. And walk there, or go on your bike, so you get the intended exercise. I'm sure you can think of more things along the same line.
# 8) Create an active challenge for yourself every day.
Tailor this to your everyday needs. If there's an elevator in your building, challenge yourself to walk the stairs if you normally use the elevator.
Or challenge yourself to walk for at least 10 minutes, even if you don't feel like it.
# 9) Make your household chores into an exercise.
-Do the cleaning yourself, instead of hiring someone. Try speed-cleaning a
a little bit every day to keep your home looking presentable. Give yourself
a time limit, like 10 minutes, and put on some motivational music while
you're doing it. Really go for it. Scrub, push, straighten... whatever it is
you need to get done.
- Dance or make lunges while you do the hoovering.
- Do squats when polishing or dusting legs of chairs and tables.
- Wash the toilet in an energetic way.
- Change the beds more often.
- Use your hands and arms when you prepare food, if possible, instead of
always using kitchen appliances....
... and so on. If you do this, you'll burn calories and keep your house looking great at the same time. Try to make the experience as pleasurable as possible. Put on a lovely apron or some colorful rubber gloves. You get the picture.
Little by little you'll get leaner, stronger and fitter, simply by doing your daily routines.
# 10) Make your leisure time more active.
In today's society it can really be a challenge to stay away from your mobile phone or your computer and not constantly check your social media, play games, etc., - or just lie on the sofa and binge-watch TV-series while eating potato chips or some other "goodies". Because we CAN.
A French woman wouldn't do that. She'd prefer to be active. She'd go out, meet friends, socialize, go for a stroll along the river, visit an art gallery or a museum (where she'd be walking around, of course), go to the library ... that sort of things.
Even socializing at a café, which might sound like a less active way of spending time, is - I can assure you - much better than sitting around the house and just spend time on social media. At least going to a café means that you have to get out of the house and probably walk a certain distance to get there, and you'll be spending time with real people - friends! - which will be ten times better for your overall wellbeing.
But even if you should prefer to stay at home, you'd be doing yourself a favor if you'd spend more of your time either reading a book, working on a creative project (like sewing, arts & crafts, painting...), or having a good conversation with a friend or family member, rather than just checking your social media and eating potato chips.
You don't see the difference? Well, even if all of those activities are being executed sitting down, I do believe that the kind of activities I mentioned will do your heart and soul far more good than getting bombarded with all kinds of news - good or bad - on social media, - some of which aren't even true and might just make you feel bad or inadequate, - and spending your time on more creative activities will also lower your stress level and make you feel more fulfilled.
The French woman has understood this. She'd much prefer taking an active part in something, whether it's reading a book that will stimulate her intellect or her emotions, having a conversation with another human being, or taking part in some physical or creative activity that will do her good in other ways, - rather than sitting passively around, doing nothing.
I'm not saying that "just sitting around" is a thing you should avoid at all cost. Sometimes it's absolutely necessary to relax completely and do nothing.
What I'm saying is that on a general basis, being active in some way will benefit you more, and especially if your aim is to be slim and have a stimulating and happy life together with the people you love. So I suggest that you try to make your leisure time at least a little bit more active, if sitting or lying on the sofa every night is what you tend to do at the moment.
Photo by ELEVATE from Pexels
# 11) Dance!
This is another great way to exercise. You don't need to be a pro, and you can do it in the comfort of your own home, without anybody watching (if that's what you prefer). You can incorporate it into your domestic work, or dedicate 10 minutes to it now and then. It's up to you.
# 12) Do leg-lifts or some other exercise while
Do 12 leg-lifts while watching TV, or do a "90 degrees" challenge against a wall for a certain amount of minutes (If you don't know what that is, it means sitting in a 90 degree angle against a wall. I promise you that you'll feel the burn within a short time!). Or do the plank for 1 minute... or some other exercise.
You get the idea. There are so many things you can do while you're being passively entertained in some way or other. Find something that you find inspiring. Come up with your own unique challenge.
If you incorporate these 12 rules in your daily life, I feel confident that before you know it, you'll be slim & chic like a French woman, without even breaking a sweat!
If you want to have the 12 rules easily at hand, you can download this printable version.
And if you want to learn more about how you can live «the French way», I’ll be more than happy to teach you step by step how you can make it happen! Even if you don’t live in France, it’s not difficult at all. It’s a way of living, an attitude towards life, that you can incorporate wherever you are.
Why not start right now?
#1) Print out the 12 rules of «12 Ways You Can Become Slim & Chic Like A French Woman Without Even Breaking A Sweat», and start with #1 TODAY!
# 2) Join my community of Female Life Designers!
Having a community of likeminded women to support you and share your thoughts with, is absolutely GOLD! So join today!
When you join, you’ll get a downloadable version of The Female Life Designer’s Manifesto, which is a great way of getting into «the French way» of living right away!
You'll also get access to our closed Facebook group where you can get to know other members, share your thoughts and take part in ongoing conversations, and also be a part of the show whenever I do a Facebook live, etc.
And this is just the beginning!
We will study and go deep into all aspects of living «the French lifestyle», for sure. But slowly, with ease and elegance. Effortlessly! Comme une femme francaise!
If you enjoyed this blog post, feel free to leave a comment below and share it with someone else who might enjoy it, too!
I've always been what you may call a "Francophile", which means that I've always been drawn to everything French: The language, the food, the culture, the style ... the "joie de vivre" that the French are so good at.
I don’t really know why I got this fascination to begin with. I guess I just heard the French language and fell in love with it, and then I watched some French TV-series and movies and read more about France in various books, and for some reason the French way of living just appealed to me more than anything else, and I dreamed of living there.
MY INTRODUCTION TO THE FRENCH LIFE-STYLE
And then I got a French friend. I was 14 years old at the time, and a French girl came to my hometown during the summer holidays to visit her father, who was working in Norway at the time. She came with her mother and younger brother, and by chance we met and became friends.
At 14 she already had more style than any Norwegian girl I knew (including myself). Her mother was effortlessly elegant and relaxed, and very down to earth.
They were living examples of all that I wanted to be. They were not trying to live up to anybody's expectations or pretended to be something they were not. They were just confident in their own skin and wanted everything in life to be of good quality, whether it was food, clothing or spare time activities.
I learned a lot from my French friend. I observed her and her mother in their day-to-day activities, - the way they talked, the way they conducted themselves. And I knew I wanted to be more like them.
They only stayed for 2 brief summer months, but we kept in touch through frequent letters, and this contributed greatly to my knowledge of the French language, which I'll be forever grateful for.
My longing for France didn't exactly diminish with this experience. I felt so drawn to the French lifestyle, because it seemed to be the perfect fit for me and my personality.
I waited for many years before I was able to get myself to France to see my dear friend Brigitte again and be able to breathe in the French air at last!
When I was 24, my friend was getting married and invited me to her wedding. Quelle joie! I could tell you a lot about that trip, and I'll come back to that later, but long story short: The 2 weeks I spent there rooted France firmly in my heart forever.
Going back home after that trip felt strange, as if life had just played me a trick. As much as I love my country, I felt like I had finally gotten a glimpse of Heaven, only to be rejected at the gate. The French lifestyle had gotten under my skin, and I knew I’d go back some day.
I guess my friendship with Brigitte and the atmosphere I had sucked in during my visit to her country, influenced me in such a profound way that I had gradually adopted a French attitude to life. At least the "French light" version. It had become a natural part of who I was and the way I lived.
So how exactly did I live «the French lifestyle»?
- I had a very relaxed attitude towards life.
- I had confidence in myself and my own capabilities.
- I had a positive body image.
- I enjoyed good food.
- I exercised without really thinking about it.
- I had a great social life, with lots of friends around me.
- There was plenty of fun and laughter, and social activities
like going to a café, the movies or a concert.
- I engaged in great conversations with my friends.
- I was very active.
- I engaged in activities that stimulated my intelligence (like reading).
- I engaged in creative activities, especially writing and Arts & Crafts.
- I sang in a choir and listened to music a lot.
In short: I really, really enjoyed my life!
And I was slim! Effortlessly. I didn't have to think about it at all! No dieting. No strict exercise regimes. No depriving myself of good food. No stress!
I WAS A SLIM (AND QUITE CHIC) WOMAN
When I was in my twenties, I never had to think twice about what I put into my mouth. I was always slim, n'importe quoi! I enjoyed moving my body and did a lot of walking, running, cycling, skiing, hiking, etc.
In short: I was very active. I had a flat stomach, and I was in the best shape of my life. I had no trouble finding clothes that fit me perfectly, and going shopping was fun and exciting!
I actually had a great style at that time. I knew which colors and shapes looked good on me, and I enjoyed finding clothes that not 9 out of 10 other girls were wearing.
Looking back now, to my life the way it was in my twenties, I can see that I really lived "the French way" back then.
So what happened?
Well, I guess LIFE happened. Somewhere along the way, things slowly changed. After a few wonderful and happy years back in my hometown, our group of friends dissolved. One by one we moved on.
Some went away to start a higher education; some left because they got a new job. Others left because they wanted to go back home.
Soon, I felt that it was time for me to move on, too. I wanted to go to college, like so many others.
This naturally meant a change of environment, and the next year was in many ways quite challenging for me. I went through a period where I felt very lonely and suddenly lost all confidence in myself, and other issues became more pressing than keeping up the French lifestyle.
However, things did improve. I found new friends and had a much better time, but I had in some ways lost myself along the way, and I felt that I had to try and blend in with the people around me.
This feeling got rather rooted in me, and the next years of my life was more about blending in than being true to the person I felt that I was deep inside, and it became harder for me to live the way I really wanted.
I guess I wasn't confident enough to "stand my ground", so to speak. So I blended in and tried not to provoke anyone. The "French lifestyle" sizzled away...
And after college I got a job. Met a man. Got married. Got 2 wonderful kids. In short: I had a good life in many ways, and looking back on it now, I wouldn't have been without those years. They gave me some of the best experiences in my life, first of all giving birth to and raising 2 great children, who to this very day are my pride and joy.
And all these years, I was slim. I even stayed slim after I'd given birth to 2 kids, and of course I was very pleased with that.
But then, just as I turned 40, something happened that made me gain almost 20 kilos of weight.
FROM SLIM AND CHIC TO THE NOT QUITE SO CHARMING VERSION OF ME.
So what was it that suddenly made me gain this weight?
Well, I had an accident. I got a head injury.
Now, you wouldn't immediately think that an incident like that would make me gain weight. But the fact is that the accident had physical consequences that forced me to be less active for a while, because of heavy migraine, dizziness and other symptoms.
If you want to learn more, I’ve written about it all in my article “Coming Out Of The Closet With PCS. Could You Possibly Have It Too?”
But the biggest consequence was the stress. The stress around not being able to live the way I'd always lived: Physically active and enjoying life.
Slowly, without even noticing it at first, I started putting on weight.
Have you ever experienced that, - how things slowly change over time, without you noticing it?
Well, that happened to me, and after a while, I realized that I had become overweight. Not obese, but I definitly wasn't slim anymore!
It was devastating to me! I suddenly didn't like the woman staring back at me in the mirror anymore. I started to cover myself up in baggy clothes to hide my tummy, and I didn't even realize that it just made me look even bigger.
I didn't like to be photographed anymore. I didn't like to shop for clothes. I didn't enjoy eating the way I did before.
I was constantly thinking about the fact that I had become a version of me that I didn't like. And it really, really stressed me out.
This went on for years, until I realized that I couldn't go on like that. I wanted my life back! That's when I came across several books that helped me shift my thinking.
I realized that I was good enough just the way I was, but I also learned that it was all up to me to make the changes I needed in my life.
I've written and talked quite a lot about mindset and how your thoughts create your reality, so I won't repeat that here right now. Let me just say that I started to make some changes that slowly put me back on track, back to the woman I wanted to be. And the main shift was changing my thoughts.
Many years had passed at this point, and I was no longer consciously thinking about "the French lifestyle". I just knew that I wasn't living in accordance with who I really was, anymore. And that had to change.
FINDING MY WAY BACK
I've spent almost 2 decades sort of fighting my way back to a "normal" life after the head injury. But in so many ways I've been happier this last decade than I was for quite a few years, because I learned how to shift my thinking and understood that I had to start living in accordance with who I really am again.
But for a long time, I wasn’t really sure how I could do that. I felt sort of restless and a little bit "out of place", and I wasn't quite able to establish WHY. I’ve had a vision of what I want, and I've been moving towards that, little by little, but I've been searching for MY way.
And then, suddenly, I had an epiphany:
"I have to go back to living the French lifestyle again!"
Suddenly everything fell back in place for me. My mood instantly got a boost!
I need to go back to living «the French lifestyle» again because that’s the lifestyle that has always felt natural to me and my personality. That’s the way I lived in my twenties, and that’s when I felt good in my skin and was at my healthiest in every way.
So that’s what I’m doing.
Even though I’m not living in France, I’m finding ways to live «the French lifestyle» where I am, and it’s not difficult at all.
And I want to teach other women "the French lifestyle", too. I want to teach YOU how to live "comme une francaise". Because I truly believe it can be life-changing for you, as it has been for me.
I hereby declare:
From this day forward, my focus will be on
sharing with you everything I know about
the French lifestyle,
and make sure we both live with as much "joie de vivre"
as humanly possible!
So if you want to learn more about how you can live «the French way», I’ll be more than happy to teach you step by step how you can make it happen! Even if you don’t live in France, it’s not difficult at all. It’s a way of living, an attitude towards life, that you can incorporate wherever you are.
Why not start right now?
- Sign up for my newsletter so you don't miss out on future blog posts
about the French Lifestyle!
- Make sure you don't miss out on my next blog post: "12 Ways You Can Become Slim & Chic Like A French Woman Without Even Breaking A Sweat»!
- Join my community The Sisterhood of Female Life Designers on Facebook!
Having a community of likeminded women to support you
and share your thoughts with, is absolutely GOLD! So join today!
When you join, you’ll get a downloadable version of The Female Life Designer’s Manifesto, which is a great way of getting into «the French way» of living right away!
And this is just the beginning!
We will study and go deep into all aspects of living «the French lifestyle», for sure. But slowly, with ease and elegance. Effortlessly! Comme une femme francaise!
If you enjoyed this blog post, feel free to leave a comment below and share it with someone else who might enjoy it, too!