#211 Fight That Fat!
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Boy, those French: They have a
different word for everything!

Steve Martin

Why You Might Be Losing the Battle of the Bulge

By Monica Ciociola

Who do you blame when your best-laid diet plans go awry? There are obvious culprits like the 36-billion-dollar-a-year food industry that pushes us to eat more, eat on the go, and try all sorts of pseudofoods probably unrecognizable to our grandparents. Then there are the more elusive saboteurs. Here are 5 ways to spot the signs of diet sabotage and avoid them!

  1. You think that working out every day entitles you to eat as much as you want. Sorry but it doesn't work like that. In your haste to pop in the Turbo Jam® DVDs, you may have missed the Turbo Jam fitness and nutrition guide. Now would be a good time to crack open the book to the "Diet" section. You'll be happy to learn that eating it up "Turbo Style" doesn't mean giving up the foods you love. For more helpful eating tips and online diet tools like Beachbody's popular Michi's Ladder, visit TeamBeachbody.com.

  2. You dropped 10 pounds in your first week and can't wait for your next Fatburger. While it's great to reward yourself for a job well done, if your ultimate goal is to lose weight, a place like "Fatburger" probably isn't the best choice. Instead, how about heading to the spa for a day of beauty or indulging in one of these not-so-naughty, under-200-calorie treats.

  3. You hit your goal weight and now you're feeling a little cocky. If you start to rest on your laurels and go back to your pre-Beachbody eating habits of pizza, fries, and soda, the pounds are bound to come right back. To really lose the weight for good, you'll need to change your eating habits and embrace a healthier lifestyle. The Message Boards are a great place to find the support you need to lead a fitter, healthier lifestyle.

  4. You're ready for dessert, while the rest of the table is still working on their appetizers. All those nights of eating in front of the TV make it hard to remember that food should be eaten slowly and with pleasure. Inhaling your food doesn't give your stomach enough time to send the message to your brain that it's about to explode. So if you're a fast eater, try to slow it down by eating with other people and taking a break for air, water, or conversation after each bite.

  5. Dinner preparation consists of dialing your local Chinese restaurant. Having lived in NYC for eight years with a kitchen the size of my mouse pad and every type of cuisine just a speed dial away, I picked up some pretty bad habits. The trouble with restaurants is their entrees could feed a family of five (but start to seem normal) and they sneak in extra oils, sauces, and dressings. Learn to prepare your own food in a way that's convenient for you, like washing all your lettuce, veggies, herbs, fish, and poultry on Sunday for the week ahead. You can also make vats of soup, pasta, and brown rice that you'll be able to microwave throughout the week.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on a newsletter article, just email us at mailbag@beachbody.com. Check Steve Edwards' Mailbag for his responses to reader comments.

You can catch up with Steve as he keeps pace with the riders of the Tour de France. Read all about his latest fitness marathon in his blog, The Straight Dope.

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The Best "French" Dressing

By Denis Faye

Vive le vinaigrette!

Contrary to its name, "French" dressing, a nauseating mix of oil, vinegar, ketchup, and sugar, just doesn't exist in France. The primary reason for this is, well, it's disgusting—which says a lot coming from a country that routinely eats frog legs and snails.

The French generally dress their salads with vinaigrette, a gussied-up version of the oil and vinegar dressing we here at Beachbody are constantly badgering you to put on your greens. As usual, they've managed to take something mundane and boring and, with a few quick touches, make it delicious.

Vinaigrette's base is oil and vinegar. While veggie oils are generally "good fat," they are also highly caloric and should be used sparingly. The mix should be around 1:1 or maybe 2:1 oil-to-vinegar if the first ratio is too overwhelming. Extra-virgin olive oil is your best bet (read about its benefits in issue #203), but avocado oil and canola oil also can work sometimes too, if you're feeling risqué. For vinegar: red wine, white wine, and balsamic work well. Take your pick. If you can't stand vinegar, try lemon juice.

Next, bust out the Dijon mustard. Use about a teaspoon of mustard for every tablespoon of vinegar. After that, grind a little pepper in there and, voila! A tangy, delicious, superhealthy salad dressing.

Once you've mastered that, you can get even wackier. Get yourself some shallots. (They're little, intensely flavored onions.) Chop them up as fine as your eyes can handle and throw them in. If you like eating raw onions, toss the mix into your lettuce. If not, after you've mixed your dressing well, run it through a strainer.

And then there are herbs! Pick one you like and add a teaspoon into the mix. Try tarragon. If you're using lemon juice, then give dill a try. Parsley is a nice touch, too.

The point is, you can experiment. Don't be afraid to try new things—but make sure to sample your creations before you toss them on your salad. That way, if you don't like them, you've only wasted about two minutes and a couple cents worth of oil, vinegar, mustard, and herbs.

If you come up with a mix you're particularly happy with, email us or post it on the Message Boards. That said, if you start dumping ketchup and sugar in there, we don't want to know about it.

The secret to eating French and staying thin

The secret is this: the French don't pig out. Sure, they eat cheese and éclairs and thick cream sauces, but they just eat a little bit of these things. And they temper them with salads and veggies. When they eat cheese, they'll have a small slice and often they eat it with a piece of fruit. The pastries are for special occasions and they're generally tiny. A good, rich piece of chocolate gateau is wafer-thin because that's all you need to enjoy the complex, satisfying taste.

There's a great expression in France: Pour le gout. It means "for the taste." If a French person has had enough to eat and someone carts out another delicacy, they certainly will try it, but just a taste—not a small serving, not even a big spoonful—literally a taste, as in a little tiny bit on the end of a fork.

That is the secret to staying thin and still sampling all the delicious, naughty foods this world has to offer. Eat them for the taste, not for the full belly.

To read more about the slimming secrets of the French, read Monica Ciociola's article "How French Women Stay Slim (Without Starving)" from the newsletter archive.

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