Mireille Guiliano, author of the bestselling book French Women Don’t Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure, gives us the inside scoop on aging with style and attitude in her new tome, French Women Don’t Get Facelifts: The Secret of Aging with Style & Attitude. Offering practical, no-nonsense advice on living and aging gracefully, Guiliano advises women to steer clear of anti-aging creams and fad diet pills, and instead offers up best-kept beauty secrets from French women that are totally doable (and will have you longing to grow old in the South of France).
Scroll down to see the top five lessons we took away from Guiliano's new book, available December 24.
1. See the "you" now.
In order to “manage your aging,” Guiliano says it’s important to see yourself as you truly are now – on the inside and outside. Instead of living in the past and seeing the younger (and probably slimmer) you, Guiliano advises women to “stop kidding themselves” and starting seeing the you now.
In her signature tell-it-like-it-is tone, Guiliano writes: “Realistically projecting, assessing the options, then shaping what we can and should be doing during the various later stages of life’s road is the powerful mental medicine that can cure some of our ills and enhance our pleasures through life.”
“Certainly in France, a woman in her forties and fifties is still alluring and seen as an object of desire and acts the part. She feels it and acts it, but doesn’t pretend she is ageless.”
2. Think like a French woman.
What we really love about French Women Don’t Get Facelifts is Guiliano’s ability to make aging gracefully seem fun and easy. It’s clear that Guiliano enjoys life and living it to the fullest. In her book, she encourages women to do the same by adopting a French woman’s attitude. She writes: “And French women, if they are anything, are individualistic in how they present themselves. Their outer package is infused with inner style and beauty and an 'I don’t give a damn posture (which half the time they don’t, but they still dress to buy the morning’s baguette).'"
3. A little goes a long way.
Throughout Guiliano’s book, she reminds us of the ineffectiveness of crash-dieting and extreme cosmetic procedures, such as facelifts. In a why-torture-yourself tone, Guiliano talks about the importance of daily activity that's not necessarily strenuous, the power of a great haircut, dressing your age, having the right shoes, and other lifestyle adjustments to make as you grow older.
“Through your decades you can evolve with the times without losing your established identity," she writes. "You can refresh your brand without going for a complete makeover and attempting to become some new person. That’s a bit like a crash diet, and such diets don’t work.”
4. Listen to your body.
Guiliano also stresses the importance of recognizing the “five-pound alert.” She says that if you don’t take action after gaining five pounds, then you will just keep gaining and it will become harder to lose the weight. Guiliano’s secret to maintaining consistent numbers on the scale lies in her dietary choices. In one chapter called, “An Anti-Aging Food Prescription,” Guiliano includes 15 recipes that she says have been part of her nutritional plan since her fifties, and some recipes since much earlier.
5. Attitude is key.
At the end of the day, Guiliano believes attitude is most effective in appearing and feeling younger. Referring to attitude as a “magic pill” to looking younger, Guiliano says French women approach aging with a different mindset than women from most cultures, and that is what makes the difference – not grooming, clothing, nutrition or face and skin care. It is attitude, she says.
And along with this anti-aging attitude come two elements that save us in life. Guiliano writes: “…according to Indian journalist and novelist Tarun J. Tejpal, [they are] love and laughter. If you have one of the two, all is well. If you have both, you are invincible. Now there’s an attitude.”