Posts By: Aurélie

Fatted chicken, foie gras and regulation fairy


Who says festive season, says for me and for 99% of the feminine population, weight stress at its highest level. It was, as far as I’m concerned, my second Zermatian Christmas. I’d be lying if I said it was an example of zen attitude, but it seems however to me that on the long trap paved path to food serenity, I’ve moved forward.

First of all, I have understood that I was going to put on weight. Without this thought making me immediately feel like eating twelve chocolates to reduce my anxiety. Then I haughtily ignored all stupid advises that proliferate in magazines – even the most honorable ones- when festive season is approaching. The dumbest of all being the one that consist in eating an apple, an egg (assured bad breath for new year’s eve), or, squarely, a good old spoonful of oil before agapes. With which purpose? Well, logical: to get there without being hungry.

Except that this calculation is stupid. Firstly, it’s the best way to offend your host: “no, you can forget about the capon you worked on for twelve hours because personally I just had three eggs without yolk and thus I’ll just eat air while watching you guys enjoy the dinner”.  Assured conviviality.

Secondly, it doesn’t work. Well not as far as I’m concerned. Personally, I’m totally capable of honoring the turkey, apple or not around 18h. Result: not only do you eat like everybody else but you also ate before. Double penalty, in short. With, on top of that, a less intense pleasure than if the turkey had been enjoyed while being famished.

Especially, may I remind you, the mantra of all Zermatian is the following: what you eat with hunger doesn’t make you gain weight.

In short, no subterfuge consisting in reducing your hunger before the dinner. Furthermore, thus, I’ve accepted to continue eating while my satiety was doing arm twirls like: “hey tart, I’m there, huh, may I point out that we have not even started the main dish and you are not hungry at all anymore? So you leave the table, now.”

“Shut up, hyena”, I answered her, remembering this discussion with Dr. Z., during which he reassured me: yes, during festive season or any other special occasions, every normal human being goes beyond his/her hunger. No one has a stomach big enough to reach dessert, having tasted everything and still being hungry.

Basically, for Christmas, you are sentenced to eat.

Thanks Zermati, but it doesn’t help much, you could say.

Indeed, except that this good doctor also taught me, and it’s essential in case of food marathon, that you must trust regulation fairy.

The latter is the key for everything, as it’s thanks to that mechanism that normally, the next day, the day after next, even the week following the overindulgence, you are naturally less hungry. The older you get, the longer it takes for regulation fairy to show up, that said. Like when you’re a kid the evening after a blowout, you fast without even noticing it. At my age, almost venerable, it can spread over several days. But she ends up showing up, madam regulation. And instinctively, you take smaller portions, you even skip a meal, simply because you body says no, it’s fine, stop it, I’m completely full.

I didn’t believe it, to say the truth. Especially when my regulation fairy had been nowhere to be found for the last twenty years. Not because of bitch mother nature as I thought then. If this tart fairy was taking it easy on an island somewhere, it’s for a simple and good reason: I was so busy feeling guilty for what I ate and regretting what had deprived myself of that I had upset everything and poor miss regul was totally jetlagged.

This year, thus, I made sure I started the meal with a big hunger. In order to enjoy it. Then, I tried to sa-v-our, enjoy each bite of foie gras (I’ll say twelve Our Father for my sin) or Bresse chicken. I ate slowly, which prevented me from taking several helpings. I took some dessert, a little bit, when I was full. But telling myself that the worst that could happen would be to gain one kilo. Or two. And that it wouldn’t change my life (this, still, is the hardest part and I can’t swear that today I totally don’t care about putting on weight).

Nevertheless the miracle happened. My fairy appeared in the following days. Without telling myself I had to pay attention, I did Lent in advance. Then I went to Istanbul where I had a firm intention to enjoy local dish without worrying. Hotel pancakes and double choc brownies, here I come, bring on the mezzes. All this without a scale, which theoretically makes me as nervous as Brian Joubert before a triple flip.

And then, same, regulation fairy showed up again. With the help, I have to admit, of Istanbul’s crazy hills which have awoken some organs which I thought were gone.  Like my hamstrings. And that have probably contributed to get rid of meat balls eaten every day.

Outcome of the whole thing: after two weeks of holidays, one extra kilo. Which, taking into consideration my free-style eating during those two weeks, seems to be a miracle close to the immaculate conception.

There you go, I don’t know if this rather long tale will help some of you but I found important to start the year on this positive note.

Apart from this, thanks for your wishes, I wish you a good and sweet one too. On our side, after dream like holidays, despite a fucking flu, we’ve started 2011 with stomach bug. Three children out of three on the ground, one of them, Darling, vomiting the smallest drop of water and on the verge of collapsing for any food evocation. I suspect we’ll get there too from Tuesday onwards. Happy new year, they said.

All you can eat buffet


That week in Doha, apart from the fact that it was a source of anxiety for several already discussed reasons, was for me a sort of initiatory trip in my long quest of food serenity. Since a bit more than one year Zermating on a daily basis, it was, with my stay at my step-mother’s, one of the biggest challenge I’ve had to face.


Because all you can eat buffet.

The all you can eat buffet, for any person having suffered in her life of hyperphagia, it’s devil, it opens the door to every window, it means assured stuffing, going wild from starters already. And thus there, it was food open bar, morning, midday and evening. During the rest of the day as well, the press room being supplied with delicious junk food all day long. To fill you, Qataris are flat out.

Fucking sense of hospitality.

Especially that those guys, they know how to cook. I confirm by the way that there was no semolina, however for humus, aubergine caviar, warm pita bread, double cream tzatziki and kebab, it was oil abundance. Same for dessert, series of Lebanese cakes AND western treats which had no reason to be jealous of best pastries from around here. I especially had a strawberry cheesecake that was a killer.


And I’m not talking about freshly squeezed oranges – they had a priori wiped out a dozen of Moroccan orangery for the occasion – served all the time, when it was not natural melon, pineapple, guava or mango juice.

In short, you’ve understood, land of plenty and abundance, all this.

The anxiety of the keeper in front of his goal is nothing compared to what I felt during the first breakfast when I caught the eye of the Hyatt employee in charge of making pancakes on demand.

Last week was thus my all inclusive baptism of fire. It must be said that I remember week-ends after which I succeeded in coming back with 4 or 5 extra kilos. I’m not talking about my luggage unfortunately. And this time, I couldn’t really explain, nothing, nada, not one gram.

Well, I’m not saying I don’t have the start of an explanation.

Squeezed oranges.

No more details.

But even. The fact is that I’ve tasted everything that was tempting me without gorging. For breakfast, I managed not to eat twelve pancakes, three brioches and four omelets. Without mentioning the bowl of Oreos which I didn’t even touch. I didn’t deprive myself, I didn’t dream of what I didn’t taste. And I did – almost – not feel guilty for what I’d swallowed. Wait, I’m not saying my food diary – which I didn’t write but you get me – would have given a hard on to Dukon, right. One evening, to go with my Cosmopolitan at Dunes bar, I think I compulsively munched 278 puffed cashew nuts (awesome, I still dream about it). But afterwards, at the buffet, the famous one, I settled for a few grams of humus to go with the flow. Without even thinking about it.

I’m not crowing over a victory, just like I’ll always be a smoker – especially currently as I’m on top of that subject – I believe I’ll always be likely to drawn my ill-being, my anxieties and even my happiness in any food containing chocolate, butter or sugar. But until now, everything is going rather well, my satiety, I found it and I won’t let it go.

Next, Christmas and its thousand and one temptations is fast approaching…

San ku kai at Ban Sabai

P1010267Last Thursday my friend Maud sent me a text: “What about a Thai massage despite this crappy weather?”

I say, you have the friends you deserve. The kind you haven’t seen for two years because of the notorious “We’re really too stupid” and the frequent “Our lives are so crazy” but who calls you just like that to suggest a Thai massage.

So, of course, I replied just like any normal woman would do.

“I’m totally in”.

Then, I had to calm the churros down as he didn’t really know where to start in terms of his fantasies. Will the therapist touch my boobs? Will I touch Maud’s? Or will I touch mine while watching the therapist touch Maud’s? Or… Ok.

Long story short, I left, lighthearted to see my friend again and very excited with the prospect of being pampered for one hour in an apparently acclaimed spa.

The rest is slightly… tougher.

18h: I arrive in front of Ban Sabai. In the 16th arrondissement, say what you like but it smells money so much that one could think it grows on trees.

18h02: My friend Maud arrives. I’d like to understand how come some woman still grow after legal age.

18h05: After a big hug, we walk inside the spa. It smells oils and luxury. A dozen of superb women welcome us with deference and greet “Miss Maud”. I love the idea to be with a regular. The way she chooses her friends defines a woman. Already you feel respected.

18h06: “We’ll start the massages straight away, kindly follow-us”, Ling and Ping (names have been changed) explain.

18h08: We settle in a room made of teak, bamboo and candles. Two king size beds are next to each other. I’m filled with emotion thinking of what the churros is missing. Especially now that Maud is already wearing only her panties.

18h09: My friend Maud’s put her massage kimono on in three seconds. You can see she’s a pro.

18h11: I just realised the bottom is actually the top. I’ve put it on the wrong way round.

18h13: Not sure if the style of David Douillet[1] would make the churros fantasize actually.

18h14: Here come our therapists. Mine must be 1m55 and weight as much as one of my thighs. Somehow I feel better especially as Maud just told me innocently that Thai massages are like no others. “It’s a bit as if somebody was gyming on your behalf, you see?”

18h15: I’m not so sure I see but the idea of gyming by proxy sounds appealing.

18h16: Ling asks if I’m used to Thai massages and if I want the pressure to be light, medium or strong.

18h17: “Do as usual”, I answer. My friend Maud just asked for strong and I’d rather die than look like a sissy. Especially as, without meaning to brag, I’m quite tough. No merit, it’s a matter of personality. Some resist pain better than others. No, I wouldn’t go as far as courage, but that said…

18h18: Ling interrupts my thoughts with a weird little laugh and she says she’s not sure she should do as usual if it’s my first time.

18h19: If I were of the suspicious kind, I would say she’s pulling my leg. And I’m actually of the suspicious kind. Come on Ling, show me what you’re capable of. In case you didn’t notice, you don’t even come up to my waist line. And it took me 14h, 7 of which without epidural, to laboriously reach a dilation of 9cm. And then it stopped so that I can enjoy two childbirths in one: vaginal delivery AND emergency c-section. Since that time, NOTHING scares me sweetie.

18h20: Ling begins with washing my feet. I thank god I came with new shoes.

18h21: Ling wipes my feet. Vigorously.

18h22: Ling might be THE solution for smelly feet. Even if ripping off your feet soles could be a bit drastic.

18h23: My friend Maud has a weird smile.

18h24: A question comes to my mind. Why already didn’t we see each other for two years?

18h25: Ling warns me she’s about to start. I actually thought we’ve already got to the heart of the matter.

18h26: She cracks my toes.

18h27: Ling seems to take personally the fact that my big toe refuses to crack.

18h28: Ling gets to grips with my calves. That are definitely not erogenous zones.

18h29: Ling digs her fingers behind my left knee and says she’s taking it easy because she can feel my resistance.

18h30: The fact that taking it easy means for Ling grabbing my knee cap from the back of my knee doesn’t sound good to me.

18h31: Ling pulls my leg with a snap and let it fall back on the bed. She does it thrice. I am not 100% sure, but she seems upset that my leg is still linked to the rest of my body.

18h32: Anyway, it’s the only explanation I see for the fact that my right foot is now behind my left ear and my knee against my shoulder blade. I start right away a mindfulness exercise and visualize my pain.

18h33: I’m making incredible progress with mindfulness. I can see my pain so precisely. I could cry. I fact I’m crying.

18h34: I’d like to ask Ling where she studied osteopathy but something holds me back.

18h35: Her foot, precisely. That is right now crushing my plexus, making each breath problematic.

18h36: All those things we say on the fact that it is impossible for a human being to touch its bum with its nose are totally wrong. However, it comes with a few uncomfortable sensations. On the other hand, if I were a man I would be doing myself a blowjob. Or even…

18h37: While I execute – against my will – a figure that reminds me of a Kamasutra position. Maud moans slightly from pleasure. Ping is gently touching her neck and it looks really enjoyable.

18h38: Now I remember. 1995, Paul and Béa’s wedding. A kenzo scarf. I think I never gave it back to her. I clearly underestimated her attachment for that scarf. That’s how you end up fifteen year later brought down by the love child of Mike Tyson and Jackie Chan.

18h39: I solemnly promise myself I will never reply « Yes » to an SMS coming from someone I haven’t seen in more than two years.

18h40: Ling puts me on my back, spreads my legs, crouches next to my perineum and is about to massage my tummy.

18h41: I feel that torture is over, now she will only energetically stroke my abdomen. That might stimulate my lazy bowel movement. Good news, in any case, is that there are no joint to crack in the belly.

18h42: Bad news is that there are vital organs to crush.

18h43: Let’s hope it was my gold bladder, which she moved by a good ten centimeters. I’m almost sure you can live without a gold bladder.

18h45: I never thought I could feel like I’m about to puke my IUD.

18h46: Come on Ling, enjoy my floating ribs. We’re close to pneumothorax, that said. No offence, right!

18h48: Ling asks me to sit up.

18h49: That’s my call, Ling, my call.

18h50: I sit up and try to show her that my body could be under her influence despite how tiny she is but that I kept my free will. But not my motor functions. Ling has to help me rise.

18h51: My friend Maud says she is a bit cold.

18h52: Poor thing. Fuck, let Ling take care of you for five minutes and you’ll never be cold, believe me. Neither hot actually. Nor hungry, nor thirsty. Right, I can’t feel my tongue anymore and I’m not sure I didn’t soil myself.

18h53: My friend Maud finds the heater is too noisy, it disturbs her relaxation.

18h54: I send tearful looks to my friend Maud for her to stop provoking these two mad Asians.

18h55: I’m wasting my time. Right when she asks for a blanket and for the heater to be turned off, Ling lifts me from behind and throws me literally two meters above the bed.

18h56: Ok, where is that fucking camera?

18h57: I swear Maud, I never EVER meant to STEAL your scarf.

18h58: “Relax, if you don’t relax, the manipulation I’m about to do can be dangerous”.

18h59: I shouldn’t have told her before she started that my neck is fragile.

19h00: It’s a basic rule. Don’t reveal your weak points to your persecutor, under no circumstances.

19h01: Have mercy, I beg you, leave me alone [2], I moan. I have a saving account, I add in a pathetic attempt to wheedle her.

19h02: Obviously I just broke her honor code. Thais take bribing stuff very seriously. Lings looks as determined as ever. She comes behind me, place her arms below mine and turn my chest by 90° with a span.

19h03: In the heat of the action, a slat of the bed just broke, it made such a huge “crack” noise. In your face, Ling, I will personally make sure it is taken from your salary.

19h04: Ah, it seems that in reality the noise was my third vertebra breaking. I am paralyzed from the chin downwards.

19h05: “Your body still needs massage” says Ling, with an irrevocable tone.

19h07: The only thing my body needs is a stretcher. Or even, a coffin.

19h08: The session is almost over, we finish with face modeling.

19h09: I’m beyond fear. I don’t want to end up with circumflex brows after a manip gone wrong.

19h10: It appears that if you press a specific point on someone’s temples, you can kill with one finger.

19h11: I had never imagined that my being in labor would look like a walk in the park thanks to a Thai massage.

19h12: “They also do waxing and a whole lot of treatments” Maud tells me while Ling tries to drawn me with liters of aloe vera cream.

19h14: There must be something else than this scarf stuff. But what?

19h15: Ling and Ping announce that they are done and leave, obviously pleased with their work. Maud is disappointed by Ping, she founds her too soft.

19h16: I wish I could reply but I’m falling apart. I cry like a newborn.

19h18: Maud gives me hug and we touch our boobs.

19h21: I can feel my boobs. All is not lost. With some luck, I can still control my sphincters.

19h45: After a strong mojito, I manage to finally pronounce a proper sentence. And by some miracle, I feel totally and unconditionally relax.

23h09: My friend Maud drops me off if front of my place. We promise we’ll see each other soon. Maud mentions an amazing Thai-chi class in Neuilly.

23h12: I go home in double-quick time claiming I need the loo and rush to my closet. I HAVE TO find that fucking scarf. My LIFE is at stake.

Edit: in reality, this spa is awesome and makes you want to live there permanently. Still, it seems my therapist was slightly on edge. And I should have asked her to take it easy. In reality too, my friend Maud is not mad with me for anything. Well… I think. And I want to thank her from the bottom of my heart for this thoughtful gesture. However, next time, we go to a hammam. No exfoliation, no massage. Thanks.

Edit2: My friend Maud is the kind who organises, together with my friend Chloé, my bachelorette party. And she managed to put on a table everything that makes me reach seventh heaven in life. I also like the fact that there always are mint leaves in her water carafe. And a whole lot of other stuffs that make her a role model for me. Except for massages however.

Edit3: Did you really think I was going to put a picture of me doing the Ukrainian wheelbarrow in a kimono?


[1] TN: David Douillet is a very famous French judoka. He is now retired and won the judo heavyweight gold medals in the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games.

[2] TN: In English in the original text

Weird emotions


Lately with doctor Zermati, we don’t really talk about food. And, at the same time, we talk only about it. For the good reason that we concentrate on emotions.

I won’t do a lesson on mindfulness, I would struggle, I think, as I don’t really master the concept. But basically, the idea is, when you’re facing an unpleasant, nerve-racking situation or simply a boredom moment (it triggers, for me, almost automatically a desire to eat), to stop for five minutes to “observe” this emotion.

Not to try to fight it or chase it away. Not in order to relax (it would actually be trying to avoid it). Just to take note that, at this particular moment, you are anxious, angry, sad, bored or even happy (for some happiness pushes them to eat) (for me it makes me feel like smoking).

Put like this, I’m fully aware it sound a bit dumb. Even new-age my balls.

And truly, if there’s someone who doesn’t buy new-age stuff, it’s me.

And though, it works. Namely, generally, the fact, thus, of observing the emotion and its physical signs (tight stomach for anxiety, accelerated heart bit for anger, wet eyes for sadness, etc) and the desires that follow (to eat, to hit, to shout, to smoke, to drink) without trying to counter them, it makes them… disappear. “Because the distinguishing feature of an emotion is that it’s not meant to last. And not fighting it is finally the best way to let it go”, doctor Z was explaining to me. Also because when being the observer of what you are feeling, you are not undergoing anymore, you are less overwhelmed, you find again a freedom of movement you’ve lost when you give in to compulsion.

I have to admit I’m struggling with it, I can’t be more explicit. But a few days ago, I had to face a situation that was a real source of anxiety for me. As I can’t really take beta blockers each time I have to speak to someone who’s hostile or who impresses me, I tried to follow this funny method. I felt my sweaty hands, that weight in my tummy, the beginning of tachycardia. I observed all this unpleasant phenomenon with the curiosity of a medicine student or of a crime scene witness. Without trying to make things better with pathetic stomach breathing exercises (which make me hyperventilate every time and don’t really make this things better)

« I’m scared and I feel bad », I told myself, a few second before entering the arena.

And then the feared face-to-face happened. And I can’t explain why or how but there I was, my powers at their peak. The panic crisis was gone. Vanished. Dissected.

I’m not trying to convince you, I’m simply sharing that small step I think I’ve made, which have nothing and everything to do with food compulsions. Because for me, emotions often rime with trips to the kitchen. Next time, I’ll stop for five minutes on the why and how of what presses me towards that chocolate, who knows…


Edit: On the picture are the angry eyes of my oldest daughter, it’s the best I found to illustrate an emotion, forgive me.



– You disappeared.

– Yes, you can put it that way.

– What happened?

– An issue with my medical aid, my husband, unemployment… and I had missed an appointment, I was ashamed, didn’t dare to call back, I wasn’t in a good shape, when it’s like this I think I do exactly the opposite of what I should. But now, there you go, I feel better so…

– So you come to see me now that you don’t need me anymore? Not bad. You know you could have called me, explained to me. I was aware of your husband’s difficulties, we could have talked about it.

– I… I know, it’s just that I didn’t want to look like I was begging, and most of all I was ashamed to have stood you up. It looks simple but I’ve taken it upon myself to call back, if you knew how many doctors must think I’ve been run over by a bus.

– And so why did you feel the need to come back?

– Because I think I’m not done with all this.

– What makes you think this way?

– I… I mean, I’m fine. Weight is fine, food is fine too. But I think I’m really happy I’ve lost weight.

Too happy.


I…I don’t want to gain weight again. And I think about it. A lot

– Ah. I warned you, didn’t I? After your “I don’t want to gain weight again”, come on pull the other one. The truth is that you are SCARED to gain weight again. A lot.

– A bit.

– A lot.

– Ok, a lot. But it’s too good, you can’t understand.

– Oh yes, I understand. It’s much more comfortable to be slimmer. And those compliments… But except this aspect, what would change if you’d put on, I don’t know, five kilos? People from your circle, would they make fun of you?

– Oh no. I know how to surround myself with loving people, I believe. But they would surely be sad for me, they would feel pity.

– You must be lucid. Some, not so many, would be truly sad for you. Others, more numerous, would be very happy. Slimming down is an achievement, not many people manage to do so on the long term. Thus envy from some and admiration from others. And this is the issue. The more enhancements, the higher your stress is. And, you know it, this stress, this “weight issue”, triggers, within you, emotions… that make you want to eat. Do you see where I’m getting?

– Yee… yes. No but I don’t think about it the whole day in reality. Furthermore, when I overdo things, I tell myself it’s not so bad, the next day I’ll watc…

– Ouch.

-No, I… I didn’t mean this, I’m not watching my diet, what I mean is that I trust regulation, right. That’s it, isn’t it? Just like you said?

– I need help I believe, actually.

– I think you were right to pick up your phone…

Well, I’ve got it, I’ll have a few more sessions with mister Zermati and I must confess I’m not unhappy, even if rahhh, he gets on my nerves sometimes, right.

I think about it, forget and my kids too


I don’t think about it anymore.

Almost don’t think about it.

In the morning, during the day or the evening, I’m not asking myself what I’m going to eat and in which quantity. At the end of a meal, I almost never again go through what I’ve eaten, in order to check that I didn’t let myself go.

Last week, pre-dinner with friends, plenty of Tucs, slight compulsion on jamon directly from Spain and then… and then nothing, the rest was not tempting me, I missed my turn, without difficulties.

I never wake up anymore with the frustrating feeling that I’ll have watch what I eat. As a matter of fact, for weeks, I haven’t said that I watch what I eat. Some days, no green or red food enters my mouth. The next day or week, I enjoy fresh spinach.

And my weight? It is stable. For the past three months, I haven’t lost anything, nor gained, or not long enough for me to realize. I still weight myself every day, I wish I could stop, for now I’m not there yet. I still smoke, but not much more than when I started Zermati.

I’m not slimming down anymore, thus, since a while ago and, however, there has never been so many people noticing my loss. As if the last gone grams were the ones making the difference. Or as if it took time for people around me to adapt to my new outline.

Another more and more obvious acknowledgement, Zermatian principles have reached the whole family. My oldest daughter, twig if any with a small appetite, is never told anymore that she didn’t eat anything and that it’s nonsense. Never again forced to finish her plate or try, at least, the courgettes. She doesn’t eat better than before but meals don’t end up anymore as a food version of Festen. I can see that, for her, all this is not very serene and I guess I have something to do with it. By dint of speaking, she ended up coming out with it, admitting her terror of putting on weight, her conviction of being enormous. Huge punch in my belly, guilt increasing tenfold. But since she confided, I find her less often counting her ribs in the mirror. She, moreover, this summer enjoyed ice creams – which she loves but which she was cutting out conspicuously. At the end of the holidays, I made her notice that she didn’t put on one gram, it was obvious, when she had for once eased up. “What you eat when you are hungry won’t make you put on weight”. I believe she’s heard it, even if I’m lucid, she’ll have her own luggage with her all her life.

My son, voracious as twelve, less slim than his sister but far from being plump, learns to eat more slowly, in order not to have three helping per meal. He has, moreover, dropped completely afternoon snacks, he had never been found of it, and now by dint of seeing me skip meal by lack of appetite, does the same. Apart from that, not much to notice, since he was born this child zermats without knowing it.

Finally, number three, if she knew where her amazing food freedom comes from, she would light a candle per day for doctor Z. There is no more crisis at the table for the simple and good reason that if what’s in her plate doesn’t grab her, I won’t force her. For all that not allowing her dessert is out of question, I’ve also integrated that there is no better way to sanctify sweet food. No green beans, are you sure? Ok, go fetch your yogurt. And your stewed fruits. Actually often in the evening, she contents herself with this and it doesn’t look like it’s affecting her energy level (if only). Same for sweets, that she’s basically crazy about. After fighting this summer for her to learn how to eat only five (number arbitrarily decided by myself), I’ve finally made concessions and accepted to give her the bag, just to know how many she would eat. From the way she, until now, rolled on the ground, dribbling out of anger after swallowing the fifth and last crocodile, I had bet on the entire packet of twenty. Result: after seven, she left the thing behind, she obviously had had enough.

When I realised I spoiled one hour of our holidays for TWO extra crocodiles, I had a sort of revelation. Wait, I don’t give her sweets bag every day. But when there are some, I let her manage. And for now, she hasn’t turned into a giant Tagada Pink.

Here you go, I’ve been asked for a while what it was like for children, I must say that the word that would well sum up the situation is the following: appeasement.

Let’s hope it will last…

Zermati, one year later


So with Zermati, where do I stand?

Let’s say I can’t pretend I’ve grown away from all weight consideration. Proof is the excitation I felt while reading the happiness house in Corsica’s content list when I saw, between “24 plates” and “5 pots”, “1 scale”.

I wish I could tell you that somehow, in the middle of our stay, I came by chance across the scale relegated to the bottom of a cupboard. But I fear “came by chance across” doesn’t really match my mortar attack on the door of an a priori condemned closet to discover the famous scale.

When I finally saw it, I was as happy as if, on a Sunday evening, stuck with no fags, I had, in the end, found a full packet in the pocket of my coat.

And of course, the comparison is not fortuitous.

You get it. If, I think, I’ve integrated most precepts instilled by this good doctor Z, there is one that is still going far over my head. Namely the one consisting in not neurotically controlling my weight.

On the other hand, I feel I have moved forward: weighting myself on that day, I indeed saw a confirmation of the tendency noted when I came back from l’île de Ré: 2 extra kilos, thanks step-mum.

Well I wasn’t too scared.

I mean, I was scared.

But not too much.

Not too too much.

For example, I haven’t said ONCE during the day these words I’m capable of repeating until other side (= the one who then regrets he said ‘Yes’) is exhausted:

« I’ve put on weight… »

Followed by the unavoidable: « Do you think it shows? »

Then « Are you sure? »

And finally « You’re lying »

No, then, I breathed deeply, and I treated myself to a good moment of mindfulness (or something close). I was that close to levitation.

And during the two following days, I simply followed my desire, trying to listen to my hunger. That was not big, because of the heat and beach. I avoided the TRAP when you put on weight: trying to lose it. Starving yourself for the first twelve hours, seeing cheeseburgers everywhere for the next twelve hours and ending up head first in the canistrelli at dusk while mentally calling yourself a fat pig with no willpower.

And believe me, believe me not, but 48h later, after a mojito per day and eating stuff as healthy as fig tart or lonzu which smells fat pork from 20km away, I had lost the two kilos.

Mainly, except this obligation on the scale – after peeing, with an empty stomach, holding my breath and proceeding delicately when stepping on the machine – I haven’t thought much about “this”.

I believe it was the first summer I’ve been that detached. Within my means, we all agree, thanks Einstein and relativity.

That is to say that I came back with a weight similar to the one I had in July. With, most of all, the proof that yes I can gain. And not die from it.

Now, I’d be lying if I’d say I couldn’t care less about these lost kilos, one year after starting my therapy. Last year, I told you it was when looking at my holiday pictures and asking myself who this big woman on them was that I decided to call doctor Z. I even showed you the said pictures. Except that I didn’t feature THE picture that hurt so bad. No one wants to show his or her worst side, right.

And then yesterday, while sorting out the 2010 crop, I found a picture taken by the Churros, exactly at the same place. Except the fact that my love has no link whatsoever with Helmut Newton and will never do, I have to admit: seeing the transformation of my body in twelve months gave me a certainly exaggerated satisfaction.

I know I will have ‘moved forward’ when I’ll be at peace with this woman whom I refuse to appreciate still today on those steps. Thus for this reason, this time I feature it. Because her worth is not less than mine today. I just need to convince myself.


Step-mother: 1 – Zermati: 0


As you might have noticed, Wifi was as scarce as hen’s teeth on Ile de Re, at least not close enough for me to be motivated. Not giving up and slightly anxious to be disconnected from the World Wide Web during one week, I tried to install a 3G stick.

Result: 3G stick 1 – Caro 0.

So no blogging next to the swimming pool, too bad, I was finding this idea deliciously romantic, a bit like coming back on this island in winter wrapped in a blanket to write this much vaunted novel everybody is waiting for.

There would be a chimney fire, a fur carpet, wind in the pines and long walks on deserted beach. I would be mysterious and locals would call me “the writer”. At night, driven by creative fever I would write pages and pages. It would be said later that my words were inspired by the unleashed sea and oyster farms (for the last part of this sentence, I’m not so sure).

At the end of this exile, I would send bundle of sheets telling a truly original story to two editors, Gallimard and Acte Sud, because there you go, I’m instinct driven. They would call me back within one hour, being sure they found the new Darieussec, with just what you need of Gavalda within. The one to which I would have said no (I don’t know yet which one I have to admit the idea of having to choose tears me) would jump out of despair from the top of Saint-Sulpice church.

Alas, thus, none of this could happen, since I’m still looking for the PUK code of my 3G stick like a furious hen.

No use retorting to me that you can write without an Internet connection and that Balzac had neither ADSL nor Wifi, I’m a woman in her time, that’s it.

Apart from that, if I’ve been beaten hollow by modern technology, my step-mother won hands down her match against healthy eating. It’s with a dedication I can only admire that she indeed set about sapping one year of Zermatian therapy, making use of “take some more”, “you’ve eaten nothing”, “be KIND, do you want be to toss out these prawns?”. She went for anything : calling upon small starving children (I haven’t had heard this one for 15 years), preserve not being fat, the paper towel she pat dry the chips with so that they are not greasy, the quantity of sugar divided by two in the fondant and the dark chocolate which, it’s well known, doesn’t make you fat. Let’s not talk about the lime sorbet renowned for its slimming virtues or the biscuit which, eaten with the said sorbet, “pushes all down”.

If on the first day I resisted gallantly, explaining to my step-mother that my body is not a bin (it’s like explaining quantum physics to Secret Story candidates) or chewing for five good minutes each bite so that she could not have the pleasure to reserve me thrice during the meal, I rather rapidly surrendered. How to make someone who applauds my kids each time they finish a plate understand that licking dishes is not a performance deserving to be recognised?

In order not to become literally sick (on the third day my esophagus started a zeal strike which will stay in the records) (no, the sentence before is not sexually deviant) I cheated as much as I could. Especially, during each trip of my jailer to the kitchen, I offloaded the rest of my plate onto my son’s. Who at the end of the week couldn’t fit in any of his jeans.

It’s bad, I know, to sacrifice Thingy on the altar of my Zermating, but you don’t go to war without breaking eggs. He’ll simply add this to the long list of gripes he’ll surely enumerate later in front of his someone.

It looks like I’m having fun but more seriously, that week was, and I knew it before, probation as I never had from the beginning of my therapy with Zermati.

The lesson I’ve learnt is that I will make another appointment with the good doctor in September. Because it’s hard for me to pretend I passed the test hands down. I didn’t stop dwelling on food eaten during the day, scourging myself for taking preserve twice, complaining for putting on twelve kilos and cursing the Churros, him being by definition responsible for my distress.

For the record, we were at his mother’s.

I’ve even been that close to weighting myself in a pharmacy, with my clothes on, at the risk of seeing a figure bound to be higher than the one given by my corrupted scale. And this openly on Ile de Ré. I gave up at the last minute, you had to pay to humiliate yourself, there are limit to my dumbness, even if they are rather far to reach.

In short, I can tell you that every nice sentences from Zermati, about regulation, about the fact that putting on two or three kilos won’t kill me, on the exceptional character of that week, on the necessity to trust yourself and so on, however hard I was repeating them to myself like mantras, it was going straight over my head.

Oh yeah, I can show off in my size 10 slim (a labeling mistake a priori, I since then tried on other trousers in this size – which represents for all dieting regular the absolute ideal – in which not one of my thighs could fit, not even half actually) I’m far far from being out of the wood if I’m unable to spend one week, one tiny week, totally chilled out in front of my step-mother’s bouillabaisse.

Apart from this, Ile de Re is even more beautiful than in my memories. I think the village I’ve preferred is La Flotte, and, higgledy-piggledy : I’ve had a salted butter caramel ice-cream from La Martinière with no guilt (liar) // People with darker skin or whose children wouldn’t be named Auguste, Henri or Domitille are missing // I witnessed a distribution of sweets at Bois Plage which made me fear a possible famine in our regions for Jean-Mathias or Marie-Gontrance can alas turn into hellcats with no brain for two packets of Tagada Pink // I’ve seen the sweet and pretty Zoe Sheppard at the same Bois Plage book fair, with other young and less young literature celebrities // I missed Marjoliemaman but I’ve, by incredible chance, had a drink with Dom des ménagères and her charming husband // I’ve admired salt marshes // had a tea, one morning, with Rose, while the older ones were climbing the 247 steps of the Des Baleines lighthouse // Enjoyed ‘Chroniques du plateau Mont-Royal’ from Michel Tremblay // celebrated Helmut’s two years by eating lobster and strawberry cake // and finally, drank Ti-punch made by my step-mother who doesn’t only push you to eat, let’s give back to Cesar what’s his.

I’m leaving you with a few pictures, for information I don’t master my new lens very well and I find that on most of the pictures (taken with automatic mode) colors are very dark, my children’s light brown hair appears to be dark brown. In case someone has an explanation.


That’s when I saw Zoé/la bureautière

This is Zoe whom I find more at ease when she’s next to the handsome David Foekinos
Here it’s PPD with his new hair, he looks like he’s having a blast.

Here is the man whose book was published the day Seguin died.  No matter what…



Here it’s just because I thought he was dead so it’s a bit like a resurrection for me.


Zermati, answers to a few of your questions, episode 2


So, more answers to questions on Zermati’s method, as I’m struggling to answer in the comments. I’ve selected a few questions, I’ll do it next week as well if you are still interested, I’m afraid all at once will be too long.

– You say we must detach ourselves from kilos and though you weight yourself every day? Paradox, isn’t it?

Answer: First of all, who snitched for the scale? Then, wait a sec, I’ve never pretended to be a Zermating Dalai Lama. I’m not yet in the phase where I eat 100% without feeling guilty, where I don’t think of what I’m eating, have eaten or will eat and where I accept the idea of gaining, loosing, gaining, los… Ok. So yes I weight myself, on a scale that doesn’t mean anything as it reduces the figure by five kilos straight away. Actually yes, it means something. That it loves me, I think. In short, it’s indeed the next step, get rid of the scale. And it’s a girl who went, fifteen years ago, to islands in Italy with a scale in her backpack who’s writing this.

– Ok, you’re not careful about what you eat and do slim down. But from what you say you eat, aren’t you afraid that inside you it’s not so nice? Still, stuff like vegetables and fruits, it’s important for our organism, isn’t it?

Answer: First of all, my answers are not to be taken literally. When I write that for dinner I eat what I have, quiche, pizza, pasta or so, it doesn’t mean I don’t regularly eat ratatouille, tomatoes and mozzarella, cucumber or I don’t know. However, I’d rather die than have veggies I don’t like or unseasoned because it’s good for your health. What I find awesome in Zermati and Apfeldorfer’s approach to food is this way of going against all brainwashing about five fruits and vegetables a day. Not being a food control freak, it means trusting your desires. Desires that naturally drive you towards what you are forbidding yourself when you’re frustrated. When you are not frustrated anymore, it’s surprising, some food loses their aura totally. Example? There is some EXPIRED Nutella in my cupboard. Yes. Madness. Oh and what I’ve notice is that I never have heartburn anymore. In my opinion, it means that within my body, it’s less a war than before. For more info on healthy eating, it’s here.

– Why do you say Zermati advised not to tell you current weight?

Answer: In that article, I relate the episode. Basically, what he wanted me to understand is that featuring my weight loss too much is like forcing myself not to gain again. Once everybody knows how much you have lost, it’s as if there was an obligation to stay slim. Yet it’s this “obligation” that, nine times out of ten, makes you gain again, because it generates emotions you can’t handle without eating. Especially, you shouldn’t delude yourself, not everyone around you has good intentions. I first, I’m always very annoyed when my friends manage to stop smoking. It’s now said, sorry Chloe for handing you the first resumption fag.

– And what does it change in your life to have lost weight?

Answer: Again, lot of answers already I think. But basically, I don’t have that feeling, like some of you, of not fitting in or that “fear” of being slimmer. I have to admit one of the first consequence is financial, what I don’t eat I spend. In clothing. Recently a playsuit. Yeah, you can laugh. Fair enough. Seriously, the most positive effect is that I don’t have to tear my hair out in the morning in front of my closet. It’s the kind of consideration that doesn’t really showcase my brain – which maybe melted just like snow in the sun, who knows – but who doesn’t understand this happiness has never been fat. Also, of course, less tired in the stairs, more self confident in the street, less shy I think, less petrified when it comes to speaking in public. Less ‘guilty’ to be overweight when I enter a shop. At the end of the day, not much. Still mother of three who don’t care, I guess, still married to a maniac but as much as before. And still, that irrational fear to put on weight again. As I said above, there is room before I shave my head and walk around in an orange toga.

– And how do you manage during meals? When you’re not hungry you don’t eat but it’s not very family friendly! And if you’re hungry at 16h? Do you eat a blanquette?

Answer: After a while, what is magical is that you are hungry more or less at the same time as everyone else. That said, sometimes I’m not hungry, I eat next to nothing while explaining that right now I don’t really feel like it but I stay at the table with them or sit on the couch right next to them to chat. Because from now on, no fight to finish the plates, no remark like if you don’t eat your greens you can forget about dessert. And believe me, we have won a lot of serenity. Meal is a moment of conviviality. But it’s not the only one. And according to doctor Z, it’s a good example to give not to force yourself to eat.

Edit. The picture is to show that balanced diet also works with children. I’ll come back on it but since I’ve started this therapy, I don’t bother my kids with this anymore. As a result, sometimes, Rose begs me to give her… some salad. As a snack.


Zermati, answers to a few of your questions


Yesterday, several questions have been asked in the comments and call for rather developed answers. Alas, I have about three minutes and 12 seconds to write this article, so I really advise that, for further details, you rummage in the articles ‘Zermati and Me’ in which I already have broached many of these topics. This article sums up rather well all this.

– What do you do when you are entertained by friends and it’s impolite not to eat if you are not hungry after Pringles?

Answer: I don’t go out every night, not even close. Thus, when I’m invited, I ban all form of restriction. I tell myself that this particular night is special and all is allowed. I go there hungry because the idea is to appreciate what I will eat. If I’m full during desert, I don’t force myself either. And the next day? The next day, I don’t weight myself, because I know I probably have gained one kilo – in case I went really wild – and it will undermine me. So I trust REGULATION. Namely, naturally, I’ll be hungry later and probably less than if I didn’t have both cheese fondue AND Vacherin the day before. The objective of this therapy, doctor Zermati was telling me at every session, is not to break your social bonds.

– And alcohol? What do you do with alcohol?

Answer: A bit similar to the previous one, I don’t drink every night. Besides, as far as I’m concerned, but then it’s a nature’s curiosity, alcohol puts me off my food. My drinks are my supper, basically. But once again unless you’re drinking one liter per day – and in that case your problem is not specifically food I’m afraid – alcohol is not an issue.

– But what happen if you feel like eating simply to enjoy it? Not because of hunger but not to fill yourself either?

Answer: Well then you do it. Doctor Zermati is positive on this subject, you must know how to eat something without hunger or feeling guilty. To do so, you must DECIDE what you will indulge with, sit in front of your treat and savour all its taste subtleties.

– But during the day what do you eat exactly then?

Answer: It depends. A croissant in the morning, pastas for lunch or a club sandwich and chips, or a salad, in short what is tempting me. In general, to end my meal, one or two pieces of chocolate. In the evening, whatever is in my fridge, rice, pastas, courgettes, quiche, you name it. With a piece of chocolate to end on a sweet touch which I can’t do without. Basically, I eat just like before but less because never, or almost never, while reading or watching TV (devil).

That’s it for today !