orange leaves

Image: Early signs of autumn at Provence-sur-la-Prairie

|| 28 August 2022

A New Focus for annebarone

Today is the 25th anniversary of the publication of the first Chic & Slim book. That book, and the six Chic & Slim books that followed, revealed techniques chic French women use to stay slim and dress in their unique chic style.

Using these techniques, in my mid-20s I was able to shed 55 pounds. When I published that first Chic & Slim book in 1997, I had been slim more than 25 years.

Now at 78, I have stayed slim more than 50 years. Additionally, I continue to enjoy good health.

But in the USA, the UK, and numerous other countries in the world, the percentage of older women who are overweight and obese is alarming and growing. And those extra pounds are not only making it more difficult to look chic, they also contribute to health problems that diminish quality of life — and some of those health problems are life-threatening.

For 25 years I have been writing about how French women stay slim. But for numerous reasons, it is time for a new focus.

First, of all, I am out of touch with France and French women. From the media and the reports of our Chic & Slim Special Correspondent Kat who does visit France frequently, with the exception of some Parisiennes, French women are not as slim — nor as chic — as they once were. Nor do they provide the role models they once did. (Kat has emailed some photos of obese French women she has encountered out shopping that you would think were taken at your local Walmart.)

Second, after 25 years, I am really really tired of writing about French women.

So a change in focus is coming. The emphasis going forward on this website will be on what Anne Barone has done to stay slim these 50 years — and how new challenges to our health and appearance have been met as they presented themselves.

Of course, the basis of The Barone System is French techniques that I began to study a half-century ago. But since I live in the increasingly obese USA, to stay slim I have had to use techniques not necessary in France with French culture and French health care helping women avoid some of the pitfalls.

I know that many of you are dedicated Francophiles and will miss a primary focus on French women. But then, some of you may be as tired of French women as I am. In any case, I hope you will find the new focus useful — and entertaining. — Anne Barone


UPDATE: 15 September 2022

Another response concerning the shift in focus on the Chic & Slim website. This one from Ann Leslie in New York. She wrote:

Adding my deux centimes: I, too, would rather hear about how you manage your life than what’s going on in France. I want to know more about your history, especially your time in the Peace Corps. And I look towards your guidance when it comes to more mundane matters. (Case in point: I might replace my washer/dryer unit with a portable washing machine! ) I know that we see eye to eye on much and that you always do your thorough research.

I still dutifully watch the France24 news program weekdays on my local PBS station, but my real connection is to France of the 1960s.

AnneNote: The older I become, the more important it is to me to have appliances that save me as much time and effort as possible on household chores. I need as much of my diminishing energy supply as possible for exercise essential to aging well.

As for portable clothes washing machines, there are two main factors that recommend having one instead of a permanently installed washer: (1) Portable washers are more convenient than going to a laundry if your home has no place to install a washer. (When the city changed the code on hot water heaters, my small utility closet would no longer accommodate even the smallest stackable washer/dryer combo. So I was forced to buy a portable washer and hang clothes on an outside clothes line.)

(2) Portable washers are easier to connect to a hose and drain your laundry water into your garden. The water from my washing machine was all that saved my iris, daylilies and shrubs during our water crisis here a few years ago when we were not allowed to water our gardens from the city supply.

There are at least a half-dozen negatives for a portable clothes washing machine including the difficulty in finding the right combination of sink faucet attachment and washer drainer hose. You can make a lot of trips to the home improvement store and generate a lot of large puddles on your kitchen floor before you find the right one.


UPDATE: 5 September 2022

Another response concerning the shift in focus on the Chic & Slim website. This one from Rocki in Austin. She wrote:

Bonjour, Anne. 25 years!! Congratulations! I love your shifting focus. We women of a certain age need to band together. Your insights into the world are always an inspiration to me. My new Quest: I’m going to revisit your books in order. Meilleur vœux, Rocki

Rocki also sent along a photo of her collection of the Chic & Slim books. You will note from the covers that she has the earliest editions of the books.

Merci to Rocki for her response. Several others of you have emailed that you plan to read the books again in order. A really good way to get back into the Chic & Slim habits if you have fallen back into a lifestyle that does not keep you as chic and as slim as you would like.

early editions of Chic & Slim books

 

|| 1 September 2022

New Focus Reactions From Readers

Your comments are always useful to me. So I was delighted to have email in response to my announcement in last Sunday’s Nouvelles that the focus of the Chic & Slim website information will going forward be less on chic French women — and more on how I successfully lost 55 pounds and have stayed slim more than 50 years.

Sandra wrote:

I am so excited to hear that your focus is shifting! As a 75 year old living near Chicago I am more interested to learn what someone my age and living in my country is doing to stay fit and healthy. I will be looking forward to reading your new posts.

Carol in DC/MD. wrote:

I just wanted to respond to your blog note about changing the focus of your blog a bit - I say bravo! I love the French focus but also really like your writing and observations in general, take on life, so it will be of no consequence to me. Also, I think that space in media is getting overdone, particularly by anyone with an opinion on YouTube. (Ha) so I look forward to reading anything you continue to write.

I am well here in the DC area and the weight issue does not get easier with age and it's various setbacks. For me, a recent rotator cuff injury. So philosophically I try to continue to adhere to reasonable eating and enjoy it and life along the way!

With all best wishes for the days ahead. I continue to go back to your books for thoughts on good living as well as "tips and tricks."

And from Belva who has been a follower of Chic & Slim for more than 17 years:

I just read your latest Nouvelles, and I’m just wanting to tell you that, as a fan for the last seventeen+ years, I’m looking forward to your new focus, especially as I’m also a woman of a certain age. If I get an urge to read about French women, I can always revisit your older posts.

What you’re proposing to do is timely and important.

Sending you appreciation and encouragement.

Much thanks to Sandra, Carol and Belva. If others of you have comments on the new focus, I would be delighted to have them.

Though the focus will be shifting, we will not be deserting chic French women and the French entirely. For instance, we will still have reports from France from our Chic & Slim Special Correspondent Kat. Always a treat.