The Parisian Lessons to
Creating Anything You Want

205.

That was the number that appeared when I looked down at the scale.

Between being a new mom, working as a full-time critical care nurse and juggling the responsibilities of a home, my body was a walking testimony to the state of affairs of my life.

When a surgeon in the Intensive Care Unit nicknamed me “The Blimp,” that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I came to grips that I had neglected myself and something had to change.

And I was clear on exactly what it was: change my weight.

*Then* everything would be fabulous.

The day I slid into a size 2, it was pure ecstasy.

For about one day. I like to describe it as what cocaine addicts have said they experience when they take a hit of the drug — momentary and fleeting. Yes, I had managed to starve and purge my way to a smaller size. But, as the addict knows, the rush is quickly replaced with fear and a void.

What is wrong with me?

I knew that I was a smart gal. Heck, I was able to run a code blue and save someone else’s life. But I felt incapable of resuscitating myself back to wholeness.Where was that perfect life I’d convinced myself would be waiting for me at the “weight loss finish line”?

The way I had gone about losing weight was painful. And now that I was my “dream” size, I was scared that the weight would come back on. And, so it did.

I tried every diet known to man. Worked out like Jane Fonda back in the 80s. I even took pills that put my body in a 24-7 state of flight or fight, while I was completely ignoring the fact that I had a heart condition and possibly could keel over as a result.

I learned the hard way that the only difference between a size 2 and 20 is the amount of material of your clothing and flesh on your body. Emotionally, everything else is basically the same.

I knew that I needed something different.

Perhaps I needed a teacher. Someone to help me uncover what was really going on.

But, I never guessed my teacher to be across the Atlantic in a country that ate bread and cheese while washing it down with wine.

Her name was Paris.

Over the course of my first week in Paris, I came to understand what I really needed.

And it was not another diet or fitness plan.

I needed something deeper.

In this post , I am going to share with you the key Parisian Lessons that I have cultivated over the years of my many visits to be with my teacher. Ms. Paris.

{Psst….while this Blog Post is a great start, click here to access my free video course for a ooh-la-lift}.

These lessons have not only helped me create lasting weight loss but have also positively impacted every aspect of my life .

Are you ready?

Let’s go!

Lesson #1 — TRUE PLEASURE

Most of us have true pleasure confused with the faux type.

True pleasure is not stuffing yourself until you’re sick or eating Cheetohs out of the value size bag while watching an episode of Game of Thrones.

We may try to justify those actions with a passive thought of

“It’s been a long day, and I deserve it.”

Really? That’s what you deserve? Cheap processed foods while numbing out with the TV? Not hardly, my friend! You deserve so much more.

In Paris, I savored pot de crème, nibbled on beautiful cheeses and sipped Bordeaux in just the right amount.

I spent time reading beautiful novels and stopping into a flower shop to purchase an irresistible bouquet of peonies. I slept eight restful hours each day.

And, I took the time to look my best each day before doing it again.

That was what I deserved.

In Paris, I discovered how much a woman needs to incorporate true pleasure into her life. I also learned that true pleasure doesn’t always feel good, and it certainly isn’t always easy, especially when you’re breaking old habits, but waking up the next day feeling good about yourself and excited about your day is the big payoff.

Which leads me to the next lesson.

Lesson #2 — DISCIPLINE

Most people loathe this word. I certainly did.

Discipline was synonymous with deprivation. And one thing a person who’s suffered from bulimia fears is going without. So, I justified my lack of discipline with the good ole’ “I’m so free spirited I don’t live by rules” excuse.

But, I wasn’t free.

Not only did my inner turmoil and weight reflect this, but my bank account and relationships showed that my inner toddler was wreaking havoc on my life.

Paris taught me that true pleasure requires discipline.

One delicious chocolate? Divine!

Ten? Painful!

The moment you abuse or neglect something, don’t fool yourself. Regardless of how good it tastes, it’s no longer pleasurable. You’re back in the pain zone.

Living with a lack of discipline is like putting a toddler in charge of your life. You feel out of control and constantly doubt yourself. And, freedom is the last thing you experience.

But, with discipline…everything changes.

Paris taught me that the ultimate discipline is managing yourself emotionally.

When you become a disciplined woman, you live your life based on your desires, not your fleeting moods. By listening to and understanding your feelings and not following their every command, you constantly take actions towards your true desires. And, that my friend makes you unstoppable – in your home life, weight, business, relationships and money.

But there is an important lesson that needs to be paired with discipline….

Lesson #3 — SELF RESPECT

A few years ago, I asked a Parisian friend of mine over lunch, pointing to her mille feuille.

“Are you going to eat the whole thing?”

“Non! I have too much self-respect to do that,” she said.

This was the biggest lesson I learned while sauntering from arrondisement to arrondisement.

At the core of my weight issues was my loss of self respect.

I thought that weight loss would provide this to me, but that wasn’t the case. When you basically beat yourself into a smaller size, self-respect is not the reward. I respected myself less because of the methods I used to starve myself.

To create anything you desire requires self-respect ahead of time — to believe in yourself and to see yourself worthy enough to show up for what you say you want.

In Paris, I saw self respect in action.

Women don’t use their children or stressful job as an excuse to let themselves go. They don’t walk the streets while eating a sandwich, sipping a latte and running a meeting on the phone. And, they certainly don’t over or under indulge in their meals.

They respect themselves enough to care for themselves, enjoy their lives and not go crazy with excess.

Cultivating self-respect is key to creating a beautiful life.

And do you know what else my teacher taught me about living a beautiful life?

Lesson #4 — SLOW DOWN

For years, I was living my life like a race — chasing one thing after another — convinced that joy was always in the next thing.

This approach to life had been a large part of my weight issue. When you’re going so fast, you don’t even remember what you ate at lunch. An hour later, you’re convinced you’re hungry again. What you’re really starving for is a bit of pleasure and sanity. Food will never fill that hunger.

The speed at which I was living life meant I was missing out on the truly important things: watching my daughter play a tennis match without being on my phone, enjoying a beautiful conversation over the dinner table, lighting a candle each day.

These little things may not seem like a lot, but they are the details that I’m convinced your 90-year old self will be toasting to one day.

In Paris I discovered that when you slow down, life starts to show you clues that you can’t see when you’re going full steam ahead.

For example, I saw a woman reading a book in a park, and it occurred to me that it had been years since I had read a piece of fiction. I was too busy reading diet and self-help books. I went on a search for a bookstore that sold books in English and bought Pride and Prejudice and read for the sheer enjoyment of it.

As simple as that sounds, something shifted within me.

I made a commitment to make time for the simple pleasures that I’d always put on the backburner convincing myself that “one day” I’d make the effort when I had more time.

Then, I realized something that would change my life forever: I was done waiting until “one day.” After a decade of telling myself this, I knew it was a lie.

I was going to make today the day to infuse my life with the little pleasures.

At first, I wondered, “Will my life fall apart?”

(the funny part was that, truthfully, it already had so what did I have to lose?).

But my life didn’t fall apart. In fact, it started to come together in a way that gave me so much more fulfillment.

By slowing down, my life has sped up in a much more beautiful direction. Oh, the irony!

And with slowing down, one more lesson became abundantly clear:

Lesson #5 — QUALITY CHOICES

I’m sure you’ve heard over and over, “quality over quantity.”

Yet, when you believe that joy is found outside of you, you often stuff your life with more in hopes that the next thing will hold the key to your joie de vivre.

It doesn’t.

All you’re left with is more crap and a feeling of suffocation.

I’ve studied French women for years. Now, let me be clear: I don’t think that French women are better than other women. We all have wonderful qualities. Yet, I am curious about how she lives her life to be filled with joy, pleasure and style. And, you know the saying? Study those who have something you want.

So, I noticed how Parisian women do things. While walking through the markets in Paris, I noticed her searching intently on finding the perfect head of butter lettuce. In stores, she felt and studied the make and texture of a piece of clothing. She seemed to put a lot of effort into her choices. Naturally, quality was the end result.

Living a life that lacks self-respect, discipline and true pleasure ultimately causes a woman to lower her standards — from the foods she consumes to the people she surrounds herself with.

The result is often a life of quantity, not quality.

Raise your standards and you increase the quality of your life.

Paris taught me what diets don’t teach you.

A decade later, and I’m healthier and happier than I’ve ever been. And I no longer suffer from the torment of weight issues. It is truly a miracle of all miracles. I never ever thought I’d utter those words. It wasn’t a diet that got me here.

It was by practicing these simple concepts:

True Pleasure
Discipline
Self Respect
Slow Down
Quality Choices

Let me paint you a picture of my life today as the result of practicing these principles. I don’t share this to brag, I only share because I want to assure you that there’s a different way to live and truly cultivate a well-lived life (and healthy body).

  • I no longer work in my PJs from my home office with week old greasy hair, even though no one will see me….. because I have self respect. For this reason, I show up in my life differently.
  • My bank account is thriving…… because I understand a fancy pair of shoes isn’t true pleasure when you need to fund your IRA.
  • When my mind tries to tell me to hurry and and rush……I remind myself that there is no hurry. I have trained myself to slow down, and fascinatingly, my life has sped up in the the most beautiful direction.
  • My business is growing by leaps and bounds…… because when I schedule something (such as writing this article for you), I have the discipline to show up for it.
  • I’m surrounded by people and things that reflect what I value most…..because I make more quality choices in my everyday decisions.
  • I also don’t fall apart when things don’t go according to plan (and trust me, they often don’t). Instead, through discipline and self-respect, I am able to calmly address what’s before me.

Learning to incorporate these lessons will not only impact your body, but your entire life.

Enter your name and email address below and I will send you instant access to my Free Training “The 3 Truths of Elegant Women”.

Want to start practicing these principles…today?

While Paris is always a good idea, you don’t need to go to Paris.

Let me ask you:

Are you addicted to struggle?
Do you constantly look outside of yourself for the answers?
Do you feel stuck in creating a body, business or relationships you love?
Do you crave more out of life?

If you said yes to any of those questions, it’s okay.

(And you now by now that I can totally relate)

But, if you are struggling with any of these concepts and you want to start addressing them, I have something special that I’ve created for you.

It’s a free video training series called The 3 Truths of Elegant Women.

I share what I’ve learned by studying women who had something I wanted — a love of life.  Here’s what’s fascinating: these women were not found in the personal development world. They were found in Paris, my local country club, and in next door neighbor.

During this training series, l share the not-so-elegant side of me, the “old” me that was addicted to drama and struggle, who was obsessed with all the wrong things and who definitely did NOT French Kiss Life.

If I can do this, you absolutely can!

But, I want to encourage you to not just listen to these videos but practice the concepts I share with you.  And in this free course, I show you how – in an easy and fun way!  Reading or listening to something doesn’t give you the results you’re after.

>> Click here to sign up – it’s free .

You can start creating an elegant mindset right now regardless of the balance in your bank account, the number on a scale or your relationship status.

As one of my favorite elegant women, Diana Vreeland, once said,

“The only real elegance is in the mind;
if you’ve got that, the rest really comes from it.”

Are you ready to start cultivating an elegant mind?  Let’s get started!

Now it’s your turn:

Which Parisian lesson do you want to really practice this week — and how will you do it?

Be sure to leave a comment here on the blog below.

I cannot wait to support you.

You got this, girl!

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23 Responses to The Parisian Lessons to
Creating Anything You Want

  1. My life has significantly changed since incorporating the FKL principles. The community of beautiful…inside and out…women is so supportive and encouraging. I’ve realized that I have been pleasing others most of my life, putting myself and my feelings last. Then I would overindulge with eating and shopping to make myself feel better. Some of my self-discoveries have been quite painful. One amazing result has been that people, my family and others, have been treating me differently…more open, more relaxed. When I start slipping back into old habits, I stop and think. I think about beautiful Tonya, the other beautiful FKL ladies, and how good I feel when I exercise Discipline and the other principles. Thank you, thank you, Tonya. Finding you and the French Kiss Life continues to allow me to be the girl I used to be and the woman I am meant to be.

    • Hi Deanna,

      Thanks so much for sharing and welcome to the community.

      Remember: it’s a constant practice!

      xoxo,

      Tonya

  2. Showing up for myself ,seems to be the most difficult for me. I will devote time to show up for things I want to do instead of everyone else.

    • Hi Monifa, you’re not alone! This is a challenge for most of us, but the fact that you have this awareness is a great first step.

      T

  3. All of the lessons resonate with me, but the self-respect one is probably the one that I never really considered. I constantly struggle with keeping things neat, uncluttered, and over-stuffed. This I always attribute to a lack of discipline, which is easy to rationalize “after a hard day, after a long week, when the kids stress me out, etc”. But…re-phrasing it and re-thinking it as having the self-respect not to live like this puts a whole new spin on things. So that is where I choose to focus my efforts this week. I deserve to live in a house that gives energy, not drains it.

    Thank you, Tonya, you have made a world of difference in my life!!!!!!

    • Set that intention, and make little daily choices that elevate the quality of your choices.

      As I was sharing with Deanna, it’s a constant practice.

      xo

  4. Dear Tonya,
    First of all – blimp?! May I say – shame on the Doctor who said that.
    My goal for this week is to slow down with my dinners in the evening. I come home from work, and I feel so tired and hungry that I often rush through the preparation of dinner – and often snack whilst I’m doing it. By the time I sit down – I am no longer that hungry, so I eat quickly and without much thought.
    Much love to you,
    Marija

    • I know! People don’t always realize how cutting their words can be.

      I like that you have one clear intention. Practice that until it becomes your norm.

      And, be curious about what comes up.

  5. Loved reading and contemplating the ideas you have provided. Fabulous, informative and great lessons to put into action. Thank you!

  6. Dear Tonya;

    Thank you so much for this terrific article. It helps me understand better how to incorporate these practices into my life. I’ll take note 🙂 Now I realize even more that I need to work into ***slowing down***

    BUUUT I still have this little naughty pants elf telling me that I’m wasting my time and that I ought to stop reading poetry and journaling, and rush and do my “duties”. Th elf wants to convince me that I’m wasting my time by taking care of myself and not being productive and efficient and multitasking.
    After trying to find ways to stop this Elf -and making a LOT of progress, fortunately- I came to the conclusion that I must redefine my whole conception of TIME. What is it? How to truly make my entire being understand that I’m not wasting my time by I’m doing lovely inspiring and creative things that bring joy to my spirit, and are not boring mundane “duty” (that can wait).
    It’s hard for me to shush it, even when I’m exhausted, and can’t do anything… my FMO elf and my Duty elf start to pinch me…
    So again: What to do? How to contemplate Time in this context? What is time to these women who we admire? Also, what to do when you are a BIG dreamer like me. (Your ideas have helped me go back to my dreaming big mentality, my “I’m not good enough” and “who do I think I am? ” are GONE, so thank you, again)

    Bisous !
    Luzmaría

    • Hello Luzmaria,

      So great to see you on the blog!

      Yes, slowing down helps you be more intentional and deliberate.

      It’s also a practice.

      Some days, it seems I’m going so fast. And, I have to remind myself.

      Lots of love!

  7. I’m really working on Self Respect this week. I have this bookmarked and have been reviewing it every day for a couple weeks now, working on each of the lessons. It’s changing my life!
    So much love to you!
    Colleen

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