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Diets vs. Excellent Food

Old Aug 14th, 2001, 01:53 PM
  #1  
Pleasingly Plump
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Diets vs. Excellent Food

I will be going to Italy in a few months and want to indulge in all the great food and wine, but hate to pay the price in weight.
I know I will be walking more, but I will also be eating more! Any suggestions from another weight-conscious traveler?
Thanks!
 
Old Aug 14th, 2001, 02:10 PM
  #2  
elaine
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Hi
I fight weight-gain all the time
(and am on a permanent odd eating plan, to boot) but even when I indulge myself while on vacation I have never gained anything more than 2 pounds, usually no gain at all, because I am usually walking all day long.
That's my metabolism, not yours.
I can't say what will work for you, but you might want to consider
avoiding all the offered bread and rolls for breakfast (well, maybe just once, to get it out of your system!) and keeping to a light lunch of salads or plain fish or other protein.
Then enjoy yourself at dinner!
This is a dangerous topic--what works for one person may not work for another, and one person's low-fat diet is another person's high-carbohydrate
nightmare. Whatever you do at home that works, will work on vacation, plus the possibly added activity of walking.

 
Old Aug 14th, 2001, 02:20 PM
  #3  
Book Chick
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Dear Pleasingly,
Between the time I arrived in Florence & the time I came back to the States for a school break, about 3 months had elapsed. I was some 23 lbs. lighter, with NO particular dieting/deliberate exercising of my own.

Why? I actual did as much walking & perhaps actually a bit less in Italy than I was used to doing at home. (Didn't own a car at that time.) The food was healthier. (Remember, olive oil is a mono-unsaturated fat; the healthiest kind, doesn't clog the arteries.) Plus, I think it was so good that it took less food to satisfy me. Sometimes I missed a meal or two due to Italy's version of "the siesta hour", but it was probably no more than twice.

Go, enjoy, eat, walk. Life is a bit on the short side to fret over that which is truly healthy for you. Really, your cholesterol will probably be lower when you return.
Buon Appetito & Buon Viaggio,
BC
 
Old Aug 14th, 2001, 02:25 PM
  #4  
Pleasingly
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Thanks, both of you for taking the time to answer. I have been on my own diet of eating often and including protein in my small portion meals.
 
Old Aug 14th, 2001, 02:39 PM
  #5  
Fannie
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I think the smaller portions will work if you keep active.
Eat alot of olive oil.
 
Old Aug 14th, 2001, 03:17 PM
  #6  
andi
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I gain weight on every vacation - and these are strenuous hiking trips. I think it's because my metabolism has slowed down - I just turned 50. I am like another poster on an odd eating plan (if you must know, it's called the Menopause Diet and involves eating 5 small high-protein,some fat, no-carb meals a day. I went on it for the express purpose of losing some weight so I could indulge on my upcoming Italian vacation and not mind if I gain my usual 5 vacation pounds. But I may stay on it forever. Not sure to what extent I'll follow it on vacation, especially re: bread and pasta. Good luck to you.
 
Old Aug 14th, 2001, 03:27 PM
  #7  
Pleasingly
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You could be writing about me.
I think we have the same problem, your diet sounds interesting, but no carbs?
Don't people need carbs?
To make this exchange travel related I will mention the breads, pastas, tortes,
Sienese cakes, wait...I had better stop.
 
Old Aug 14th, 2001, 04:10 PM
  #8  
elvira
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I've found that portions are smaller and there's a lot of time between courses. If you order every course at every meal, every day, YOU'll be the overweight luggage at check-in, so don't.
American restaurants seem to think we need huuuuuge portions of everything, and every main course comes with two side dishes like bbq beans and potato salad or fried onion rings and macaroni salad. Not so in Italy; you order things separately, like a small serving of polenta or tomato/basil salad. Even the pizzas are about the size of a small dinner plate, not a coffee table. And for dessert, no cinder-block sized slab of cake; instead, you get a bowl of tiramisu about the size of a coffee cup. I've never walked away from a dinner table in Europe feeling stuffed, but I've always felt satisfied. And here's the great thing about being an adult - if you want to skip dinner and eat dessert, you can. Or eat a gelato and let it spoil your supper.

I spent five weeks in Paris and my tiny black jeans fit exactly the same when I left as when I arrived, and I am not a picky eater.

Another thing I discovered: in a noisy American bar on a Saturday night, I'll pound down six beers. Sitting at a sidewalk cafe, same amount of time, two beers or two glasses of wine, tops. What DO the bars pump into the air??


 
Old Aug 14th, 2001, 04:24 PM
  #9  
Rhonda
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Andi, I also found dropping the amount of carbs has helped lower the weight pre-travel. However, I found I still need SOME (healthy whole grain before mid-afternoon)the hard way. Played a particularly gruelling game of netball (popular game here in Oz) but lacked stamina/energy. So need to look at your individual physical output. I'm sure walking will wear off higher than normal carb intake. Perhaps eat biggest meal in middle of day, like the Europeans, and only have a light meal at night - salads, vegies and fruit. I'm going to try this and hopefully won't come back too much bigger.
 
Old Aug 14th, 2001, 04:34 PM
  #10  
andi
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Thanks for the input. This sort-of-weird menopause diet allows only spelt bread and spelt pasta, actually known in Italy as farro and which I might be able to find. I eat it at home - like the bread, not the pasta. I get lots of fiber from fresh fruits and veg, but wonder if I should be eating more grains -plan to ask doc. Meanwhile, will definitely be eating some carbs on vacation. After all, I lost the weight in expectation of gaining it back (though it would be great if I didn't). Good luck to all of us travelers, especially those of us a little older with the slower metabolisms.
 
Old Aug 14th, 2001, 09:09 PM
  #11  
Santa Chiara
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Andi, I feel your pain! As a distinctly middle-aged woman in Italy, I too have to watch the carbs. It's really easy to eat low carbs in Italy if you can forego the pasta. You can almost always order grilled meat and fish with a salad or vegetable as a side. Unlike France, the bread basket will not contain any overwhelming examples, so that's easy to pass up. For breakfast, you might consider bringing low-carb power bars. You will rarely find an American style breakfast in hotels, but you will usually find cold, sliced meats and cheeses, as well as yoghurt. You are right about faro, but I doubt you will find it on the menu (I have never seen it). You may find it in some of the salumerie (like a deli) in some ready-to-go salads. I did notice more faro in Umbria than anywhere else.

For your snacks or smaller meals, you can always buy prosciutto, cheeses and hard sausages at the deli. I find it less difficult in Italy than in the U.S. to follow a low-carb regime, although I do indulge in one or two pasta dishes a week.
 
Old Aug 14th, 2001, 09:42 PM
  #12  
Surlok
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I don't think that eating carbohydrates for lunch or breakfast are a problem. They will give you energy, faster than protein will, so that you have the strength (and fuel) to walk. At night
(since no one needs more fuel, unless being a disco buff), I always order some eggplant or zucchini antipasti ( no bread, though) raddichio, aruggola, any green leaves salad, along with some proschiutto and cheese, or a steak, or fish, and usually no desserts. I'm not much into sweet flavors anyway, but I do have gellati in the afternoon, almost always. I never, ever gained weight in my travels, nor I starved. I always eat well, since food in Italy is always delicious. My clothes are usually looser when I'm flying back home than when I start my trip. Menopause is not a problem either, as far as you're a sensible eater and you know your body, and your body needs. And don't obsess about gaining or loosing weight, since you're risking to ruin a fabulous trip. And, honestly, don't miss the chance of savoring the real Italian food, what you can't get home, since even in an Italian restaurant, it won't be the same.
Depriving yourself from eating well in Italy just doesn't make sense.

Surlok
 
Old Aug 14th, 2001, 10:02 PM
  #13  
carla
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Dear Pleasingly,

I've always lost a little weight without trying on European trips -- the ONLY time this EVER happens for me since I hit middle age.

Two reasons I can think of: I walk so much every day, miles and miles. And, to save money, I eat my main meal at lunch. Gives me energy for all that walking -- and by evening I'm too tired for more than some fruit and bread.

I agree with all the other posters about olive oil and the healthy smaller portions over there. Hope this helps a bit -- do enjoy!
 
Old Aug 15th, 2001, 10:55 AM
  #14  
Amy
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Andi-talk to your doctor very soon! Not eating enough carbs can really hurt you. In particular, it can cause kidney damage. I'm not saying you have to eat huge plates of pasta everyday, but you must eat a reasonable amount of carbs.
 
Old Aug 15th, 2001, 12:45 PM
  #15  
Pleasingly
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Thanks for the good ideas, it is especially nice to see us all get along so well and give helpful, well-thought-out advice.
If this keeps up I may use my real name.
I am so looking forward to this trip!
 

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