I did it! I thought it was impossible but I did it! And you know what? It wasn’t that hard at all! The day after we came back home from Italy, I stepped on the scale, afraid to look down and, lo and behold, it didn’t budge! No weight gain! Woohoo! All was not lost!
Just to put you in context: Two weeks ago, my husband along with our two (toddler; yikes!) kids, decided to join my parents who had rented a house in Campodipietra; my mother’s small native village in Italy. We figured it would be an amazing experience to be all together in such a beautiful, amazing country.
Of course, one aspect that makes Italy so amazing is THE food! Fresh: YES! Delicious: YES! Loaded with carbs: YES, YES, YES! I mean every single menu had 30 different kinds of pasta plates and pizza flavors and don’t even get me started on the gelato! Of course, pasta was just the primo piatto (first course), then you usually have a secondo piatto (second course), between the antipasto and dessert of course.That’s just the way it is!
So how did I manage to defeat this whole food game?
My initial plan was to workout a few times per week and to limit desserts and pasta. I even downloaded several Beachbody workouts on my iPhone and made sure I didn’t need any equipment to do them. I made a mental list of foods I would eat and avoid and how I would only have pasta once a week. Well, all that went out the window the first day as soon as we arrived at my parents’. They graciously greeted us with freshly made pizza (still hot from the local bakery), prosciutto and mortadella, fresh melon and cherries, mozzarella buffalo,… the works! Everything tasted soooo good.
So how did I do it???… I’m getting there…
Here’s the simple truth: I slowed down my pace of life and I enjoyed every moment.
I savored each morsel. I experienced the food without stuffing it down my throat. It was all about how we are suppose to eat and live. Too often, we are rushed, grab anything at hand and go. We eat food to stop the hunger or craving or to have something to do while mindlessly watching a movie. But what we forget to do is to take the time to taste the food, to experience it and to listen to our bodies.
In Italy, we rarely watched TV. We walked, we played in the park with the kids. We rested when came time for siesta and all the village closed its shops. And we ate when we were hungry. We were following our bodies instead of being distracted by external hunger cues.
Here are a few tips and tricks that I took with me as a reminder of this experience:
- Share a decadent dessert instead of having a whole one.
- Order a bunch of different plates for the family and have a taste of each.
- Walk, walk, walk and enjoy all the beautiful views and landscapes
- Follow your appetite not whatever tempts you, listen to your body, don’t eat out of boredom.
- Enjoy yourself! That’s what makes life so wonderful. Once in a while, it is important to let it go. To go with the flow.
The lesson that I learned is that a couple of weeks of vacation will not destroy all the work you did if you go at it with balance. Have a few drinks, indulge in that dessert and when you get back, learn from your experience and go back to your fitness routine and be mindful that life is about enjoying the little things and finding balance in everything.
How are you planning to enjoy your vacation?