Vacation and the Eating is OH SO EASY

A very dear friend (although I see her rarely now as she moved from our sleepy village) saw a Facebook post of mine just two days before my flight to Paris for a dream vacation in July.

Friend: You're going to Paris? No way! I'm at the Philadelphia airport now on my way to Paris.

Me: Impossible! How long will you be there?

Friend: Until Thursday. How about dinner Wednesday?

Me: You find the place and we will be there.

And she did. And we did. We ate at a small restaurant (I've come to learn most are small much like Broadway theaters are small - to pack in as many options as possible) named Le Boisson Ardent in the Left Bank.

Each dish was tastier than the next. We ate pretty food on pretty small plates. What is more divine than pretty food? Eating pretty food and not gaining weight, that's what.

I mention my friend not only because I dined with her in Paris but because her mother used to say something about vacations that has become my traveling mantra.

"You don't go on vacation to save money or lose weight."

I can tell you I did not save money although the accountant in me did have a budget which I stayed pretty true to.

But, in a shocking twist, in spite of tasting everything I wanted and drinking anything I pleased, I lost nearly three pounds on that trip.

Huh? No...wait...what?

Yes, I sure did lose weight. But how?

1. It's faster to walk a city than to drive it. Paris, like New York or Chicago, is just a bunch of neighborhoods separated by busy streets and crazy cabbies. Often the fastest distance between two points is on the sidewalk. One-way streets do not deter a pedestrian. Also, Paris has an easily navigable subway system. So, you walk fast to the station, catch the train then walk to your destination at your stop. I didn't have a pedometer on and I wonder how many miles we walked each day. I'm sure it was many. Also, the 284 steps to the top of the Arc de Triumphe burned a few calories! Each morning included a walking tour of the town we were in along the Rhne River. We always took advantage of this and tagged several hours of walking afterward exploring each gem.

2. There was no food in my hotel room or on our cruise boat stateroom. Therefore snacking meant consciously purchasing something. Oh, and we did. I had pastry and ice cream and macaroons and wine... But, serving sizes are normal, not the super sized ones we have come to expect here in the US. Even if I finished my own portion there was minimal damage. With no food in the fridge or cupboard there was no unconscious grazing. Grazing can be deadly to your health.

3. Most of our food was on smaller plates. This portion control thing is not rocket science. It stands to reason that if you eat less you will either lose weight or not gain weight. It's pure mathematics, not social science. The phrase "you eat with your eyes first" describes the control we actually have to alter our behavior. A petit plate with pretty food is much more appetizing to me than a ginormous plate at a buffet filled to excess with all kinds of offerings. Our food was pretty and delicious.

4. I was thrown out of the Clean Plate Club. Tasting and eating mean the same thing. I honestly ate everything I wanted. And by that I mean to say I tasted everything, finished some and left some on my plate. After the first few bites we all mentally move on. If we can learn that cue, we will lose weight. Taste, enjoy, and then move on. It does not matter what is left on your plate.

5. I used a salad size plate at any buffet. Breakfast and lunch on our boat was buffet style. I filled a salad plate with whatever I wanted. And...

6. If I didn't like the flavor or taste of something I stopped eating immediately. Why use calories or room in your belly with something that is not delicious? Don't do it. You have the power.

7. I drank wine! Wine is less expensive than many soft drinks in Europe so enjoying it is easy. Also, since I drank wine, I was not drinking high calorie mixed drinks. That alone saved many calories. In addition, I did not have any sugary coffee drinks which can ruin any day's healthy option efforts.

It turns out that real life is way better than any diet.

I ate less, moved more and lost weight. How about that?

Have a yummy day!


By Judith Caserta, also known as "Jude the Foodie".

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