…[tremendous kindness and day-brightening]…
…I am striving to lose as close to 10 pounds as I can (in the healthiest way possible) before I study abroad in Italy next semester (Florence to be exact). I was wondering if you would be able to give me some guidance on how you maintained such a terrific journey while being in the land of cheese, bread, pizza, pasta, wine and every other delicious factor in life.
Thank you for writing!
First, believe that you can do it. I [somehow through the grace of the Vatican and the many, many euros I spent on rosary beads from whispery street vendors] left Rome sixty pounds lighter.
Italy is indeed a land of lovable food and what you’ll learn there is that by falling madly in love with each and every bite of pasta, every last lick of gelato, you will appreciate food and fullness in a brand new way. The portions are smaller, the eating experience is longer and more celebratory, the food is fresh and whole.
And by everywhere, I mean:
ev.ery.where (adv): to or in all parts or places.
Make your own breakfast.
Now, breakfast is not as big a deal in Italy as it is here in the USA, so I’d recommend you make your own morning meal rather than partaking in the traditional sweet pastry or biscuit and espresso- as the Italians do. They’re a culture that might nibble on a small starch and be content ‘til lunchtime. You, however, can develop a fantastic habit of having a healthy, wholesome breakfast and you certainly won’t be missing out on any grand eating experiences. (Unless gelato becomes an a.m. staple over there, in which case- disregard the entirety of this recommendation). I’d suggest fresh fruit with oatmeal or yogurt.
Eat 3 solid meals per day and do not snack (please).
Europeans eat well, and a large part of how they maintain their slim figures is by avoiding snacking. Americans are said to consume somewhere around 25% of their daily calorie intake through snacks. And if you think about it, the snacks are never as satisfying as sitting down to a meal. They’re often forgettable, and only leave you fantasizing about your next lunch or dinner. If you’re eating a balanced, full-of-vegetables meal three times a day, you should be fine in between without grazing. Here is where you’ll get in tune with your hunger. You’ll learn that being hungry is a gentle building, and when you do eventually eat, you appreciate, you taste, your food that much more. You celebrate meal time because it is not something that happens at any hour, in any location.
1 Dessert per day
This will keep you happy. This will keep you strong and sane. The goal is to stop after one of something, one of anything your heart desires. Know this: Sweets will exist tomorrow, and even the day after that, so no need to stockpile your stomach.
Stay in Italy and be, feel, live, and gesture wildly, like an Italian.
Savor your meals.
Savor your time.
Any other advice you’d offer this Italy-bound reader?