Hi all! I just got back from a 10-day trip to Europe (Amsterdam and Paris, to be exact) and am settling back into Brooklyn life. Besides the baguette, cheese, wine, and chocolate withdrawal I’m going through, I feel great!
Yes, I spent 10 days feasting my little heart out: lots of coffees? Check. Mid-day beers? Check. Chocolate croissants, stinky cheeses, custardy ice creams? Oui oui!
Many of you may be surprised to read that, perhaps imagining that I live my life inside a health counselor bubble – living piously, sans any decadence. But as my clients already know, I believe that life must allow room for indulgence! When I find myself lucky enough to be in Paris, I take the opportunity to enjoy all of the local delicacies (especially if those delicacies are slathered in butter. And topped with bacon.). The key is to allow room for indulgence in a healthy way. I certainly can’t continue to eat my weight in whipped cream now that I’m home (not if I want to feel good and fit into my jeans…), but in between my bites of kale and lentil soup this week, I will be making room for a celebratory glass of wine with friends.
Another tip: take it slow. When my husband and I rolled off the plane, we expected to find ourselves 7 lbs heavier than we were before we left. But we had each gained only about 2 lbs – pretty incredible for our 10 days of feasting. The answer to the mystery: enjoyment. The so-called “vacation phenomenon” of either not gaining much weight after a week of indulgence – or in some cases, losing weight! – has been studied over the years. What they’re finding is that when we actually take time to SLOW DOWN and enjoy our food, our bodies are able to process (and therefore metabolize) our meals that much better. When you sit down for a meal with friends or family and eat it slowly, thoroughly enjoying each bite, your body thanks you for it by taking the necessary nutrients and processing the rest of the food in an efficient manner. When you scarf down your meal at your desk or in front of the TV, stressed out and in a hurry, your body receives mixed messages and can’t properly digest your meal. You then end up with things like heart burn, acid reflux, gas, indigestion, and ultimately – weight gain.
So my final advice is that when you do make the decision to indulge, do it consciously. Carve out a special time and place for it and do it lovingly! Spend the time to sit down and enjoy it. Notice the way the textures feel in your mouth. The presentation on the plate. The way the espresso smells (did I mention I’m in caffeine withdrawal, too??) Your body – and waist line – will thank you for it.