How I Lost Weight Eating POUNDS of Pasta + Pizza and Not Exercising

I’m not so strong in the self-discipline department so naturally when I left for Italy a couple of weeks ago my intention was to completely let go. No deliberate exercise. No restrictions on what I could eat or ninja tricks for eating less while on vacation.

Elizabeth Gilbert’s experience in “Eat Pray Love” had me convinced that after 10 days of being overfed pasta, pizza, bread, etc. they would have to roll me onto the plane in order to get home.

I’m not joking when I say overfed. I even wrote down what we ate – take a look at this sample day at Peter’s aunt’s house:

Well what do you know, it turns out I lost three pounds while on the Pasta, Pizza, + Gelato Diet. So Eat Pray Suck It, Elizabeth Gilbert!

I also didn’t feel as full after eating huge meals.  This plate of gnocchi? Ate all of it. Surprisingly, I felt light that afternoon as if I had eaten a crisp salad.

At home, even a third of that portion would have left me in a food coma all day.

So what was different?

First, we kept moving all day.

No, there was no intentional, self-torturing exercise to balance out the pasta. But I was on my feet a lot. Walking.  Taking stairs.  Uphill.  Very slowly, but still moving.

Second, we had no place to be. At each meal I was simply present with my food. Not constantly stressing about where we were going next, how many emails piled up in my inbox while I was eating lunch, what’s happening on Facebook, or how “fattening” the food was.

I was just THERE. Enjoying time with good company. Slowly. Trust me, Italians aren’t exactly known for their sense of urgency.

When you eat when you’re relaxed, you digest your food more efficiently and fire up your metabolism. When you remain relaxed after your meal, you give your body a chance to direct all its energy to breaking down and metabolize your food.

Yes, relaxation is a weight loss strategy.

And third…ok, I lied. There was one tiny ninja eating trick I used while on vacation.  But I’ll share it with you in my next post, so stay tuned for Part II!

So how about you? When you allow yourself to indulge and stop stressing about what you eat, do you lose weight or gain?  Do you ever allow yourself to stop stressing about food?  Leave a comment below.

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*P.S. Despite my comment I actually really enjoyed the book and movie – who doesn’t want to watch a montage of people eating pasta?  I think anyone who complains that she was “too whiny” is just bitter that nobody paid them to travel to Italy, India, and Indonesia and write about it.