How I Gained 15 lbs. (and then lost the weight)

Two words: gelato and pastry. In college I spent an amazing semester in Rome where I studied Art History, went to a whole lot of museums, traveled the country, and ate and cooked. A lot. My apartment was far from campus, so I had to walk along the streets of Rome each day, passing probably half a dozen gelaterie (pl. for gelateria) and a handful of pastry shops. I got really good at the phrase, "Un cono piccolo, per favore."

[The 24/7 bakery in Rome. Sadly, I don't have an address.]

There was even an ALL NIGHT bakery within walking distance of my apartment. If I wanted a chocolate croissant at 3 in the morning, I could get a chocolate croissant. Rough life, I know.

But my biggest weakness was the gelato. So if you are going to Rome for your honeymoon or for any trip, I highly recommend the following gelaterie:

[Heaven on a cone-- Old Bridge Gelateria, Rome]

OLD BRIDGE GELATERIA Via Bastioni di Michelangelo 5. Very close to the entrance to the Vatican Museums.
This is right next to the Vatican. I would get a large scoop of stracciatella (chocolate chip) or nocciola (hazelnut) on my way to school and be done with it by the time I got around to crossing the Tiber River. If you find yourself in a long line to see the Sistine Chapel, this is a nice way to pass the time.

GELATERIA MILLENNIUM Via Candia, across the street from Cipro Metro.
This was directly below where I lived. Way too much temptation and late nights studying brought me to their doorstep to eat ice cream even in the freezing cold. Across the way was a chocolate shop which displayed brightly decorated chocolate eggs during Easter. This was like every dieter's nightmare. Good thing I wasn't dieting at the time!

I hadn't realized how much weight I had gained until I got home. My grandmother and uncle just came right out and told me I got chubby. My sister was getting married and we had to go to the seamstress to make my bridemaid's dress fit. None of my clothes fit anymore.

For someone who's only 5' 1" 1/2 (gotta note the 1/2") those extra 15 pounds made a big difference. I kept my Italy weight for years, partially because I simply didn't have the time or motivation to lose it, and partially because the boy and my friends were supportive, sensitive people and constantly told me that I didn't need to lose it.

And maybe I didn't need to lose it. I was hovering close to being overweight for my height and weight, but I was still within the "normal" limits.

But I sure wanted to. I wanted to be able to wear my old clothes again and lose the extra cheekage on my face. I never had enough motivation, until I read a book.

[French Women Don't Get Fat, by Mireille Guiliano]

The book, like anything else, isn't perfect. There are times when she makes losing weight sound like it should be a piece of cake by telling you to walk everywhere (a little impossible in San Diego,) buy groceries at the farmer's market, and savor each bite by chewing very slowly.

She also has this recipe for leek soup which you're supposed to drink for two days straight as a 'reconditioning' before your diet. I did not attempt to make or drink any leek soup.

Honestly, I don't think the book would have worked on me if it hadn't been for the opening chapters about how she gained the weight. She had studied abroad in the U.S. (she is from France) and gained the weight while having a fabulous time chowing down on hamburgers and ice cream. And then she gained even more weight while she studied in Paris and picked up a pastry or two on the walk to school. It sounded all too familiar.

So, I did listen to some of Mireille's advice, and after 3 months of semi-following her instructions, I lost the 15 lbs!! I feel so much more confident and happy at this weight, and I think the 3 months of sacrifice was totally worth it.

Here's what I did. And, oh man, it was NOT easy!
- I kept a food journal. I didn't write all the calories, I just quickly jotted anything I ate down in the notebook. Eating anything became a conscious decision because I had to put pen to paper each time.

- I found out (shocker!) that my weaknesses were sweets and pasta. So I cut down my pasta, and substituted sweets with yogurt and fruit. I didn't allow myself any cookies, cakes, cupcakes, candies, milkshakes, frappuccino drinks...you get the picture. I did, however, buy a really fancy chocolate bar and would allow myself a small piece every couple of days. But then I'd have to write it down.

- I only drank water, and drank about 4-6 glasses a day.

- I would ask for a take-out box before I started any restaurant meal. I put a small portion of the meal in it before I started chowing down.

- I worked out 4-5 days a week, usually running a mile on the treadmill and then doing light weights.

- I ate oatmeal for breakfast. every. single. morning.

- I tried to keep my diet on the down low. I didn't want anyone convincing me not to go ahead with it, which did happen from time to time. And I'm so glad that I did--I feel much better than I used to.

I'm proud I stuck with it, and now I take a fun aerobics class and go running on the treadmill a few times a week for exercise. If you've read this far, thanks for reading about my love affair with gelato and pastry. We're doing just fine these days.


The Professional Bridesmaid said...

I know what you mean about the gelato in Rome. So yummy. So easy. Good on ya for losing weight your way and in a healthy way.

honey my heart said...

your motivation is awesome. i like how you got healthy on your own terms.

Mo said...

Thanks girls! =)

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