My personal trainer eyed me up and down.
“Hey, you’ve lost weight.”
I gave him a “Puh-lease, whatever” snort.
“I’ve been in Italy for the past three weeks eating pasta and cheese nonstop,” I laughed. Weight loss? Impossible. I thought to myself. I’ve been living at my natural weight for the past eight years, quite happily, thank you very much. I’m not even trying to lose weight, in the first place!
But he was insistent. “Well, whatever you’ve been doing, you look more lean and toned. Trust me. Didn’t you post on Facebook you were climbing stairs nonstop?”
We started our workout and I caught a few glances of my god pod in the mirror. Hmm. Maybe he was right. I checked later on the scale. Damn. He was right!
So, how did I lose weight during my trip to Italy?
Well, it’s pretty simple:
I lost weight because I lived, moved, and ate like an Italian.
Italians move through their day very differently than the average American. Even healthy, active Americans (like me) are basically sedentary blobs compared to the average Italian. Sad, but true.
Now that I’m back in the USA, back in my “regular” life, I’m noticing the cultural differences even more.
Here are three major differences I picked up on:
- Italians walk EVERYWHERE.
Back home in the USA, I am very physically active — but probably not physically active enough! I work out for about an hour a day four to five days a week — running or weights — but then, like most Americans, I spend the majority of the rest of the day sitting in front of a computer.
New research shows that sitting is incredibly bad for your health, even if you exercise every day. Yikes. Not to self: stand up. A lot more.
During my trip to Italy, I spent almost zero time in front of a screen. There was too much to do and see! I walked constantly — up mountainous hills, down to the villa, to the market, up and down endless flights of stairs in centuries-old buildings, everywhere!
At one point, I asked a local if there was a nearby gym and he looked at me like I had grape leaves sprouting out of my head. He gestured to the glorious mountains all around us, as if to say, “Lady, just GO FOR A WALK! We’re in paradise!”
When walking becomes your primary mode of transportation, your body responds accordingly.
- Italians really, deeply appreciate food.
For Italians, mealtime is sacred.
Food is lovingly prepared and it’s not uncommon for a dinner to stretch on for two, three or four hours. Pasta is rolled by hand. Cheese is cave-aged in local cellars. Produce is plucked from the fields. Everything is stupendously delicious. Yet only about 10% of Italians are classified as obese. Here in America? 68% of our population is considered overweight or obese.
Why the crazy percentages here in the USA?
There are tons of contributing factors, but one of the biggest issues, in my opinion, is that most Americans don’t treat food with the same level of respect and appreciation that Italians do. We often eat in a distracted state — munching while watching TV, checking social media, in our cars, in movie theaters, or at the table while texting away.
When you focus intently on your meal, as most Italians do, you tend to enjoy it more deeply, savor the flavors more intensely, and you pay closer attention to that moment where your body says, “OK, that’s enough for now.”
When you’re watching TV and Olivia Pope is dodging bullets from secret government organizations and your heart is pounding with excitement as you fork pasta into your mouth, you’re less likely to notice those subtle physical signals.
- Italians love EVERYTHING. (Not just food.)
Italians really love food. But that’s not their sole passion. They also love music, singing, art, history, culture, long conversations, walks, love, sex, and time with friends and family.
Many Americans are deeply unhappy in their careers and relationships, which means that food tends to become the only “fun” part of life. And when food is your primary source of pleasure, you’re likely to eat a lot more of it than you really need.
My visit to Italy inspired me to saturate my day with even more pleasure from all kinds of sources, not just food. Can you ever really have “too much” pleasure? I think not.
Right now, you might be thinking, “I’d really love to start living like an Italian and transform my body while listening to tambourine music and sipping limoncello… but, um, I can’t swing a trip to Europe this year. I’m screwed.”
I hear ya. But here’s the good news:
You can transform your lifestyle, your habits, and your body anywhere — at any time –whether you live in Indiana or the Italian countryside.
(I’ve been there. I’ve done it. So have hundreds of my clients. This work is doable.)
It takes effort. It takes courage. And… it is absolutely worth it.
I’d love to guide you.
My weight loss coaching program, BARE, kicks off again on June 2nd, 2015.
It’s an intimate, safe, and confidential circle of women — just me and twelve clients — working together to create permanent weight loss (… while having Italian-levels of fun.)
This work will change you. Learn more here, plug the coaching dates into your calendar, and let’s get to work. (When you’re ready? Make your deposit here. Any questions? Email my team at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll answer your burning q’s.)
You can do this.
The right coaching can make all the difference.