T Nation

Can I Avoid Getting Fat in Italy?


#1

OK,

I'm about to head to Italy for two weeks, which means I'm going to be eating a lot of pasta combined with large doses of olive oil in the same meal -- pretty much the anti-Berardi nutrition of high-carb/high-fat meals.

I am going to enjoy my trip, but I would like to avoid coming back and being mistaken for the Michelin Man or Pillsbury Dough Boy with the farmer- and sock-tans, respectively, I'm sure to have. I'm already white -- I don't need to be porky.

I ordered some HOT-ROX, and I'm taking Grow! Bars for snacking (so as to better avoid Gelato stands).

I'm also taking some fiber pills -- The Vitamin Shoppe fiber supplements -- that I plan to take with the pasta meals. I'm also going to forgo bread, with the possible exception of the occasional taste of focacia.

Any other strategies besides the obvious of moderation, which I am going to attempt (though you try arguing with the Italian mothers who run the mom-and-pop restaurants I want to patronize that a small portion is sufficient), that people want to share with me?

Gratsi.


#2

You're not going to get fat in two weeks.

If you keep your mind in place, and don't sit around all vacation, I'm pretty sure you can keep any change in body composition minimal.

Most Italian restaurants offer a decent choice of fish and beef. Try scallapinos, for a chance. Very lean veal with a crust.

If you ask up front to give you a separate jar of olive oil, most of them will do it.

Also, keep something at hand for breakfast, Italians aren't to keen on it.

And last but not least : "DIABETIC"

I even smuggled my bag with food and dinner knives into the Vatican that way.


#3

While I admire your intentions, I disagree with them completely! You're going to Italy, dude, enjoy the food in glutonous amounts! Any damage you do while there can be reversed with some HIIT and TBT once you return!


#4

When I was in Italy I ate to my heart's content and never gained an ounce. I think it is because I walked so much. We must have spent a good 5 or 6 hours a day walking. Go on lots of walking tours or just explore the cities yourself on foot.

Which cities are you going to? You are lucky, Italy is awesome.

When I was in Rome I stopped in at a pizzeria for a slice of pizza and also ordered a diet coke. The store keeper disappeared into the back and returned with a small, warm can. The top of the can was completely covered with a quarter inch of black sticky gunk. I tried to return it but the storekeeper started yelling at me in Italian. Italians don't talk, they yell. Also another tip, don't get ice cream in Capri; it costs $10 a scoop.

At least Italy isn't as bad as Greece where every meal comes swimming in an inch of olive oil.


#5

Try to eat salad with vinegar and oil before eating the pasta. The vinegar can help to keep your insulin levels a bit more under control while you fill your pie hole with pasta.


#6

Go to Italy and enjoy yourself. Let loose a little; however, stay in control. Enjoy the food. Mangi !


#7

Don't forget the wine!


#8

I was in Italy five years ago, and man was the food ridiculous. The one thing that really stuck out was how fresh and unprocessed everything was. The yolks of eggs were a bright orange, really incredible. I say let go, and eat like a gout-stricken king. All the walking you'll that was mentioned, was definitely true; my legs were burning at the end of the day. One word, pesto.


#9

Italy is one of the best places I've ever been to. They have the best girls and food.

Just forget about the diet for a couple of weeks, and go hard on the gellati (sp?) and genuine pizza.

Mmm...


#10

Espresso! Double shots, served straight up. It definately packs a kick that makes North American Starbuck coffee look lame by comparison. It will certainly increase the metabolic rate and increase thermogenics. (Just don't hog the left lane of the Autostrada.)

Hopefully you'll be in the North. Beautiful lake country. South is okay too. Yeah, it's pretty much all good.


#11

Boston,

The answer? Of course not. ;>

I was in Italy for a spell and you would be only cheating yourself if you don't become a complete glutton for two weeks.

The Europeans, of course, generally stay pretty slim - just walk everywhere as an antidote.

Have a blast.


#12

Boston,

One more thing - don't know how familiar you are with the culture, but in my experience, breakfast was not a big deal. A hard bread and tea. Maybe coffee. Some jam your brick-esque bread.

You might ought to plan an independent way to get in an ample breakfast in so you can control your meals throughout the day. My experience was a light breakfast, a big lunch, a nap, and a supper of Caesarian proportions every night.

If you are trying to at least be responsible about bad weight gain, think of a way to get that breakfast in.

Cheers


#13

There's nothing wrong with taking a break from hard lifting and strict eating.

I remember going there and not lifting at all nor restraining my diet. It felt good not to worry too much about it.

As far as the food, yes it can be high fat high carb, but the ingredients are much better quality than in the U.S. so it's better for you and can lessen the damage. Also, it's fairly easy to keep portion sizes smaller. Just make sure you get a good breakfast, this can be hard if you have to get it from a restaurant.

But the walking will definetely cover you. It's amazing what walking and being on your feet for 6-8 hrs a day can do. If the food you eat is natural, the walking will take care of keeping you lean.


#14

OK --

Thank you for all your insights. Perhaps I was being delusional in thinking I should moderate my consumption -- or maybe there's a conspiracy here and you all want me to come back a big, fat, slovenly mess... Hmm...

Just kidding. I am definitely going to enjoy myself an indulge in a lot of food -- even pasta and the northern beans they like so much in Florence, though I am going to be very moderate on dessert (I'm not a huge dessert person in any case). But the bottle of wine I plan to have with dinner each night will probably offset that.

At any rate, another strategy to minimize the damage is that I'm bringing a lot of fish oil with me -- do you think it will go rancid in the summer heat over there, or on the plane ride? I suppose I should keep it in my carry-on baggage, and the hotel rooms should be air-conditioned, so I'm hoping it will be OK.

FYI, we will be walking quite a bit, and the itinerary is not for resting, though I suppose it will involve a bit of sitting while on the train: Rome, Florence, Sienna, Venice, and back to Rome. I also printed up Ian King's and Christian Thibedeau's respective bodyweight workout programs -- hopefully I will get at least a few of them in -- maybe even right before a big plate of pasta...

Any other little tips for minimizing damage while maximizing gluttony and epicureanism?


#15

Just don't go. Send me your tickets, and your itenerary, and we'll go in your stead.

Seriously - think big picture here, BB. Two weeks out of your life doesn't even show up on the radar.

Enjoy - eat like a pig. Take a big freakin bite out of life while your there.

Worry about your Jaba the Hud belly when you get back. Just my opinion, but I'd much rather look back and say, "I wish I hadn't done that" than to not do anything and say, "I really wish I would have tried that".


#16

Bulimic purging.

Just kidding, HIT cardio first thing- you could run up and down your hotel steps for 15-20 min, then with all your walking, and some thermogenics, you will be set.

Eat an apple 30 min before a big pasta meal. It does something to the GI of the subsequent meal- a tip I picked up on this site somewhere.


#17

Didn't CT have a workout program where you hypertrain for a little bit right before a big vacation eating extravaganza?

I don't recall it exactly - but if it is what I remember, it is a way to use a bunch of excess calories to your advantage.

Other than that, I am out of suggestions - other than to say you work out like an animal and eat like a saint all year precisely so you can have a two week binge like this guilt-free.

Oh, that and I want to be a fat, sloppy, slovenly slob - makes me feel better about myself. Why lie? ;>


#18

Here's a "cool tip" from CT about training before a vacation.

http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do;?id=523651

I say just enjoy yourself and forget about limiting any damage while you're over there. Who knows - throw in some bodyweight stuff and you may come back stronger than you were before. Or, you may be a little weaker, but you'll have a new intensity coming off of the break.


#19

When I was there 2 years ago, although I ate plenty of pasta/pizza, I also walked a LOT and ended up dropping about 10 pounds in 2 weeks. If anything, I'd say preserving muscle is the bigger problem (I didn't lift when I was there)


#20

I have never been to Italy but I play an Italian in the bedroom :slightly_smiling:

Seriously, as stated, dude it's a vacation!!! To a country known for great food. Italians do everything with food (hmm that explains alot) celebrate, mourn, whatever. Just eat it! and enjoy it!! I wish I was going. I'd eat my way through all of Italy with a great big grin.