I hope you ate your way through the holidays, like I did.
Because that’s my new diet.
Yes, I’m gobbling my way to weight loss.
Think it’s a crazy idea?
I did too, until my trip to Rome.
Here’s what I have to tell you, and please don’t rely on me for medical advice.
Because I have a doctorate in carbohydrates.
What happened in Rome was that even though I was on a diet, trying to cut calories in the conventional way, I wasn’t about to do that in a country known for its food.
Well, I guess some people know it for its ancient ruins.
But I am an ancient ruin, and I know it for its food.
And Italian food is my favorite, not because I’m Italian American, but because I’m a human being.
I mean, let’s get real.
Who doesn’t like pizza, spaghetti, and ravioli?
I like them all in the same meal.
And I went to Rome with my amazing assistant, Laura, who also loves carbohydrates, but at the time, we were both on Weight Watchers. We decided we wouldn’t count our points, but that we would do one simple thing:
Swap dinner for lunch.
I knew I couldn’t pass on pasta.
So I ate it for lunch, every day.
At night, I had fish or salad.
I didn’t miss the pasta at night because I’d had it at lunch, and, frankly, I was still full. And I’m here to tell you I was the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.
I ate the most incredible pastas, with every type of sauce. Tagliatelle with tomato sauce, linguine with clams, and fettuccine Alfredo, made the way God intended.
Eat a bowl and realize that Alfredo is God.
I ate ravioli stuffed with ricotta and tortellini stuffed with spinach until I was stuffed.
In between lunch and dinner, Laura and I walked around the city, doing research for the novel I’m writing now, which is historical fiction set in Italy. We didn’t exercise other than walking, except that we used up tons of calories talking about how much we loved our amazing lunches.
In Italy, if you’re not eating food, you’re talking about food.
When in Rome …
Anyway, what I’m here to tell you is that I lost weight.
By eating everything I wanted, and all of the food that is allegedly bad.
In other words, I was bad.
And it was good.
Not only good, but awesome.
I even broke my goal weight, which I hadn’t since high school.
Now, I know you’re thinking it must have been the exercise.
But the only exercise we did was mild, and I’ve dieted enough to know that at home, that amount of exercise wouldn’t have burned off a pretzel, much less a plate of ravioli.
Or maybe you’re thinking the portions were small, but that wasn’t true either. OK, I didn’t have my usual two helpings of pasta, like at home, but we got a healthy portion everywhere we were served.
And by healthy, I mean unhealthy.
In fact, it’s not a pretty story, but I will tell you that at one restaurant, they placed an entire cheese pizza in front of me, and of course I said to Laura, “No way I can eat the whole thing.”
And then I ate the whole thing.
It was so delicious tears came to my eyes.
The crust was perfect, the tomato was tangy, and the cheese was light and gooey.
Laura didn’t eat her entire pizza, and I will confide in you that I was actually eyeing the two pieces she left.
The pizza was that good.
So you get the idea.
I came away from my trip thinking I’m going to change my ideas about food, as well as my beliefs about good and bad.
I’m going to be bad from now on.
Which is good.
I even bought a pasta maker, and for the first time, I’m going to make homemade pasta.
And I’m going to eat it for lunch.
Part of me thinks this is a crazy idea.
The other part of me knows this is a crazy idea.
But the worst thing that happens is that I gain a few pounds, learn to make pasta, and eat some terrific meals.
Let’s call it research.
So travel does expand your horizons.
Let’s see what else it expands.