Two months have flown by since my last post. I’ve been riding it out for awhile on vacation. When I got home I had to step on the scale… and here’s what happened:
First, a disclaimer: Before my vacation I got down to my “fighting weight”. I trained like a crazy lady! Kettlebells, CrossFit, running, swimming, you name it… I exercised 6 days a week. I also avoided wheat and dairy for about three weeks before departure. So by the time I left, I was a lean and mean 124 pounds. (What!? No wheat or dairy? That’s right… I took it out because I was told it causes “inflammation” in the body. (More on that in a later post) Nevertheless, we were off to France and I was ready to eat some good French cheese and baguette on a daily basis.
I packed my running shoes, but never wore them.
My kettlebell stayed at home. Too heavy to travel with.
I packed a jump rope and a few resistance bands. I used them twice.
We were vacationing with friends and we all ate and drank like… well… people on vacation!
I was certain that after nearly a month of eating what I wanted I was going to pack on a few pounds. But here’s a (somewhat) brief little story about life in the south of France.
We rented a house in a little village in the Var region of Provence. (This is my soul’s home!) The sun shines every morning with its warm yellow glow, and the day starts magically. Slowly, our little village of Salernes wakes up to the smell of fresh croissants and espresso. Soon the venders will be setting up their stalls for the morning market and you’ll find some lovely fresh vegetables, herbs and meats for your dinner later.
By about 12:30, everything closes down. You’ll find yourself in a little restaurant settling in for a nice, long 2-hour lunch that includes at least 3 courses and several carafes of rosé. At 2:30 the shops open up again and life resumes to the village. Music may start up in the square, the little boutiques open their doors, artists and potters display their things and then your wine guy opens his doors for business and he’s ready to help you select the perfect bottles for your evening meal. By 4 o’clock we were usually back at the house for an aperitif and a swim in the pool. Next thing you know the baguettes and raw French cheeses were being consumed in considerable quantities. Wine was poured, we’d prepare an amazing dinner and sit outside and watch the sun set behind the hills. Many hours later we’d still be out there talking and relaxing… long after you could see every star in the sky.
This was the good life!
Yes, it was idealistic. We drank good wine, ate amazing food… and our pace of life slowed down considerably. One would think we’d pay for this lifestyle with a few extra pounds. After we’d been home for a few days my husband and I looked at each other and knew we had to do it… we had to step on that scale. Being “A Pig in Provence” was about to reveal itself with a number! (an excellent book, by the way, “A Pig in Provence, Good Food and Simple Pleasures in the South of France”, by Georgeanne Brennan)
OK… so our numbers? Maybe a pound heavier… maybe two at the most… but completely inconsequential!
The secret? We walked to get our meals.
Yes, there is something to be said for walking, eating slowly and relaxing. (This, I believe, is one of the many secrets of the svelte French women: They eat what they want, but they walk to get it!) And not only do they walk to get it, they actually sit down to eat. And I’m not talking about their car either. (tres, tres mal… C’est déplorable!) No, They will sit down in a restaurant and enjoy their food at a civil pace.
(I remember one day I didn’t have much time and I just needed a ‘coffee to go’. Walking around the village, this Seattle girl was thinking “Where’s my Starbucks when I need one!?” But there was nothing of the sort. You must sit down and have your coffee in a small ceramic cup. And it will be 30 minutes.)
From a fitness perspective, this vacation was truly ideal. We walked to get our food and the food was all fresh and local. I ate whatever I wanted, as much as I wanted, and with no guilt… it was fabulous!
Ahhh… so, back to life, back to reality. It is now time to train for my next fitness challenge… swimming across Lake Washington!