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If everyone co-operated with my diet....

Monday, April 15, 2013

I've realized that I suck at resisting temptation. Sounds like an easy problem to fix, right? Just have willpower, be strong, suck it up!

Yeah, ok, except that I live in Italy, where food is a social event. And people show their love by cooking. Oh, you are feeling down? Here, I'll bake you a tart. Oh, you need to talk about a problem? Ok, come over for dinner and we'll talk.

I am a social person, so what am I to do? My family went out to eat twice in four days this past week. First, because a cousin was alone (wife being in the hospital) and of course people cannot be allowed to eat alone. How odd, how unsociable.

Second time, because someone was coming into town that my husband hadn't seen for a while. I should point out this person lives about 30 minutes away, but his coming into town is still an 'event'. Italians will jump at ANY excuse to go out and eat with friends.

And then last night my in-laws wanted to go downtown to get a pizza because the owner of the pizzeria had baked an apple cake for my father-in-law because he's been sick. My father-in-law has diabetes, and people are baking him sweets so he'll feel better? That's a whole other discussion.

Finally I put my foot down last night and said no, I’m not going with you. They ended up changing their minds, but I still was asked to go down and pick up the cake and bring it back. So I brought back the apple cake and it was delicious. Groan.......

It's not just eating out that's the problem. They are all chefs here, and when my husband cooks there are truffles (the fungus kind), italian cheeses, creamy risottos..........etc. It's like a gourmet italian dinner from a fine restaurant EVERY NIGHT! Writing this, I realize some of you will want to shoot me for complaining about this. First world problem, eh? I should point out that fine ingredients are cheap here, so are restaurants. Food in general is much less expensive than in the states.

I seriously don't know how to proceed. My in-laws laugh when I prepare a lentil/onion dish or a salad for dinner . These are side dishes to them. Not main courses. We always eat with them because we believe in the value of eating dinner together as a family. Even with my complaining, I don't want to change that. It's good for my son too. Also because my mother-in-law needs help feeding and putting to bed her mother, who is an invalid and also senile.

In true italian fashion my in-laws and my husband’s grandmother live in the apartment beneath us, which makes us a family of six instead of three. Not counting the cousins who live next door. This blog would be too long if I tried to explain every relation we have in town. You’ve seen ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’, right? Yeah, that.

If everyone in this house agreed to eat lower-calorie meals, or just eat less, my life would be so much easier. So would theirs. My Father-in-law has diabetes, my Mother-in-law is 40 pounds overweight, so is my husband. My son and I are active, and we are the healthiest in the house, but we both have a belly and he eats a LOT of sugar. Italian kids all do. It's insane and I fight it all the time.

I have made progress since joining SP. I'm more active, eating healthier foods, less sugar, etc. I feel better, but I haven't lost weight and kept it off. I need to figure out a plan of action. If I don't, I'll just continue on like this and wind up sick, overweight and on a ton of medications like everyone else here. It's got to be something I can stick with long term.

Or, I need to develop my willpower abilities, and wield them like a super power.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I love it that you have a big connected family and that you are close to them and eat with them often. What a wonderful blessing for you and your son!! It does make it harder for you to stick with your weight loss plan I suppose but wow, I wish I had family. I have no one, except my kids. No family--no parents--no friends really. I would love to be where you are!!
    1769 days ago
    Oh wow! That is crazy peer pressure!

    I remember reading in the book "French Women Don't Get Fat" that the author used a trick to spend more time talking and just touched her wine glass to her lips so that it wouldn't constantly get filled. Talk a lot and maybe they won't notice you are nibbling your bread!
    1770 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/15/2013 7:55:19 PM
    I know this dilemma well...I grew up in a Mediterranean family and am chock full of relatives and friends from the old country who show their love in the best way they know how....make more food and feed everybody. Hell, there were days when they'd guilt you into eating more...if you didn't, well then you obviously didn't love them anymore!

    Now that I'm an adult however, I can get in these situations and be a big boy...polite, but firm.

    I eat the stuff I know I can eat and pass on the rest. I eat tons of veggies & meats, and pass on the pasta, breads, cakes & sweets. I tell them I love the roast & veggies and am saving room for them. If they really, really insist, I try a small portion, but I serve it!

    For dessert, I tell them I can't for my health....make up a disease, it'll just get the conversation going!

    After a few sessions, they come around and understand. They'll always make a comment, say you're too skinny, sometimes they might border on rude...I've just gotten up from the table, hugged them around the neck, tell, them I love them AND their cooking, but I can't eat like I used to when I was 20....but I will have some more of that delicious fish please!

    Good luck...stay strong!
    1770 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/15/2013 7:26:20 PM
    It's maybe easier for me, because I don't really like Italian food. Or at least I grew tired of it very quickly - and so did my digestive system. White pasta, white bread, white flour, white rice... it's basically all white and tasteless food that requires all kind of greasy sauces and grated cheese to taste like something.

    (Yes, I do express that opinion here too. I like to live dangerously.)

    Besides the taste, what I don't like it's that it's all empty food: whether you have pizza (white flour, tomato, cheese) or pasta (white flour, tomato, cheese), just think you just put 800 Cal in your body for basically zero nutrients, fibers, etc.

    My suggestion? Try to look at the food like this: empty calories that don't bring anything that your body actually needs. Once you do that, you realize that besides the occasional fruit they may eat at lunch, most people are only putting food with no nutritional values in their body the whole day, and if it works, you won't want to eat anything else but your "side dishes".


    1770 days ago
    My suggestion?

    "When in Rome...."

    Hahahaha - sorry, that was too easy. If I were in that perilous situation, I would nix the bread, and keep sweets to a minimum. There is no way you can even begin to count calories, you'll never get out alive. I would eat a bunch of protein and good fat, the sides of vegetables and call it a day, and have a sweet treat only on a special occasion, or none at all. Saying "I don't eat sweets" sometimes works, and it works better than "I can't eat sweets" as far as willpower goes.

    But, I don't live in Italy, surrounded by people who try to feed me all the time, so I have no idea what you're going through!

    1770 days ago
    Yeah, during the day I try and eat very well. Breakfast and lunch are usually cooked and controlled by me, and I'm ok with that. My problems come with resisting 2nds and 3rds of what everyone offers at dinners and weekends! I've started bringing my veggie based dinners down and sharing them with whoever wants, but often it's just me eating them.
    1770 days ago
    Can they eat the entree and you just eat the sides? They make look at you funny, but the point of eating together is the togetherness, not the eating, right? Or What about things like roast chicken, or lightly cooked veggies. I know a lot of Italian food is high in fat, but I also have Italian friends who cook primarily beautiful veggies with meat as almost a side dish.

    Or assume that dinner is going to be a struggle and make up for it during the day by eating a piece of fruit and an egg for breakfast, or something similar?

    Good luck!
    1770 days ago
    Truer words were never spoken. I can't get away from myself or my choices. emoticon
    1770 days ago
  • ASH72461
    oh how true
    most people do not understand how one day can
    mess up a weeks worth of right decisions
    when you find the strength to continue on the right path
    you will be an great example for many
    also you will feel much better yourself
    and you are the only person you can never get away from emoticon emoticon
    1770 days ago
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