Food Fool’s Trip to the “Big City”

I can’t speak this week to the group’s weight loss efforts as I was away for a few days missing the weekly lunch session. Based on scattered reports, there were some small losses and a few small gains, and this week will be a time of refocusing our efforts. Once we meet again, I will update you on the plan for the last month of our weight loss challenge.  In truth, for me, I am just plain starting over  – ahhh, not really but after my four days in New York with a focus on friends, food, wine and shows – my approach needs a bit of restart.

Can we talk about food?  I have dear friends who love to cook and cook we did! Between a trip to the opera (Carmen) and a tour of the Met that same day, the ballet (Sleeping Beauty) and three Broadway musicals (Once, The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Nice Work If You Can Get It), we ate in, dining on grilled salmon with sweet potato hash (and wine), veal chops with creamy polenta and roasted asparagus with shallots and tomatoes (and wine),  bruschetta, various cheeses, grapes, apples and pears, and  grilled steak salad (and wine), and a veal and pork agnolotti dish with vodka sauce (and wine).  We had lunch one day at Mario Batali’s Eataly of artichoke, mushroom and sausage pizza (and wine). Our lunches consisted of salads and a smorgasbord of various leftovers (and wine) and breakfasts included omelets, muffins, Crème Brule French toast and eggs benedict (and Prosecco). Ever present on the counter was chocolate.  Did I mention the pear tart? And there are few things I have not listed – a second trip to Eataly where we enjoyed two appetizers for a “light” lunch – baby artichokes with mushrooms, parmesan and arugula  and roasted beets with goat cheese, truffle oil and candied hazelnuts (and…you guessed it – wine!)

Now lest you think I overindulged, please recall an earlier blog on moderation:-).  We tasted, we shared and we managed to keep portions small. We just made every meal special, because we could!  Of necessity we did lot of walking and the subway “shook” a lot of ounces away (or at least I like to think so).  In actuality, I gained only two pounds in those four and a half food and wine filled days and grateful for that small number. Reality has set in –- meals are now more “ordinary,” tasty and healthy, but not as extravagant; no more chocolate on the counter and wine is now limited to my weekend menu – well, at least for now. It was great fun, the shows were wonderful, Eataly is highly recommended and the trip was a joy – a great mid-winter mini vacation. I think there must be some truth to the idea that laughter and time with good friends makes all food taste even better.

What has been interesting to me in recent months, since my participation in Weight Watchers, I find I am now always aware of what I am eating and drinking – the fat, the fiber, the sugar, the protein, the carbs. I learned to balance it all out daily knowing that if I splurge at one meal, the next will be lighter and a good walk later is always beneficial. While what I listed above seems a lot, much of it was healthy (grilled fish and roasted vegetables, leafy green salads and fruits). There was the knowledge of exactly what I was eating and the awareness of what I could eat more of or when to put the fork down. We enjoyed the variety and the “specialness” of our time together and that added flavor to the food that resulted in a different kind of weight gain.  You can be on a diet or you can learn to eat well and find that balance that allows you to indulge on occasion and stay healthy.