Vacations and restrictive diets: you will go off your diet while on the road

You are planning a dream vacation and wondering how you’ll be able to try adventurous new dishes while staying on the restricted diet you’re now on because of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, gout or any of a number of other ailments.

The simple answer is that you’re going to go off your diet while on the road. I just completed 10 days in Italy, a trip to find my family’s roots that I had been hoping to make most of my life. And while I passed up many dishes I would have liked to eat, I still went off my restricted diet. I ate pasta almost every day. I ate gelato every other day. And I ate desserts like wonderful chocolate cakes, something I largely have not eaten since my angioplasty in August 2012.

One of the many wonderful pasta dishes I ate in Italy, none of which is allowed on my restricted diet.
One of the many wonderful pasta dishes I ate in Italy, none of which is allowed on my restricted diet.

The result: I gained six pounds in 10 days. I consider that a triumph of sorts, however. In my pre-heart-problem days, I would routinely gain a pound a day on a vacation. A trip like I just took, which featured so much wonderful offerings, likely would have cost me more than a pound a day. So six pounds in 10 days showed the level of restraint I was exercising, I think.

Since I’ve been home, about a week as of this writing, I’ve already lost all the weight I gained on the road plus two pounds more. So I’m wondering if a lot of that vacation weight was water retention due to eating much saltier foods than I normally do. Some of the dishes tasted salty to me but most didn’t. Still, restaurants routinely salt everything and that likely holds true in other countries as well as in the U.S. The rapid weight loss I’ve had since coming home attests to the dangers of eating salty food, I think.


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