Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Thursday, April 17, 2014

That last post got kind of long, so on to this one, with tips for eating healthy while on the road in France.

Now let me start out by saying that I love to eat.  I love trying new food and enjoying what I am putting in my mouth (C would insert a "That's what she said" here).  So given that my focus was enjoying what I was eating, I wasn't necessarily paying attention to calories when traveling.  It was more so "Gee, that's something I'd never make at home, so I better take advantage of it here".  But that obviously wasn't possible during my weight-loss phase, so while traveling for work, I tried to limit my hotel breakfasts to high-protein foods and fruit.  I would usually have tea, plus a hard-boiled egg, a yogurt or a slice of cheese, and then a fruit or a compote.

I then substituted either lunch or dinner (depending on whether or not I ate with a customer or not) with two protein bars and two clementines, and then for the other meal, I tried to chose the lightest restaurant options possible - salad for an entrée, fish for the main and fruit for dessert, avoiding the sauce and the bread and the wine.  It wasn't always easy, especially when my customers were pressuring me to drink with them (and who wants to say no to free booze??), but I always tried to remain focused on my end goal.

As it was mentioned in the comments section, protein bars aren't really that great or common yet in France, so I have pretty much made the rounds of them all, and the best ones I have found were in the diet aisle at the grocery store:
I usually keep the chocolate ones in the fridge, as I find it heightens the chocolate flavor.   The protein bars may appear small, but two of them plus a fruit and a big glass of water will definitely fill you up.  And they only have 118 calories per bar, so they can also make a great snack.  They are fairly high in sugar though, so if I am eating them, I usually try to limit my sugar at other meals in order to stay balanced.  The chocolate-mint bouchées make a great snack or dessert too, especially since they only have 68 calories.  Just make sure to eat them slowly and drink a big glass of water, ie don't shovel the whole thing in your mouth at once.

I also tried to get some kind of work-out in at the hotel, usually via YouTube videos since it is still pretty rare for small-town hotels to have gyms here.  C & I spent many a night doing Ten Minute Six Pack Abs via Skype, and then I usually would try to do at least 20 more minutes of either cardio or strength-training videos.  There are a million of them out there, but I really like the Pop Pilates videos on Youtube - there is a TON of variety and the instructor is perky but not overtly so.  Plus you can choose from cardio videos, yoga, pilates, strength-training or target zones, so you're not just stuck doing the same routine over and over again.

And voila - that is how I managed to lose 60lbs while working full-time, traveling half the month and completing a masters degree.  The funny thing is - I'd say out of everything, losing the weight was the hardest of the three because it just took up so much mental energy and discipline.  I was often tired and hungry from the low-calorie consumption, so there were days (and nights) were I literally dreamed about food.  American TV just about killed me at times because so many of the ads are food-related.  And don't even get me started on how murderous the Red Lobster "All you can eat shrimp" commercials made me feel.  Seriously though, like a lot of ladies out there, I can get pretty cranky when I am hungry, so I also have to give major props to my husband for putting up with me on those days, for always encouraging me and reminding me that he loved me as-is, no-matter what.  He was very respectful of my food choices and made a conscious effort to not be eating ice cream every night or having an apéro. Or making his famous garlic croutons, which I could eat like popcorn...



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