Lessons Learned in the Promised Land

Shalom! I just returned from a 10-day vaycay in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Paris with my husband, Dan, where we celebrated our five-year anniversary. Charlotte from The Great Fitness Experiment was kind enough to take over blogging duties for me – a special thanks goes out to her.I’ll return to full-blown blogging tomorrow but wanted to quickly share a few interesting Never Say Diet-y moments from my trip with you:

Scene: Tel Aviv convenience store
Actors:  Myself and a tall, fit-looking Israeli woman in her 30s
The Script: Unable to read any Hebrew besides “Shalom” and “Leah Rachel” (my Hebrew name), I picked up a carton of yogurt with a giant peach on it and a big “0%” label and asked my bilingual shopper, “Can you tell me what this is?” She replied, “It’s fat free yogurt.” “Is it any good?” I asked. She made a face like she had just sucked on a sour candy and said, “Well, the other kind has more fat, but it actually tastes good.” See, women abroad aren’t so completely fixated on all-things fat-free (so much food is dressed or cooked in olive oil, it’s practically a food group), and the thought of suffering through an Aspartame-laced snack just to save five grams of fat seems ludicrous. 

Scene:  Hiking in Jerusalem
Actors:  Myself, Dan, and our tour guide, Dave, in his 50s
The Script: After an hour of hiking in the same hills David (of David and Golaith fame) allegedly hid out a bazillion years ago, Dave asks, “Should we eat lunch?” I look at my watch and say, “It’s one o’clock. We ate a big breakfast at 10am - I’m not sure if it’s time to eat again.” He covers my watch, points to my stomach and says, “You should be asking this (stomach), not this (clock).” Confucious say “Listen to your body.”

Scene:  Every restaurant in Paris
Actors:  Myself and every single French waiter alive
The Script: On vacation, this is how my food choices work: Healthy breakfast, lighter salad or sandwich for lunch, wine and total indulgence for dinner, plus any chocolate or candy my hearts desires all day long. To help myself adhere to the plan, I typically would ask for dressing on the side (“a la cote”). As I recently posted on my Facebook page, asking this typically resulted in a half-glaring, half-pitying death stare from the server, whose entire day was no doubt ruined by my request. The concept of anything “on the side” there is simply non-existent. They don’t get mayo “on the side” of their shrimp and avocado baguette. They don’t order pasta dry. They don’t send back Coke asking for Coca Light. And yet…they are all thin. Maybe that’s because they walk the equivalent of a 10K every single day.

Of course, my trip was not all diet angst-y and filled with body image bon mots. We had a phenomenal time floating in the Dead Sea, spreading warm mud from the Earth on our skin and letting it dry. We visited the Western Wall and stayed on the Mediterranean. We drank a bottle of wine a night in Paris and came home to a gorgeous flat we rented at night. We saw Monets and Van Goghs in person. I just wanted to pass along a few convos that stayed in my mental blogosphere while abroad.

Talk with you tomorrow!

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