Weight Loss at a Buffet?

buffet tableA while back we had a great family vacation at the Club Med in Punta Cana. It was beautiful! The place was gorgeous, the staff super friendly and the food was fabulous.

Two restaurants, both with giant buffets of incredible gourmet food.

The best breads I have ever tasted, desserts galore and wine flowing at lunch and dinner.

Great opportunity for a little weight gain, right?

I actually came home weighing less than I did when I got there.

How did this happen?

To be perfectly clear, you should know I laid on my lounge chair and inhaled about seven novels… I walked the beach but didn’t do any sports or exercise.

So what happened?

This resort is French-owned.

The clientele was about 70% French and European, and about 30% American. This mix exposed me to a new way to look at the abundance of the buffet, and my eyes were really opened.

Typically, when we go to a buffet, we are overwhelmed with the choices and feel compelled to have everything. In large quantities.

But what I observed changed the way I look at buffets.

First, let me tell you about the French women at the resort.

They were, for the most part, pretty slender. Many had young children and there were lots of little freshly hatched babies. I’m talking about six to eight week old babies. I don’t know about you but when my girls were born, I lived in sweats for a long time. A bathing suit was not my outfit of choice. So I was curious to see the way they ate.

Here’s what I saw:

They ate everything.

They ate bread.

They ate creamy sauces.

They drank wine.

And they ate sweets.

But, unlike their American sisters, they ate small quantities.

While the Americans went up and filled their plates several times, the French women went up twice. Once for their meal, and once for some dessert.

The Americans filled their plates pretty high. No plate showing here.

And the French had very lightly filled plates, with empty space showing.

They didn’t restrict WHAT they ate.

They tasted everything.

They certainly didn’t appear to be dieting.

And they didn’t appear to be holding themselves back in any way.

They were happy, talking with their companions, and enjoying their dining experience.

A little bit of everything.

I looked at my own plate, early in the week, and realized how differently I was choosing my own foods.

I took much more food than I needed because I was telling myself: This is such a treat! I want everything!

As the week went on, I slowed down.

I asked whether I was hungry before each meal and if I wasn’t, I let my family eat at the buffet without me, knowing there’d be plenty when I was hungry.

I took little tastes.

If something wasn’t delicious, I left it.

I stopped before I was too full.

I felt proud and peaceful, knowing there was an abundance of food available next time I got hungry again.

And I enjoyed every meal.

I honored what my body needed and wanted.

And I wasn’t swayed by the beauty of the buffet.

This was such a novel experience for me.

And now that I’m home, I’m pretending I’m one of those French women at every meal.

Of course, my wardrobe needs some sprucing up, but in my attitude towards my food, I am enjoying dining on a whole new level.

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4 Responses to “Weight Loss at a Buffet?”

  1. Lilia Lee says:

    Great tip, Cookie. I appreciate it.

  2. Kelly Hoffman says:

    When at buffets, I usually take a tablespoon of what looks very appealing. It seems innocent, right? But the shear number of items on American (or American Chinese, or Indian) buffets can be large, and before you know it, the plate is filled. I consider myself to be much more in control now than in previous years, where I might have had two heaping plates, because I limit myself to one trip. However, there has never been plate showing if I am honest. Subconsciously, I think no plate showing is the American trigger to go sit down, and if there is plate showing I find myself circling around again to see if I have missed something, LOL! I will try to eat like the French women next time, and have the “sit down” trigger start when the plate is 60% full or so…

  3. Great idea, Kelly! Keep me posted on how the 60% rules goes.