Regulars and Shorts

Body, Mind & Wellness: September 2009

By Lucy Beale

Finding the delicate balance that is “enough.”
by Lucy Beale

I’ve been traveling lots this summer-on vacation. When I told one friend, she said, “Well then, you haven’t been doing much.” I was doing lots-I was vacationing, which has its own challenges and plenty of rewards. I had a “perfect storm” of opportunities: One friend, Nathalie at www.right, offered me the use of her apartment in Paris for two weeks; I took along another friend, Katherine at; I also spent three days in Capitol Reef National Park, 10 days in Sedona and Northern Arizona and two days in Dallas with my husband, Patrick; and six days in Chester, Vermont at an art class ( with my friend Heather.

I’m not telling you all this to brag, but rather to let you know I ate in lots of restaurants. Here’s what I learned:

A person cannot gain weight vacationing in Paris-and could seriously lose weight. You’ll walk five to seven hours a day and take lots of steps up and down using the Metro. Restaurants and cafes offer small servings for meals-about the size of your fist, which is the size of your stomach. We found luscious fresh greens in salads, small pieces of French bread, modest amounts of meats and fish. The pastries were terrific and we often shared one about 4 p.m. when we simply had to stop walking and rest from the heat. Most notable were the perfect serving sizes-just enough food, not too much. The chocolate stores are amazing.

I’d never been on the backroads of New England before. My friend Heather and I stayed in a B&B with other art class participants. Terrific breakfasts. And as researchers tell us, people who eat breakfast every day lose weight or stay thin. Chester, Vermont felt retro-as in back to the ’70s-and quaint. We ate buffalo burgers and Vermont salad made with fresh apples, white cheddar, chicken and maple-syrup dressing. The servings were plentiful but not huge. The Scottish pub in town has the best steak pie I’ve ever eaten.

Of the places I visited, the largest portions were served in the West. At the Grand Canyon South Rim, I purchased two scoops of sorbet. Those two scoops held three to four times more sorbet than two scoops in Paris. I don’t recall the comparative price of each, but at first, I felt a deep-seated obligation to eat all of it. Then I realized this feeling was not in my best interest. I threw half of it away.

High-priced dining can be pretentious and, in a sense, too demanding. But I did dine at several four-star restaurants in the states where the food was carefully prepared, delicious and sanely sized, and the ambience was elegant and nurturing. I wish the same serenity were dished up at regular everyday restaurants. We’d all eat less.

I like to order an appetizer, an entrée and a dessert so I can experience all the great tastes when I’m at a restaurant like the fabulous Café Diablo in Torrey, Utah or El Tovar at the Grand Canyon. But it’s more food than I care to eat, so it’s nice to share the meal with a friend or two.

On our road trips in the West, it was challenging to eat plenty of vegetables. A healthy solution: Sometimes I dined on selections from the produce section of grocery stores.

On each of these vacations, after several days of walking, touring museums, standing or hiking, I had an evening or two when I was too tired to chew, let alone sit up for a meal. I welcomed an early night’s sleep. Since I’ve been home for the past five days, I’ve been indulging in watermelon, Greek salad, corn-on-the-cob, apples, fresh peaches, blueberries and grapes. They so readjust my energy.

Now it’s September, and back to serious work. I wish you a fun end of summer and hope you enjoy all the wonderful fresh produce offerings this time of year.

Lucy Beale is a regular contributor to CATALYST. Her newest books are “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Glycemic Index Weight Loss,” and its cookbook companion, coauthored with Joan Clark-Werner. Lucy lives in Sandy, Utah.




This article was originally published on August 29, 2009.