10 Things I Learned In Portugal – Part 2

Vacations are a perfect time to rest, relax, and hit the “reset” button. Let’s be realistic – our lives are busy. There’s always more to do than we can achieve in a day: to-do lists, carpools, work obligations, family commitments – you name it, we’re got them. And each of these things takes up time, effort, and ultimately, focus we don’t have to put into our weight loss goals.

So when Mr. Big and I visited Portugal, I took some time and energy I wasn’t spending on my to-do list, and put it into taking stock of where I am today in relation to my goals. And I’ll be honest, I was fully embracing the vacation, but in the back on my mind, I knew there were going to have to be some changes when I got home.

I shared the first half of my observations on Tuesday, and here’s the second half of what I learned:

Be Present. Meals are as much about the company as about the food in Portugal. Portuguese meals are a celebration – both of the delicious food, but also of a chance to gather together! Meals are at least an hour and a half to two hours, and are seen as a chance to converse, socialize, and spend time together. There is wifi in most of the cafes and restaurants, but yet, you don’t see many people on their phones. It’s considered rude, so people focus on the people they’re with, instead. Mr. Big and I used to have a rule – we’d put down our phones as we made dinner and while we ate it. We’d talk about our day, what we read that we thought was interesting, and it was a GREAT chance to connect with one another after a chaotic day. We’d going to work on reinstituting this screen-free time more often at home!

Olive Oil is NOT the enemy. The Portuguese eat olive oil with everything. And it makes a difference. We asked a tour guide to take us for fresh seafood, and she joined us for the meal. When it arrived, they served our grilled fish with a side olive oil sautéed with junks of fresh garlic and parsley, and our guide said to me, “Oh, please don’t be one of those Americans who doesn’t eat the oil. It’s so important to the dish!” My plate of grilled fish, salad, and 3oz potatoes was about as low in calories or Weight Watchers Freestyle Points as it comes, so I happily added a teaspoon or two for flavor, and for health. Olive oil (or really any oil at all) is one of the first things we cut out during weight loss, and as it turns out, our bodies actually need oil for good digestive health, for our joints, hair, nails and skin! So by eating a lean proteins, a little potato, and salad, I can easily fit this healthy oil into my meals!

Eat the cake! The Portuguese eat more sweets than any other nation I’ve ever visited. Whether it’s the famed Pasteis de Natal, the cakes, or the roving salesman walking down the beach hawking donuts (bolinhas), there are sweets EVERYWHERE. Like a good weight loss journey-er, I was trying figure out how to politely decline, but then I realized – if I was eating fruit for breakfast and snacks, and meals with protein, salad, and a small amount of starch, I could TOTALLY make splitting these sweet treats work in my days!

Eat fresh AND seasonal! We LOVED a chance to eat fresh while in Portugal. Every restaurant was excited to show and tell us, “Come see what was swimming in the sea just yesterday,” or they’d say, “You have to try this! It just came in!” And as we checked the menu, the whole grilled fish was always less expensive than the fish that had to be flown in from other places – usually by a lot! On the streets or in the bodegas in Portimao and Faro, the pre-packaged snacks were always more expensive than cups of fresh melon or cherries – which made the fruit a delicious, and less expensive, option! That got me thinking to eating seasonally at home. The Sunday circulars from the grocery store always have seasonally-fresh foods on sale – meaning they’re less expensive (and more nutritionally dense) than the fruits and veggies that are out of season. Farmer’s markets are also a great place to find produce this time of year – so I’m making plans to hit mine up regularly, rather than eating the same-old, same-old stuff!

Wear the damn bathing suit! As women, we get so self-conscious about our bodies. We’d rather sweat under long sleeves or in a cardigan sweater than embrace our body in all its glory. These bodies have walked and run miles, they’ve carried us through times of joy and times of struggle, and they’ve taken more than their share of criticism, mostly from ourselves. Even as we work for leaner, healthier bodies, that’s no reason not to embrace the body we have. The Portuguese, and Europeans in general, are much more accepting of a woman’s body in all shapes and sizes, and I felt right at home walking down the beach, sunning myself, and running straight into the ocean holding hands with Mr. Big. I’m bringing that body positivity home with me – I’m going to wear sleeveless dresses, I’m going to wear shorts, and I’m going to wear my bathing suit. Because all this work is worth it – now and at goal!

So what do you think? What has your vacation taught you?

Ten Things I Learned in Portugal – Part I

Vacations are a perfect time to rest, relax, and hit the “reset” button. Let’s be realistic – our lives are busy. There’s always more to do than we can achieve in a day: to-do lists, carpools, work obligations, family commitments – you name it, we’re got them. And each of these things takes up time, effort, and ultimately, focus we don’t have to put into our weight loss goals.

So when Mr. Big and I visited Portugal, I took some time and energy I wasn’t spending on my to-do list, and put it into taking stock of where I am today in relation to my goals. And I’ll be honest, I was fully embracing the vacation, but in the back on my mind, I knew there were going to have to be some changes when I got home.

Here’s the first half of what I learned:

Sleep is essential. I was so burned out, so tired, and stressed before my trip, that I was simply reacting to the world around me. I was bouncing from situation to situation, and not taking the time to think proactively about how to best achieve my goals: professional and personal. So I worked hard to get a good night’s sleep, and to not overschedule my mornings so I could sleep in if I wanted. The Portuguese don’t formally siesta like the Spanish, but after a day in the Portuguese sun, I almost always took a nap. It didn’t need to be long, just 15-20 minutes to recharge my brain. And you know what? The combination of the two almost always made me more relaxed, more patient, and definitely ready to think smarter and make better choices.

The Portuguese have got breakfast figured out.

The Portuguese don’t eat dinner until 9pm, if not later, yet, they start their work days at the normal time. So how do they keep from eating too much? The Portuguese save their heavier meals for later in the day, preferring to start the day with strong coffee (yay!), a little juice or fruit, and a piece of toast or small pastry. This starts their metabolism, gives them a little fuel, and keeps them from being hangry all morning. I’ve been starting my days so early with my commute, and eating a full breakfast early in the morning, with a big snack around 11, before lunch at 1. I’m going to try to have just a banana or piece of fruit super early, and save the heavier intake for later in the day, too!

 

Exercise is an all-day activity in Portugal. Mr. Big and I were amazed when we’d stop and ask for directions and people would give us directions to something “Just over there,” when in reality, it was at least a half mile away! But to the Portuguese, that’s just life.

We walked 20,000+ steps per day during our tours of Porto and Lisbon, and while that’s probably excessive, it was also a GREAT reminder: workouts don’t have to be classes or big, elaborate activities. Before we left for our trip, I was so focused on getting in my workouts that I forgot to use whatever time’s available to me. Sometimes that’s a class, but sometimes that’s something smaller and more manageable with my schedule. YouTube videos are great for when you only have 15-20 minutes, or even better still: get outside and get a walk in! This summer sunshine won’t last forever, so why not take advantage of it while we can!

 

Appetizers aren’t a whole meal. The Portuguese believe in small appetizer courses – usually something like a dish of olives, or a protein-focused dish like grilled shrimp or prawns, chicken skewers, or this chickpea and cod salad that I was obsessed with during our trip.

They weren’t pasta or carb-heavy, and they were just a few ounces per person, nothing too big, so you weren’t overdoing it before your meal arrived. They also really space out the course, allowing at least 15-20 minutes between courses – a GREAT way to give your food a chance to settle in your belly so you don’t overdo the main course, either! I’d like to keep to this tradition going – splitting appetizers with Mr. Big or friends, rather than ordering my own, and planning a little more time between courses when we’re eating at home.

 

Bring on the patatas! Lunch and dinner are fresh and delicious – and almost always contained a starch. Everywhere we went, there was fresh fish, shellfish, or pork, and almost every time, it was served with a big greens salad and a small portion of potatoes or rice (think 3oz of potatoes or a half cup of rice). The protein was the star, just like my meals at home, but I have to tell you, there were wayyyyy more potatoes and starches than I was used to.

And I LOVED IT! I was able to eat a (1oz) potato or a few forkfuls of rice without eating the whole portion, and never felt deprived by not having them. That sense of deprivation has led me down the path to binges or overindulging in the past, so I’d like to see if I can’t parboil or make a small batch of rice up on Sunday to eat during the week. Mr. Big and I might also be able to split those individual portions of rice?

Stay tuned! Next week I’ll share the other half of my observations from our Portuguese adventure!

Join the TCFC Tribe! Fall Classes Start September 3!

Join the Trading Cardio for Cosmos Tribe!

 Weight loss is hard, but it’s so much better with your Tribe. We invite you to join the Trading Cardio for Cosmos Tribe for our Fall Weight Loss & Wellness group. We’re kicking off on Monday, September 3rd – just in time for back to school!

Led by TCFC Founder Alexis Eggleton, this group gives you tons of motivation, support, and encouragement – and added tools to help you succeed!

This “Sweating for Summer” Challenge is hosted by Trading Cardio for Cosmos Founder Alexis Eggleton. You may know Alexis from Good Morning America, her feature in the NY Post, Weight Watchers magazine and on PopSugar.com, or in the Winter 2018 Weight Watchers radio ads with Ryan Seacrest! Alexis is someone who has truly lived her weight loss journey, and having lost over -100lbs and cruising towards her own personal goals.

Over this three-month challenge you will receive:

  • Ten weekly audio classes from Alexis and a host of guest speakers and experts! We’ll have weight loss success stories, expert content from personal chefs, personal trainers and MUCH more! Alexis will also provide classes based on what YOU want to talk about, and she’ll also share all she’s learned in her experiences! These 30 min audio classes are delivered as downloadable mp3 files, and are yours to keep!
  • Ten weekly emails full of recipes and resources to help keep you on track! Alexis and the experts share their favorite recipes, seasonal foods, inspiring stories and more!
  • Ten weekly Facebook Live Classes! These are a great opportunity to ask questions, get support and be inspired! Replays are always available if you can’t watch in person!
  • Access to a private Facebook group. This group is only accessible by to the Tribe, so you can feel comfortable sharing inspiration, encouragement, and get the support you need, too!
  • Insider exclusive available only to participants!

Weight loss isn’t the same for everybody or every body, so participants in this challenge embrace all kind of sustainable weight loss programs – calorie counting, Weight Watchers, Paleo, clean eating – whatever works for them!

This Fall group is designed to help keep you focused, motivated and EXCITED about achieving your weight loss goals!

Weight loss isn’t the same for everybody or every body, so participants in this challenge embrace all kind of sustainable weight loss programs – calorie counting, Weight Watchers, Paleo, clean eating – whatever works for them!

Now we’ve created a three-month interactive “Summer Slim Down” Series designed to help keep you focused, motivated and EXCITED about achieving your weight loss goals!

Pricing:

EARLY BIRD PRICING Available through September 1st!

This class series is being offered to you at an incredible value! These 10 audio and live classes, weekly challenges, weekly resource emails and additional resources are valued at $350, but are available to you for just $117!

If you would prefer a pay-as-you-go monthly option, your cost will be $44 per month.

Because these classes and resources are available on-demand, there are no refunds or exchanges available.  Please make sure you are purchasing the correct class prior to registration.

Want to give the TCFC online classes to a friend or family member as a gift? Email us at tradingcardioforcosmos@gmail.com and we’re be thrilled to help!