Weight Control while Eating in a Resort for a Week:  impossible mission?

Weight Control while Eating in a Resort for a Week: impossible mission?

Controlling your weight while eating in a resort for a week is a real challenge. This was my case last week. Here are the key points about what may help or jeopardize maintaining your weight.

Duchesnay, Lac St-Joseph

I was coordinating the Obesity Boot Camp for the sixth year in a row, with a group of 24 graduate students coming from all parts of Canada during 9 days at la Station Touristique Duchesnay QC. This is a **** resort and restaurant own and operated by the Quebec government (SEPAQ). The rooms  (with AC in the Auberge main building) are very comfortable, the view on the lake is magnificient, the access to nature is exquisite, and the food is unfortunately… delicious.

I say unfortunately because when you are a gourmand-gourmet like me, this kind of gastronomic food is very interesting for the eye, for the pallate, for the stomach and, … for the brain, the site of eating behaviour regulation and … reward.

Here are the positive points that helped me to achieve an equilibrate food intake.

The menu is composed of healthy salads, tasty soups, nice meat like veal, a choice of fish or vegetarian plate every meal. There are sufficient occasions to eat enough vegetables, but not everyday depending of your plate choice. Some « nouvelle cuisine » nice presentation plates with meat or pasta were accompaign with too few veggies. Fortunately I could catch up the next meal or the day after when it happenned.  I was also pleased with choosing fish 5 times during the week, which contributed to lower calorie intake for these meals.

Delicious Antipasto Salad

A key point was the portion control for lunch and dinner. I could not add more food in my plate or serving a second plate, since it was a choice of fixed 3 courses menu served individually at the table.

I was happy with my beverage consumption which can easily add calories on top of your daily intake without notice. This year, I decided to refuse the orange juice that was offer to everybody by the waiter for breakfast and at the break. Especially that the portion served  was too high, about 12 onces. I rather chose a glass of milk, source of proteins, calcium and vitamin D and A, and replaced the fruit juice with fresh fruits. On lunch time, I had only water, and a small glass of wine for dinner.

At the break, only a 4 oz iced tea at few occasions. Nothing else.

In my room, we had access to a fridge. I put in it and drank five bottles of diet Pepsi, half a bottle of wine and 9 beers for the whole week. Not bad at all. Reasonable, except during the karaoke night party the last day. Drank too much too late. Only once.

An other positive aspect was that this food environment gives practically no occasion to binge or to snack at night. One late evening, I had a crave for salt. Normally, I would have had a full bag of chips; 500-800 calories. The small box of Pringles available in the basket provided by the hotel was 3$, and the closest convenience store was at 5km. These economic and environmental arguments were stronger than  my crave. Ipassed and ate some strawberries and cherries I stored in the fridge before going to bed.  

We had the occasion to exercise during the free time allowed between 4:30 and 6:30 pm. I did arbre-en-arbre on Monday, kayaking one hour on Tuesday and swam in the lake 4 times, usually 3 km worth for spending 600 kcal each time, enough to afford… the dessert! My credo: Move more, eat more!

Does-it worth a portion of fruit?

There are also many negative aspects that put me at risk for overeating.

The worse challenge was to refuse the dessert served … twice a day.  All very tasty, looking attractive; the kind of triple chocolate cake you normally find in the counter of a pastry shop. I could simply not resist. Geeh! That was a running gag. I even had 2 portions at two occasions, grabbing the one my next colleague was putting aside. No way I would  returned that portion. No waste!  I could have replaced on demand the cake by a fruit salad, but did not one single time. Shame on me.

The breakfast buffet was a major challenge. Considering that breakfast is my preferate meal, it was quite difficult to be reasonable. I had to decide the quantity of food  to put in my plate. This is why I was choosing a small plate, which help to limit the portions served. However, I was also choosing a bowl of yogurt (a mix of plain or flavored) and fresh fruits. Never more than one toast, and sometimes a small piece of chocolatine. No orange juice but a glass of milk.

I was always getting enough proteins by choosing a good portion of eggs (scrambled, omelette, poached or benedictine). The omelettes were very attractive. Personnally cooked for me, I could choose to add a full bowl of vegetables and meat including small shrimps! Delicious.

The final day was the most challenging with two brunches! While trying to portion control in the morning, it was not obvious at lunch time at l’Astral restaurant, the revolving restaurant at the top of Loews Concorde during a visit in Quebec City.  I succeeded to skip the appetizer counter and went directly to the meat counter. Once again, the dessert plates were a blast. 1 filled the fiste one with fresh berries and chocolate, but the other one assembled with samples of cakes and the unforgetable crepes with maple sirup, a must. Ouf!

Brunch Astral Loews

Fortunately, we took a long 4 hours walk in the afternoon. Exhausted, we stopped at a pub for some rest and a pint of beer. Then headed to a pizzeria: 4 slices of thin crust veggies pizza, and Pellegrino water. No appetizer, no dessert. Overall, many extra calories for the all day. 

Back home the day after, the ultimate test was to weigh again on the scale.  As usual, measured in the morning, naked, after going to the toilet for eliminating fluids and solids,  before coffee and breakfast. Then again the day after, for confirmation  Result: gain of 0,5 lb or 0,2 kg. I would have not being surprised with a 1 lb gain, like it was the case previous years, 2 lbs the first year.

Now, it is time to reverse the situation this week with serving smaller meals,  so I return to my pre bootcamp stable weight as soon as possible. So, quick adjustments, after monitoring little weight gain. This is the kind of strategy used by those who succeed to maintain their weight over time.

Awareness is the key point. Being reasonable on portions, compensating  sweet indulgence  with exercise, choosing as much vegetables as you can on each meal, fish meals at least two times, controlling fluid intake, especially sweet-beverages and alcohol, proteins and fresh fruit at breakfast, dairy products every day especially for breakfast, no snacking, no binging.

How do you manage your food intake in such situation? I would be happy to hear your strategies and to told if you succeed.

Obesity Research and Prevention News Review: 15 July 2011

in collaboration with the Canadian Obesity Network  (CON)  and The Research Chair in Obesity from Université Laval

Follow Obesity News and more news on Twitter

PREVIOUS EDITION:  Obesity Research and Prevention News Review: July 3 2011

 Epidemiology- Evaluation                                                      
High Sodium, Low Potassium Intake Tied To Higher Risk Of Death In US  12 July
Etiology – Determinants                                                      
REVIEW: Characterizing the profile of obese patients who are metabolically healthy: IJO 13 July
Diet soda may indeed be associated with weight gain, as a new study suggests, but the fault may lie in your head, not necessarily your metabolism.
Bariatric surgery and cardiovascular risk factors: a scientific statement from the AHA. April
Extreme dieting, disorders last from early teens ta adulthood – USATODAY.com:  4 July
Is Physical Activity in Weight Management More About ‘Calories In’ Than ‘Calories Out’?  A Sharma 11 July
Editorial « Eat less and exercise more”…How do we do it? By Dr. Jean-Pierre Després  5 July
 Policy – Prevention – Regulations                                
Effect of school district policy change on consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages among high school students, … June 2011
Placing healthier foods for sale nearer people’s home is a useful step towards making America a healthier nation, but the impact on overall eating habits. A multi-faceted approach, including promotion, education, incentives, access to nearby sports facilities is required
The guidelines are designed to encourage foodmakers to reduce salt, added sugars and fats in foods and drinks targeted to children. If their products did not meet the standards, foodmakers following the guidelines would refrain from advertising them to children.
IOM Report: Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Policies :  23 June
Keep children active throughout the day and healthy diet
Childhood Obesity Prevention Summit – September 8-9, 2011
Can childhood obesity warrant child protective services?  Analysis from Yoni Freedhoff 14 July
 Nutrition – Diet                                                        
When individual consumers choose wisely 80 to 90 percent of the time, they can also include an occasional treat.: June 21
Improved Appetite Control And Satiety With Higher-Protein Diets 12 July

 Physical Activity- Sedentarity                                   –
Despite best efforts, kids are still TV junkies – The Globe and Mail:  8 July
 Behaviour – Consumption                                          
Fork Size Affects Amount Of Food Consumed In Restaurants  15 July
Larger portion sizes usually mean we eat more food, but according to new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, bigger bites lead to eating less
Industry -Marketing                                
Participating restaurants must promise to offer at least one children’s; meal that has fewer than 600 calories, no soft drinks and at least two items from the following food groups: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins or low-fat dairy.

Obesity Research and Prevention News Review: July 3 2011

in collaboration with the Canadian Obesity Network  (CON)  and The Research Chair in Obesity from Université Laval
Follow Obesity News and more news on Twitter

Epidemiology- Evaluation                                                   
WHO| European Database on Nutrition, Obesity and Physical Activity (NOPA):    9 June
monitor progress on nutrition, diet, physical activity and obesity. The country information contains national and subnational surveillance data, policy documents, action to implement policy and examples of good practice in programmes and interventions.
CIHI Obesity Report: Obesity costs economy up to $7-billion a year – The Globe and Mail: 20 June
CIHI report: Women in higher income brackets are significantly less likely to be obese than lower-income  20 June
Obesity report panned by critics as misleading, simplistic  20 June
A new federal report that suggests more than one million cases of obesity in Canada could be avoided with just 15 minutes of extra activity a day
Obesity Report in English Medias: Screening the Right Message  @DrSharma:  21 June

Etiology – Determinants                                                      
Ghrelin mediates stress-induced food-reward behavior in mice  JCI July 1
Linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes… lack of sleep is much worse for women 20 June

Link between low birth weights and obesity later in life: 20 June
Altering hormone levels changes Cellular Development in the Brain
Does weight loss influence vitamin D levels? Travis Saunders 22 June
Blood vitamin D concentrations are consistently lower in persons with obesity
Why Diet and Exercise is Not a Treatment for Obesity @drsharma 20 June
Biology’s Response to Dieting: the Impetus for Weight Regain. A Sharma 20 June
Big bucks, few controls in the Wild West of weight loss – thestar.com: 20 June
Companies and clinics are flooding the Internet and store shelves, promising quick-fix solutions.With fewer rules than the old Wild West, overweight Canadians are throwing money into a multi-billion dollar commercial weight loss market.
In February, the Food and Drug Administration approved the Lap-Band for use in adults with a BMI of 30 or higher with at least one obesity-related condition 
Should childhood obesity programs treat the parents?  Arya Sharma 21 June
Any attempt to address childhood obesity without also addressing adult obesity is unlikely to lead to any major breakthroughs in Canada’s obesity prevention efforts. The importance of involving the parents has now been well recognized and has led to the ‘family-centred’ approach used in most pediatric obesity programs across Canada.
 Policy – Prevention – Regulations                                
War on obesity: Does policing snacks have any effect on children’s weight? National Post: 11 June
A national educational program called Weight of the World recently asked Canadian schools about their strategies for curbing the epidemic of childhood obesity.
Restaurants revamping menus in response to calorie count rules  LATimes 22 June
Restaurant chains are working to lower the calorie counts on menu items because of national rules expected by year-end that will require any restaurant chain with 20 or more locations to post calorie information.
Should government and NIH be investing in “magic pill bullets” or in lifestyle change? Steven Blair editorial  30 juin
We need to stop promising that getting healthy will be easy, and emphasize instead that it’s worthwhile.
Boston’s public high school students reported daily consumption of 1.71 servings of sugar-sweetened beverages in 2004 and 1.38 servings in 2006.
Are Tax Incentives Cost-Effective to Promote Physical Activity?  A Sharma  June 27
Little girls reveal their fears of getting ‘chubby wubby’  Globe and mail 20 June
In an ABC video clip, a group of 5- to 8-year-old girls talk about why they want to eat in a healthy way
REPORT: Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Policies  IOM  25 June
Parents and child care providers keep children active throughout the day and provide them with diets rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods
 Nutrition – Diet                                                        
What the potato study says about how you can avoid creeping weight gain  24 June
Fake Fat Linked To Weight Gain  21 June
fat substitutes can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate food intake, which can lead to inefficient use of calories and weight gain

 Physical Activity- Sedentarity                                   –
TV watching associated w/ increased risk of obesity in kids, but activity attenuates this relationship 27 June
The findings suggest that clinical communications and preventive health messages on reducing and breaking up sedentary time may be beneficial for cardiovascular disease risk.

 Behaviour – Consumption                                          
Increase in number of eating occasions, more than increases in food portion sizes or energy density per meal responsible for increased energy intake?  June 28
Weight gain: What is it about potatoes? LA Times 23 June
Fast food can thus become a form of self-expression for teenagers as they struggle to assert their autonomy apart from their family’s food identit. Fast food consumption was determined by a complex interplay between social factors, individual preference, and, in particular, moral dictates.
Little girls reveal their fears of getting ‘chubby wubby’ – The Globe and Mail: 21 June
Little girls can be so cruel. And they know who’s fat and who’s thin.
Industry -Marketing                                 
Restaurants overhaul menus because of calorie count rules:  LA Times  22 June

Newsletter Review Headlines on Obesity Research and Prevention : June14, 2011

in collaboration with the Canadian Obesity Network  (CON)  and The Research Chair in Obesity from Université Laval
Follow Obesity News and more news on Twitter

 Epidemiology- Evaluation                                                    
Americans are living longer, but obesity and diabetes are rising. MyHealthyWaist  14 June
Obesity Research and Prevention News Review: June 3, 2011

Etiology – Determinants                                                      
Obese people have higher amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids in their adipose tissues than their non obese twin. :  7 June

Relationship Between Daytime Sleepiness And Increased Craving For Carbs Among Teens 14 June
Why Big Fat Cells May Cause Inflammation  AM Sharma 9 June
as adipocytes increase in size, the composition of their lipid membrane phospholipid composition changes in a manner that may make these cells more prone to triggering inflammatory pathways.
Exercise augments weight loss induced improvement in renal function in obese metabolic syndrome individuals. MyHealthyWaist 7 June
Treatment option  on obesity: Hospital in Toronto now offers drastic option for obese 12-year-olds via @nationalpost 12 June
Orexigen puts obesity drug development on hold: 3 June

Psychological approaches key to tackling obesity – report: 7 June
Preventing weight gain by sleeping more (7-8h a night)  AM Sharma 14 June
How to Choose a Commercial Weight-Loss Program  AM Sharma 10 June
More importantly, weight management programs should, if possible address the root cause of the problem

 Policy – Prevention – Regulations                                
Policy change is needed to change the physical environment that people live in to help them make healthier choices: Appetite4Profit M Simon  7 June

Higher Adherence To Dash-Style Diet Reduces Excess Weight Gain In Adolescent Girls  7 June

 Nutrition – Diet                                                        
DASH diet limits weight gain among teen girls  7 June
The Diet confusion of the low-fat versus low-carb battless is over : 10 June
focus on nutrient-dense, fiber-rich carbohydrates, sources of unsaturated fats, low-fat dairy, and lean protein
Eat more sugar-free, low-fat dessert, lose weight:  9 June

 Physical Activity- Sedentarity                                   –
Exercise augments weight loss induced improvement in renal function in obese metabolic syndrome individualsMyHealthyWaist  7 June

 Behaviour – Consumption                                          
Skipping breakfast raises your risk of obesity by 450%! Make sure you choose the right morning meal:  27 May

REPORT: Obesity in the UK: A psychological perspective: British Psychological Society 7 June
Dieters More Likely to Trust Food Name Packaging Rather than the Ingredients:  9 June
Accepting Different Body Types, But Not Embracing Obesity – Better Health:  14 June

Industry -Marketing                                

CSPI’s class action suit v. VItamin Water–violates jelly bean rule–goes to mediation. 7 June
Dieters More Likely to Trust Food Name Packaging Rather than the Ingredients:  9 June