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.