Italian Ways to Weigh Less
After weeks of festeggiare (celebrating) and mangiare senza ritegno (eating with reckless abandon), anyone might feel like a mongolfiera (balloon) and worry about mettere su pancia (putting on a belly) and ingrassare (getting fat).
“Ho mangiato l’impossibile!” says one friend, using slang for “I stuffed my face! ” or “I had a ridiculous amount of food!” “Ho messo su due kilogrammi in cinque giorni” (I gained almost five pounds in five days), another laments. “Sono una balena!” (I’m a whale).
At this time of year salire sulla bilancia (stepping on the scale) can bring a moment of truth. Quanto pesi? (How much do you weigh?) Are you ciccioso (chubby in a cute sort of way like a baby)? Grassoccio (plump)? Have you gotten grasso (fat), grassotto (very fat), or obeso (obese)? Are you in danger of becoming più largo che lungo (wider than you are tall)?
Most people who decide to mettersi a dieta (go on a diet) aren’t interested in becoming magro come un grissino or un chiodo (skinny as a breadstick or a beanpole). They simply want to dimagrire (slim down).
Some people fast (stare a digiuno) for a day or two, but i morsi della fame (hunger pangs) can be a problem. Others simply watch what they eat (stare a stecchetto) and cut down on carbs, sugar, sweets, and fatty foods (eliminare i carboidrati, gli zuccheri, i dolci, e i cibi grassi).
While la dieta a zona (the zone diet) appeals to many, Italians have their own preferred approaches to weight loss. One is la dieta del minestrone, very popular after holiday feasting, based on a concoction of vegetables cooked as a soup.
Others try la dieta del fantino (the jockey’s diet), based on the strict regimen professional jockeys use before a race. Although it’s possible to lose up to six pounds in three days, it’s dangerous to remain on this totally unbalanced diet for longer periods. In the Italian version, you eat meat, eliminate all sugar, and drink some port every day.
The healthiest approach, endorsed by medical experts around the world, is la dieta Mediterranea, which emphasizes fresh fruit (frutta) and vegetables (contorni), fish (pesce), and olive oil (olio d’oliva).
If nothing has worked so far, you have other options, such as going to a clinica dimagrante (weight loss clinic) or centro benessere (wellness center or beauty farm).
Of course, you can always consider arrendersi ad una taglia in più.(surrendering to wearing one size larger). Or you can tell ourself what many people do, “Da domani sono a dieta” (I’ll start my diet tomorrow)–usually as they reach for a big serving of tiramisù
Words and Expressions
essere a dieta ferrea — to be on a strict diet
essere pelle e ossa — to be skin and bones
non vederci più dalla fame — to be starving (literally to be so hungry that you go blind)
indice di massa corporea — BMI (body mass index)
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