How to lose weight and be beautiful the Italian way

“Everything you see I owe to spaghetti” – Sophia Loren

It is January and everyone is talking about diets but have you ever wondered how the Italians diet?

Italians are not that bothered about fancy diets at all. The Mediterranean diet will still be the one of their choice if they want to lose weight. They will just simply cut back, eat less, avoiding fried and heavy foods and reduce their sugar intake but what’s more interesting, they will still be enjoying their food with fresh and tasty ingredients.

So how do you lose weight the Italian way? Follow a few simple rules:

1- Olive oil is king:  forget about butter, use olive oil everywhere but don’t overdo it. For instance you don’t need to dunk your bread in oil, just use it sparingly to bring to life your salads, in your pasta and to cook fish and meat. Moderation is the key.

pouring olive oil

2- Drink water: drink nothing else other than water at mealtimes along with a small glass of red wine…not a bottle!

Drinking water

3- Do not snack: or better still have fruit if you feel peckish in between meals. Italians have three square meals a day and that’s it. There is no need to eat anything else when you have 3 satisfying meals a day.

Italian family at the dinner table

4- Savour and enjoy your food: Very important! Your aim is to feel satisfied after your meal. That is the key to feeling full and happier for longer.

enjoying food

 5-Eat plenty of fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables: every meal should include a good portion of vegetables. So go to your greengrocer and stock up with plenty of colourful fruit and veg. Eat raw vegetables whenever you can: snack on raw carrots, celery sticks, plenty of fresh salad leaves. Raw vegetables retain all their vitamins which are often destroyed during cooking.

fruit and vegetables

6-Reduce your portions but do not cut out any food groups: You need everything to be healthy (unless there are specific medical reasons or intollerances). This is a Mediterranean food pyramid. As you can see it includes every food group even wine (in moderation) and red meat should be consumed rarely.

Mediterranean diet food pyramid


7-Eat fish at least twice a week:  fish is very light, is low in calories and very healthy. Cod, haddock, mackerel, seabass and seabream are an excellent choice.

fish at the market

8-Walk daily as much as you can. Exercise is just as important as diet to keep fit and healthy.

9-Train your tastebuds to enjoy lighter healthier food: ditch that jar of mayo, cream, salad dressings and pre-packaged seasonings. You will ultimately learn to appreciate better more subtle simple and lighter flavours. You want to choose good quality ingredients for your cooking and not cover them up with heavy or industrial seasonings. I did this with hubby and it worked!

fish and herbs

10-Take your time to cook: you cannot rely on corporations to cook healthy meals for you. No ready meal can be comparable to a healthy and fresh homecooked meal. If you are short of time just boil some water and make a simple pasta al pomodoro with fresh basil leaves and a final touch of grated parmesan cheese on top mmm…!

Italian pasta dish

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17 Responses to How to lose weight and be beautiful the Italian way

  1. Elizabeth Rich Boger

    Somewhere along the way. I have forgotten all of these sensible ideas.
    I must get bavk!

  2. Mary Bellebuono

    AHHH , this made me feel just like i was in Italy:-)
    Good article of information ,i do indeed need to eat more fruit, love the vegies and my pasta. Buying fish is scary unless it is wild caught, this can get pricey.
    Thank you for the article and wishing you a very blessed day.

    • Alida

      You are right wild caught fish is much better for you. Love freshly caught cod and seabass!

  3. gloria

    awww cara Love the Italian way :))

  4. mimi

    Great post!!!

    • Alida

      Thanks Mimi!

  5. Elisabetta

    Well Sophia Loren is a stunning lady so if it’s good for her … Loved this post Alida and I absolutely believe that this is the best way of eating. Cook with love and enjoy every single meal – you will see the magic happening!

    • Alida

      Absolutely! That’s the only way 🙂

  6. Ceri @Natural Kitchen Adventures

    I love the Italian way! I was lucky enough to spend some time with my family who live in Italy over Christmas and whilst for my liking there wasn’t enough vegetables, and too many sweet things for breakfast, what I most enjoyed was the focus on enjoying a meal together round the table (with wine!). Perfect.

    • Alida

      I know Italians love sweet things for breakfast but often don’t have a pudding for dinner during the week. Eating together round the table on a daily basis is what I love most about Italian culture too.

  7. Cailee

    I love these tips!! I really believe strongly in this approach. When I was trying to lose weight I read French Woman Don’t Get Fat which offered similar advice! Here I am, 35lbs thinner and still eating like this! It’s so enjoyable! Great advice!!

    • Alida

      It is all about balance and common sense really. Extreme diets never work and you need time to adapt to a new lifestyle. Pleased you enjoyed the article.

  8. Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy

    I love the Italian way of eating, and it’s what I try to follow myself. I totally agree that olive oil is king. I love the stuff!

    • Alida

      Thank you Dannii!

  9. Chiara

    la nostra cucina è unica, la miglior dieta secondo me è mangiare poco ma di tutto….

  10. Kate - Gluten Free Alchemist

    I’m no good at ‘diets’, so this way suits me! The pyramid is fascinating…… especially the meat (monthly) at the top. The order of food-stuffs makes total sense, but I sometimes think we have things very back to front in the UK. x

  11. Lindsay At Newcastle Family Life

    I am always trying to lose my baby weight and always fail on diets. I love the sound of this one which is basically just normal healthy family eating rather then fad eating habits xx

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