The Italian Diet: How to Gain 1,000 Pounds (454 Kilos) in 9 Days

The New and Improved Italian Diet

La Golosità. Language: Italian. Meaning: Gluttony. The most enjoyable way to diet, and the easiest and fastest way to get the results you’re looking for. If the results are love handles.

Today I’m going to teach you all how to gain a serious amount of weight in a very short period of time. It’s February, and we’ve all given up our New Year’s resolutions by now. Anyway, all those magazine racks advertising nothing more than miracle weight loss pills, or how to lose 10 pounds by chewing garlic cloves, get old quickly. There’s something decidedly more fun about achieving the opposite results. The diet I’m about to show you is basically foolproof, and nearly anyone can see success, unless you dispose of an abnormally fast metabolism. Plus, it’s ITALIAN, and involves heavy eating. What are you waiting for?

Please note: This diet can probably work anywhere in the world, but I highly recommend attempting it in Italy. That’s where the team tested it out in December,* and I can tell you, it was effortless. Once my jaw got used to the continual act of eating, it was smooth sailing for nine days.

(*Health effects of this plan are yet to be studied.)

The Italian Diet: 10 Steps to Really Pack On The Pounds

Step 1: Stay with Italian Families

If you stay at a hotel, you can eat when you choose. If you stay at a hostel, chances are you’re too poor for large meals to begin with, and will be stealing yogurts from the communal kitchen. But if you stay with a family, you’ll have food shoved at you every hour of the day.

At first the quantities may seem intimidating, and that, coupled with the fact that Italians expect you to show up to dinner in something nicer than stretchy leggings, may have you wondering how you’re physically supposed to do it. My advice? Where there’s a will, there’s a way. The first few days will be the toughest; then your stomach will naturally expand, and you’ll come to think of an entire pizza as a skimpy appetizer.

making gnocchi

Making gnocchi with my friend’s family in Naples.


Step 2: Visit at Christmas

While it’s not essential to visit Italy during the holidays to gain weight, it certainly helps. Since food in Italy is religion at any time of the year, meals at Christmastime are like which family is trying to impress baby Jesus the most. A dinner the 24th, a lunch the 25th, and a lunch the 26th are the big hitters. And although I wasn’t there for it, we can’t forget about New Years.

Step 3: Long Meals are Key

Start dinner at 9 p.m., and finish at 1 in the morning. Sure, the weight-loss magazines recommend eating slowly, and we are in no way trying to achieve their same goals. But in our case, a 4-hour meal doesn’t mean we’re eating slowly in order to limit caloric intake. Rather, we’re shoving things down as fast as we can, but with approximately 27 courses, things just take time. Four hours of constant eating is at once bliss and the key to success. Told you this diet was fun!

Step 4: Head South

After the big holiday meals wrap up, do as the birds and head south to keep fattening up. Southern Italians are famous for their big meals, so if you can, find a family in Naples to take you in.

Step 5: Order an Entire Pizza

pizza napoli

Pizza at Sorbillo in Naples

Have that family generously take you out to dinner at Sorbillo, one of the best pizza restaurants in the birthplace of pizza. Obviously no one will share a pizza with you because a) this is Naples and b) this is Italy. You eat whole pizzas. Your desperate pleas to split a pie will fall on deaf, unsympathetic ears.

Step 6: Feel the Shame

When you leave food it’s a source of great angst. Grandparents wonder if you’re sick. Waiters send you death stares, horrified that you’ve managed to waste precious goods. Hosts agonize that you didn’t like their cooking. So basically, no matter how full you are, don’t leave food. Just keep packing it in, and packing it on.

Step 7: Seconds. Thirds. Fourths.

They will keep offering, and re: Step 6, you will keep accepting, if you know what’s good for you.

Step 8: Three Dessert Courses

Valeria’s mom asked one night, should we do fruit, chocolate or cake first? Because we’re obviously doing all three, but I’m just wondering about the order.

For Christmas Eve it was three different kinds of cake. For Christmas day it was mini muffins, a cheese platter, and an ice cream cake. For Boxing Day it was cheesecake, cookies, and chocolate fudge. There was hardly a moment to try out the gelato, and this was Italy.

Step 9: Rejoice at Your Progress

It’s only been a week and your weight and cholesterol are off the charts!! Even better news, you’re STILL in Italy, fashion capital of the world, so you can replace your whole wardrobe right then and there. You may have to place a special size order with Prada, but what did we say before? Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Step 10: Forget the Motivation—just EAT!

Most traditional diets recommend weighing yourself frequently to keep at it. However, this diet is so great because it doesn’t NEED motivation. The taste of fresh seafood; Grandma’s risotto recipe; hand-pulled pasta—this is the built-in motivation, and really, truly, it’s all you’ll need to stick with the plan.

prawns italy

Prawns at Boxing Day lunch


Sample Italian Diet Plans: Eat This to Achieve Best Results

Christmas Eve Dinner (9 pm—1 am)

Bread. Octopus salad. Sardines. Chickpea soup with shrimp. Spaghetti with mussels. White fish with oven roasted potatoes. Tiramisu, chocolate cake, lemon cake.

Christmas Day Lunch (1 pm—4:30 pm)

Cured meats, spreads, breads, olives, quiches, and bruschetta; tordelli (similar to ravioli) with meat sauce; cheeses, ice cream cake, mini muffins, tangerines.

Boxing Day Lunch (2 pm—6 pm)

Crudités with tuna paté; bread; massive prawns; risotto with squid; codfish with leeks; cheesecake, chocolates, cookies.

Included at everything: Free-flowing wine.

So, my friends, we’ve finally found a diet that requires no restrictions, no journal entries, no counting calories or points. A diet where we can dream about risotto at night and eat three servings of it in the morning. A diet we can all raise our glasses to.

Chin chin to feasting in Italy.

Want more from my Christmas trip to Italy?

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Changing the Way I Travel

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