Monday, August 11, 2008

Vacations Are Like A Pancake

I woke up this morning in the last hotel I’ll stay in on this trip. My daughter and I head home to Pittsburgh in a few hours and last night was the best night’s sleep I’ve had since I got to Minnesota last Sunday, thanks only to exhaustion. (However, I want to smack the ass clown who stayed in this room before me and set the alarm clock for 4 a.m. and the radio on high.) I ate breakfast in bed, having put together a tray at the complimentary breakfast buffet downstairs. I chose a small yogurt, three hard-boiled eggs (I took out the yolks), coffee, one bite of a mushy apple (so disappointing), and Total Raisin Bran sans the raisins (not a fan) with soy milk. I was surprised by how few raisins there were in the box. Seven doesn’t seem like very many, but at least they were easy to pick out.

After eight days, I’m running on adrenaline, fruit, carrot sticks and three-buck Chuck wine. (It’s two-buck Chuck in California, but costs a dollar more in Minnesota. Shipping costs, they said at Trader Joe’s.)

My food intake was healthy and I ate a few things I wouldn’t normally eat because I knew it was special and not a part of my regular regimen. I’ll get back into exercise tomorrow, which I’m really looking forward to. I think it’s good to give our bodies a little R&R once in awhile, but I would never opt to not go back to a regular routine after vacation. It not only helps me maintain my weight, but man, it’s a great stress reliever. I had a great time on this vacation, but I could have used a good cardio workout more than once just for the stress release factor.

Someone asked me in a comment on my last blog: “I'm just curious what your thoughts are on eating what you want vs. eating well to maintain weight loss.” She was referring to something her daughter said to her when she said she was going to try an egg-white omelet at the Original Pancake House. Her daughter thought she should order pancakes because she wanted them. My thought is that it’s OK for me once in awhile to order something I “want” versus something that would be a healthier option, but for me, staying disciplined with my food intake is more important than the few seconds that “special” food is in my mouth. I know what a good pancake tastes like and I’m satisfied to have one bite of someone else’s or nothing at all. The memory alone is often good enough for me.

Also, what I “want” these days tends to be what is a staple in my dietary regimen anyway. I really wanted that egg-white omelet at OPH and I ordered it the way I wanted and I thoroughly enjoyed it. To me, a large omelet filled with veggies is much more satisfying than a pancake that will sit in my stomach like a rock all day. Having said that (and lest you think me too militant), I don’t close myself off from sticky gooey treats once in awhile. But remember, this is MY food journey. You have to decide for yourself how to navigate your own food journey. If you feel like eating a pancake or an omelet or whatever, let your conscience be your guide. How will you feel about eating it? Not eating it? How will you feel afterwards? These are questions only YOU can answer for yourself.

The answers are never easy at first, but the further you get into weight loss and maintenance, the more rote they become. Eating the way I do feels safe to me. It’s comforting to know I don’t have to reinvent my diet every day. I know what I like and don’t like, and how certain foods will make me feel physically and emotionally, and I make my decisions based on those factors. It doesn’t take much time at all anymore to decide whether I’m going to eat something or not. It’s taken me a few years of practice to get good at making quick decisions like that, but it’s all part of the weight loss/maintenance discipline you have to have in order to successfully lose weight and, more importantly, keep it off.

I’m glad to be going home, back to my own kitchen and my own gym. Vacation is like a pancake (or Rice Krispie bar). They’re nice once in awhile, but getting back to “real life” and real eating is always a relief.

3 comments:

  1. I think Lynn makes a good point about choices that are not on plan. I remember sometimes ordering something I wanted--the pancake, the hot fudge sundae--and while the first couple of bites were heavenly, after awhile, it started to feel like a forced march. *sigh*...I know, not much common sense to keep going at that point, right? I gradually learned that it's okay to step away from the plate. Now I'm more likely to ask my husband for just a taste of what he's eating or to remind myself that "you've eaten pancakes for 40 years, and yes, they taste the same as they ever did." Sometimes even just the scent of a favorite food is satisfying. But it's not always easy. I was really bummed in a way to have the glass of merlot instead of a sugary margarita at my sister-in-law's birthday party while we were on vacation. But I was glad when we got back, because it was the first trip to Michigan in which I lost weight. (I was also recently diagnosed with diabetes, so it adds some serious consequences to the "do I *really* want this?" question.)

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  2. "I know what a good pancake tastes like and I’m satisfied to have one bite of someone else’s or nothing at all."

    And more often than not, the memory of the taste is far better than what you get now. Like pubsgal said, the first few bites are the best. The trick to successful maintenance and/or weight loss is knowing when to stop.

    Thanks to Lynn for discussing this and reminding me of something that works!

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  3. There are definitely some foods I miss having, but I would never trade them them for the 62 pounds I've lost. My husband is good about letting me have a bite of his greasy burger, a french fry here and there, and yes, a little bit of pancake, too.

    The last time I gave into a craving and ordered a big fat cheeseburger, I was sorely disappointed in it and didn't have but a few bites anyway.

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