Wednesday, January 13, 2010

#82 Vacationing on a Full Stomach

Whenever I talk to my friends who don't have food issues, I am reminded that they live their lives pretty much the way I do, except that food doesn't "get in the way" for them. What I mean is, my non food-challenged friends do all this -- exercise 4-7 days a week, think about their health, leave food on their plates, eat slowly, and more often than not, eat well -- without letting food throw them off their game. However, vacations are another story. Where I worry about eating too much on vacation, they go away knowing that they will over indulge. They also know that they will easily deal with those [potential] extra pounds after arriving back home. Notice that word 'easily'.

I wasn't really hip to the idea of "activity" vacations when Marc and I started vacationing together. Why? Because I was the person who wanted to lie in the sun on my cushy lounge chair, drink diet coke [I'm not good with the alcohol, heat and sun combo], and read a book. The only exercise I expected to partake in was rolling over every 30 minutes or so as not to burn any body parts.

Meeting Marc changed the way I vacation... for the better. Our vacations are always wonderful and interesting and I am worry-free about eating because our days, or parts of our days, are filled with activities. Our first vacation together was to the island of Nevis. When we went, back in 1990, there were about 4 or 5 hotels on the island. No cars were allowed, except the random taxi to move and your luggage from the water where you arrived via tiny plane or ferry. This meant that one needed to walk everywhere. Since our hotel, the Golden Rock Inn, was at the top of a small mountain, going anywhere on the island ended in an exhausting climb back to our beautiful paradise. We did a lot of sight seeing, played tennis, and swam a lot. The food was fresh and yummy, and because of our activity level, I ate without worry. Nope, I don't think I'll ever say "I ate with abandon".

Since that vacation, we've gone on a number of vacations ["holidays" to my non-American readers] where our mornings were spent in strenuous and demanding tennis clinics, leaving our afternoons for relaxing, sightseeing and shopping. Last summer, our vacation was a little open as to the exercise. We biked around Cape Cod, played tennis on courts placed so that you could see the ocean, and walked round-trip from our hotel to town [2+ mile round trip] every night for dinner. As some of you know, two summers ago we went biking from Prague to Austria with 7 couples from our neighborhood. It was an amazing vacation. Once again, I was able to eat without worry. Do you know why? Many of those hills we rode were colossal, and even if I had wanted to join my Swiss friend and yodel when finally reaching the top, there was no breath left in me to do so.

However, this past Christmas/New Years holiday, our family vacation was not designed around exercise. Marc belongs to an International Dental Fraternity and every year 400-800 dental-type people and their families meet in a different venue. The dental people take courses and work on the different committees that keep the fraternity functioning. The spouses have their activities and the kids are in kids camp. If Marc and I had our druthers, we probably would have chosen to miss this year since neither one of us are 'cruisers'. It was our children who really wanted to go. Seeing that they've been going with us since their infancy, this winter trip has pretty much become the only time during the year that they get to visit with their friends from different parts of the country [as well as those friends from around the world].

You're wondering, I'm sure, where I'm going with this vacation history. Well, as you all know, My babble started as weekly emails to ladies in my women's group to help keep us all focused on eating healthy and exercising. Let me say this now.... cruising makes this very difficult. On the first day, our Cruise Director, Big Tex, announced the ship's activities over the loud speaker. He then went on to say that, "As we all know, cruising is about the food...". Really? Why????

Without having to say, you all know that I started the cruise with the best intentions: eggs and fruit for breakfast, salads with protein for lunch, a dinner with a salad to start and an allowed taste [or two] of dessert. I stayed clear of the soft serve ice cream machines, the three tiered dessert table in the middle of the "cafeteria", the midnight buffet, only drank wine with dinner, and if I went to the coffee bar, it was only coffee I ordered. By day three, I had tasted the ice cream, not too shabby, and had added a starch or two to my breakfast. Honestly, how many people can walk by french toast, waffles and pancakes daily and not be tempted?

Of course the ship did have a gym, but it was always crowded in the morning, which is when I like to exercise. My other option for exercise was the track on the top deck. I did visit this 5 of the 7 days at sea. And I'll share that when the wind was at my back, I finally ran that 10 minute mile which has alluded me my whole life.

In the end, I probably put on some poundage. However, I can't end my babble on a sour note - so here goes. On the last day of the cruise, would you believe I got sea sick?! I was pretty green most of the morning and only ate a small breakfast because, to be blunt, I was more worried about dry heaving than bringing something up if I was going to "be sick". And sick I was. Happily, I lost everything inside me from top and bottom [thankfully not at the same time because that's a logistic hell -- been there, done that.]. The next day, I was still lacking an appetite, and ate cautiously. So, drum roll please.... I came home weighing exactly the same as I did on the day we left for the cruise.

See, I told you the ending would be a happy one.

Photos: Jersey Shore; Nevis at the Golden Rock Inn; Group Bike Trip in Prague; View from the porch of the Chatham Bar Inn on Cape Cod; Marc and me on the cruise [you'd think there was enough to eat...]; Dessert on the cruise.

Quote of the Day: "Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished"
Lao Tzu (author)


Michael Rivers said...

I'm always busy on vacations too. Not so much sport activities but the touring, sight seeing, etc. I always tell myself, "This will be a relaxing vacation." But I never let myself relax. In April '09, I went on a week long cruise and was exhausted after it. I worked the clock at both ends. Next time, it will be different. I got off the ship having gained weight. On a cruise, is there ever not food all over the place?

Alix said...

You GO girl. No weight gain on a cruise? I applaud you.

I have a cruise coming up and I'm going to try to lose ten pounds in advance so IF I gain anything on my cruise it won't be additional weight. I will also employ discipline and make healthy choices. It's doable. Also, skipping dessert isn't tough for me, so I should be fine. The lobster is a totally another story. Oy!

Mary Stock said...

We vacation much the same way. While I will NEVER cruise (being stuck on a huge floating hotel with that many people unnerves me), We will continue to spend some time relaxing and eating and being active and eating, making meals something to enjoy and savor, and not stress about.I always hope to just break even! Next week we leave for Mexico, and I will let you know how it goes, it shouldn't be too bad, after all, there are trips with snorkeling, hiking, kayaking, walking, and maybe tennis, if I remember the racquets.

Your Brother said...

Yes, cruising is all about the food, but in August, my partner and I intend to go on our first gay cruise. Is this so different? Uhh, yes. Three dance parties a day with guys who've worked out for a year just for this moment, the gym will be crowded with perfect male specimens, those running on the top deck track will be wearing little and sweating a lot. I intend to be everywhere at the same time. So not only do I have to look good while I'm there, but I'll be damned if I eat like a horse when the competition is so fierce. Plus I'll probably lose weight from gawking and chasing hot bods all over the damn ship. Even if I get caught in the sauna with 50 other naked men, I'll be sweating off the calories. Of course, I've just shared with you the textbook fantasy of a gay cruise. I hope to be too busy sightseeing and enjoying life to be too focused on the next buffet line. Nevertheless, I'm sure I'll lose weight keeping up with my triathlete, latino husband and chasing all those dogs from sniffing around him. Shoo!