So. Where Was I?
Right. I had a little vacation. Three weeks to be exact. That was the first time I’ve actually taken three full weeks off of work to spend time with my family (we always have the kids for three weeks of their summer vacation). Even though I’ve been here in the Netherlands for 17 years (today!), I still feel like taking more than one week or ten days is too long to be away from work. I’m getting over that feeling though, now, obviously.
Before I left I also had a nice, good, calm feeling about everything. I had done all that I could. I had written up documents (that sounds fancy; they were not) for my team to back me up while I was away. I left my laptop and my desk key at work. My work phone stayed at home. I was going to enjoy this holiday without thinking about work!
And that happened pretty much for the most part. We went to Crete again and had an amazing time. The weather was awesome, the food was fabulous, and the beaches were sandy and beautiful. The kids are older now (13 and 10) so we had I think maybe only two occasions where things got a little hairy (it used to be an almost daily occurrence). We swam. We walked. We ate ice cream. Vacation life is good.
One thing I’ve learned over the years is that vacation doesn’t have to mean that you undo all the hard work and effort you’ve put into weight-loss/maintenance efforts. It’s also a good lesson about life. Sure, when we are in our normal routine, and we have full control over what we consume, then by all means, do your best. When on holiday – RELAX a little bit. Life would be terribly boring and stressful even if all we did, all day, every day of our lives was worry about calories in vs. calories out.
The fact that you make an effort to be “reasonable” on holiday is actually enough in my book. Why should I pass up desserts on holiday when I just about never have them in my normal, regular, structured life? Why should I pass up an ice cold beer in the afternoon whilst sitting by the pool, when that is actually the thing that *I* feel would be most refreshing at that moment? Life is too short to worry about a few vacation pounds/ kilos.
So here’s what we did. We stayed in a little apartment-hotel that had a wee kitchenette, including a little refrigerator. We went to the grocery store and bought basics: for the Dutch Crew – bread, cheese, lunchmeats; for me – light cheese. We bought low fat milk, yoghurt, and lots and lots of fresh fruit (which by the way is SO wonderfully delicious the further south you travel). In the mornings, we had our coffee and breakfast at the apartment. Sometimes at lunch we would eat at the apartment as well (similar to breakfast items), sometimes we would eat out and then just have dinner as sandwiches at the apartment. Sometimes we’d order huge Greek Salads and share them between the four of us. We had one big, hot meal a day. We drank tons of water. We walked like crazy (and it that heat, we were sweating buckets) and we swam like the fish themselves.
My clothes still fit when we had to return. I didn’t feel like all my efforts were for nothing. In fact, I got on the scale to check the “damage” – 2.5 KG. That’s all. That’s 5.5 lbs. As of this morning (non-official w/i, but just checking) I’m already down 700gr or 1.5lbs.
I know there are people out there who are very strict about their intake, about logging every single morsel, every day, but that’s not me. I already know that I can only do as much as I can do with the way my body is behaving right now – I’m not going to restrict myself further or not allow myself to have fun outside my normal routine. There are probably people out there who would say, “Well, that’s probably why you can’t lose weight” and you know what? That’s fine to think that. I realize that “having fun” doesn’t necessarily have to mean food and drink, but actually I LIKE those things and I’m not going to give up what gives me pleasure with others. I am active and fit and healthy and yeah I gained weight on holiday. It’s no big deal and it will be off again in no time.
With all that said, I AM logging on MFP again since I’ve been back as I do want to stay a bit structured when I’m not travelling or just on “normal” days. While ultimately I would like to be under 80kgs, right now my focus is mostly on 1) getting back on a (food) routine, 2) healing my knee, 3) getting a regular activity schedule and 4) starting to run again (whenever that may happen). One day, one step, one choice at a time.
Oh, Crete, I’m so jealous!
I think you’re right on target though. As long as you’re reasonable on vacation, you shouldn’t be overly concerned with calories. I mean, it’s VACATION. It’s time off from your normal life. The whole point is to enjoy yourself.
My worry with vacation this year was that I was going to let it turn into a free-for-all. I didn’t, but I was less concerned than I am on a regular basis, and it worked out for me just fine.
Glad you had such a great holiday. I also take a step back from the counting calories (or points) when I’m on vacation. I don’t think I’ve ever gained while I was on vacation (but then I don’t do beach vacations, I always do city trips so there is always loads of walking).