Monday, September 1, 2014

Keeping a Healthy Weight on Vacation

Does a vacation spell DOOM for a healthy weight?

My family (7 of us) just wrapped up a two-week lakeside vacation. I had many challenges to sticking with a healthy weight plan, some met better than others.

Here are some of the challenges I faced, and my strategies for dealing with them.

My challenges

  1. The type of food available. I had brought many ingredients with me and was able to cook some of my delicious (to me, at least) specialities without too many protests. But, as the cooking was a shared activity, there were many foods served that were not necessarily on my "approved" list. Breakfasts often included cheese omelets and/pancakes, lunches often featured cheese and cold cuts on bread, and dinners sometimes featured items like eggplant parmesan or other calorie-dense foods. Lots of cheese; lots of breads.
  2. The portion sizes. The amount of food available was abundant. Breakfasts that included both omelets and pancakes, lunches with sandwiches that required both hands to hold it, and huge bowls of chili or other dishes.
  3. The frequency of eating. Big breakfasts started the day, moving on to mid-morning snacks, then a large lunch, an afternoon snack prepared for any trips, then dinner, maybe topped off with ice cream.
  4. Keeping a low profile. I was determined to take my own advice and manage my healthy weight plan without making a big deal of it. In other words, I would do it without saying -- even once -- something like "I can't eat that" or otherwise calling attention to my eating habits.

My strategies

  • I tried to make sure there were several things available at each meal that I could eat. Although I ate a little of everything, I concentrated on the foods that I felt contributed most to my health and healthy weight. I never said "I can't eat that" or made a big deal out of what I did, or did not, eat.
  • I woke up early and had my coffee and a toasted slice of Ezekiel sesame seed bread, with Earth Balance and a fabulous raspberry jam. Since I had already had breakfast, I could comfortably sit outside while the others had their omelets and pancakes. Or that would be a good time for me to take my morning walk.
  • I asked that we each be responsible for our own lunches. That way, I could have some leftovers from the night before, or some vegetables with a low-calorie dip, while they were eating their huge sandwiches.
  • For dinner, I ate some of everything. I just focused on the things I felt contributed to my health and watched my portion sizes. I had lots of wine, too. After all, we were in Finger Lakes wine country! 
  • If we went out for ice cream, I did that, too, asking for a kiddie cup. If desserts were made at home, I either didn't have any or took just one. 
  • I tried to get in a two-mile walk every day, as well as 1/2 hour or so out on the lake with the kayak. This really made my legs and arms feel strong. And it felt so gooood.
Did all this work? Well, yes it did. I weighed the same when I returned home as I had when I left -- plus I feel really strong and healthy.

I must say, though, that watching other people lay in over 1,000 calories and almost 60 grams of fat in one breakfast (mushroom/cheese omelets and pancakes), plus another 1,000 calories, 20 grams of fat and 2,000 mg of sodium with their lunches--not to mention whatever was consumed at our large dinners--left me unsettled. I felt so helpless. was your summer? Any challenges you met?

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  1. Believe it or not, I came home one pound lighter. Despite the omlettes and ice cream. You might be surprised that for some, what you saw them eat was a calorie reduction. Some of my strategies included walking, kayaking, and ordering a kiddie cup of ice cream instead of a small. It helped that you cut up fruit and veggies that were always available. I drank less wine than most of the people there and just the right amount for dinner. The heaviest meal seemed to be breakfast, but it was offset by an often small lunch.

    1. Loved your comment. Thanks, And super congratulations!!!


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