Friday, June 11, 2010

Working Vacation

I just got back from a 6 day conference/vacation. Tough life.

It was great. Absolutely great. I learned so much about myself on this time away from my "real" life, and the time I had to reflect was much needed and appreciated. I loved it.

On the plane ride down, I read a few chapters of the Breaking Free from Emotional Eating book I mentioned earlier. If I had to summarize the parts of the book I've read so far, I'd say the theme is listen to your body. Straightforward. Hard, but straightforward.

Listening to your body means eating when you're hungry. Listening to your body means stopping when you're satisfied. Listening to your body means eating what you want, not what you think you should have. Listening to your body means resting when you're tired and not exercising when you're hurt.

For someone who either ignored or muted my body's signals for so long, this is kind of a tough one for me. In fact, I wasn't really even sure if I could tell what my body wanted anymore or if I was now deaf as far as listening to my body was concerned. This week proved to me that this is not at all true. When I am truly listening to my body, it will tell me what it wants.

Since embarking on living a healthier life, I've begun to listen more closely to when my body is hungry. I have learned that sometimes weird things mean that I am actually hungry -- for example, many of my cravings are actually hunger in disguise.

One of the things I was surprised to learn on this trip is that I'm actually starting to learn when I'm satisfied, too. On this trip there were several times when there was tons of food left on my plate and I was just not wanting to finish the rest. Times when there were some of my favorite things, and I knew I couldn't take them home for later (no fridge), and I STILL said I was finished. Unbelievable. Seriously. If you would have told me this just six months ago -- about 45 lbs into this journey -- I would literally not have believed this would be possible. But it is. And I experienced that this week.

Another thing that I learned on this trip is that my body can seriously respond to what it's eating and tell me if it's happy or not. For example, after a few days I thought "OMG I have absolutely got to lay off this sodium." I also thought "Man, no more cheese or excessive fat for awhile" and "I've got to eat more vegetables." When I listened and did what my body told me, it was ok again in about 24 hours (and cheese eating could resume!).

I'm not going to lie. I ate really well, and had some really rich foods on this vacation. I had several cocktails which were delicious, I ate cheese dip a few times, and I had two or three really big breakfasts, complete with eggs, sausage and hashbrowns (I ate all of these). I had dessert several times when I went to dinner. And with the exception of some granola bars and almonds I brought from home, and bananas I bought at a Mexican Walmart, I ate every single meal out.

Net result? I lost a few pounds. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted (including several fatty and splurgey foods), and I was fine. I mean to be fair, I ate more salads and fruit once I became less afraid of being food poisoned. I did work out several times with friends. I watched my portions. I drank 14+ L of water in the 6 days I was in Mexico. But living an active lifestyle, and eating what I wanted felt natural and right. And the results were great. And I felt like this is something I could do my whole life.

There was a scale in my hotel room (seems a bit cruel to have one of those, right?), and I did my daily weigh ins. I was surprised/excited to see the number progressing down down down all week. The last day I was there, the scale read 232 (turns out it was a fluke, as I was a bit dehydrated, and the scale is 1-2 lbs lighter than my scale at home). I was eating my final breakfast -- complete with an egg and 2 links of sausage and a huge pile of hashbrowns and pico de galo -- and looking into the Carribean Sea. I thought about how (I mistakenly thought) I was 2.5 lbs heavier than my lightest weight as an adult, ever. I realized that a goal I had set to lose 31 lbs before my 31st birthday coincided almost exactly with this weight. I reflected on how I had worn sleeveless shirts most days of the conference -- something that had previously terrified me and that I had never really felt comfortable with, and that I wasn't even sure I would be able to do a few months from now on my birthday. I thought about how I have now lost the most weight I have ever lost, surpassing my previous record of sixty pounds by a good 5-8 lbs.

I thought, probably really for the first time really on this journey, "I can do this. I am doing this. And I am strong and will continue to do this." And there at my table, alone overlooking the sea, I cried. My life is changing, and I am too. And, damn it feels amazing.


  1. great to hear! I'm jealous of your work vacation thingy the water looks great!

  2. I totally understand your feelings as you reflect on the changes in your life! I feel the same way and I cry too!! Congrats to you losses (that sounds funny). Sounds like you are making healthy food choices, EVEN on your vacation!! :)



Clicky Web Analytics