Lifestyle Change, Even on Vacation
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Going on vacation is usually the bane of my health goals. Especially all-inclusive resorts where there is unlimited food and drink available almost 24hrs a day.
But not this time. I didn't think or worry about calories consumed or burned. I ate what I liked, when I was hungry. Portion sizes just fell into place on their own.
Just a year ago, I would have thought this impossible. I was on a 10 year diet where I lost 10 pounds out of the 60 I needed to lose. I wasn't losing weight, and I was hungry all the time.
Hunger, I have learned, is a big clue there was something wrong with my diet. Watching calories alone was still a type of starvation diet because I was hungry all the time. Eating smaller meals spaced out still left me hungry all the time. It turns out I was eating the wrong composition of calories. Too many grains, and too little protein.
The bulk of my carbs comes from vegetables, and an occasional slice of bread or cup of rice. The bread and rice is because I like them, but not because they are essential. Any nutrition that comes from a piece of enriched bread can come from a whole bowl of salad instead. Vegetables pack more nutrition in fewer calories than grains.
Once I ditched the idea that I had to have a grain with every meal, I lost weight. I was a size 12 in 2000. In 2008 I was a size 10. 2012, I am in between a size 4 and 6 and have maintained it for about a year.
After losing all this weight, I was worried about vacation. That is usually a guaranteed weight gainer. But I ate pretty much the same way I eat at home. All-inclusive meal and drinks are usually a danger zone for dieters, but I actually found it easier because I could fill my plates with things I like to eat. Restaurant plated meals are usually too high in calories and grains than I like. I don't eat two eggs for breakfast, I eat one. I can eat only 1 egg out of 2, but I hate the food waste.
Protein and veg were in abundance at the buffets. Every morning I had one over-easy egg with a couple sides of sausage, and a slice of watermelon. Occasionally I would have half a slice of french toast with a teaspoon of maple syrup. Lunch and dinner were pretty much the same - chicken, steak or fish, and a big side salad. A small petit-four type dessert if they looked good.
For drinks, I stuck mainly to water. We were in very hot climates, and dehydration is too easy. I drank a beer with my lunch because of the low alcohol content. I drank wine with my dinners. Beach-side drink favorite was rum and diet-coke. I splurged on an occasional daquiri or pina colada, but stopped at one.
Exercise was no problem. It was play time! We walked on the beach, rode bicycles, went kayaking, and snorkel, snorkel, snorkeled! Despite near constant activity, I never ran out of energy or felt hungry.
I still fit in my size 6 pants when I left.
When I got home, my scale said I gained 8lbs, but my body fat stayed relatively the same. A week later, I've lost 5 lbs. I conclude that the majority was water retention due to the hot climates (though I live in a hot climate - weird). My size 4 pants are a little more snug then they should be, so I have gained a little, but it's still not bad! My size 6 is still preferable to size 10 or 12.
Hunger and weight gain were a clue that my body wasn't getting the right nutrition. If my diet wasn't something that I could maintain even while on vacation, then it was not the right diet for me. I have found what true 'lifestyle' change means. I have found what works for my body, and I can do it every day, even while on vacation. I never took a 'break' from my 'diet', because I am eating the things I like to eat, and it is the nutrition that my body was craving all this time.