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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.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I'm going to try to exercise the same restraints when I go next month.
    2900 days ago
    I often struggle to stay low-carb when I travel, but I've realized that it's not because I'm traveling -- it's because I'm staying with family members who have pre-planned meals and therefore keep me from choosing my own menu. I can ALWAYS find a way to make low-carb choices when I'm out on my own. I even managed to eat a low-carb dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory! Anyone who says it's impossible to stick with their diet when they go out/abroad obviously isn't trying very hard.
    3156 days ago
  • FRECKS96
    3157 days ago
    There are always aspects of your lifestyle that get more relaxed while on vacation... those people who don't relax on vacation, don't know what they are missing! LOL

    Sounds like you've found the healthy lifestyle that works for you! Awesome!!!
    3157 days ago
  • K-PO110
    Thank you thank you for your comments about the low value of grains and the need for protein. I think this is a message many don't know.

    Way to go on your weight maintenance and successful vacation!
    3157 days ago
    The other thing I like about having good (low-carb) food choices is that if I am in a situation where there are carbs around that I simply must try then I know exactly how to get back on track afterwards.

    I am going to Paris at the end of June, and I will certainly not be in the city of bread and desserts without trying some out. But, I will have those as treats, not every meal things and I will return to my low-carb ways once I am back home. I guess I have some French veggies and meats to try out, too!
    3158 days ago
    That's just awesome.

    I have a vacation to Colorado in 3 weeks and hoping to do the same thing.
    3158 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4892468
    I hear you there!! Great blog and good reference for when I go on my cruise in a couple of weeks.
    3158 days ago
    3158 days ago
    Well done on making the healthy choices. I don't see anything wrong with eating plenty of grains. I find grains to be more filling than eating copious amounds of fruit and vegetables but hey, each to their own.
    3158 days ago
    Brava, brava!!!! I have a long way to go weight-wise, but I agree wholeheartedly about the lifestyle vs. diet change!

    I'd always felt that any eating plan that left you hungry had to have something inherently wrong with it. Surely we were not meant by Nature to feel miserable all our lives: starving and feeling hungry in order to control our weight, versus eating until full and then ballooning up and becoming unhealthy? There is not another mammal out there that lives like that, so why would we be any different!?
    3158 days ago
    Clearly, you've found your way.
    3158 days ago
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