The other day, I returned from a vacation in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I was really dreading this vacation at first, because staying with family in a big beach house can be a really tricky thing. It can be hard to live with other people – even if only for a week. However, I tried to change my attitude about the vacation and go into it with the mindset that I was going to have a great time – and stay on top of my weight. I’m happy to report, with the exception of some car trouble that left me stranded in the OBX for a few extra days… things were great!
I went on this vacation with my mother, her husband, my brother, and my sister. They came to my house on a Saturday to spend the night and we were all leaving (in two separate cars) the next morning. The first thing I noticed when they arrived was that my Mom had put back on all of her weight (she had lost maybe 60-70 pounds about 18-24 months ago), my 16 year old sister had gained weight, and my brother was no longer on his major lifestyle change/nutrition guru/health kick. When I noticed these changes, I had a couple of thoughts.
- Many members of my family have struggled with weight their entire lives. They’ve all had great success in losing weight – but not always as much as they needed and NOBODY ever keeps it off. This is a BIG reason I decided to have VSG, despite losing over 100 lbs on the six month supervised diet.
- My Mom has spent her entire life going up and down in weight. I have seen this woman work SO unbelievably hard and lose anywhere between 60-100 lbs probably a dozen times in my 30 years on Earth. When I told her I was getting surgery, it was at the height of her last loss and she tried desperately to convince me (for an email or two) not to go through with it – that I could do it on my own. “See a nutritionist like I am!” – at the time, I wanted to point out to her that she has great success in losing weight, but never kept it off. I wanted to say to her that I didn’t want to spent my entire life going up and down like she does… but of course, I didn’t say it. I didn’t want it to come out wrong.
- My 16 year old sister yo-yos a bit too and it’s all related to how my Mom is eating. When my Mom is at her thinnest, my sister is at her thinnest. When my Mom is gaining, my sister is gaining. I don’t think this is a coincidence. My sister is also not very active and that concerns me – my Mom doesn’t seem to mind though because she always wanted me to be at home with her doing nothing after school. Without my Dad’s encouragement, I never would have been active as a kid.
- My brother decided on his 31st birthday in March that he was going to turn his life around an lose weight – he started around 500 lbs. He went all gung-ho and hard core…. you know, with constant Facebook updates, rants about processed food, tips on recipes and nutrition, etc. etc. Although I find this approach to be a little annoying (acting like an expert when you’ve been eating well for a couple of months), I was still very proud of his progress. For his birthday and to show support, I even bought him a scale that would hold his weight so that he could accurately measure his progress. He was doing really well, he got down to I think about 411 lbs, and then the Facebook updates stopped. To me, that was a sign that things were off the path, but I didn’t think much of it at the time.
So, we go on this vacation, there are tons of snacks in the house and all I could notice was the amount of food everybody was eating – including me. It was amazing to me how quickly when I’m in the right setting, I could go completely off the rails and eat like I used to. When I was observing others and reflecting on my own eating habits the first night we were there (Sunday) and for most of Monday, it occurred to me how incredibly normal this kind of eating was in my household when growing up. The good news is though that this isn’t my normal anymore. Because it isn’t my normal… I recognized where I was heading and vowed that I was going to keep myself together on this vacation! So, everyday I woke up…. went for a walk/run…. swam laps in the pool, and took walks along the beach in the evening.
The exercise really helped to offset the eating I was doing. After the first day, I ate well… but still ate more than normal and I will admit, I did partake in some wine drinking on more than a couple of evenings! It was an uncomfortable feeling to not be able to weigh myself everyday to keep an eye on things – especially when I wasn’t tracking my food. I could have tried to track my food, but I was eating so many things with no nutrition information on it, that anything I recorded would’ve been a big guesstimation! It really was a different experience. Not constantly weighing, tracking intake, etc. is what it appears to me most “normal” people without severe weight problem balance things out. They keep things in moderation, stay active, and weigh on occasion. Yikes… I’m not ready for that yet… but someday hope that I will be! I dream of a day when I can do a good enough job of watching what I eat without tracking every little thing, stay active, and get on the scale each week and have it be close to the same number.
On that note, I was really concerned about gaining weight while on the trip and not being able to get back on track when I returned. I have been maintaining in a 195-200 lb window (for the most part) since February and I was already heading into the vacation at the high end at 200.6. It was difficult to not just throw caution to the wind and go crazy with eating and not exercise… but I really wanted to keep it in check. I’m happy to report that I was 201.2 when I returned on Tuesday and as of this morning, was 199. My goal is to get back to my low end of the range (195) on the day I have plastic surgery – September 25th. At this point, losing 4 more lbs in 4 weeks could be a challenge lol… but one I’m ready to conquer!
I have so many more weight loss related thoughts on this vacation, but it’s too much to sort through and write about now. So, I’ll leave you with a vacation selfie! :)