Vacation Pounds--To Freak or Not to Freak!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Week before last, I went on a writing retreat/friends get-together. It was at a friend's house and I wasn't sure what we would have to eat and how often we'd eat out. I'm lucky because my friends are very flexible and very accepting of different eating habits. I watched my portion sizes, made sure to include many veggies and fruits but did enjoy some great restaurants and yummy desserts. I also walked 2+ miles every morning and made sure I got in my average 10K steps. I had weighed the morning I left for the visit and weighed the morning after I returned. The scales said I had gained 5 pounds.

Did I freak? NO! Let me explain my reasoning.

First, the numbers. We all know by now in order to lose a pound of fat you must take in 3500 calories less than you burn. So to gain a pound, you have to eat 3500 calories more than you burn. For that extra weight to be gained fat, I would have eaten 17,500 more calories than I burned that week which averages out to 2500 calories extra a day. Since my SP calorie range for maintenance is 1910-2260 calories I'd have to have been eating more than twice as many calories each and every day. Is that possible? Of course it is. But, and it is a very important but, I knew I had not eaten that much extra.

So I decided to do an experiment. Yes, another one, LOL. I gave myself a week. I went back to eating my maintenance calories--not back to weight loss mode, maintenance. I actually burned fewer calories in exercise because I was really tired (lots of late nights talking and laughing) and allowed myself a couple of days when I did 10-15 minutes of walking but not more.

Result--This morning I weighed exactly what I had the day I left on vacation. Those 5 pounds disappeared as quickly as they had appeared. Without dieting. Without going on an exercise binge. Just back to my normal, sensible, healthy maintenance food intake.

Since I started this journey almost a year ago, I have gone on 3 week long vacations. One week in New Orleans, one in Memphis and one in NC with friends. I enjoyed myself on each and every one. I tried local specialties, indulged in a some desserts, had a few more glasses of wine over the course of an evening or two. But none led to weight gain. And there are several reasons for this.

1. I walked, jogged, swam at the same level (or more because of sightseeing) that I do at home.

2. I made careful selections making sure I balanced treats and higher calorie meals with lighter breakfasts and lunches--not restrictive, just lower in fat and sugar.

3. I never, never said to myself I was cheating or being bad. I was allowing myself a treat.

In the past, I would have been "going off" a restrictive diet. I would have sent myself into that spiral of overeating, beating myself up, overeating and promising I'd "diet" again but then would not get back on track for weeks or months by which time I would have regained more fat pounds than I'd originally lost.

I feel such joy knowing I don't ever have to live that way again. Knowing I can enjoy an occasional high calorie treat and maintain the 80 lbs I've lost over this last year.

When I first started on this journey, I told myself every day emoticon I didn't believe it in the beginning, but I said it anyway. Imagine my joy to find out that not only I can, but I did, I am and I will continue to live a fit and healthy life. And I'm loving it.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Yes Mam! emoticon
    2484 days ago
  • no profile photo CD14253479
    This is so amazing. emoticon emoticon
    2505 days ago
    LOVED this entry. I am really worried about the upcoming events for me; but I know in my heart and soul that I must learn how to enjoy myself and treat myself in order to go the distance. In my head I know the things you are saying are true (it is science, not magic, after all) but hearing real world experience is priceless to me. I so want to be where you are now, physically and mentally! Thank you for writing this.
    2508 days ago
    I needed this blog, going on vacation soon and have been super worried about the calories and salt! Thank you!
    congrats on all of your accomplishments!!
    2509 days ago
  • KONA509
    Great job and thank you! Your thoughtful common sense is really inspiring and helpful!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2509 days ago
    2509 days ago
    Excellent lesson for all of us to learn! We can be so quick to think the worst, but you have explained and demonstrated why those pounds were not fat that was going to hang around. Maybe temperature fluctuations caused water retention, or just being on a different schedule -- 80 pounds lost in one year means you have definitely figured this out!!!
    2510 days ago
    Thanks for sharing the helpful experience. It's good to know that maintenance even though challenging, can be fun. I hope you continue to share your experiences and lessons learned. emoticon
    2510 days ago
  • HONEY323
    Congratulations!!! You have conquered the yo-yo. emoticon
    2510 days ago
    emoticon Isn't it liberating to not be controlled by the evil emoticon ?

    2510 days ago
    Great example of how to handle this situation!
    2510 days ago
  • no profile photo CD14291083
    I just love this blog. You've worked so hard this year, and you've developed just the right attitude to maintenance (in my opinion). I'm nearly at maintenance and about to go on a short vacation. Your attitude to relaxing a bit on the eating while keeping up the exercise, and your thoughts on how to return to your pre-vacation weight are such an inspiration and encouragement. Thank you.
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    2510 days ago
    It is hard to eat right when away from home. I'm so proud of you!
    2510 days ago
    Wait and see
    2510 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.