People gain weight when they go on vacation. People gain weight when they get into a new relationship. And I always gain weight from mid-July to mid-August, because I’m on some sort of a birthday bender. So…obviously, being in Texas has all the makings of a perfect 10-pound storm.
And mostly, I feel like I’m sitting in that perfect storm, wearing a poncho and just getting drenched but still screaming, “What?! The weather’s fine!!!!” over the sounds of thunder and heavy winds. I’m putting up a real fight, even while the universe is saying, “Go ahead, Rachel. Let the rain fall down and wake your dreams, let it wash away your sanity…” and I do want to give in…but then I don’t, actually.
The thing is, I’m not going to obsess about every last bite and make myself work out when I’d much rather be enjoying my life. I can handle gaining a few pounds, provided I gained them from doing things that make me happy, and my jeans still fit. But I also need to just keep it under control.
So whether you’re on vacation, datecation, or just a first date, here are some ways to keep two happy pounds from becoming the need for elastic waist pants until you can get a new, bigger pair of jeans.
- Don’t plan to fail. This is huge. A lot of times people say, “Oh fuck it, people always gain weight [insert any situation here]!” No! You have to mentally prepare yourself and say, “…but I’m not going to become one of those people just for the sake of it!”
- Don’t fail to plan. Put in some thought ahead of time as to what you need to do to keep your healthy habits going when you’re traveling, dating, or both! For me, it’s packing my Core Fusion DVDs, sneakers, and Fitbook. It might be saying, “Oh, I know I’m going to go on a date tomorrow night, so I better get my workout in in the morning so I don’t miss it.” Put in that time now so you don’t regret it in a month when you’re home/single/bloated.
- Keep as much normal as possible. Get up and go to bed at your normal time as much as you can. Go to the grocery store upon arrival or pack breakfast options. (My sorostitute oats are great for traveling.) Plan to act normal, like, “What? I’m on vaca? NBD.” Do I want to eat the same things here that I eat at home? No, I don’t. I want it to feel special! I want to feel like I’m on vacation! But you have to distinguish between what you truly want (the most amazing burger you’ve ever eaten) versus what you’re doing just because you can (oh just driving through a little local joint called McDonald’s every day). Don’t eat like crap just to satisfy that need to for it to feel special. The trip, the guy…that’s what’s special. Sometimes, the food doesn’t have to be.
- Record your meals. You know I love my Fitbook, and using it here has been very important. I’m not saying that I don’t eat crap every now and then, but I can say that it helps me eat less crap than I would otherwise. Or at least, I’m being mindful of it. I’m owning it. Do I want to find the bottom of the box of Triscuits badly enough to record it for all posterity? Um, sometimes the answer is yes. I mean, I wish the answer was no, but…sometimes it’s yes. Sorry I’m not sorry.
- Find a date and/or travel buddy who is as vain as you are. Eric and I have a joking-not-really-joking relationship with food and exercise. I’ll say something like, “I really need to stop eating these Triscuits” and he’ll say, “No, Rachel…keep eating the Triscuits. Go ahead and eat them…as long as things like ‘being loved’ aren’t important to you.” And in return, one morning I shoved him out of bed to go work out and I am always reminding him that I’ll break up with him if he gains weight. Are we totally serious? Look, we have an understanding. We both love food way too much and we could easily get into that “And you love me just the way I am!” and start enabling each other. We have to set rules on gelato intake or we’ll be That Couple. *Note: If your date/travel buddy does not share in your masochistic/extremely sarcastic sense of humor you can do stuff like work out together, which is what, like, all the fitness mags would recommend. And, hey, we do that too. But I like my way a lot. With this tactic, it’s best to be extreme with it. If you aren’t absolutely impossibly mean and over-the-top with your tough love, someone’s feelings might get hurt.
- Go ahead…eat the whole box of Triscuits and see how happy you are. Overindulge off the bat and I’ll tell you what: once you find yourself with one food baby, you’ll probably learn your lesson. Last Friday night, Eric and I got really burgers and fries. We swore we’d stop eating when we were full…but oh…well, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. We tried, but we just maybe should have stopped at 60 percent full instead of 80 percent. We were just so miserably full, I can promise you that won’t be happening again.
- Remember that you don’t want to be so sluggish/stuffed/drunk/hungover that you can’t even enjoy yourself. Apparently, at 80 percent full, you lose your sex drive. Our new goal is not being so into our freaking food that we can’t appreciate the other aspects of me being here. Remember the rules of McMuffins. Do you want to be stuffed or be stuffed?
- Don’t waste a whole day. Sure, there are times when you have a good reason for an indulgent lunch or you just want to sleep in to skip a workout…but that doesn’t mean your whole day is shot! Not allowing myself to go crazy at every meal has been my saving grace since I’ve been in Texas. Sure, I might know I’m going to have a few drinks later, but I’m (seriously constantly) fighting the urge to say, “So why NOT have a bagel for breakfast?!” And even if you don’t have time for a full-out workout, you might be able to do something. It’s 100 degrees here; I’m certainly not going for my daily walk. But I’ll be damned if I can think of a good reason to skip a 30 minute Core Fusion sesh with the AC blasting on me.
- Don’t try to lose weight; be proud of maintaining. If you eat a weight loss level of calories on a regular basis and on vacation you go up to a “normal” level, you can be proud that your new “Ugh, I overate!” intake is probably still pretty healthy for your height and weight. That is, as long as you don’t get ridiculous. Anddd…..
- Don’t be ridiculous! Honestly, it’s the best advice for any situation and it has served me very well in Texas. Don’t. Be. Ridiculous. There have been so many times when I’ve just wanted to say, “F it!” and go on a 7-11 diet. But that doesn’t feel good. I’d regret it in the long run. We do all know better.
The thing is, at some point, we’re all going to be wifed up or in a new location, and we need to know how to deal. We need to practice now.