This week I hopped on a plane to head back to my hometown in Wisconsin for a real autumn and a close relative’s wedding. There are two things I’ve already learned realized traveling in my new weight-loss mentality:
1) Am I the only one that thinks going on vacation translates to “you can eat anything you want because calories don’t exist when you’re away from home.”
2) Why does shoving food in our faces equate celebrating?
It started out on the plane. I had a banana at breakfast and packed a granola bar for a snack on the plane (knowing the costs of stuff in the air!), but hunger took over and I was a gazillion miles up in the air needing to make a decision: Do I eat or wait. As I page through the options printed in the in-flight magazine I realized that previously, I would have never batted an eye at the options–buttery crackers, “Chocolate-Lovers Galore Pack,” fatty trail mixes. Before I would have just picked what I wanted, called it vacation and dove right in. But as someone who has been working my butt off on trying to restrict my diet, it just seemed like being weak in the moment wasn’t an option. Sure, I could have splurged for the day, but even more so: nothing even seemed appetizing. I wanted a salad or a healthy sandwich! (Man, times have changed.) I went back and forth: “I’m on vacation, It’s no big deal to eat this stuff, right?!” Yeah, like calories go on vacay when you do.
Somehow, I survived the four-hour flight on a granola bar, water, coffee and a really bad in-flight movie. When I landed, I scored a decent turkey sandwich. I thought I was out of the woods of feeling pressured eating decisions. Now that I was on the ground, I could get back to my regular programming. Nope.
This wedding for my cousin is a really big deal because it’s the first of the grand kids to be married (before me!). What does that mean in the Midwest? LOTS OF PARTIES WITH LOTS OF FOOD. Now, we’re not talking about carrots and dip. We’re talking meatballs and sandwiches and gooey, cheesy dips and everything delicious you can picture right now, it was probably on a plate.
And if you know anything about midwestern culture, you probably know that not eating something is a sign that there’s something wrong with you. I took a few very small portions of certain dishes, but immediately I was under a microscope from the family!
“Oh, living LA-style doesn’t allow carbs anymore?”
“You’re so skinny, please eat more! What’s wrong?”
“You’ve changed! You used to LOVE all this stuff!”
I could feel everyone making assumptions about me. Yes, I explained to them that I was gearing up for both a vacation and a wedding, but no one really seemed to care. It was more about this different me that came back from California. I sat there with a new decision: Of course I could just Hoover the food (it’s always so good!), or I could stick to my guns the best I can and realize that, in the end, I’m the one that has to face all this hard work down the drain if I fall week to the pressures of my family.
I compromised and popped open a bottle of wine! That distracted everyone for a while!
What I’m learning is how these changes in the way I eat and live my life don’t just affect me, but everyone else seems to be curious to what’s going with me. Peoples’ perception and circumstances, especially my family, offers temptation and pressure. I’m not saying that I’m not going to divulge this week. It’s a wedding at one of my favorite restaurants and there will be celebratory cocktails! But I’m seeing how the last nine weeks have already changed my perception on how I take care of myself. My twenties were a time for reckless fun (and a reckless diet), but now with big goals ahead, my thirties are a reality check. It seems not just for me either, but for everyone else in my life that have been so used to the “old” me.
I’m proud to say that I didn’t fall to anyone else’s pressure or even my own. I am making healthy decisions based on the hard work I’ve invested already, the feeling I felt when I failed those two weeks during my birthday, and the fact that in three weeks I’m in paradise with my shirt of the majority of the day.
What I have to remember is the pressures you feel and that are pushed on you from the outside may be out of control. But being able to lift off those temptations is a weight workout harder than any gym routine.
Honestly though, there’s no better ay better to relieve yourself of all that pressure by sticking to your jogging routine by running through the most absolutely stunning colors of a Midwestern fall. California, even in all your beautiful landscapes, you have nothing on this kind of colorful inspiration.