Back to Reality

Well, in case my last post didn’t quite tell you enough, I’m back. I arrived yesterday back to my house after 2 amazing weeks (traveling through France, Belgium, and Spain with my mom, and then with a friend) and the contrast between sunny Barcelona and dreary Paris was overwhelming. I came home, hungry, tired, sad, and lonely, and was welcomed by the awful smell of weird rotten cheese (or who knows what) in the kitchen [hence my bitter last post]. Needless to say, it was a shitty way to come back to reality.

I signed up for a 10k race in Paris in 2 weeks and I am entirely out of shape because of the past few weeks of no real exercise other than lots of walking. I also can see and feel the effects of 2 weeks of vacation-eating on my body, and even though I’m trying to not feel shitty about it, in all honesty, yeah, I feel shitty.  As I recently posted, vacation is often such a difficult time for me (and I’m guessing for everyone) because who wants to travel to France, Belgium, or Spain and eat healthy. Even if healthy options exist (which they don’t), eating is such a seemingly important part of seeing a new culture that it feels wrong, dare I say disrespectful or wasteful to not eat your heart out. You can’t go to Belgium and not eat a Belgian waffle covered in speculoos spread or a basket of the famous twice-fried Belgian fries. You can’t go to Paris and not eat pastries or cheese. You can’t go to Spain and not eat tapas.

So the question for me becomes… How can I travel (which is one of my greatest passions and joys in life) without the guilt and the weight gain, not to mention the unseen effects on my health? How can I still practice self control and strength when I’m faced with days or weeks outside of my normal routine, where indulgence is expected and applauded (by myself and by others)?

It’s easier said than done, but perhaps it starts with portion control. This coming weekend I will be going to Brussels with some friends, and one friend and I have decided that maybe the best way to not lose ourselves amongst the Belgian waffles and fries and stews is to just share them. Maybe vacation doesn’t have to mean missing out on food entirely – often times all you want is just a taste anyway. I want to reach a point in my self control where I don’t feel so compelled to eat the whole thing, but instead allow myself to just enjoy the few bites that I am actually craving.

My mom once said when I was growing up that the things that are most restricted are the ones that are most desired (saying it in Spanish sounds a lot nicer), and though she was referring to a style of parenting, this mentality can apply to food as well. Telling myself that I’m not allowed to enjoy the delicious treats on vacation is just a recipe for disaster. Not only will I inevitably break my own rules, but I’ll be feeling guilty about it for days to come. Telling myself that I can eat anything I want, just in honest, reasonable moderation will [hopefully] help me feel satisfied and in control, when I come home from vacation knowing that I was strong and maintained discipline while still enjoying the trip to the fullest extent.

I have to make an effort to incorporate these types of thoughts into my daily life too, not just while on vacation, and that is where the struggle begins. I’m used to being all-or-nothing and that generally does not work out well in the end, so working to find a middle ground should be my focus for now. Baby steps. This is all part of the process of “creating a new normal” for myself.

Everything in moderation, right?

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