Once upon a time a dieter went on vacation. Her goal? Eat healthy and stay on plan MOST of the time, but allow herself off-plan indulgences here and there, if it was something very special and she really wanted it. Be flexible but be smart and make choices with no regret. And try, try, try to get in some exercise. In the back of her mind she told herself that while she didn’t want to gain weight, it was okay if the number on the scale at home took a few days to get back to where she left it. Her goal was to enjoy herself and not obsess over eating:)
And enjoy herself she did!
At most of my meals I made pretty good choices. For me on vacation, that meant avoiding foods that were clearly not on The South Beach Diet: refined breads and grains, white potatoes, sweets. I was not however a purist – I did not worry overly much about how the food was prepared, if the sauce had sugar or another ingredient that I would normally avoid, for example. My first meal was a lobster salad roll… a favorite of mine when I travel east. ( I know the lobster came from Maine, not Florida, but still.) My concession was to ask for it on top of a green salad instead of inside a roll. The next several restaurant meals were similar: great fish (grouper, mahi, more grouper) with salads and veggies and none of the bread or starch and no dessert or drinks with calories.
Then I made my first decision to cheat. Frickles. Frickles! How could I not try them when I heard so much about them from the friend who ordered a basket for the table. Fried pickles. Horribly unhealthy for me – breading and salt and oil, oh my. But when in my life would I ever again taste such a thing? And oh it was so unexpectedly, indescribably delicious. The most amazing combination of salty and sweet. Worth every bite!
My next cheat came one night when our group went for dessert at a funky little restaurant. Only two of the six ordered cake, but the pieces were huge and everyone shared. My fork found its way into my hand and my hand found its way to the cake and the cake found its way to my mouth. One bite of each, I told myself. Well, the award winning orange crunch cake was so spectacular, that my willpower left me and I had a few more bites. Not horrible, but not what I had planned. A little slip of self-control, but I was telling myself nothing to feel guilty about. Okay, a little guilt, but that was it.
One meal I really went off-plan. Our last meal together, the last night, was at a little place with a little menu and most of the food on it was fried. An inner debate waged. Get the boring broiled fish… or go for the famous coconut fried shrimp. I went with the shrimp. And I ate some of the homemade potato chips that came with it. And them proceeded to have several bites of the shared key lime pie. It was all tasty, and while I did enjoy it, the little voice in the back of my head waged a new argument – feel guilty, or just enjoy, regret the decision, or just enjoy, debate why I went off-plan, or just enjoy. The meal was good (not great), but when it was over, I did struggle over my decision to splurge. I have not decided if it is a good thing that I can’t eat a clearly off-plan meal with no regret, or a bad thing.
Regardless of what I ate on my vacation, my plan was to come home and get right back to healthy eating. What I ate on Sanibel, stays on Sanibel. And I was able to take a long walk on the beach every day to help offset the calories. So yesterday I woke up with more damage to my sneakers than to my scale:) Back to my boring workouts at home, with no rolling waves to provide background ambiance, and back to my healthy eating with no coconut crust to tempt me. And no Frickles. Vacation over. Lifestyle resumed.