Just When I Thought It Was Safe to Go Back in the Water

I was a preteen when I saw the movie Jaws.  I spent the entire movie, once the shark had grabbed its first victim, with my feet tucked up on my seat so as to avoid a similar fate.

Some fears are irrational.  Some fears are not.

I’m afraid of going to my mom’s lake house.  There is much evil lurking in the dark depths there.

My mom’s lake house is filled with food and family.  Doubly challenging for me.  At home I can somewhat control my environment.  At the lake house there is very little I can control.  Including, it would seem based on history, not even my own actions.  Because somehow I seem to spiral OUT of control in the face of all the temptation and drama.  The kitchen is filled with food.  All kinds of food.  Very unhealthy and decidedly “off plan” food.  Red-light and trigger food.  And I don’t have my routine like I do at home, filled with exercise equipment and the blogworld to distract me from snacking.  And then there is the family drama that seems to be ever-present when you fill a house.  Family drama which for me leads to emotions which can in turn lead all to easily to eating which in turn leads to more eating which leads to negative emotions…

Two summers ago this very weekend I was at my goal weight.  (Yet again.)  I went to the lake.  With a bit of trepidation but the best of intentions.  The first day I held strong in the face of home-baked goodies.  The second day I decided I could dip my toe into the moderation waters.  Further and further in I stepped until, like quicksand, I was dragged down.  And when I returned home, bloated and remorseful, I never really got back on track again.  The slippery slope of weight regain began at the lake house and continued through the fall into winter.  Fast forward to last summer.  Back at my goal weight.  (Yes, again.)  Back to the lake more than once.  And with mixed results.  Some success, some massive failure.  And while I can’t directly link those trips last summer to my regain again of last fall, I suspect they were just one more piece of my yo-yo dieting puzzle.

So, yes, I fear the lake house.  And yes, I am again at my goal weight.

But, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I am bound and determined to not let history repeat itself.  And the best ammunition I have is you:)  There is no internet at the lake, so no crutch to lean on from the blogworld.  I have to do this one all myself.  But it will help to know you are here waiting for my return and my report.  With several recent social eating successes under my (now smaller) belt, I’m going into this with a sense of, dare I say it, confidence in myself.  But I’m smart enough, or at least experienced enough, to know that confidence isn’t enough to keep my hand out of the cookie jar and the cookies out of my mouth.  So I’m going to set some goals so I can have a clear sense of accountability.

My goals for conquering the lake house this weekend:

  • Eat only on plan foods at all meals and for all snacks except…
  • Allow myself one treat each day if I really want it and if it is a shared dessert that everyone is having.  But only after dinner so I won’t have time to let the one treat spiral into a whole day of treats.
  • Eat no white carbs with the one possible exception of my mom’s popovers if she makes them.
  • Get back on track the minute I walk through the door back home.

I think I can.  I can meet my goals.  I can rewrite history.  Well, not really.  But I can ensure that my past behavior does not predict my future behavior.  I can go to the lake and enjoy myself.  I can come home with no regrets.

And through it all, in the back of my mind, I will remind myself that there may be no sequel to this particular horror movie since my mom has her house up for sale.

Do you have a similar place or experience that challenges your good intentions?  Any special plans for this weekend?





Filed under cheating/overeating, dieting, goals, history (my past), influence of others, optimism, restaurant/social eating, vacation

68 responses to “Just When I Thought It Was Safe to Go Back in the Water

  1. You can do it! The goals look good, but “The Lake House” also sounds like a beautiful place for some exercise, so why not add another goal to have a nice walk or something after each meal?

    • Karen

      My husband and I will walk in the morning, early, both days we are there. But as for later, the temps are predicted to be near 100 degrees during the day and I admit I am a wimp:)

  2. I wish you healthy choices this weekend, including that daily treat. It’s the allowance of the occasional treat that makes sticking with it the rest of the time more tolerable.

    No special plans this weekend. Maybe fireworks Monday. I live too far away to spend every holiday with my family — sad but true. I’ll be spending some time with friends though.

    • Karen

      Ah, but at times like this I wish I was NOT close enough to spend this one with my family:) Sounds horrible, but hopefully you know what I mean. Have a great weekend.

  3. Fotgetful Momma

    We plan to spend tomorrow walking/hiking with our girls. Last year decided that Canada Day was our family day to enjoy the out doors. Wouldn’t it be nice if my new double jogger would arrive today? 🙂

  4. It sounds like you have made progress on handling the pressure/temptation every year, so you can do it!

  5. Ann

    Yes you CAN! I hope you have a great time and vanquish those old fears. It’s hard when family is around, but I CAN, oh I mean, WE can handle this because we are making a life long change now. Enjoy your time! Focus on the people not the food.

  6. You can’t escape me – I have your phone number!!! Can’t you just hear this Wicked Witch laughing? No rest for Karen – I’ll be haunting you all weekend.

    And would you please return the favor? We have two cookouts on the docket. I’ve worked to hard this week to mess it up.

    • Karen

      LOL – no cell service there!!! Okay… you and me… we are going to both do this. When you are at those cookouts, think of me. When I am tempted to eat, I’ll think of you:)

  7. MB

    I had nightmares about going in the ocean for months after seeing Jaws.

    I have a similar fear of my in-laws farm in Vermont. There is always TONS of food and everyone is always eating something and it’s not the fresh fruit and veggies out of the garden. It isn’t easy to stay on plan when I’m there but having a plan and indulging in moderation will get you through it.

    You can do it! Happy 4th! Enjoy!

    • Karen

      I’m glad that some else saw that movie! I figured the reference would mean nothing to the younger readers:) Sometimes I really feel like I’m dating myself. Too bad it seems such a common family tradition to have food be a big part of gathering together.

  8. I’m no help. You know I look at these things as opportunities, not challenges. 🙂

    But I *do* start the day with a healthy breakfast and try to defer the truly decadent treats to evening. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t, but time with my family is the most important thing. I’m not going to ruin it by obsessing about food. We’re having a couple of cook-outs this weekend, which shouldn’t be too awfully hard to manage. (she said, bravely.)

    Above all, wishing you a safe and happy holiday weekend!

    • Karen

      My brother and his wife are big breakfast eaters. It’s their family “thing.” They offered to make a pancake etc. meal for us all and I politely declined. Breakfast is the easiest meal of the day for me to stay on track and the hardest to overcome if I eat something like pancakes! Have a great weekend, Cammy.

  9. Good luck with the plan. It seems reasonable. We all have to figure out how to make this work once we get to goal. I’m close enough now, that I am really in a quandry about how to eat going forward. I’ll be watching closely to see how you do. (How’s that for pressure?)

    • Karen

      My thinking on this changes every day! I wrote a post about it that I haven’t published yet and realized the next day I felt totally different. Funny how in some ways the maintaining is so much harder for me than the losing. Not that losing is easy… but it’s certainly more clear cut.

  10. You need a bigger boat! (sorry, couldn’t resist when you started with the Jaw’s analogy). And you have your bigger boat, you have your plans, you have your expectations and you are going to stand firm! You’ll do fine!

  11. Jan

    I know you can stick to you goals for the weekend. Also, I know how challenging family environments can be and that certain social settings can be triggering. You have a great plan developed from past experiences. I/we have confidence in you. And after you are successful this outing, you’ll feel even more confident to face the future great whites.
    Come on into the water!

    Have a tremendous weekend.

    • Karen

      Thanks for the vote of confidence, Jan:) I know I have made (slowww) progress. So now I need to prove to myself just how much progress I have made.

  12. You can do it!!!!! You are awesome! You are capable! And you will not fail!

    Okay…there is my cheer for the day. Now can somebody come kick my butt? Cause I’ve just put on weight instead of losing an I was really determined in January to be about 60 pounds lighter by now! UGH!

  13. You CAN do it!! I’ll offer a special KCLAnderson piece of advice 🙂

    Instead of all the rules around the food, how about some rules of engagement (or disengagement, as the case may be) as it concerns the family drama? I have found that when I am aware and ready for those oh-so-special family dynamics that usually have me diving for the potato chips and onion dip, I tend not to (dive, that is).

    • Karen

      I sure am a big food “rule” person, and guess I never paid attention to that. Hmm. I am actually optimistic that, thanks to some recent events and a huge mega-drama at the lake LAST summer, this weekend might be easier than I expect. I went to the store today and stocked up on lots of veggies so if I do end up chomping out my frustration, at least I can make it healthy:)

  14. You’ve been on such an excellent run of late that I absolutely believe you can rewrite history. Your plan is great – I love the holding off until after dinner late in the day for a treat – if you even want one – so as to diminish collateral damage of the dive into food oblivion that can follow an innocent little “something”. Have a wonderful time, Karen. Look forward to hearing of your success when you return! 🙂

    • Karen

      Well, I know that you can relate, that it is only one bite away. My post about that is drafted and ready to go… one of these days. (I even drafted my report on my lake success since I plan it to be a self-fulfilling prophecy and will have little time to get it written before Monday.) I’d like to say I feel confident, and I sort of do, but there are just so many challenges. But I will do this. I will.

  15. I totally relate! I have the same thing at my family’s beach house. I did do better than I ever have this last trip, so I think it’s possible. I like your goals. You gave yourself room to have vacation treats and that’s important.
    What if you planned a cleansing day after returning from a trip like this. Say, the day after you get back. Start the day with hot water/ lemon, stuff like that… and plan a big batch of veggies with good protein. Plan ahead and that will help you prevent any lingering slide which is the real problem it seems.
    Your at your goal. Live and attend to “off plan” moments as then happen.
    Don’t I sound smart for someone who hasn’t gotten her own self there yet?
    love you Karen. Have fun on your trip!! Don’t make it about food, eaten or un-eaten.

    • Karen

      You make me smile:) If I did not have so many issues with food and yo-yo-ing, I could go and not worry and eat whatever and life would go on. But, that’s just not me. But I am determined. So now I need to act in accordance with my intentions. Huh, sounds so easy.

  16. Sable@SquatLikeALady

    Your plan is awesome! I also *try* to only have treats after dinner because if I start the day off with chocolate I crave it HARD all day long. So strange.

    Also: as a child I never let my feet dangle off the edge of the bed because I was afraid my bedroom would fill with water and Jaws would attack me. I view this as a rational fear.

    • Karen

      LOL. Reminds me that when I was little I used to run and jump onto my bed then lean down to peak underneath to be sure nothing was lurking. But only after I had checked in the closet first!

  17. HI! I keep forgetting that Thursday is now a day for you! I get notification of your posts later morn so.. I need to remember but age does not help! 😉

    Karen, first, congrats at being at your goal weight – YES!!!! I think you have a great plan! Why don’t you print this post out & take it with you & carry it at all times – does not hurt to try! Also, don’t eat something just because – make sure it is a 10 or 11 out of 10. Yes, I am sure many of the foods there are that for you but plan & prioritize them so you stick to plan & don’t eat all of them – I know you can do this!

    Have fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Karen

      Ah, if only I ate only when things were 10s. If only I ate only when I was hungry! Thanks for the vote of confidence.

  18. It sounds like each recent trip has been an improvement on the last in terms of how you have handled it. For me I just have to say no to everything or the slip turns into a slide. I hope that, over time, I can be like Cammy.

    Good luck and maybe the bathing suit thing is worth a try!

    • Karen

      I aspire to be live like Cammy too:) She has such a rational approach to eating and living life. Love that. My long term vision still seems to include occasional “treats” that don’t lead to the slippery slope of regain. Not sure if that will be what is doable for me or not. Time will tell.

  19. Sounds like a terrific plan Karen.

    If tempted to eat something off plan take a deep breath, walk away and think it over.

    I bet you sail through this weekend with flying colors!

    We have lots of “foody” friends and I am always confronted with high calorie, off the charts food in my face when we get together with them which is about once a week!

    Sometimes I have a little nibble and other times when I know it will be the tipping point for me I leave it all alone.

    I pre-eat something healthy a lot of the times before we get together for these group meals. That way I don’t arrive hungry, I can skip the appetizers unless there is fruit or veggies and I can take a smaller portion of the main dish if it happens to be fattening. I usually opt for fruit instead of dessert and that way I can still enjoy the social gathering with out creating a carb craving. I often times take a little carton of yogurt or my own fruit for dessert.

    Over the years the food at these has become healthier as other people have changed their diets so we usually have a decent salad and of course whatever I take I always make sure it’s something healthier that I can eat a full serving of.

    • Karen

      I know I have shared with you before, and with other bloggers, the little thing you said that still resonates so loudly: you never regretted anything you DIDN’T eat. Must remember that this weekend:)

  20. you can do it i know you can

  21. OMG, Karen. I am barely keeping my head above water with my situation (and all the same temptations and family drama). I’ve gone under a couple of times, but still managed to resurface and try again. Best of luck to you (and me). 🙂

    • Karen

      Oh you have so much going on right now! I guess some would suggest we don’t need luck, we need willpower. Or, we MAKE our own luck. Whatever, let’s do this, Siobhan.

  22. Oh I love that movie! I’ve only swam in the ocean a few times in my life, but each time I always thought to myself “how far in can the sharks swim.” The lake house situation describes every time I visit my mother’s house in Idaho…food and drama. A trip home always means weight gain. Last Christmas I did better than usual and it had to do with me calling mom beforehand to let her know that when I say “no thanks” to please stop there. Stay strong Karen and you can break the pattern. Maybe if you feel you’re starting to weaken, instead of turning to the scary food turn tot he depths of the scary lake. Dive into the water Karen, not the food. Good luck, I’ll be waiting for your return.

    Hubs and I are staying home this holiday and besides a barbecue on the 4th, we’re planning a sensible weekend. Keyword is plan. Have fun!

    • Karen

      Oh that lake is worse than swimming in the ocean! It is man-made and brown with mud and all sorts of nasty stuff that comes from tons and tons of boaters dumping things. The older I get the less I am inclined to put my body in there! No sharks though – but snakes!

  23. This is exactly what happens when I visit with my family – on their turf or mine. I make the greatest plans and have the best intentions, but something about being with them convinces me that “just one” is okay – it starts with just one bite, then becomes just one day, and before I know it, I’ve fallen completely. I wish I had advice, but my only tactic at this point is isolation until I feel strong enough to go back and be in control. Wishing you strength as you head back into the water. ♥

    • Karen

      Fortunately my family just has the food there, rather than anyone being a pusher. So, it’s all on me. I am packing lots of veggies and fruit – those will be my ammunition.

  24. Kasren- I will be here when you get back to congradulate you on your weekend of healthy success!!! You can do it! I KNOW you can!!
    Thinking of you this weekend and cheering you on!
    Have a PRETTY day!

  25. Oh, I know how hard this can be! You have a great plan – you can do it! {Visiting from SITS}

  26. Hiya, I saw you on SITS! Congrats on reaching your goal weight! I bet you’ll look terrific in your bathing suit – enjoy the weekend!

  27. I know you know that I traveled a lot this spring. What really worked for me was to go easy on the junk foods and walk, walk, walk. Sometimes I could even bike. So, maybe plan to do lots of walking and at the lake swim. It will make a difference.Second, I am glad you are planning for some kind of treat. Good for you. Life is short. Planning is everything. I like the fact that you are looking at treats only after dinner. Another great plan. Third: pack snacks that are on your plan. You probably will (being you are so organized and I am not, usually!). Again, this has really helped me when I am in family food fests. Finally, enjoy that lake and the drama of the family for what it is. Sit back and enjoy. This is your life and life is very good for me and for you. Happy fourth of July weekend! Michele

    • Karen

      Unfortunately we are in the same heatwave that is up your way so I will walk both mornings early. That lake swimming though… this is not like MN lakes. Man-made and filthy. Ugh. I enjoy the view but not so much getting in the water. And, yep, I have a bunch of on plan foods ready to go. I even roasted asparagus last night to take:) I’m working it. Thanks for the great ideas, Michele. Maybe I need to do some real traveling!

  28. Roz

    I believe in you Karen!!!!! You’ll be FINE!!!!

  29. Ewa

    internet or not I am sending good vibes your way

  30. I think it’s the drama bit. Drama always makes me need to eat and hate myself so I don’t end up hating other people!

  31. What is your plan if there is tension and annoyance? It was the only part of the plan that was missing.

    Love the game plan BTW. Really really love it. Especially that you have a few exceptions AND a complete elimination of the white carbs. If you do not have to analyze all the foods but can just have a blanket “NO!” then it may be easier. I look forward to your debriefing!

    When I was at the Memorial Day shin dig. I found moderate success in “it is a cookie. You have had a chocolate chip cookie what? A million times? You can pass it by this time. Get over it” Of course I like to talk to myself that way. Talking nice and flowery – well that just gets ignored in CasaMunchberry.

    But allowing yourself the popovers is nice. It has good memories and you truly love them and I bet you do not make them at home.

    About Jaws. We lived on an island and on a boat and spent a lot of time in the water – as you can imagine. My husband would occasionally start in low tones the theme from Jaws. He got a perverse thrill from getting me to scramble to the boat or shore while me stifling a scream..heart pounding, peeling off anything that hindered my exit. He stopped doing it when I shredded my shin climbing into the boat. Oh not because of the shin! NO. It was because I dropped a bag of lobsters and most of them scampered out of the bag.

    • Karen

      Oh I did a lot of talking to myself! Mostly about bagels. And the occasional cookie conversation. Like… “just eat one, just one, so you can stop obsessing about it. That’s what a normal person would do.” But, clearly, I am not normal. As for your question, I had no plan. And, yes, there was drama. But the damn bagel would have called just as loudly with no drama:(

  32. Karen, I know you will conquer the lake house this time through all of your smart planning! Good luck; sending you healthy living vibes. 🙂

  33. I have those places, its called leaving my house and routine! All kidding aside, I do very well, but its much easier to go off plan when I am not home. I don’t have any suggestions except its okay to have 1 cookie, not all of them. But, if you feel its going to set you down the binge path stay away from the sugary stuff.

    Try to have a good time, it sounds like fun.

    • Karen

      I am pathetic – I so much prefer being home and with routine and in control of as much as possible! As for the cookie, well, my husband bought some that he and my mom ate and I really thought about eating just one and wondered if I could handle that and finally decided not to indulge.

  34. You.
    Breathe in the lovely lake air.
    Remember how good you feel.
    Remember how you’re not alone.

  35. Yeah, we all have those places. Mine is on vacations or holidays with my sister. I have every good intention and we just eat! Sometimes are better than others, but goodness me – it is like someone takes over my body (like the old Lori).

  36. My weekend eating used to be treacherous, but as I focused on getting my weekDAY eating to be consistently healthy, it slowly began to spill over into my weekends. That was slooow progress. So I think that any improvement over your last lake experience can be viewed as progress. Think of it that way. And have a great time!

    • Karen

      I do:) I know I have made progress. But, boy oh boy, I have a long way still to go. In my thinking, not my weight.

  37. Good luck. It is hard, very hard but you are now very strong. You can do this. Just plan well, stick to it and exercise as much s you really can.
    Take care and have a blessed/awesome weekend.

    • Karen

      Ah, best laid plans. I walked both mornings with my husband, to the end of the road in the “neighborhood” and it was so hot I had sweat literally dripping down all over. And it is so hilly my shins are killing me!

  38. I am glad i am not alone! Okay setting rules before we leave on the 24th!!!

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