Vacations are wonderful, aren’t they?
This past weekend, my husband, his family and I drove to Niagara Falls (the American side) for the Labor Day holiday weekend. There, we met my parents, who made the trip up from N.J.
We had a fantastic time, walking all over the place and experiencing the falls and all their glory during a boat-ride on The Maid of the Mist and a wet-n-wild walk through the Cave of the Winds. At night, we took photos and videos and savored the shared time with both our families.
I spent Sat. night with my parents at their hotel, and the alone-time with them was much-needed and greatly-appreciated, as these past 2.5 weeks have not been easy, and we still have 2.5 more before my mother-in-law and sister-in-law head back to El Salvador.
I’m yapping about our trip today because it was such a positive experience from the disordered eating perspective. I never really ever “let myself go,” even on vacations, but I tried to loosen the hell up just a smidge this time, and I’m proud of it.
For example, I didn’t formally exercise Friday, Saturday, Sunday or even Monday. This is huge for me … especially because I didn’t feel guilty for it. We were on our feet all day, walking and wandering, and I knew that the break is good for my body.
(I’ll be back at the gym today).
I made smart choices at every restaurant we went to, and at every rest stop on the way there or back (8 hrs each way, but 10 with stops).
I ate like a “normal person.” Yes, I journaled (of course!) but I enjoyed soft-serve ice cream, a sample of fudge my dad bought for all of us.
I counted my Points like usual, but it never stopped me from eating something if I wanted it.
And because I made good choices–even when I “indulged,” I still have 9 WPAS in the bank for the rest of the week (my Points reset on Fridays).
Saturday’s dinner out at the Red Cottage Inn (I highly recommend this place!) was particularly a “letting go” experience.
I had a glass of chardonnay and 2 small pieces of bread. Then for dinner I ordered the honey-garlic chicken breast (removing the skin like always–the flavor was still there) and double steamed veggies.
For dessert, I got the homemade apple pie with vanilla ice cream–which I picked all the apples out of and left the crust (I’ve always done this, since I was little–it’s not a disordered eating habit), and just tasted the ice cream.
It was incredible, and real–not some mediocre diet or sugarfree version. It was so rich and delicious, that I only needed a few bites and was able to offer up the rest.
I left the meal sated and happy, not full of engorgement or full of guilt. And you know what? It felt phenomenal!
That night we walked to the falls and watched the light show, which was mesmerizing The power of the water flowing from the river to the falls was pure symbolism; if it is going to flow, let it flow. And at night, the view was even more impressive.
Staring into the rapids and the falls brought me back to my experience some 9 years ago at Iguazu Falls where I was young, single, and searching for meaning in my life. Back then, I was a chunky college junior living abroad in Buenos Aires, without my family or my inner circle of friends close by for support. The entire Iguazu trip was life-changing, but I did it alone in many senses.
All I wanted at that time was to know what love is, what it’s like to be truly desired. I never admitted it to myself back then but in retrospect I know my lack of confidence then was because I was heavier than most of my friendsm, and was shy around most guys–even those guys on my study abroad program with whom I’d become close.
But rounding out my 28th year on this earth (I turn 29 a month from today), I feel incredibly blessed to be right where I am in this moment, even with the stress I’m under and even with my disordered eating behaviors, with which I’m learning to live and make progress each day.
I’m blessed to have the most amazing husband, family and friends who have loved me unconditionally through good times and bad. I’m also both loved and desired; I realize now that neither have anything to do with my body size.
And I’m blessed to know that not everyone is this fortunate, and that I should never take it for granted.
Interestingly, this weekend when I let go and “let it flow,” I didn’t have any chew-and-spit incidents, and I didn’t do any mindless munching. I was “normal,” in the most neutral sense of the word.
I left the table comfortable at every meal, and really feel proud of letting go a little and enjoying the special shared time with our families.
All in all, it was a roaring success. I’ve come a long way since that August 1999 trip to Iguazu Falls; perhaps this trip to Niagara was a completion of the loop?!
How about you? Are vacations hard for you to “let yourself go” a little, or do you find you “let yourself go” too much?