Sunday, December 26, 2010

Post-vacation musings

Our family recently went on a wonderful four day cruise.  We relished every moment of being lazy, gluttonous and catered to.  Our biggest decisions each day were which ship restaurant to eat at, what activities to partake in, and where to shop next.  These few days of eating whatever we wanted whenever we wanted were freeing.  At home we cook healthy meals at home, and exercise most days of the week, so vacation is a time to take a mind/body break from all of it.
    It was very eye-opening a couple of days into the cruise when my husband's ankles and fingers swelled so badly from all the sodium in the food that he looked like the Michelin man.

Most of the cruisers were overweight, and we watched as they piled the food so high on their plates it was spilling over the sides.  I saw a guy standing in line for more food while still munching on a sandwich from the previous load. Another lady had just finished a couple of plates of food and came back to the table with three pieces of cheesecake, and 2-3 other desserts- and ate it all herself.  Now don't get me wrong.  We were enjoying the chocolate covered strawberries and chocolates delivered to out suites daily, and dined and imbibed enough to return with a few unwanted pounds.  It was scary to think of how profoundly this way of eating affected my husband, who works out regularly and maintains a healthy diet.  It is easy to see how much stress the standard American diet puts on the body if his extremities could swell to those extremes. 

   A few of my clients seemed to be curious as to why we didn't take our exercise clothes or plan to exercise while on board.  My very simple answer is that a vacation is defined as "leisure time away from work devoted to rest or pleasure".  Exercise does NOT fit into that definition.  I have come to a place of balance in my life which I did not have even a few years ago.  Not being able to abandon the workouts for a few days to rest and recharge is the definition of imbalance.  I subscribe to the 90% rule.  If we eat clean and workout 90% of the time, there is 10% of wiggle room left over.  I have spent many years in that place where there was no balance, fretting over every missed workout and uncounted calorie.  I've come to realize that I didn't look/feel any better being obsessed, I just made my life empty.

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