Thursday, May 15, 2014

I Didn't Expect That

Had my first post vacation run on Wednesday morning.  I stepped outside and it seemed winter was trying to revisit.  Well, actually it was 45 degrees and that's a full 30 degrees less than my recent St. Martin mornings. At that point I'd not run for 18 days so I went back in and put on a vest. The first thing I noticed was that my legs/knees/feet felt fantastic.  Rest, it does a body good.  The second thing I noticed was that my cardio endurance s-u-c-k-e-d.  The third thing I noticed was that my allergies were welcoming me back to the USA.  Blergh.  Then when I got home, I saw that I'd run the fastest 5K I've managed in recent months.  Lastly,before the day was half over I was feeling sore - not injured but exercised sore, which didn't surprise me at all.  Welcome back to runderland.


I know ya'll are waiting with bated breath to see more vacation photos and I promise I'll get some together over the weekend.  In the meantime, here's a couple of photos to illustrate what I've been thinking about since I got home.

I've mentioned before that when I go on vacation I "vacate" from everything.  No eating plan, no exercise plan, limit technology, etc.  The only plan we have is to rest and go with the flow of each day.  When we arrived at our friends' home, they mentioned that there would be a bread truck that would pull into the driveway most days.  He started coming because there was construction at the house next door but our friends had also been taking advantage of it.  They said we'd hear him coming because the truck had a distinctive horn.  Sure enough Tuesday morning I heard it and soon after he pulled in.  I went downstairs to see what he had and it felt like I'd fallen into heaven.  There were freshly made (and warm!) baguettes, croissants, chocolate bread, raisin bread, and chocolate twists.  I bought us a baguette and two croissants. This established a pattern where nearly every day I bought something.  Of course, it didn't hurt that the bread guy, Stuart, was super friendly with a great smile and easy on the eyes to boot ( as was his assistant who worked on Stuart's days off).  I think it must be a requirement to be a good looking Caribbean man to drive a bread truck.  It actually got to the point where we'd hear his horn as he came through the neighborhood, and Mr. Helen would say, "Here comes your boyfriend!" One day as I got back upstairs he showed me these:

Bye, Stuart, I'll miss you!

Anyway, I mention this because as long time readers know I tend to eat on the low side with bread/grains/starches.  But on vacation, every single day I had bread, croissant, or crackers.

Additionally, I ate some delicious French desserts:  five times to be exact.  Again, that's a lot of sweets for me.

Finally, we enjoyed the good French wine and for sure I had a glass of wine every day and on some days more than one glass and I had a cocktail as well.

While on vacation we took a couple of walks but there was no daily regimented exercise.

To summarize, daily bread, daily adult beverages, plenty of dessert in addition to our meals.  No planned exercise, no "counting" of food in any way.  You can imagine my huge surprise when I stepped on the scale Tuesday morning and I'd lost four pounds.

This has had me doing a great deal of thinking because it does not make sense... except that as I've thought about it, most days we didn't eat a thing until we were actually hungry.  Sometimes that was 10 or 11 am.  We'd make some scrambled eggs with chopped up ham to have with our croissant or baguette (buttered baguette).  Then we'd go to the beach and simply drink water and perhaps have a glass of wine or a frozen drink.  Get back from the beach feeling a bit peckish so we'd have some of my favorite Mimolette cheese and crackers and maybe a glass of wine while we showered and got ready for dinner.

I've been thinking that as we waited until we were hungry to eat, it cut down on volume - meaning most days we had 2 meals and a snack.  Sometimes the snack was breakfast:  a piece of fruit or a boiled egg.  Then we'd eat an early lunch and late dinner.  But most days for sure we only ate two meals.

The fact that I lost weight with little to no exercise, eating and drinking whatever I wanted, and not counting or tracking a thing, really has me re-evaluating the way I approach food.  Not that I have any desire to have dessert so often and definitely not so much wine, etc. but do I have to eat food just because I brought it to work with me?  Would it be awful if I ate all that food then decided I didn't really want dinner?

I don't know the answers to this yet, but I can tell you I really enjoyed freedom from constantly thinking about food and nutrition and calories and balancing and all of that, and just enjoying whatever I did have. And so, once again, I'm thinking and evaluating what my next step should be.  Wish me luck.


  1. First of all...a bread truck sounds like my kind of heaven! :-) I think your vacation shows us that we can live 'normal' lives...have the bread, have he desserts but really listen to the cues of our body. This is what I've been striving for.....but it's a difficult place to get to! Kudos to you for achieving it during your vacay!

    1. Let's hope I can translate my vacation nirvana into my every day, real, stressed life!

  2. OMG, I am DYING at those pictures - it looks like you are meeting your dealer!!! LOVE IT. And hell's yes - if a bread truck like that came to my house every day on vacation, I'd be taking full advantage of it, too!

    As for losing weight - what you did on vacation is what I've been doing (I wrote about it in my Getting Back to Basics post) - I'm not eating until I'm hungry. Many days, breakfast doesn't happen until 11:00 or even later. No lunch, and dinner is reasonable most of the time. I do know that when I was working, I ate all my meals and snacks right on time, and I wonder if part of that was to have something to look forward to (a bit of job dissatisfaction, perhaps??).

    Here's hoping that you continue to enjoy this food freedom!

    1. He WAS my bread dealer. Delicious warm bread too lol!

      I'm really working on continuing this way of eating because I'm lucky enough that I have flexibility at work. But I also need to work on volume. I'm good about eating only what I bring to work, but I need to bring less and smaller portions I think. Next week will be a better indicator for me as it will be a full week of work not coming off vacation. I really hope I can figure it out.

  3. You know, it is very possible that just relaxing in general allowed you to lose weight. You know that stress raises cortisol, which makes it really hard to lose weight (mine must be through the roof... ). Go on vacation and take away all the stress and routines and it is no surprise your body responded that way.

    I have to eat more on a schedule because if I don't, I get the hungries so bad later in the day that I will continuously eat like a bottomless pit.

    1. Honestly Lori, that was my first thought: no stress = weight loss. My doc has been telling me for years to figure out how to reduce my stress. I think it's going to take a lottery win to do that lol! I so get the hungries thing... I am not a nice hungry person at all.

  4. I laughed out loud at Shelley's comment as if you were meeting your dealer, in a way it is a kind like that but in a good way.

    That sure must give you something to think about: lose weight while you ate whatever you wanted and when you wanted. I have to admit I often skip breakfast at the weekend because I'm just not hungry. If I were you I would continue to eat like you were on vacation and see where it takes you.

  5. I tried that way of eating and it didn't work for me. I just wanted to eat too much of the "good" stuff. But I do wish you luck, and I will be very jealous if you are able to do this and succeed!!

  6. That is exactly the way we eat on the weekends. Typically our "brunch" is around 11 or even as late as 12. And then I'll eat some cheese and crackers to tide me over in the late afternoon before going to the restaurant - then I'll have a bowl of tomato basil soup and I am perfectly satisfied.

    OMG, I would love a bread truck to drive up my driveway! I puffy heart bread. Going to try to make bread this weekend with salt substitute - I'll let you know how it turns out!

  7. I figured out last August that I no longer needed to eat an entire meal at lunch, so now I only have a cup of yogurt and later on a piece of fruit, and I'm perfectly satisfied and not hungry (I eat scrambled eggs & bacon/pork links at breakfast around 10 a.m.). Now that I'm 51, I just don't need as much food. I still have to watch *what* I eat, I am carb sensitive, but definitely the volume of food had to go down.

  8. Helen,
    Fantastic post. Perhaps the schedule and the quality ingredients you were consuming revved up your metabolism! You're finding yourself and what works for you---and it takes awareness and study---and you're putting the pieces together--and that's awesome.
    The thought of me letting go enough to do what you enjoyed, is scary to me--but I know me well and how my addictive nature easily turns into an insatiable monster if given just a little taste...
    The fact that you were not only able to do it--but you haven't ended up in a constant binge mode, says something about you-- Sounds like the answers for you are different than the answers for me. This is a fantastic revelation you're having--your exploration into what you can and can't handle is sooooo important. Because perhaps it is a matter of redefining your relationship with food as it relates to your schedule and your intuitiveness about hunger and the genuine need to eat.
    I'm jealous!! ;)
    Holy wow---a fresh bread truck every morning---why don't they have that where I live?? That sounds luxuriously beautiful.

    Congrats on a great vacay and I'm so happy for you, Helen. And the 4 pounds?? Bonus!!! I'd take that all day every day and twice on Sunday!

    Seriously-- Perhaps your metabolism is running more efficiently. And even though you weren't tracking--it sounds as though you may have been eating even less than if you had planned it all out--and you certainly were moving!

    Great post--thank you

  9. So glad you had another fabulous vacation in paradise, and lost 4 pounds to boot! I always ascribe to the 'eat when I am hungry' model, even when I am on WW and counting points. Somedays you just want more food than others, and learning to listen to your body's cues about that is the best thing you can do for yourself and your waistline. :)