Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The BIG Event

Last week, I was on a cruise with 40 clergy women--the Big Event, as it's known. (More on what I learned later...still doing some pondering.)

Because I've worked so hard at making this a lifestyle, I went with a plan.  I think my exact words to He-who-trains were "I want to have fun, but I won't be stupid." He had the courtesy to stay quiet,  though there might have been an "cough, cough... yeah, i bet...cough, cough". Oh well, at least I believed my words.  We agreed that a goal of 1800 calories a day was reasonable.  I mean, hey. That's considerably more than I usually eat.

My first night in New Orleans, I hung out with my friend who is lucky enough to live in that fabulous city.  He forced me to eat fried pickles.   The next morning, the clergy gals were meeting at NoLa landmark Cafe Du Monde for beignets and Cafe Au Lait.  I didn't want to be rude, you know, so I had to eat those too.  (And it would've been an insult to tradition to leave the piles of powdered sugar.)  It went downhill from there, as I remembered the five words that make cruising so, so wonderful: All-you-can-eat buffet.  Great food, and lots of it.  Then dinner at night (every night) was a three course study in gluttony.  Seriously, my ankles actually disappeared for most of the week. I blame the salt and long periods of sitting. To make matters worse, I didn't exercise all week.  This was a planned thing-- an ordered rest week, but it didn't help the feeling that my clothes shrunk three sizes.

I've always hated the expression "like a fat kid in a candy store" but that's exactly what I was.  I've taken owernship of the fact that unhealthy attitudes were a big part of the reason I gained so much weight: eating because it was there or because of social niceties, eating without regard to calories or nutritional content or time of day, equating food with fun.  Check, check annd check!  It surprised me how quickly those habits came back, even after fourteen months of not living that way.

I'm not beating myself up.  I had fun and it was nice to have the break.  I knew going that even if I gained a pound or two, I wouldn't care... and truth be told, I neither weighed before I left nor when I returned.  Now that the water weight is coming off, I don't feel like I really gained much.  And when I looked in the mirror this morning, I noticed that my shoulders and traps looked more defined than they did before I left. Maybe my body needed some rest and extra calories for a few days. But I came home sick and sluggish, and I remember that that's how I used to feel all the time.

So what I learned:

  • the thought patterns are still there, so I need to remain dilligent in practicing better behaviors
  • a week of rest and excess isn't the end of the world, but that it must be the exception rather than the rule.
  • I would've had plenty of fun without the food, but I'm glad to have enjoyed site specific treats (like crazy good guacamole.)
  • Maybe being so strict with myself all the time isn't entirely a win either.  Maybe I need to do what He-who-trains says and eat a cheat meal every now and then.
  • It's pretty crappy to be sick, and maybe how I treat my body actually has something to do with being well. 
It was the Big Event.  Big on fun, and friendship and fellowship (Well, technically galship). Big on food and drink and sloth.  Big enough that it's a good thing it's only once a year.