October 18, 2017

Losing the Vacation Weight Gain

Phew! This has not only been a physically draining week, but a mentally draining one as well. Baseball season and cross country season are wrapping up, and it's been busy. I've also had what feels like a dozen appointments--physical therapy x3, psychotherapy, and a primary care doctor appointment.

In case you couldn't tell from my two posts about vacation, Jerry and I had an amazing time with Dan, Laurel, and Thomas! I loved getting to show Jerry the Pacific Northwest that I love so much, and he deserved the much-needed break from work.

We ate SO much good food--from noodle bowls with spicy peanut sauce (one of my must-haves in Portland), to "squeaky cheese" from Pike Market in Seattle. Weight gain was inevitable, but I was totally okay with that. Vacation food is worth it, if I'm choosy about what I splurge on.

Anyway, the day after I got home, I stepped on the scale to see 139.2--a 6.6 pound gain from the  132.6 that I weighed the day before we left for Portland! I thought I'd pick up three, maybe four pounds--but 6.6 was quite a bit! I knew I didn't eat enough to actually gain that much fat, so most of it had to be temporary water weight. Nevertheless, a little discouraging.

But, I've had a new attitude as far as my weight goes; and I knew if I just went back to what I was doing before (eating small portions of whatever foods I want--three meals and one treat per day), that I would get back down to my pre-vacation weight eventually.

I had no idea just how quickly that would happen! Today was my Wednesday Weigh-in:

So, I'm back at my goal weight today. I knew I hadn't eaten like a glutton on vacation--certainly a little more than normal, but I don't think it was excessive. The factors that I think contributed the most to the temporary gain:
  • Alcohol- I hardly ever have alcohol anymore, because sometimes it doesn't react well with my new meds. On the trip, though, I had a few drinks--maybe five total over the week? Alcohol always makes me feel puffy, probably from carrying some water weight.
  • Restaurant food- Again, restaurant food is a rarity for me anymore. Mostly because Jerry's and my budget plan doesn't allow a lot of wiggle room for food/grocery allowance each month. As we all know, restaurant food has a ton of sodium; thus, leading to temporary weight gain.
  • Exercise- I was much more active than normal (walking around the cities) and an increase in exercise usually causes me to put on a few pounds of water weight. 
  • Flying- There is something about flying that causes me to retain water as well. 
All things considered, it's not that surprising that I put on 6.6 pounds on my trip. But, I wanted to take them back off before they became permanent (or "real" weight gain).

My appetite was definitely higher than it was before I left for vacation. I had gotten used to eating filling restaurant meals while I was gone, and my body expected me to continue doing that when I was back home. So, I deliberately ate a little less (going back to the amount I was eating prior to vacation). I felt hungry sometimes, but I knew it would just take me a few days to adjust.

And it did. After four days or so, my appetite returned to normal. This is something that, until now, I never consciously noticed after a vacation. I think it's because I've been more aware of my body lately and the things that affect my appetite.

Something that I did on vacation that I think helped me not to gain even more weight is that I didn't continue to eat things if I tried them and didn't like them. For example, I wanted to try Blue Star doughnuts, something that several people had recommended. I got a lemon poppyseed buttermilk doughnut that sounded wonderful--but after a bite or two, I just wasn't into it. I liked the lemon icing, but the doughnut tasted dry to me. Definitely not my beloved Monica's doughnuts! So, instead of finishing it anyway, I threw away the rest.

I also stopped eating when I was comfortably full. On one of the days, I ordered a huge breakfast, knowing we weren't going to have lunch because we were going on a hike and eating an early dinner. The pancakes were SO SO good, and I chose to eat more of those than the sausage and hash browns that were on the side--that way, I could fill up on my favorite food first. I only had a couple of bites of pancake left, but I felt comfortably full, so I stopped eating. It felt silly to leave just a bite or two, but there was no reason to keep eating beyond that point.

I chose to eat the foods I wanted most. This is something I always do at home as well. If I don't eat the things I really want, I feel deprived and end up eating a lot more of the things I don't want, trying to get that satisfaction.

Finally, I didn't panic when I saw the weight gain. I didn't try to go overboard with losing the weight, because I knew it would come off if I just went back to my prior way of eating. And it did! Even though I had faith it would, I still felt kind of surprised that the weight came off so quickly.

Even though the number on the scale is becoming less and less important to me as I get older and more used to the idea that I might not actually gain back the 120+ pounds I've lost--a fear that started the day I hit my goal weight--it still nags at me in the back of my mind a bit. I think it always will. But I'm so grateful that I am learning the tools needed to keep the weight off (hopefully permanently this time!).

Just like with vacation, I know my weight is going to continue to fluctuate throughout my life. And if that means I can eat noodle bowls and ice cream and cajun tots and burgers while on vacation, then I'm good with that! It's interesting how much I've learned about my body, my mind, and my general well-being this year. I feel better than I have in as long as I can remember.


  1. Wow, I would love to gain such a healthy and balanced relationship to food! I've been counting calories for a few years now, and doing ok, but I still panic when I gain a bit and generally struggle to lose it again.

    1. I totally hear you! I'm an "on the scale panic-er"
      For sure!

  2. I'm so all about having treats (within reason). I feel like they keep you sane!

    It's so good to see you indulging!

  3. This is the dream to be able to eat moderately and indulge now and then and still maintain a healthy weight. Happy for you and your success!

  4. I've started doing your trick of ruining the food when I'm done and I don't want to keep going back for "just one more bite". It works great. If I'm at home, I put it in the sink and drown it with dish soap. At a restaurant, I pile another dish on top or pour a conflicting type of sauce over it so it makes it unappetizing. Love your blog and thanks for the helpful tips. So sorry that I missed you in Seattle, we happened to be in the area the next day but would have loved to connect!

  5. What a wonderful, healthy way to deal with vacation weight gain! You are always so inspiring and remind me that I can be successful at weight loss without crazy diets and too much restriction. Still trying to make progress on this journey and your story gives me hope and inspiration!

  6. This makes me so happy to hear how well you're doing! Great job on keeping level head and not letting the "scale panic" get to you. Now if only I can teach myself that! :)

  7. Your post is so refreshing to read. I hope to someday have a similar outlook but I've still got work to do. Thank you for sharing your life with us!

  8. This is so great! I love your attitude. I am not surprised that the weight gain came right off but it's great that you are so relaxed about it.

    Question for you: do you have rules about only eating at the table? Not eating with distractions? (have you stopped counting calories and are only listening to your body?) I really want to do this, and believe my body knows best what I need... but i really struggle with craving unconscious eating. I would love to hear any tips you can share with tuning in to your body!

    1. Thank you! I actually don't have any "rules"--certainly not about eating at the table with no distractions. I know that's what all the intuitive eating books say we should do, but I just don't enjoy food that much when I'm sitting at the table by myself, bored. I typically eat breakfast and lunch in my living room, and then dinner at the table with the family. I don't follow intuitive eating or calorie counting, but I just do what has worked for me--I wrote a lot of details in my series about binge eating!

  9. Great attitude--and clearly it worked! :) I, too, feel that splurging for special occasions is important to keep away the feelings of deprivation. There has to be balance!

  10. I love this Katie! Well, not that you gained 6.6 pounds on vacation but your attitude towards it. Not intensely freaking out about it but knowing that you enjoyed your vacation and what works for you. I have tried so many kinds of weight loss plans and come to the conclusion - as you have - that if I deprive myself I end up eating everything else since I'm depriving myself - so I am going back to what works for me and not because an 'expert' says so. Feels so good.


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