So what happens now? My incredible 14-night cruise around Cape Horn has come to an end, and reality will be returning any minute.
As I have said, in more than one location and in more than enough goo and mush, I want to continue the personal growth I feel I started on this trip.
But there is also the … you know … less gooey and mushy stuff to think about too. Like Weight Watchers. As I mentioned in my travel logs, I had a, shall we say, difficult time sticking to a regimented Weight Watchers eating plan on this trip. A few reasons come to mind: 1) the food on board the ship was just too damn good to pass up, 2) I couldn’t keep track of my points anyway because I didn’t have Internet access for most of the trip, and 3) for the love of Persephone, I was on vacation, and on vacation in another part of the world – I was going to experience it as much as I could.
And it is Reason # 3 that rings the loudest for me. Because that is what life is all about. It’s about experience. About trying new things and exploring new frontiers. And Weight Watchers is not a “diet” as I keep telling myself; it is a lifestyle. I did try to adhere to it as best as I was willing to allow myself. I kept breakfast to healthy dishes like oatmeal and toast. Lunch almost always included a salad that featured such Weight Watchers gems as red kidney beans, carrots, peas, corn, peppers, and a low-cal dressing. Dinner was almost always a salad too … and fruit … although there were a few exceptions when I had pasta. And gosh, one night I did have steak.
But I can’t lie. I had dessert with almost every lunch and every dinner (I passed it up one night at dinner but only because I had an extra large portion at lunch). I had wine. A lot of it. And my portions were probably (okay fine, definitely) larger than they should have been.
So when I get back on the scale, yeah, I’m sure the numbers have gone back up. But you know what? It was worth it. And I say that to all Weight Watchers aficionados out there: when you’re at home, or even when you’re traveling locally, fine – be good and stick to your 23 points or whatever. But when you have the chance to really fold yourself into the culture you are visiting, or the chance to try a new dish, or experience a new culinary sensation, take it. If a couple of pounds come back on as a result, than that is okay – they will come back off when you go back home.
It is the extreme yo-yo dieting that causes the health problems after all. If you gain 50 pounds and then lose 60 pounds and then gain 75 pounds, and then lose … then you’re looking at some serious health crises. If you gain a few pounds while you’re on vacation, eh! It’s a few pounds. I’m sure I’ve put on somewhere around 10. And as long as I don’t make it a habit of gaining and losing, then I’m not worried.
And I wouldn’t trade those 10 pounds for any of the desserts I had. I tried dulce de leche, an Argentinian specialty, and it was gorgeous. I tried different kinds of pastries and tarts – and South American gelato – and every time I thought about how many points I was consuming, I also thought about when I would be in South America again, and I realized … I can live with the 250,000 extra points that piece of chocolate fudge / dulce de leche cake is going to cost me because I won’t eat that again until, well, until I’m in South America again.
I also didn’t exercise beyond the walking required for the shore excursions. Now, part of that was because I forgot to pack some workout clothes. Otherwise, I would have taken a few of the Zumba classes the ship was offering on the At-Sea days. But I would have taken the Zumba classes for the fun of taking a Zumba class, not for the exercise. I told myself that I was not going to stress and worry about exercise on this trip. Why? Because I did that on the cruise I took in 2007, and while that trip was still fantastic, I can remember always having the stress of when and where I would “work out” weighing on my mind. Oh crap – we’re going to that after dinner show tonight? Okay, well if I forego the fancy napkin-folding workshop, I can squeeze in a run on the ship’s pool deck … or maybe I should just get up an hour earlier tomorrow and do it before breakfast because I really want to go to that fancy napkin-folding workshop…
That is entirely too much stress for a vacation. Of course, a lot of that is me being me, but I didn’t like that I spent so much time on my last major cruise worrying about exercise.
So I took it out of the equation this time.
And you know what? Aside from the fact that I kinda wished I had taken one of those Zumba classes, I feel fine. I missed my bike. I missed my bike like nothing else, but one of the many reasons why I am excited to go home is the prospect of getting back on my bike. I am looking forward to going for a nice, long, ride……………. maybe at dusk now that Daylight Savings Time is over …………….. out to the LA River where I can see some black-necked stilts ……………. yeah, that sounds like pure heaven there.
So, all in all, did I make some unhealthy decisions on this trip? Yeah, I did. I can face it. And admit it. But I wanted to enjoy this trip, and I knew the stress of worrying about Weight Watchers and worrying about “squeezing in” exercise time, were going to take away from the experiences in front of me. And considering everything I gained from those experiences, I can more than live with a few extra pounds and some cellulite.
Oh, and by the way, I was smart on the 2007 cruise too. I often chose the cruise adventures over exercise then too, so yes, I took the fancy napkin-folding workshop 🙂
As a side note: this particular blog entry, like Thinking at Sea, was written while I was on the vacation in question. I did not have internet access so I saved it with the intention of posting it here when I got home. I am happy to report that I only gained 5 pounds on this vacation, so I stick to every word I wrote above 🙂 I am also happy to report that I have returned to a diligent Weight Watchers regimen, so I’m sure those 5 pounds will be coming off in the next couple of weeks. I hope. I really hope. Or else I’m gonna look like one big idiot.