I have been on vacation for the past 10 days. I have been in both Colorado and Northern California, and I was so looking forward to lots of hiking, biking, outdoor runs, etc. I had meals planned out, including lots of beautiful summer salads and smoothies. I had this set template in my head of what I thought my vacation was going to look like: basically a really sunny, ultra-healthy boot camp.
It started out great. Day one, after having gotten up at 3:45 a.m. flying across the country, and not being used to elevation, I hiked to a peak of 6,915’. Dinner was a lovely salad prepared by the wonderful family hosting me, and I went to bed physically exhausted in the best way possible.
And then came the next morning. I got up, ready to make a healthful breakfast to fuel my day of extreme exercising. I walked down to the kitchen, greeted everyone, and as I reached for the cupboard my sweet hosts said, “Oh! We already made breakfast for you! We didn’t want you to have to worry about it your first morning here!” To my horror, I turned and saw on the table huge slabs of oatmeal toast, smothered in melted butter and jam. Let me tell you something: I cannot remember the last time I voluntarily ate butter or jam. I have come a long, long way in terms of finding balance with my body and with food, but butter and jam lay over in that territory that made me say, “yeahhhhhhh, no.” But of course, I was going to eat it because this family is so sweet and I didn’t want to insult them by not eating the beautiful meal they laid out for me.
So I ate it. Did I die? No. Did I gain weight? No. Did the rest of my day suffer? No, because I didn’t let it. There was a time in my life when I would have packed the rest of my day with endless miles, hours of workouts, and shaving down what I ate because of an unplanned slice of toast. I would have berated myself for eating something that was not within my norm. But I ate the toast (which was delicious, by the way), washed it down with really good coffee, and moved on.
This toast wasn’t the only unplanned food item that popped up along my vacation. It was followed by burritos the size of babies, giant sandwiches, peanut butter oreo ice cream (IN A PRETZEL CONE YOU GUYS). It was some of the best food I have had in my life. There were also days where I didn’t get workouts in. At first, I started to feel that anxiety climbing up. I became a bit agitated at the thought of decadent meals or skipped workouts. But then I thought
I am on vacation. I am with family that I haven’t seen in three years. I am creating memories and reliving wonderful times with people that I love dearly. I am sitting at a dinner table with four generations of people in my life: the oldest of us is 80, the youngest is one month old. This time and this place are so precious, and I don’t know if I will get another chance to be with all these people in one place. So WHO CARES if I eat a few things that are a bit “scary.” WHO CARES if I have to skip a few workouts because I’m spending time running after little cousins on the beach. I get the rest of the year to live in my routine, but right now being in the here and now, and doing whatever that entails, is what’s important. I don’t want to look back on this time and only remember being anxious about not being able to control my routine. I don’t want to have missed out on being with people because I HAD to get that hike in, or because I HAD to eat my “clean” breakfast rather than share French toast with my cousins. I want to look back and feel good that I fully participated in loving those around me. I want to remember eating ice cream with my six-year-old cousin. I want to remember lounging on the beach with my grandma.
That’s what’s important, everyone. Being in the present. Participating fully. Making delicious, decadent (ice cream-filled) memories with those you love.
After these ten days, am I heavier? I don’t think so. I’d like to think that my body knows that that time was precious, that it is allowed to have times of great food/less workouts, and that eventually when I was ready I would get back to the daily workouts and food I normally eat.
Am I stressed out about making up for all of the “treat yoself” that took place? No. What I am is full of memories and joy and thankfulness for having been given that time with my family. Sometimes, you gotta let go of that rigid routine and let in all of that relaxed, lounging around goodness. While it’s awesome to fuel and exercise your physical body, you gotta fuel and take care of your soul, too. And my soul loves luscious burritos, snuggles with cousins, and a whole lot of ice cream.