All About Five Pounds

{This was written a few months back, but I felt embarrassed to press publish. In trying to be more authentic and true to myself, I am now posting this}

pizza

Eating while on the road is a challenge, especially if you are traveling for eight months like I am. It’s hard to do too much “damage” when on a week long vacation, but eating out three meals a day for eight months can take it’s toll.

Thankfully I have been traveling to places that have a large variety of healthy food. Thailand has fresh fruit cut and sold on the streets, not to mention vegetable curry and rice noodles. The rest of South East Asia follows suit, with plenty of gluten, dairy and sugar free options. Regardless, it’s hard to eat out so much. Each dish has extra salt, sugar and fat, even if you think you are just getting a nice vegetable dish, chances are you will be served an oily, salty and yes, delicious dish.

I haven’t even started talking about the temptations! Walk around any market and you see deep-fried foods and desserts. Every time I look at a menu (at least two times a day) I am facing a plethora of temptations: pizza, dessert, fried foods and more; my will power can only last so long. Needless to say, my pants are tight (almost too tight) and I’ve gained about 5-7 pounds, which is no fun when you have a limited amount of clothes in your suitcase. There are only so many times that I can wear the same comfy leggings. Something has got to give!

Vegan Brownie

Temptations everywhere…

Can I also whine for one more moment? My husband can eat what he wants, when he wants and he still has probably lost a little bit of weight on this trip. How is that fair? And, I know some of you might be thinking: “what are five pounds? This girl is over-reacting. She is superficial. Isn’t health supposed to be less about weight and more about daily habits?” This is where I somewhat disagree. Yes, I’ve only gained about 5 pounds, but the way I’m going it could easily become 10-15 pounds.

I don’t like the scale, but, when I finally found a scale (in Kuala Lumpur of all places) and I saw that yes in fact, I wasn’t imagining it, my pants were tight and not because they had been washed. I realized, okay, this is good to know, this is my wake up call, my time to take action. It’s not so much about the weight, but the realization that my new habits were not making me feel good. Weight gain doesn’t define me, but it is a good indicator of something going out of balance.

indian food

Seemingly harmless Indian food, but filled with cream. Also, where are the vegetables?

Of course being interested in health, wellness and preaching about these things on my blog, I felt embarrassed. I didn’t want to write that I had failed to follow my own advice. That food was taking over, that I just wanted to eat even when I wasn’t hungry, or eat copious amounts of pizza and bread. Or that I had lost my will power amongst the piles of delicious food all around me.

Okay here are my solutions:

1. Figure out why I am overeating and picking heavy foods regularly. Am I trying to fill some void?

2. Stop trying to eat as much as my husband. If we split a dish (besides salad or vegetables or something light) he should get MORE than half. Try to stick with similar amounts to what I ate at home and remember that every dish has extra oil and calories. It’s a shame you can’t really control what is served to you, especially in countries where communicating is hard.

3. Research healthy restaurant options. For example in Seminyak, Bali I found a vegetarian restaurant that has everything I miss from home: quinoa, green juice, tempeh, organic vegetables. Needless to say, I was in heaven and wanted to stay forever. Sadly we were only there for three days. My online resources include: www.happycow.net and www.tripadvisor.com . For Trip Advisor, after typing in the city, I go to restaurants and then narrow the search to vegetarian (or whatever you want to find) under the cuisine section on the top left.

4. Order less. Remember, if you are still hungry after eating just order more! Or have a snack later. It’s better to order less than order too much.

5. Exercise more. I’m noticing I’m losing muscle and tone, it’s important to keep on doing strength training. Walking is great, but not enough (at least for me)

6. Last, but most importantly, forgive yourself and move on. Realize you are human and don’t let extra pounds weigh you down (pun intended). Life is so much more than that.

2 Responses to All About Five Pounds

  1. Heather May 5, 2014 at 11:12 pm #

    Kudos to you for so many things! For noticing what was going on for you & bringing awareness to it. For being brave & open to sharing your experiences, even when you don’t particularly like them! And for making strategies to move toward what you want.

    I think it’s really important to be real, I personally respect someone more who has gone through challenges & come out the other side. It makes it seem more possible that I can do it too. It’s pretty natural in life that our weight is going to fluctuate for so many reasons, so it’s great to be able to take it as feedback instead of failure.

    I totally get that “keeping up with husband/meal partner” thing!! It maybe seems silly, but I figured out that it works for me to serve up half of whatever we are sharing so I don’t get into a panic about not getting enough, but then eat slowly the amount my body actually wants & give him the rest. Sometimes I AM hungry for it all, but often times just the peace of mind knowing that my “fair share” is available to me allows me to eat slow with awareness instead of fast to “protect” my portion. Not sure if any if those reasons relate to your situation, just so interesting to discover my psychology & workarounds, if I can’t just work it out. :)

    • Annalisa May 8, 2014 at 8:22 am #

      Hi Heather!
      Thank you so much for your comment. It’s nice to know people are reading. :) I totally agree about the importance of being real. It’s such a simple concept, but with the internet, Facebook, Instagram, it’s SO easy to edit our lives and make everything look peachy and perfect. I am guilty of this and hope to open up more about my struggles, bad days and breakthroughs. It’s easy to think that everyone is super perfect when seeing their online accounts, but the reality is we all struggle sometimes!

      And love your solution for eating with your partner! I usually give him more, but then feel a little deprived and jealous (sometimes). Your solution of serving half but then eating slowly and listening to your body is amazing. Such a wonderful experience in self-awareness and mindful eating. I definitely have noticed that I need to serve myself instead of sharing a plate (at a restaurant for example). If we share the plate, then I feel the need to eat really quickly, because my husband eats fast, even if I don’t actually need to eat all of the food. When I serve myself on my own plate then I can eat in peace and not worry about him eating more. In the end I usually give him some more food, but it’s the same thing as you mentioned, needing to feel like it’s a fair share. :)

Leave a Reply