Friday, August 3, 2012

When Did Vacation Get So Complicated?

Confession time: I have not gone on vacation for at least three years.

I know, right? How does that even happen?

To be honest I didn’t want to go on vacation. During school I was worn out from being so busy, and during breaks all I wanted to do was run, ride, eat, and sleep. In fact I don’t know how I would have handled sitting for an entire day in the car, being in a new place without any of my usual foods, and having to plan a new running route while worrying that it wasn’t exactly the same distance as usual. Eating out? No way.

Well, my family is finally heading out of State College to stay oceanfront at Virginia Beach for a week! (I will still try to post frequently but I may be too busy!) It sounds amazing, but I’m still not sure how I feel about it.

On the one hand, I am so excited about this trip that I can hardly sleep at night. Most of this is nostalgia for my childhood, when we used to go every year. Obviously I don’t remember much of it until I was in middle/high school, but those memories are great. Body surfing all morning and then shopping in the afternoon...hitting the water park for a day of sliding...sleeping by the pool or on the beach...running on the boardwalk before it got too hot...eating breakfast, lunch, then pigging out on candy and having dinner afterward....

Those last two are hanging me up. I can’t run this year. I also (obviously) can’t bring my stationary bike, which I’m afraid I’ve become rather dependent on. We do bring our bicycles, but I never feel like it’s the same workout. On the plus side, I get to try aqua-jogging in the ocean!

I know what you’re thinking. It’s vacation, forget about exercise! Why am I even thinking about these things?

It’s all about the food.

See, there are some killer restaurants in Virginia Beach that we always hit. It’s a requirement. There’s a pizza place that’s our usual arrival-day dinner stop with the best crust on the planet. And by far our favorite is Plaza Azteca, and amazing Mexican restaurant.

I am conflicted. I really, really, really, want this food. I want to love it, to stuff my face with it like any normal person, and still be able to say “yes” to a spontaneous ice cream suggestion later.

But all I can see is calories, calories, calories. They literally weigh on my mind. I can feel them blowing up my stomach like some grotesque balloon (unfortunately, the bloating is real). Logically, I know that I will not gain 10 pounds from one huge, greasy meal...but that’s what it feels like.

All this food makes me feel like I need an outlet. So what will I do if it’s thunderstorming all day and I can’t jump in the ocean or bike along the boardwalk?

And I know that if I come back heavier than when I left, it will really be a good thing. It’s just hard to accept that way of thinking, because I still want control over everything.

ED loves control. So ironically, the more control I have, the less control I have, in the sense that it’s controlling me. In order to regain control of my own mind, I have to let myself be out of control.

So my goal is to take this vacation as a challenge to move outside my food comfort zones, relax and not think too much about what I’m eating and how many calories it has. There are so many things to do at the beach, that food really shouldn’t take center stage. And relaxing and forgetting does sound really good, if I can make myself do it. I know I can never have my childhood bliss back, but I can still enjoy this vacation through the eyes of the person I am now and make some new memories to look back on with fondness.
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