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Old 04-13-2005, 02:39 PM   #1  
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Unhappy Was it worth it?

The trip? Oh yeah, definitely! Deciding to eat without restraint for a month? Well, it seemed like an okay idea at the time…but now that I'm facing a 12lb. gain, depression has set in. I know, I know, I have nobody to blame but myself and I should have thought more about what I'd be facing upon my return instead of enjoying the moment. Sigh, I never learn. Thus, this posting will concentrate on what I consumed during my trip and perhaps I may learn from it…

I guess it started on the plane. I now have a new favourite airline (sorry British Airways). Lufthansa really knows how to treat its customers – more leg room than I'm accustomed to, great movies, soft cushy pillows and blankets, friendly and helpful attendants, free booze galore, tasty meals (I kid you not) and plenty of them! In fact, you could eat all night on that plane, which led to my first downfall. You see, I'm not the greatest flyer – its not that I'm afraid, I just don't like being cooped up in a large tin can with 500 other people for over 8 hours (WELL over 8 since we sat on the runway in Toronto forever while the wings were de-iced and the runway snow-ploughed).

My main problem was I knew there'd be no hope of being able to sleep and I'd arrive in Frankfurt miserably overtired and having pretty much lost a day with the time difference. I decided to relax myself by taking advantage of what the airline had to offer. If I couldn't fall asleep on my own, I'd try to pass out! We were barely off the ground when the drinks cart rolled up the aisle I asked for a double scotch on the rocks to ease the tension and when they rolled back down again I settled for another. Then came dinner – a choice of chicken and noodles or beef and potatoes, along with salad, buns, butter, dessert and wine (I had two glasses).

During the next few hours we were continually offered water, pop, juice, tea and coffee. Soon it was movie time and back came the carts with more offerings (nuts, candy, beer!). I availed myself of a beer and settled back to watch "Finding Neverland" which, in my by now mildly drunken state, seemed the most touching and heart rendering story I'd ever seen. Tears streamed down my face and at one point I believe I opined out loud that I was in love with Johnny Depp. My seatmate, in an attempt to quieten me, offered some of her duty free chocolate and I munched on that happily while I waited for our next meal. It soon appeared (ham and swiss on crusty roll along with another dessert and choice of drink – beer for me!).

Everyone else seemed able to drift off to sleep eventually and I was left reading a book that became increasingly blurry for some reason. I must have drifted off for a moment, because the smell of omelette woke me and I chowed down on brekky (again quite tasty with a lovely cherry danish to boot). As we were drawing close to Frankfurt I pulled out my journal and started to write what I'd eaten….I quickly gave up and then made the fatal decision to eat as I please and pay for it afterwards.

The plane landed and I found myself in Frankfurt (wheeeee, there was no snow!!!). Mind you, I've been to Germany before and Frankfurt is the least "European" city in the country to my mind. Its skyline is similar to any found in a large North American city (it actually boasts Europe's highest skyscraper). Not much olde world charm to Frankfurt until you get away from the city centre. That's where the friendly pubs, gingerbread architecture and Bavarian charm is found. That, and chocolate. Man oh man the chocolate is superlative and sooooo cheap! The fact that Easter was approaching didn't help – you couldn't go anywhere without creamy, high quality chocolate flying off the shelves and into your mouth (that's my story and I'm sticking to it). My few days in Frankfurt were spent with friends and filled with fun, hearty dinners and desserts. Oh and steins of frothy beer. Burp.

Soon I bid a fond farewell to Germany and set off for Russia! One of the reasons our hotel was chosen was because it boasts the greatest breakfast buffet in Moscow – which was a necessity seeing as during the World Figure Skating Championships our only meal would be breakfast following which we'd be at the rink for up to 10 hours daily. If you're wondering why anyone would choose to spend that length of time in an arena its because there are figure skating fans and then there are figure skating fanATICS (aka our group). Yes, we went to practices, qualifying rounds and even watched the Mexicans (not exactly known for skating brilliance).

However, food choices at the arena were limited to popcorn, ice cream (Russians LOVE their ice cream), slices of bread with either a slab of unrefrigerated cheese or meat and huge big breaded knots that looked like the pretzels we have at fairs – but they were not salty and savoury, they were more like cake and had sugared icing on them (naturally over the span of a week I tried one…or two…was it three?). Since the arena was in the middle of a vast area where the 1980 Olympics had been held, there were no restaurants or stores nearby to pop out and purchase anything and had there been it would have been impossible to get it through security (yes, they checked our bags for "outside food").

The aforesaid explains the rationale behind why I felt the need to pig out at the breakfast buffet, which consisted of the usual – scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, cereal, yogurt, pancakes, Belgian waffles, danish and croissants, along with the not so usual. Again, since it was included in our "package" I just had to get my money's worth and fill up so my tummy wouldn't grumble during the skating events. Problem is, I didn't eat the cereal and yogurt - I ate my fill of those other things I don't have the heart to mention again…However, by the end of my stay I began eating more like a Russian and partook in blineys (savoury little pancakes) with red caviar and smoked herring on crispbread. Still, I always had my slab of crusty bread with that delicious unsalted French butter.

Surprisingly enough, we could always find places to eat after the skating, even though it was 10-11 pm. We eventually found what was to become "our" restaurant – a small, intimate place with friendly waiters and great traditional food. They made the very best borscht with just the right dollop of sour cream and the most wonderful savoury puff-pastry type bread to go along with it. Other favourites were Russian salad (not a leaf of lettuce to be found – its potatoes, carrots, onions, spices and mayo), spicy cabbage soup and sinfully delicious chocolates treats. We were always greeted with a glass of champagne before our meal and a shot of vodka served in an ice cold glass afterwards. I miss that place already!

We made a few trips to a local grocery store to check out the different kind of items and noticed a definite lack of fresh vegetables – there was hardly a head of lettuce to be found (potatoes and carrots were readily available though). The prices were shocking too - I really don't understand how people can afford to eat. One of my friends bought 6 chicken wings to try to sneak into the arena and that little package cost about $7! Another noticeable thing was how the milk, eggs and cheese were on tables and not in refrigerated containers. It was so interesting to see all the different brands of goods like cereal, peanut butter and juices with their own little advertising mascots and logos not seen on our side of the ocean (although they did sell Snickers and Kit Kats!). The biggest freezer was filled with ice cream of every kind imaginable. There must have been 50 different blocks wrapped in multi-coloured foil. We had no idea what kind each was and would pretty much buy a different one nightly and share it in our rooms as we rehashed the day's events. Smooth, creamy and oh so delicious (my favourite was coconut!)

Also included in our "package" were welcome and farewell dinners which were rather opulent – our welcome dinner was at our hotel in a beautifully decorated banquet room and we had strolling Russian guitar players serenading us as we ate our choice of wrapped pork tenderloin with salmon mouselline or trout with potato pancake and red caviar. Our farewell dinner was at a restaurant inside an ancient downtown building where we feasted on chicken Kiev (stuffed with buttered mushrooms) while being treated to a full show of Russian folksongs performed by girls in exquisite traditional garb while Cossack styled men played accordions and sang along. It was like stepping back into history (until the show was over and the performers came to our tables trying to hawk their CDs). As always, we were provided with champagne before the meal, red wine during and vodka afterward. Hiccup.

Where else did we go? Well, there were a few visits to McDonalds, but not to eat – it had the cleanest public washrooms in town! Okay, I did try one of my cohorts fries and they tasted really strange (I think they fry them in lard) but what struck me most was how so many young people were there, yet the cost of a Big Mac combo was the equivalent of around $14.00 (I mean, where do they get that kind of money??)

So, that pretty much describes my eating habits while away. I was kind of hoping that all the walking during our tours of the fabulous sites would help, but I guess those massive breakfasts and late dinners did me in (not to mention the alcohol consumption and midnight ice cream parties). Now, what I'd like to understand is why I can't indulge like a "normal" person without going hog-wild (so to speak). Since 2002 I've ruminated over every morsel that's gone in my mouth. I've lost over a hundred pounds, gained tens of it back, lost it again and still haven't figured it all out. Many of the people I was with also took the "indulge" route but appeared to gain nowhere near the amount I did. Is it because they are slim to begin with? Is it because my shrunken fat cells scream with excitement and store everything out of spite? Sigh…I know I'll lose it again (as usual).. Problem is, I'm likely to gain it back, again – it’s a never-ending cycle for me. Man I'd love to be able to maintain (even with 20 or so pounds to go)!!!

Anyway, while I'm well aware that one can lose 10lbs. or more in a month, this is my first experience of gaining more than 10 in the same time period (12.5 to be exact). Again, was it worth it? At the time I enjoyed everything I ate, while in the back of my head I knew it wasn't what was best for me. Now that I'm faced with the knowledge that it'll take much more time to take it off than what it took to gain it, plus its 12.5lbs. on top of that elusive 25 I've been trying to lose to get to goal. ARGGGGHHHH. I should have been able to exercise the willpower and determination I had when I started this journey and lost over 100lbs! I hate being a human yo yo and I yearn to learn the secret of "doing it right" and knowing that its for life. My sweetie thinks I'm overreacting and tells me soothingly that worse things can happen (and he should know), but my point is that those "worse" things that create unhappiness, such as car accidents, illness and losing a loved one are almost always out of your control, while my never-ending weight issues are something that is in my control and its my failure to exercise that control that results in my unhappiness . Thus, once again I vow to be the mistress of my own destiny. Bring it on!

Well, this turned into somewhat of a downer. No worries, I'll be back soon enough to recount some of the more ridiculously amusing adventures I experienced!
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Old 04-13-2005, 03:10 PM   #2  
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Well, I knew you had been away but I didn't know you had gone to Worlds! How cool. I went to SkateAmerica about 10 years ago and had a blast. I was at work during the day so I didn't go to practices and the like but saw ALL of the actual competitons I could. What fun.

As for the food, well ... I've had trips like that. Where I decide to loosen the reins, planning to enjoy the food but not go hog wild. Then ... the hogs show up. LOL

I know the regret you are feeling. All I can say is, this too shall pass. You'll get back on your horse and start the downhill ride once again. (What's with the livestock & bridle metaphors? I have no idea.) When I'm analyzing things like this, I do two major things: First, I think, "What would I have eaten if I had taken this trip BEFORE I started my program?" It's always significantly more. Second, what can I do next time? What kinds of thinking led me down the path of overeating. I see in your post two things I used to do that were big factors in being seriously overweight: The idea of "getting your money's worth" or "might as well eat it since it's free" and "eating in advance."

So, you might have regrets and you might decide the amount of excess wasn't worth it. But I don't think we should be too tough on ourselves for not being strict 100% of the time, and for ENJOYING food. We're just human, and enjoying food is part of the makeup of most of us. I would rather enjoy everything an experience like that trip has to offer, and live with a few extra pounds and some extra work, than cut myself off entirely from an entire facet of the place I'm visiting.
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Old 04-13-2005, 04:47 PM   #3  
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Was it worth it?? No, probably not, in hindsight, but I sure do hope you enjoyed yourself regardless! This was a once in a lifetime opportunity with not a lot of latitude for exercise time and healthy options. Could you have made better choices? Absolutely, but I also believe that some kind of gain was inevitable given the circumstances. So look at it this way: the damage has been done, and now it’s time to work on un-doing it. Don't waste your time kicking yourself for what cannot be changed now. You got to experience things that you wouldn't normally get to and you enjoyed yourself, none of which makes you "bad", just human! So just let it go and concentrate getting back to normal now that you’re home. It’s time to get back on that horse and try, try again.

Take care!
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Old 04-13-2005, 08:39 PM   #4  
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Vacations are the hardest time. As Beverley said "Don't waste your time kicking yourself for what cannot be changed now". Just get back on track and it will come off. I've done this twice in the past year and you just have to get back at it and continue doing what you know is good.
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Old 04-13-2005, 09:10 PM   #5  
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Well, I feel differently, it was totally worth it!! The way you ate, you definitely deserve that weight, and everything comes at a price. However, you experienced something completely new, and might never get to do that again. Whats the point in going to Russia to eat salad (with lettuce)?? You will get back on track, and if you were eating very good before, you probably gained some water weight. Also, once you start sleeping properly (which includes not eating right before bed :P ), you will notice a few of those pounds dropping off. In the mean time, focus on the positives, you had the experience of a lifetime like Beverly said. And btw, after a "pigout" like that it's been known for people to drop 7-10 pounds in a week because of the difference in eating and activity. Just be healthy!


I just have to add, IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT!!
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Old 04-13-2005, 11:58 PM   #6  
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Okay, you've all beaten me into submission. I'll accept that it WAS worth it - works for me now that I'm in a better mood having successfully completed an "on plan" day.

Thanks for the input and support - you guys are worth your weight in gold.
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Old 04-14-2005, 12:16 AM   #7  
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Can't argue w/everyone else. I declare the first part of your thread food porn! But you have been a successful loser in the past, and you will be with this weight now. Realizing is the first step! And you're already there. We will be here for the rest of your journey. We loves ya!

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Old 04-14-2005, 03:38 AM   #8  
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All I can say is SNAP! Well, to the off-the-wagon-weight-gain-part, sadly not to the fantastic trip to Russia part! I gained 10lbs in the past month. Have been back into healthy lifestyle mode for a week, and lost 4.4 lbs. And I don't have the trip-of-a-lifetime experience to show for it either! I have done my figuring out of what was going on, and how I will do better next time, and have finished beating myself up. Now its onwards - not a lot to be gained by ruminating on those extra pounds, and an awful lot to be lost by focusing on moving forwards with a healthy lifestyle.

As to why we are able to gain so fast, without eating that differently to those around us - I shrug my shoulders and say 'who knows?'. All we can do is work with who we are, and make the best choices we can make!
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Old 04-14-2005, 09:32 AM   #9  
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Agreed with SAPF that that is some *serious* food porn. Like you, sometimes I like to take my calories in liquid form (see avatar from recent trip to Florida to prove it!).

You know, I'm kinda with everyone else. It may feel like the end of the world now, but it's really not. I struggle with this issue myself as I'm starting to think more about how I will keep this weight off forever. Vacations are the ultimate challenge -- part of you doesn't want to go hog wild, but your routine gets screwed up, you're making a real effort to be social (e.g., not squash the good time of those around you by counting calories), and then you think - "hey, i don't want MY good time sqaushed, either!"

I do think some of those pounds are probably water. On that trip to Florida a couple weekends ago, I gained 3 pounds in one weekend (is that even physically POSSIBLE?), but it came off pretty quickly and seems to have temporarily boosted my metabolism. So let's hope for that. Sounds like you've already regrouped. That's the key in my mind... do you keep up the bad habits, or do you snap back into action to get rid of the vacation weight? You know what you need to do and you're doing it.

And THANK YOU for letting us share in your trip!
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Old 04-14-2005, 01:29 PM   #10  
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Originally Posted by SwimGirl
Well, I feel differently, it was totally worth it!! The way you ate, you definitely deserve that weight, and everything comes at a price. However, you experienced something completely new, and might never get to do that again. Whats the point in going to Russia to eat salad (with lettuce)?? -Aimee

I second that! I loved reading your post. What a complete blast.

We flew Lufthansa last May and the seats were definitely narrower than seats on American planes. Not fun for a 7 hour flight. Whew! A few people got pretty snookered from all the free alcohol too, heh heh.

Looking forward to reading more stories.
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Old 04-14-2005, 01:45 PM   #11  
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OMG what a trip and I'm with Aimee. To experience what you did, it would be worth every pound gained and them some. Like you said, you've done this before and you know you can do it again. You were also willing to step on that scale once you got back and face your damage. I know too many women and a few men who can't do that and use their vacation as an excuse to throw away all their good habits. Who knows those 12 pounds may just disappear quickly for you and actually jump start your losses again.
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Old 04-14-2005, 01:59 PM   #12  
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So someone would really pass up free food and booze on their trip of a lifetime? Well, not me, that's for sure.

Yeah, getting on that scale is a rude awakening, and maybe the next time you go someplace you'll rein yourself in a bit, but don't beat yourself up now. Just keep on having those OP days, and realize it was yet another lesson learned. I gained a bunch of weight stress eating about moving, and lost 8 lbs. of it the first week of being OP. It could come off fast--it could come off slow. But you know it's going to come off. The memories of the trip will stay with you a lifetime, but I guarantee the weight won't.
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