Sunday, February 13, 2011


It’s been almost two weeks since my previous post, but that’s not to say that I haven’t writing and re-writing my thoughts during that time. As I write this, I’m aboard a plane returning from Punta Cana, and my vacation is officially drawing to a close.

One thing I truly enjoyed about my reprieve – aside from plenty of warmth from the sun – was time to think. It sounds so silly… but I rarely sit and just allow myself to think and reflect, uninterrupted. It’s true that my mind is rarely (okay, never) still; my brain is chugging at impressive speeds up until the very second I fall asleep at night. And at times I’m particularly stressed or consumed with something, I often find myself dreaming about it, as if a reminder to attend to it the next day. But I spent a considerable amount of time over the last week just letting my thoughts travel to wherever they may go. Naturally, I have already planned my next (or perhaps next few…) vacations in my head. That’s no surprise. I also spent a good amount of time thinking about my family, friends, my relationships in my life in general; thinking about what goals I want to set for myself in the next few months, during residency, or even the next few years; thinking about where I might like to move to for the next stage of my life.

Predictably, a good portion of my time thinking and reflecting was devoted to my weight loss and my marathon goal. Before my departure, I struggled a lot with the idea of vacation and how it fit into my new lifestyle – I felt there was a range from “totally letting myself go” to “counting Weight Watchers Points,” and I just didn’t know exactly where to place myself on that continuum. What came of it was a bizarre mix. I have learned that you’ll never succeed at any dietary or lifestyle change if you don’t give yourself a break. You have to allow yourself to enjoy the things you love now and then, or you’ll never make it. Truth be told, I likely enjoyed too much, but in my heart of hearts, I do believe that for one week, it won’t kill me.

What bugged me a bit is that I saw how quickly I could jump back to old habits, especially eating too much of something because it tasted good. I also found myself struggling with something that’s been a thorn in my side for the duration of my journey. Let me explain it this way. I see myself having two little characters sitting on my shoulders, just like in cartoons. On one side, picture a fat, ruddy faced, yet terribly convincing devil in a bad costume. On the other, the proverbial “angel” who is healthy and fit, wearing shorts and a tank-top with skinny and fantastic arms that I am quite jealous of. Every day, I haggle with these two each time I decide to eat or exercise (or not to, as it were). I’ve become great at ignoring the bad advice of my little devil friend, but every now and then he still gets me. On the rare day that I fall off the wagon, the devil takes hold… and somehow it becomes an absolute free-for-all. I let the little devil convince me that if I’m going to be “bad” today, why not be REALLY bad? Unfortunately, the devil had a bit too much of a hold on me over vacation. I’ve got to admit that eating things I hadn’t had in a while tasted good… but when all was said and done, I didn’t feel all that great about myself. I’ve got to find a way to meet in the middle somehow – allow myself to splurge now and then, but to control it better. Needless to say, there won’t be a weigh-in for me this week, as I’ll give myself a little chance to recover from the damage. But after months of being on the straight and narrow (even over the holidays, for the most part), I think a week of indulgence is okay.

On the exercise front (after all, this blog was inspired by running!), I hit a bit of a snag. I was so excited to get to the warm weather – I of course brought my workout clothes, my running shoes, and an iPod filled with songs to fuel me as I went for long morning runs. Hate to say it, but Chicago isn’t exactly the best place to run outside these days, and I just wanted to enjoy the week of warmth and the opportunity to be outdoors. But as luck (or lack of luck) may have it, I came down with a viral head cold the day I landed in the DR, and found myself wheezing on and off for the duration of my stay. Alas, no running for me. I took the opportunity to rest and get better.

I find myself eager to get back to my routines and start working out again. Hustle Up the Hancock is just two weeks away, so I better start adding that stair mill back into my routine! Among the rest of my thinking time, I’ve also formulated a post on my reason and drive for running the marathon, which will be coming soon.

So, from start to finish it was a wonderful and much needed vacation. I feel emotionally, mentally, and physically rested and rejuvenated. One more day of vacation before I have to get back to reality, but I find myself excited about my new-found energy and eager to get right back at it. You know I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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