Back in the “Low” Life Again

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If you are prone to weight gain, it’s important to live your life lower (but not too low) than higher. And, it’s amazing how weight gain can get away from you. You work hard, you love how you look and feel, and then bingo, you’re back on the roller coaster ride of weight gain. The key I guess is to keep it a small hill since it’s much easier to get down. I personally put on about 6 pounds over the last 3 weeks and I’m trying not to make it permanent and a prelude to more.

How did it happen? I took the vacation mentality too far. My mother in law was in town for a few weeks and she can cook. Very, very well, in fact. And, she cooks in a traditional Italian way: generally healthy (I don’t eat meat which helps), but also caloric and lots of added flavor. For example, I put about a cup of cheese on a whole pizza. She put almost a cup per slice (or so it seemed). As much as I loved it, the pounds started creeping on. And, since she was visiting, I didn’t make it to the gym as much. In short, my control slipped away.

My plan is to lose it over the next few weeks now that she is gone. I’m going to miss her for a variety of reasons including her cooking. I should’ve adjusted and actually used moderation and control. This is how I typically gained weight in the past: I “go off” and never really get back on until it’s too late. Not this time, though. I’m back in the low life again, which, as those who have been overweight and lost it know, the “low” life of healthy weight is actually the high life in terms of health and confidence.

Image by Jonathan Bennett. To order prints or download high resolution images, click here.

A “Staycation” to Save Money

A lot of people are talking about “staycations” as opposed to vacations these days. A staycation is having fun locally as opposed to taking an expensive vacation. Many Americans are strapped for cash because of high gas prices, and don’t have the extra money for a huge vacation that involves a lot of driving. My wife and I are two such Americans.

Last year, my brother, his wife, and my then fiancee went to Mount Airy, North Carolina for a three day getaway. It was fun. It is about 400 miles to Mount Airy from my residence, so the round trip is 800 miles. Since I get around 25 mpg on average (city and highway averaged), that would be a little over 32 gallons of gas, which is 128 dollars just to get there and back. Local driving probably would add an extra 50 dollars or more.  Food would run about 30 dollars a day. A hotel room for two costs about 100 per night. So to repeat that vacation this year (which was the original plan) would cost about 600 dollars.

This year, we have decided to just visit my brother and his family for a week, four days longer than our more traditional vacation last year. Since my brother is working at his school this summer, and there is a nearly newborn baby in the family, he really couldn’t have gone on a vacation anyway, so it just makes sense. He lives about 300 miles round trip away from me, shorter than just one leg of the Mount Airy Trip. Room-and-board is free. While we will eat out a few meals, many of them will be cooked at his home. They will be good, healthy, and cheap. Since we are viewing this as a vacation, all of us will get a chance to check out local beaches, bike paths, state parks, festivals, etc, things that we may not have ever visited before, even though they are only a few miles from my brother’s residence. In other words, this is a real vacation. And, despite saving money, we are still going to get to do what matters: have fun, see family, and relax.

So, let’s compare:

Longer, traditional vacation: 3 days, $600

Shorter, money-saving, vacation: 7 days, about $200

Image taken at a bike path near my brother’s home.