Folks, I swear I had every intention of being good in Nashville.
I even packed healthy snacks – bananas, peanuts, raisins, carrots, hummus, and “happy squeeze” blueberry and kale purée – to avoid temptation (nothing says indulgence like kale purée for dessert, am I right?).
But something about being out of town in a new place and seeing a menu that lists a mountain of crispy chips smothered in heavenly queso, topped with zesty tomatoes, diced onions, and jalapeños has a way of making me weak in the knees like a tween at a One Direction concert. And can anyone resist when you add warm, spicy black beans and fresh guacamole to the mix? I’m diving in and not looking back. Heaven help me, I’m only human.
On a serious note, I said this was a journey, and I plan to make it an honest one, so here I am to fess up I’m back to square one, and this time I’m setting the challenge at 31 days — not because, contrary to popular belief, I’m on some masochistic mission to experiment with my pain tolerance, but because I want to give myself more time to see and feel real results. If you’re wondering why I even bother to challenge myself, it’s because I refuse to accept failure in this, and I have faith due to some early wins on Days 1-12.
Before Nashville, which is when I said, “Carpe diem, I want to enjoy myself on vacation,” I was strictly adhering to the no cheese, no cream, no refined sugars, no carb (no fun) policy, and it was empowering. I know, I know, it was only 12 days, but you try being a vegetarian and eating no carbs and tell me if you’re not hangry after Day 2 of eating steamed broccoli. Even now, as I write this post after a weekend of gastronomic transgressions, I fantasize about a heaping bowl of pasta in my face. Believe me, it’s rough… but not impossible, thanks to the legumes, lentils and nuts.
In those first 12 days, it felt liberating to know that I could do without cheese, bread, rice, pasta or sweets and still feel rather satiated. I drank a LOT of water and V8 green juice, and in just a few days I noticed a slight drop in weight and fat content at least by the measure of my Fitbit scale, though it was probably just water weight. I know now that won’t be enough. I’m going to have to significantly ramp up the exercise, especially with full-body strength workouts to burn more calories over a longer period of time, to see results. Lesson learned for attempt two at this challenge.
On a positive note, instead of my usual chocolate fix after lunch, I found myself eating raisins, a pretty decent substitute to curb chocolate cravings. When I came home ravenous after work on Day 9, I had to use every muscle in my body and every ounce of self-control I could muster to not bake chewy chocolate chip cookies. Instead, I was the lucky chick who had enough leftovers of sautéed cabbage in my fridge… which is not quite the same level of satisfying, if you can believe it.
That’s why on Saturday in Nashville, when I saw my favorite appetizer listed on the menu, in all honesty, it wasn’t that I couldn’t control myself, it’s that I didn’t want to. I had been looking forward to this trip with my husband for several weeks, and only planned this challenge for myself less than two weeks prior. I was going to enjoy my trip, and I felt confident enough to know that I could come home and get right back on track because I’ve already been doing it.
I don’t see myself coming back to Nashville anytime soon, and part of the “In Transit” travel experience is for me to have a good time and enjoy the food I eat wherever I am traveling. I’m a foodie, and a major way I enjoy travel is through food! When I’m not eating a meal, I’m planning my next one, a lesson my husband learned painfully when we were honeymooning in Paris and I vocally expressed hanger pains in the middle of the Louvre. He swiftly shuttled me to the closest brasserie and mollified me with a cheese board.
Before that, there was the time, documented vividly in our photographs, that I was less than pleased about a later lunch time than expected when we were touring Gatlinburg in the Smoky Mountains. A relationship crisis was promptly averted when he discovered a hot chocolate vending machine serving warm winter beverages to tide me over.
Let’s not forget that time that I— never mind. You get the picture.
Regardless, the point of the challenge is not deprivation. It’s about a healthy reset and regaining confidence and control. If that means allowing myself nachos while I’m traveling, then so be it.
All of this rationalization simply to say…. when the highly anticipated nachos finally arrived, they ended up being potato chip nachos. To my fellow nacho lovers out there, I don’t even need to explain to you my disappointment at this revelation. To top it off, they were covered in a bright yellow-orange goo resembling that stuff you get when you order underwhelming, overpriced nachos at the movie theater.
I still ate them.
So let’s set the counter back to Day 1. We’ve got 31 days on the clock. Let’s do this.