The Incredible Expanding Woman

Why does culture shock always translate to chocolate scoffin’ for me?

It happens on the first night of every holiday. My sister and I, cranky and confused, are wandering the streets of some strange city. We don’t know where’s good to eat and we lack the energy to find out. So we always wind up in a supermarket, grabbing whatever foil-covered package we recognize, and guzzling it with great relief. On our recent trip to Lisbon, my chocolate of choice was Ritter Sport Alpine Milk. Bless those Germans. Yum!

But it got better as the trip went on. We ate gorgeous breakfasts at the hotel buffet, with fresh orange juice, bacon, mango, and croissants galore. We bombed out on most of our restaurant choices, so my favourite meal was another supermarket feast – fresh bread with great hunks of local cheese and ham, followed by strawberries. Okay, and more chocolate.

Now today it’s back to reality after approximately two weeks of "relaxed" eating. I jumped on my old friend The Scales and it appears I’ve gained 3 kilos. That’s almost half a stone. In two weeks. THAT’S 6.5 POUNDS, PEOPLE!

The horror, the horror.

"You’re like a Marvel comic," said the Scottish Companion in awed tones, when I told him the result. "The Amazing Expanding and Contracting Woman!"

Mwahaha. She goes down! She goes up! Right before your very eyes! I can see why it’s wacky to him. Two weeks ago I was over the moon with a five pound loss, and now here I am up 6.5.

SC has always been completely bewildered by my ability to gain weight so quickly. Remember how I put on almost 7 kilos over Christmas 2004? Four kilos while in Australia? Nobody can stack it on as quick as I do, baby. I wish I could say it was a gift.

The poor dude was expecting me to have my usual nervous breakdown. He kept asking if I was okay, was I upset? He tip-toed around the flat, wondering when I’d turn hysterical. But I was calm and almost bemused. After all I was not surprised one bit. I’m all-too familiar with this kind of rapid gain, so much so that I didn’t even throw a hissy fit!

Let’s be honest, I’ve been eating far too much for two weeks. I had a good time. I had a lovely wedding anniversary and a tops holiday. But now the party’s over and I’m back to the usual healthy habits. I will bust off this gain in the coming weeks and just get on with it. Woo!

Something I’ve been pondering these last few days: I like travelling, and I like eating when travelling. Well to be honest, the eating is the best thing about the travelling. I am never going to go on holiday and NOT scoff into the local cuisine.

Rather than harbouring any delusions that next time will be different, I just accept that this is how things are with me. I’m not saying my vacations are just one long bingefest, but I am not going to hold back either. This is life happening! In exotic locales! Dude! I will never ask the waiter in floundering Portugese for my salad dressing on the side or could he please put half in a doggie bag. Nor will I pretend that I won’t reach for the chocolate if I am feeling bewildered and hungry in a foreign land. The key is not letting it go too far. It’s all about how quick you bounce back, how quick you throw your pudgy leg back over that horse and RIDE AGAIN!

There are two kinds of days, really. The Everyday Days when life is relatively quiet and you plan your meals and exercise and stick to your plan like clockwork. Then there are days when Things Happen and there’s strange new places and situations and things to eat. This is how it will always be. But as long as the Everyday Days are the majority of my days, I know I will be fine.

So it’s back to reality. I did my Cathe KickMax DVD on Sunday and felt all that energy and motivation zoom back. And my eating’s been good with lots of vegie-laden meals planned. HOWEVER! The real challenge is to ride out these horrible stinky bastard Chocolate Withdrawls. I’m the middle of it RIGHT NOW. All I can think of is a Terry’s Chocolate Orange bar and how I would like to have one for dinner. Maybe two. ARRRGH! It is alarming how quickly your body remembers its undying lust for sugar. Now I have to make it forget again. I must be calm! I must breathe!


Okay, I will be back soon to tell you all about the shopping and the sunshine. Hope you are all well and happy!

20 thoughts on “The Incredible Expanding Woman

  1. Yum, Terry’s Choc Orange. Chocolate and travel = definitely. When i went to SE Asia, we stayed at a place that sold Cadburys and I scoffed so much of it. I swear it was because I’d been in Asia over a week and was having dairy withdrawal. And why do they always sell Toblerone in duty free shops? Man, I love Toblerone.

  2. Chocolate and travel = definitely!! I’m off to London (and then on to Paris) today and have been dreaming about lovely English Cadbury’s bars and anything and everything in Paris…! Mmmm. I’ll be lucky if I hold it off to 6lbs! Glad to hear you’re back safe and sound. Can’t wait to hear more about your trip.

  3. I’m certainly not as well travelled as you, but I am also big on trying the local cuisine. I spent one week in New Zealand a couple of years ago and tried all different types of cheese and cream and don’t regret it a bit. Not only do we explore our new surrounds with our sight, hearing and touch, but also by tasting all the local delights! I’m sure the weight will come off, but the experience you had in Lisbon with your sis was once in a lifetime.

  4. I think I should just accept that I am that way when on holiday too. I went to Malaysia for my honeymoon in April and after depriving myself for so long to be the blushing bride, I went just slightly beserk at the breakfast buffet – every day for 14 days! I put on 4 kilos in 2 weeks so don’t worry, you’re not the only one who can put it on just as quickly!!

  5. Yah, baby! Ritter Sport rocks. And so does gorgeous food when you’re on vacation. I mean, what’s the point in travelling to all these lovely places if you can’t enjoy the local cuisine?

    I really related to what you wrote about the “this is life”. I came to a similar revelation today. Life will never be perfect – things will happen which will make our eating less than perfect. But in the end, we need to resume to our careful eating again. Gosh – I’d almost feel like a normal person then!

  6. I loved every sentence of this post! Oh yes, food = travel and vice versa. My holiday treat is a giant buttery omelette and plateful of fresh fruit every morning *yum*

  7. It’s like reading my own thoughts. Yep, my super power is also my amazing ability to put on pounds. Love to eat when I travel or celebrate? Check. Loves the chocolate? Check, check!

    I also realized the other day that even though I’ve lost so much weight, managed to keep it off, have mostly healthy eating proclivities (habits is too strong a word), I’m STILL eating too much to be my magic goal weight. I just am. I need to shrink my tummy and my eating expectations down a bit more.

    True, I’m not eating as much as I needed to be my highest weight (220? maybe even 225? at 5’1″ I was too afraid to know), but my natural tendency will always be to eat enough to put me right back there, eventually. I try all the conscious, mindful eating tricks–emotional or physical hunger, savoring the taste, etc., etc. But old habits die hard and I’m not always as consistent as I’d like.

    I also discovered a weird food development yesterday–restaurant food hasn’t been tasting as good to me. It took me ages to realize–no, the food was delicious, but it lost it’s flavor ONCE I WAS FULL! Restaurant meals mean larger portions, appetizers, wine, whatever and that was FILLING ME UP faster than my usual steamed veggies and grilled fish or chicken meals at home.

    I didn’t feel full in my mind, but my taste buds and tummy are trying to tell me something. I wonder, has this always been the case and I didn’t notice? Who knows–at least now I have one more tool.

  8. I *adore* Terry´s chocolate orange! :-p~~~ For a very long time they weren´t sold here in Finland, and I remember, back in the mid 90´s, when my school mate used to brought those for us from Ireland… Those were the days *sigh* Now I found them in a specialty store in Finland just before X-mas but they are SOOO expensive here :´( I only got one 😀 for my boyfriend. But I took a little gift tax 😉

  9. Ritter sport hazelnut and Milka are soooooo delish! I couldn’t imagine passing on the cultural experience food brings. If you’re on holiday, you’re on holiday. I manage to be a maniac and do all kinds of walking, etc. to try and balance things out before I get home. I’m sure you’ll recover that loss in no time. It’s good reading just the same 🙂

  10. I am the same way with holidays. I’m all over the place on the scale right now… but that is another story. I’ve come to accept that I will gain weight every time I travel, and when I get back home I just get myself back to normal. Sounds like you had a fantastic time though!

  11. I’m with you about the holidays! I do have one trick though, that helps me. I don’t hop on the scale right after getting back…I give myself at least as long as I was away to get back on track. So far, I either wind up staying flat or even losing a pounds or two.

  12. Yay! You’re human like the rest of us.

    Personally I am always amazed at how much weight I can put on or lose in a short space of time. On Wednesday (weigh in day), I jumped on the scales in the morning – had lost 1.5 kilos and felt great. Did not do anything naughty during the day (except perhaps not drink much water). Got to weigh in and had stayed the same… Since then have put on over a kilo (in just over a day). This time I know I was a bit naughty (baked muffins and ate several) but still…

    Are you watching Biggest Loser? The guy who goes on to win it lost 26 pounds last week after putting on 12 pounds (deliberately because he had immunity) the week before. That just frightened me.

    Anyway, I’m with you on the food being a major part of the holiday thing. We’ve booked a week in Tunisia in October and all I can think off is yummy North African food. Not really that fussed about the beach or anything… LOL.

  13. Yes, I have that amazing ability to gain weight quickly too. but luckily if i get started on the weight loss quick enough it goes away quickly too. I gained 10 kgs over the last 6 weeks but managed to lose 7 kgs of it in 2 weeks. Doesn’t seem to stick it i get to it quick enough.

  14. Travel=food + clean sheets every morning…Have you ever done the cruise ship thing? I haven’t, but the food stories I hear tempt me to try it.

    Good luck with your renewed exercise effort. I’m on the treadmill with you working off my dairy filled vacation in England. Double cream, yummm.

  15. I too can yo-yo 5-7 pounds like it’s nothing! It’s been the story of my life for the past few months, in fact.

    I envy your travels. That’s so awesome.

  16. As a child I spent an entire holiday in Japan eating McDonalds!! I think every holiday after that got worse. But as you so succinctly put it, it is about bouncing back and making sure the Everday’s outnumber the Things Happen days.

    And then you go and bugger up your whole post by mentioning Terrys Chocolate Orange. Other than picturing Dawn French in an oversized Christmas Stocking saying “Sssssslllliiiinky” all I can think of now is Chocolate. Bugger bugger poo. LOL. Could this qualify as a Things Happen??

    Hope you have a great day tomorrow. 😀

  17. It’s time to reveal my perfect method for putting yourself off the idea of Terry’s Chocolate Orange:

    Have medical-student younger brother.(Unfortunately, it’s not an easy perfect method.) Weakly accept slice of c.o. kindly offered by him while he revises for exam at kitchen table. While slice is still melting in mouth, listen to him revising (out loud) key symptoms for some condition which I now forget, but involved the words “pleural” and “necrosis”.

    This was last week, so only time will tell if it works permanently…

  18. OMG, finally, someone who gains weight as quickly as I can. I remember when I first started WW, years ago. The idiot leader kept telling me that it was not possible to gain 5 pounds over a weekend…um, yeah, it is possible. I can gain 5 pounds practically overnight and I don’t need to eat an extra 15000 calories to do it!

  19. The me who thinks ‘I don’t need to eat some things’ vs. the ‘I’ll eat anything and go out for more” me seem to be totally different animals. Both are welcome at the time but when I’m weaning back onto the former it is like I’m going through the ‘Rrr’ change of the Incredible Hulk-thank god that’s not where I end up!

  20. I really love this post because I see things in life, like trying different cuisines, as a real joy and one that I am not going to give up in a hurry either. You’re right, it’s not everyday and the everyday is when you plan, track and exercise 🙂

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