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Real Answers™
Copyright: ©2009 Jill Darling
700 words


By: Jill Darling


The vacation’s over. You’ve had two weeks of lazing around the beach and the pool in Florida and life is good. You’ve checked out the best seafood restaurants and eaten yourself into oblivion with all-you-can-eat shrimp slathered in butter, along with hush puppies, cornbread, fried pickles and Key lime pie.

You’ve unpacked the last of your clothes and put souvenir shells on display when reality sets in. Those comfy jeans aren’t so comfy anymore. You pull and tug, holding your breath, yanking them up to your waist. Flab spills out of the V-shaped zipper. It’s not a pretty sight.

Time to pull out the baggy sweats and oversized T-shirts and morph into frumpy mode. All that good eating has shown up in all the wrong places. Depression lurks.

Eating mindlessly usually doesn’t start during the two-week vacation. Busyness before and after the vacation can throw off the routine too.  Unabashed eating can last a couple of months and wreak havoc on the body.

A pre-vacation to-do list might look something like this:

Get coverage for work. Pay bills. Make hair/nail appointments. Buy items for trip. Clean house. Water plants. Take care of pets. Clean out refrigerator. Do laundry. Wash dishes. Pack last minute things.  Load car. Pull out of driveway. Pull back in driveway. Get things you forgot. Pull out of driveway. Whew!

This pressurized whirlwind makes for lots of eating on the run—chips, crackers, cookies. But you’ve got to keep going, with little time for a decent meal. Exercise is usually hit or miss, then you’re on the road or in the air.

Aaaaahhhhh! White sugary sand, aquamarine waves lapping at your feet, lounging under a rainbow-striped umbrella.  Time to relax and ditch the healthy eating habits.  Who wants to watch what you eat when exciting new foods beckon? And who wants to keep up with exercise regimens when you’re zoned out on the beach?

Unless you’re a disciplined fitness fanatic and have the fortitude to deprive yourself of a vacation’s worth of decadence, the numbers on the scale are going to spike. Food intake is up and exercise is down, the perfect formula for weight gain.

After your trip, it takes time to settle back into your routine.  Making phone calls, checking the mail, buying groceries, unpacking, doing laundry, mowing the overgrown lawn, tending flower beds and getting back to work is just more of the same, grabbing a bite here and there and little time for a workout.

Once the vacation preparation, vacation and recovery are over, it can be months. The first step is to realize that weight gain is inevitable. We tend to blame ourselves and heap on the guilt when it’s something we just have to accept. There’s nothing we can do about it.  Stop the self-loathing!

Second, weight gain is temporary. It can be reversed. It took two months to put it on; it’s going to take two months or more to get it off.

This point is crucial. You can do one of two things: allow disappointment and defeat to take hold and pack on more pounds; or accept where you are, get a grip with a good attitude and change directions. I do the latter. I keep one of my favorite sayings before me: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). That’s my mission statement.

I take on a winning posture in the battle of the post-vacation bulge and forge ahead.  I determine that my body will conform to my wardrobe and not the other way around. I’m not focused on the fluctuating numbers on the scale. The true test is how my clothes fit.

I never go on a diet. Fad diets are temporary fixes that cause you to revert to indulgence once the goal is attained. Instead, I’ve developed a life-style change. The only way to shed excess pounds is to increase the exercise and decrease the food intake.  I get back to my normal healthy eating habits and exercise more than usual.

It’s all in the decision-making. Just do it with gusto and be patient.  After a month or so you’ll start to trim down and zip those jeans closed. Guaranteed.


"Real Answers™" furnished courtesy of The Amy Foundation Internet Syndicate. To contact the author or The Amy Foundation, write or E-mail to: P. O. Box 16091, Lansing, MI 48901-6091;

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