Vacation, Fair Food and Mindful Eating

I took vacation last week to visit with family and friends in Pennsylvania. It was both an honor and privilege to return to the church where I grew up to preach at its 200th Anniversary celebration. What a joy to reconnect with those who nurtured me during my formative years!

Of course, one cannot visit the city of Philadelphia without tasting at least some of its infamous cuisine. I resisted a Philly cheesesteak. I like cheesesteaks, but they are not one of my all-time favorite Philly foods. I did, however, have some pizza and a soft pretzel. Pizza here in the Midwest just isn’t the same as it is on the East coast. And Philly soft pretzels are just plain yummy – perhaps it is the mixture of the salt and the dirt from the hands of the guy selling them on the street corner that makes them so delicious – so I had to have one. Actually, I had just half of the pretzel. That was enough for me to enjoy its goodness. And half of a Philly soft pretzel is just four Weight Watcher points.

I returned from vacation late Monday evening and jumped right back into the thick of things in my life and ministry at Oak Chapel United Methodist Church. It was Fair Week here in Wayne County! The church’s biggest annual fundraiser is parking cars at the Fair. Like my trip to Philadelphia, one cannot work at the Fair without enjoying some Fair “fare.” After my parking shift last night, I wandered through the Fair with one of my parishioners. I had planned the last few days’ meals judiciously so that I could enjoy the some of the Fair specialties without guilt or stress. I savored every bite of my funnel cake, which incidentally, is just 13 Weight Watcher points for half of one. J

For the last two weeks I have done a lot of self-talk, reminding myself that it was OK to tap into my extra weekly bonus points while on vacation and during the Fair. That’s what those points are for – so that one does not feel like she is depriving herself on special occasions. I also reminded myself that it would not be the end of the world if I didn’t lose any weight this week or, God forbid, if I gained a pound (or two – eek!). I reluctantly stood on the scale this morning for my weekly weigh-in and was pleasantly surprised that I lost two pounds! That makes a total of 42 so far on this weight loss journey.

As I was chatting with a friend this morning, I told her that I was “back on track” today. Then I corrected myself. I didn’t go “off track” during vacation or the Fair. I practiced mindful eating. I planned my meals, made conscious choices about those foods that entered my mouth, and tracked everything. That’s what healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle are all about – awareness and balance. A steady diet of pretzels and funnel cake surely is not healthy, but it can’t hurt to have a special treat once in a while.

Until next time, peace …

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