Welcome to my second vacation chronicle. When I left for sunny Florida I was on Day 4 of my self-imposed “100 Days on the Beach” South Beach Diet challenge. I was vacationing with six other family members, so challenge is an accurate term.
First, it must be said that everyone I vacationed with was ultra supportive of my food plan. Friends and colleagues questioned why I would plan to be on the strict Phase I while on vacation. I figured I was going to be toughing it out at some time or another, and I might as well do so while as relaxed as possible. And I knew that by the time I re-entered the work world I would have only two days left on this phase.
The family had a three bedroom condo with a kitchenette. We traditionally buy food for breakfast/lunch/snacks and go to restaurants for dinners. I kept things simple by eating from a very small variety of Phase I approved foods: low fat ricotta cheese, low fat cottage cheese, almonds, string cheese, tuna/lite mayo/cherry tomatoes, egg substitute, Greek-style yogurt. Dinners out consisted of salad, fish and a side vegetable. Until this trip, I’d never noticed that restaurants offered a non-potato side dish (potatoes are FORBIDDEN on Phase I and highly discouraged on Phase II). If bread was served on my plate, it got passed along to other members of the family. The hush puppies I gave away may or may not have had tear stains on them. Just sayin’.
The challenge came from being with people who aren’t on a diet and don’t really need to be. (While I consider South Beach Phase II to be a life-style, Phase I really felt like a diet.) So that meant there was a plethora of “vacation-snacky delights” laid out on the kitchen counter….taunting me. I haven’t had sugar in I don’t know how long, so the cookies didn’t bother me. But being on Phase I meant detoxing from the chips and crackers I’d been eating…the little devils that helped me gain back six of the 70 pounds I’d lost. So the Fritos, Doritos, Wavy Lays, Big Cheese Its were calling my name. I’m happy to report I didn’t answer.
During the week I followed Phase I to the letter, with two exceptions. One evening my veggie side dish contained mostly carrots, which I ate. After returning to the condo, I consulted my South Beach Diet book and rediscovered that carrots aren’t allowed on Phase I. Foiled, but an honest mistake. The second exception occurred during our last dinner. Our table was given a complimentary crab-cake appetizer, consisting of two cakes. I was the only member of our party of seven who eats these FABULOUS goodies. None of us wanted the person who gave them to us think we were ungrateful, so I ate them. Both of them. I beat myself up over that for a good while. I’ve finally decided to let it go. I’m in this for the long haul and if I can look back over 100 days and say that the worst thing I did was eat some carrots and two crab cakes, I choose to feel good about that.
So there you have it. Following South Beach while on the beach was pretty painless. Unless you account for tear-stained hushpuppies.