Strolling the canals of Venice, CA -- not the same as hitting the gym, but it's still exercise.

I didn’t plan on taking a 3-week hiatus.  But, with two mini-vacations — one in California and another in Puerto Rico — followed by a brief period of just plain laziness, that’s exactly what happened.

I was not terribly virtuous during this period, despite my exemplary intentions.  For example, I brought gym clothes with me to both California and Puerto Rico.  But I forgot to pack sports bras for my trip to LA, and in San Juan, I slept in too late most days to hit the gym before hitting the beach.  When we weren’t eating out in LA, I cooked — vegetarian, healthy, low-cal and low-fat.  I even made a vegetarian black bean chili for Super Bowl Sunday, but fell prey to the chips and salsa (a particular weakness of mine) that had been arrayed for other, non-dieting people. 

By the time I flew to San Juan, only a few days after returning from the West Coast, my resolve had seriously deteriorated.  My first lunch there at a company picnic, I ate both a hamburger and a hot dog!  (The hamburger definitely wasn’t worth it, but I’ll never forget that hot dog.)  On the buffet line that night, I exercised an unseemly lack of discipline.  And I don’t even like buffet food.

So it was with a heavy sigh that I stepped on to the scale this morning, expecting the worst.

I couldn’t believe what I saw:  177.5.  Down a pound from my last weigh-in three weeks ago!  Just in case, I stepped off the scale.  Stepped on again.  It still said 177.5.

Well.  Whaddaya know?

Now, a 1-pound weight loss in three weeks isn’t anything to brag about.  But I firmly expected to be over 180 again. 

What happened?

I can only guess that despite falling off the dieting wagon while vacationing in exotic locales, I’ve managed to change my eating habits sufficiently to compensate for occasional excesses.  Even in Puerto Rico, except for that one carnivore lunch, I rarely ate meat — sticking to seafood as much as possible.  I had very little bread or pasta, and I avoided most fried foods (although I did have some absolutely delectable truffle fries in Santa Monica!).

This micro-cup of miso soup was the closest I got to spa food in San Juan.

And even though I got to the gym only a few times during this period, I did a lot of walking  — along the boardwalk in Santa Monica, the garden-lined canals of Venice, the pristine sandy beach of Luquillo in Puerto Rico and the bustling streets of Old San Juan.  It was all lovely.  And it felt great.

Now I’m back in Brooklyn.  As if to remind me that the vacation is over, we got an inch or so of snow this morning.  Alas, poor sunshine, I knew it well!

So it’s back to the program.  No more excuses about the computer virus that shut me down in California or the lousy Internet connection at the hotel in San Juan.  Back to tracking online and writing my blogs.  Back to the gym.  Back to portion control.

It’s not going to be easy, though.  I’m off to Washington, DC, tomorrow, for work and hanging out with friends in town.  As much as I enjoy travel, it always gets me off track diet-wise.  Fortunately, one of my friends in DC is also trying to lose weight, so we’ve agreed to go out for sushi (I will probably skip the rice and do sashimi instead).  When I’m home, I make my own lunches — usually a big salad or heated-up healthy leftovers.  But while I’m away, I have to make do with what’s available, and there’s always the temptation to say “Oh, what the hell, it’s only one lunch.”

I need to refocus on my goal:  30 by 50.  Currently, I have 22.5 pounds to go in four months.  That’s definitely doable, but, once again, I will need to strengthen my resolve !

Wish me luck!