Sugarless Summer Week 6: I Survived The Jersey Shore!

The Ocean City Boardwalk
The Ocean City Boardwalk – food, food, and more food!

Every year my family goes to Ocean City, New Jersey for a week. My husband’s mom grew up near there and has a house there now, so it’s been our annual summer destination since my son was an infant. The kids love it because they get to see their cousins – and go in the water, and ride the rides, and play in the arcades, and play mini-golf, etc. The adults enjoy seeing family. Me? I have a love/hate relationship with it.

I love the shore because I love the ocean. I love the grandness of it, the lulling roar of the waves, the imaginings it incites as I look out at the horizon and wonder about all the adventures that have happened on that vast body of water. I love the soothing feel of the water lapping at my feet, the gentle squishing of the sand between my toes, the crying of the seagulls, the smell of salt water in the air…

I hate the shore because, generally speaking, I have to don a swimsuit while there. I have to look at others in swimming suits. And doing so brings home the fact, painfully so, that I am heavy, that I don’t look the way I wish I looked, that I don’t feel comfortable in my own skin – at least when I have to expose said skin. This was especially true this year, as I’m near my heaviest again, and battling against sugar, and so all things body/weight-related are once again, unfortunately, dominating my brain.

I also love the shore because I love shore food. Boardwalk pizza, crumb cake, Kohr Bros yogurt, etc., etc. I hate the shore for the same reason. I figured this year would be challenging to avoid all the desserts, but told myself, “Eh, no biggie, I can have all the pizza I want.” I did, indeed, indulge too much in said pizza. But I was surprised at just how deprived of sweets I felt throughout the week, since generally I haven’t felt that way. Then again, here at home I’m not walking by ice cream shops and donut shops and sweets shops every few feet, as one does on the boardwalk, and I’m not having to watch my family indulge in gelato while I look on. It was hard! But I did it.

In the midst of it all and after two days of being in an absolute funk, I decided I needed to change up some things I’ve been doing, because while, yes, I’ve avoided obvious sweets and that certainly is a victory, I’ve not exactly been replacing them with healthier habits. I’ve been replacing them with pizza and Pringles. Between feeling disgustingly big all week and then dealing with the news that a relative was having quintuple bypass surgery this week, I felt ready to tackle more changes.

I’d been considering giving up the other carbs I’ve been devouring. Maybe I still should/will at some point, but hey, I need SOMETHING to have as an option when everyone else is sucking down slurpees or scarfing down birthday cake. So rather than that, I decided I was just going to make sure if/when I eat chips or pizza or bread or whatever, that I’m doing it with a meal that includes protein. If I want to eat between meals, it’s going to be fruits and veggies first, then possibly nuts. I’d originally planned on Three Meals a Day and nothing in between – which is still ideal, but hey, I don’t want to set myself up for failure, or bingeing, if I find myself starving at 3 pm, so I went with the fruits/veggies thing.

Sorry to babble so long about these food issues on what is ostensibly my author page. But you know what? Authors have struggles, too, beyond writing pains, right?

So here I am on Day 37 of my Sugarless Summer. I’m only 3 pounds lighter than when I started. But I’m excited for many reasons. I’m actually DOING it, for one. And a second biggie is that making the decision to switch to only fruits and veggies between meals doesn’t sound impossible, because I don’t feel quite so enslaved to snacks the way I used to. Well, we’ll see. I’ll check back in in a month or so…wish me luck!

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