Birthday Musings: Silver Linings from a Crazy-cation

I recently spent a week vacationing in So. Cal. This trip was born out of the need to fulfill continuing education credits for my professional certification. I planned to attend Perform Better’s 3-day Functional Training Summit in Long Beach, CA. My husband (Mike) and I decided it would be fun to turn it into a little vacation since this year the Summit ended the day before my birthday, and I love celebrating birthdays! Last year I attended the Summit with 3 friends/colleagues and 3 of the 4 of us began the trip with a full day at Disneyland, which was incredibly fun and even more exhausting.

What could be better than spending a day at Disneyland again this year? Heading to “The Happiest Place on Earth” after the Summit, on my birthday, with my husband, throw in a second day, visit both parks, and stay two nights at Disney’s California Grand Hotel. My mind was full of epic birthday visions!

Have I mentioned we also made plans to attend a concert on our first night and spend our last day with an overnight visit to our friends’ home in San Diego? This is how Mike and I often begin trips. One idea sparks the trip. Then we begin layering on “this fun thing” and “that fun thing”, and before you know it, we have created a “crazy-cation”! It may be fair to say we like to make the most of our airfare.

Unfortunately this adventure did not begin on a positive note. Our flight to Long Beach was delayed two hours. When we returned to the gate at the new boarding time, we were told the plane had already departed. (Despite the departure screens not reflecting this change and no announcements were made over the loud speaker; insert many expletives here!) After finally arriving in Long Beach and driving to our hotel, we discovered this was not the hotel we thought we had reservations at (same chain, wrong location). Oops.

One of my main concerns when traveling is maintaining my Paleo eating regime, which requires high-quality food. The first silver lining was discovering our hotel room included an in-room microwave and mini-refrigerator/freezer.  In addition to the $70/night lower price tag, this hotel mix-up was beginning to look a lot brighter!  I was now able to order extra food when we went out for dinner and have breakfast in our room the next morning. I was also able to re-freeze the ice pack for my cooler each night and carry my day-time meals with me.

I’ve always thought birthdays are a great time for reflection, which then allows us to look forward with clarity and purpose (thank you Mom for imparting this). Last Aug. when I attended the Summit, I was at my highest weight (about 12 lb. and ~6% body fat heavier than I am now). I was only a few months in to my journey of finding the root cause(s) of my digestive dysfunction. I had just begun eliminating certain foods. It was a major challenge to travel and go to Disneyland without indulging in any of my favorite treats, like mint chocolate chip ice cream, let alone “regular” food like chili in a sourdough bowl. However, I was armed with determination and had already noticed my body beginning to change in a desirable direction.

A year later, it was a great feeling to make this journey, at what is a pretty normal weight/body fat for me (though not where I was in ’07/’08, “A Tale of Two Numbers…”, but I’m getting closer), and not feel as deprived as I had the year before. Another silver lining!

When I stepped on the scale upon returning home, I figured the numbers would be up at least a little, due to lack of sleep, somewhat different and less controlled food, more sodium, etc. To my great surprise, the Tanita scale showed the same range I had seen pre-vacation. This silver lining reinforced the choices I’ve been making over the past year to allow my body every opportunity to heal were paying off in multiple ways.

My mind and my body were thanking me!

We returned home full of exciting new memories and the feeling of needing a “vacation from the vacation.”  Labor Day weekend offered much-needed rest and time for birthday musings. As I look forward to the coming year, I plan to keep my eyes open for all the silver linings glimmering around what may have first appeared to be dark clouds.

To Your Best Health!


P.S. Included a few photos of our trip. Enjoy!

About Autum's FITNESS 4U

I love all things health-related and have a special passion for dancing, hiking, traveling, and creating memories! I am grateful to have an amazing husband, family and friends to share this life with.
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8 Responses to Birthday Musings: Silver Linings from a Crazy-cation

  1. Congrats on following Paleo on your trip. I know how much planning and thinking ahead it requires. I have the hardest time with the Disney Churros. But I think they’re made with sweet potatoes and stevia, so they’re ok.

    • You’ve got me chuckling out loud, Kevin. How I wish the churros were made of sweet potatoes and stevia! Maybe we could sell them on a yam and honey combo? I really wish ice cream stores would start carrying Coconut Bliss brand coconut ice cream! I still hold out hope that our influence will win over and supply will eventually catch up with spreading demand.

  2. Amy J says:

    Great post! I like your vacation Paleo tip to make sure you have a fridge, microwave, and pack a cooler with an ice pack. Makes this lifestyle easier to maintain anywhere! While I probably wasn’t nearly as strict as you, I was happy to be armed with the the tools PEB provided to make good decisions during the two vacations over the last couple of months and was pleasantly surprised not to see the scale shoot up! Looking forward to continuing on this journey with expectations of improvement (without the vacations that cause some inevitable limitations to diet and quality of food). You look great, Autum! And I’m glad the crazy-cation turned out to be amazing!

  3. seattlesamba says:

    A wonderful story, with many vivid details that helped me relate to everything you went through! Your post is a great reminder to not freak out even when our best-laid plans seem to be going off the rails, and to actually notice and appreciate the hidden gifts (the silver linings) that appear right in front of us during those times. Also very interesting to hear about your year-long journey (and continuing) with your digestive issues: another great reminder that the greatest journeys take the most time, effort, and patience. And very reinforcing to hear that if you stay committed to the journey, even after a wild weekend, your body will thank you! Thanks for sharing at such a personal level, which takes courage and also speaks powerfully to those of us who are on similar journeys. Looking forward to more!

    • “Time, effort and patience” definitely sum up this journey! I believe one of the most significant silver linings in my quest to optimize my health, is sharing these experiences with others. There is so much our society doesn’t talk about and people are needlessly suffering. Lack of education and understanding of what is and is not normal, or achievable, are two key factors holding back the elevation of wellness in our society.

  4. seattlesamba says:

    P.S. I had a similar experience to your final silver lining when vacationing in Beirut, Lebanon (where I spend childhood/early teen years) several years ago. I was so ecstatic to have genuine Arab food again that I ate very generously and also didn’t work out at all during those two weeks. (I also didn’t work out at all; I walked most places, but no long distances or power walking.) I usually work out daily and lift weights several times a week, and on returning, braced myself for a weight gain. Instead, I’d lost 3-4 lbs and was leaner. I’m sure it was because I felt so happy and at peace while there (low cortisol, etc.: no stress hormones doing their dirty work): I felt no anxiety or tension and slept very well. Also, I was also on a 100 percent Mediterranean diet, to which I was wholly dedicated, 24/7. 🙂 (I definitely leaned towards lean protein, fruits, and veggies, but also ate Arab bread and yogurt–traditionally required–with every meal. Note: Though I usually allow myself several pieces of 85% dark chocolate daily, while in Lebanon I had no desire for that or the occasional sweet treat at all.)

    For me, the revelation/silver lining was to stay true in a general, but *flexible*, way, to the healthy living principles I already had in place. If I’d gotten stressed, for example, over not having my usual turkey/avocado/tomato sandwich for lunch or not going to the gym, the weight-gaining stress hormones would have happily taken over my psyche and body. (And how absurd that would have been, in the middle of my long-awaited Middle Eastern vacation.) And the ultimate silver lining was to discover, as you did, that by following my best/flexible instincts, I treated my body well in a larger sense. And, like you, I found that my body and my mind thanked me!

    • What a Wonderful experience! (On so many levels.) I firmly believe exercise has its place, but I consider it the catalyst. True inner peace and happiness, a well rested body and mind, and whole, native foods do wonders for the mind, body and soul. This really hits home when you have a personal experience showing it to be so! Thank you for sharing.

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