Obviously in my year-long venture to train myself in new healthy habits and lose weight, I failed to acquire good vacation food choice skills, mainly because I really didn’t go on any vacations during that time. Everything seems so clear to me now… now that I’m out of my vacation haze and home in my bed. I’d gone to bed hours ago, but apparently my body thinks I just took a 4 hour nap and now I feel awake… complicated by active digestion and thirst. So up I am, writing the post that started forming in my head while attempting to fall back asleep, but furthered me awake.
It didn’t help my vacation choices that I went in with so many unknowns about where we’d be throughout the day or what would be available. Basically, our short vacation of just two nights and one full day happened at all because my hubby’s long time best friend and his wife and one year old son (who we hadn’t met yet) were visiting Myrtle Beach, which is a much closer drive for us than their home state of New Hampshire. So we decided we’d make the drive over and spend Thanksgiving with them.
We could only get a cheap hotel room with no mini kitchen and not even a mini fridge, so we couldn’t exactly bring any healthy options to eat at the hotel. Plans were fuzzy over what we’d be doing together during the day and even over where we’d be having our Turkey day feast. There was a vague plan to crash his sister’s Thanksgiving meal (she was local and the reason they were spending their Thanksgiving in Myrtle Beach, so I pictured being in her home with her family and some home cooked food from which I could pick some decent choices). But then we heard that her husband’s a dick and may not agree… or something like that. We basically had NO IDEA what the hell we were doing and couldn’t get a straight answer until literally the night before we left on Wednesday to drive there.
Turns out that we were going to have our Thanksgiving meal at a Brazilian steakhouse at 2:30 pm.
OK… didn’t see that coming!
If, like me, you’ve never heard of a Brazilian steakhouse, let me explain that it is FANTASTIC. What makes it different than a normal steakhouse you ask? Well, they have all the meat roasting rotisserie style and a multitude of waiters walk around with the meat still on the spit and come to your seat and carve you off whatever cut you like. You have what looks like a drink coaster on the table in front of you and on one side it is green which means you’d like the waiters to stop and offer you whatever cut they have (they had top sirloin, filet mignon, bacon wrapped chicken, sausage, chicken wings, lamb, bacon wrapped filet mignon and some cut of beef they referred to as the ‘house special’ that was like butter and melted in your mouth – yum!), or you could flip it over to the red side which meant they would stop coming to your seat (either because you’d had enough or your plate was full). It was one price to sit and eat (for the adults – my 6 year old was free) and they had a buffet of salad ingredients and also had the traditional turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce available (which I never did get because I got salad stuff to start on my first plate and then got all the meat added to it and by the time I wanted to go have just a bit of turkey, the place was PACKED and there was literally no start or end to the line of people constantly around the buffet and I didn’t want to just cut the line, so I never did).
We couldn’t believe how busy this place was for Thanksgiving afternoon. We talked to a waiter and he told us they had over 1,000 reservations and had to stop taking them and expected 300-500 walk-ins who were actually waiting the 3 hour wait time! Damn. Obviously this place had the good reputation it deserved.
Hubby and I gave a knowing exchange across the table of “we need to find a Brazilian steakhouse near us”, and he whipped out his phone to discover that the one we were in was the only one in the state. Bummer. Not sure we like it enough to spend over half a day driving to and from! Ah well, probably for the best.
Honestly, the “dinner” (more like “linner” as my hubby says… combo of lunch/dinner) I had was not so bad… mainly salad and meat and therefore low carb. My biggest splurge was having a red wine sangria (which I really could have gone without) and splitting a New York style cheesecake with hubby for dessert (which for the first time in my life I preferred the cake part over the crust – the creamiest I’d ever had). Dessert came via a cart of its own so you got to see all the treats right in front of you (evil!) and just to be thorough in my review, was an added charge to the meal price (but worth it!).
We enjoyed our lovely meal, but it really didn’t feel like Thanksgiving… like at all. We were surrounded by family, just not our own. Hubby knew some of his friend’s family because he spent a little time with them growing up, but I basically was at a table of two friends and a bunch of strangers. The place was noisy and bustling, so we mainly talked to our friends and you really didn’t know or hear what was happening at the other end of the large table they’d put together. I had to keep reminding myself it was Thanksgiving because it sure didn’t feel like it.
So my dinner choices weren’t so bad, but the choices leading up to or after weren’t so wonderful.
We arrived Wednesday and just about the only thing I decided I wanted was dinner at a seafood restaurant seeming we were surrounded by a ton of them (and seeming our friends had no plans already and were leaving it up to us). It’s been a while since I had some good seafood. Hubby’s friend didn’t know where to go, but whipped out his coupon books and looked for seafood places. Apparently this is NOT the best method for picking a decent seafood restaurant. Have I mentioned that none of us had been to Myrtle Beach before? Well, we hadn’t.
We ended up at Crabby Mike’s. Don’t go if you’re ever in Myrtle Beach. That is, unless you like imitation type seafood places where the majority of the seafood is fried and they actually serve farm raised fish and imitation crab meat. Here I was wanting a place with lobster bisque and actually served lobster at all and it was the one thing they did not have… not even that imitation kind. The realest form of seafood they had were crab legs, but I’m not a fan of hacking into those things at the table and having juices spatter and making a big mess, so I didn’t even have any.
And the price was terrible for the food quality. We had this fake style seafood for the same cost as the awesome Thanksgiving feast at Rioz Brazilian Steakhouse, which was far more worth it obviously.
So I ate terribly… fried clams, fried scallops (hubby’s friend had gotten the un-fried fish and had been serving it to his wife as she was tending to the baby and she kept making “man that’s nasty” faces with each bite, so I opted not to pick the poached tilapia or their other “fresh” fish choices – plus he’d asked the waiter and found out they were farm raised…. I’ve vowed to never bother eating farm raised fish ever again… bleh). I did get a salad, which was the only redeeming thing on my plate.
Because we’d checked in early on Wednesday, the hotel changed our room to one that was ready at the time. It was a total surprise to walk in and see basically a full kitchen – full sized stove/oven, microwave, full sized fridge, toaster, sink and everything you’d need to cook and eat with. So on our way back from spending the evening with our friends at their accommodation’s indoor pool and outside Jacuzzi, we stopped by a Walgreens to pick up food to have at the room.
Admittedly, I was full into my “vacation choices” mode, not that so many healthy choices were available, but here we were picking out cereal and milk for breakfast, and because we knew we were eating at 2:30 pm the next day, we thought we’d get hungry around 8-9pm, so we grabbed a frozen pizza and of course some ice cream. Here’s where I’m going to say “at least we didn’t buy any chips!”. Seriously, it was tempting! Had I been able to plan to bring food ahead of time, things might have been different.
But there I was in an unfamiliar town, on vacation and in total vacation choice mode. This means that I was eating like how I view a “normal” person, aka a person who does not have a weight problem, food restrictions, a slow metabolism or has to worry about certain food’s effect on their system. In other words, I ate whatever the hell I wanted. I’ve always pretended to be like this on vacations because they are usually short and my body could take it.
I was far from home, and without my daily digital reminders (stupid internet didn’t work at our hotel, so I didn’t see my gadget on my laptop desktop with inspiring pictures and reminders to eat well, nor could I check into to Sparkpeople or log my food) and it made me completely forget that my body isn’t what it used to be… I can’t be eating full sugar items anymore with my semi insulin-resistant body and blood sugars that need help from metformin. This trip was different, and yet that didn’t click for me until after the fact for just about everything I ate.
Thanksgiving day started with a bowl of cereal. I haven’t eaten cereal like that in a long time. I had bought a cereal that all of us would eat, and it was not the Kashi I was used to eating (which I’d only eat having already had some egg whites… strange… it just occurred to me NOW – days later – that I could have actually bought eggs at Walgreens and had them for breakfast… duh… ah well).
So that was a far more sugary, less protein based breakfast than I was used to. Then it was 2 hours later, but 4 hours until our feast time and we found ourselves on the road to playing some mini golf and starving. Krispy Kreme had been tossed around as a suggestion (jokingly earlier), but the next thing I know, that’s where hubby is turning the car into. Well people, there is literally nothing else to choose from at Krispy Kreme except donuts! I thought I’d have just one, but over the course of 3 hours, I had three. On top of that, I bought an apple juice to drink (hello! more sugar!). We’d packed about six 12 oz water bottles, but were in short supply for the duration and the hotel tap water was nasty, so I was only having about 24 ounces a day instead of the 72+ I’m used to.
Lack of water and too much sugar = headache time.
After mini golf and our un-Thanksgiving meal, we enjoyed a walk on the beach and more pool and Jacuzzi time until we called it at night at around 8 pm. When we got back to the hotel, we really weren’t hungry for enough for the pizza and topped the night off with some ice cream instead.
For Friday morning breakfast, we decided to eat at the hotel since they’d given us a $25 credit for not being able to give us internet the entire time (we even tried to switch rooms, but every room they offered also did not have access). And here I went again… choosing whatever I felt like instead of thinking of my health and body. I got scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, homefries, one piece of French toast and had 1 quarter of hubby’s freshly made make-it-yourself waffle with full sugar syrup. Oh, and orange juice. Hello fat and sugar!
My poor body. I was really feeling it. My face even looked fatter in the pictures we took (always shows up there first). And even with that, after we got home, my choices continued to be shotty.
We opted to make the partially defrosted-from-the-car-trip pizza for lunch when we got home so we wouldn’t waste it, then I found myself snacking on leftover Starbursts (a trip tradition – we always pack Starbursts for family driving trips) and then because we’d emptied the house of any real food prior to our vacation, we ordered in Chinese for dinner.
Bleh. I think I’m done now. I’m actually looking forward to eating light and treating my body nicer tomorrow… er… today. We have eggs for breakfast, but then we’re off to buy some real food and restock the kitchen.
So other than my food choices and body effects, it was a great little mini vacation. I have to say that it was totally a weird experience to be able to drive and remain in our current home state and end up at a “tropical” vacation destination (we live in an area palm trees can grow, but for some reason you just don’t see that many of them, but a place like Myrtle Beach has them everywhere and it just made it feel more tropical… reminded me of being Florida). That was certainly a first for us seeming we were New Englanders our whole lives up until 2 years ago. It really threw me off. Plus, we were seeing friends that we’d last visited in New Hampshire, so for a minute, when I thought about arriving back home, I pictured our old house in Connecticut. Our home for 7 years we had to leave and rent out in order to afford to keep it after we moved south for hubby’s new job. I couldn’t even picture our current southern home… like at all. I completely went blank and could only picture arriving back at our previous home. How weird is that? It literally took me a good 10 -15 seconds to remember our things inside our current home. This also could have been brought on by hanging out with a one year old. I hadn’t held a baby since my own baby was that age which happened at our old home… maybe that’s a reason my head went there. It kind of made me sad that that wasn’t where we were going back to. But then again, that would have been at least a 15 hour drive back and suddenly I was relieved we only had about a 3 hour drive to get “home”.
OK… it’s after 3 am now… I guess I should go back to sleep now.
Update: You know what is completely batty? I weighed in (Saturday morning) and was only up .2 lbs since Wednesday. How the eff did I manage that??? My body is weird.