Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Summer Road Trip

Last weekend, I dropped my daughter off at school in Raleigh and continued up the East Coast, visiting friends and family along the way. When I reached my final destination, Long Beach Island, I beached myself on a lounge chair and enjoyed the view.

Before I embarked on my adventure, I spoke with Jacy about my plan. My food plan, that is. I had no itinerary, I was going to be foot loose and fancy free. Just me, my car, and the open highway. But when I told Jacy that I was hitting the road, she had a few questions and made some suggestions that really resonated with me. 

In the past, a road trip was synonymous with Swedish Fish and pretzels. But at Jacy's suggestion, I skipped the fish and twisted knots and instead loaded the passenger seat with healthy snacks. Before I left, I stocked my cooler with individual nut packs from Trader Joe's, sparkling water, apples, carrots, some dark chocolate, and a chicken, vegetable wrap that I made with the leftovers from the dinner I had the night before I departed. The snacks nourished and sustained me through Richmond, DC, Baltimore, Wilmington, all the way to the shores of New Jersey. 

I'm not sure if it's a coincidence or if I subconsciously choose friends who are phenomenal cooks, but every friend I visited in Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey put out a spread that could have graced the pages of Gourmet Magazine. Jacy warned me that eating right isn't always easy when you are at the mercy of your host for meals, but she assured me that I could still make good choices if I had a plan, and then she helped me with the plan. Lucky for me, my friends are not only amazing cooks, they also choose a variety of healthy foods and recipes. I ate like royalty without making a total pig of myself. 

I wouldn't normally choose a blueberry muffin the size of my head to start the day, but when I came downstairs and was greeted by my friend, the hostess with the hostess, handing me a muffin right out of the oven and a delicious latte with an impressive heart woven into the foam, well, let's just say, it was impossible to say no. So I ate part of the muffin, and filled the rest of my plate with fresh fruit. When we grilled burgers for lunch one day, I had mine open-faced on half of a bun. I skipped the chips in favor of a small salad and didn't feel guilty about washing it all down with a Corona (and an orange slice in stead of a lime - highly recommend it). The night we had homemade pesto pizza, I served myself one piece with a heaping serving of the tossed shrimp and avocado salad.  My cousin, the former bartender, featured a specialty cocktail every afternoon at happy hour. I enjoyed Saturday's blackberry mojito, Sunday's watermelon basil margarita, Monday's vodka-thyme lemonade, and Tuesday's sparkling shiraz punch. But I made a point to pass on the appetizers. I also chose not to sample the fudge or indulge in nightly dessert as I knew that on Tuesday evening we were going out for frozen custard and I was not going to pass on that little scoop of deliciousness. 

When I arrived home and stepped on the scale, I was pleased as (sparkling shiraz) punch to find that the number flashing on the display was the same as when I last stepped on it. I had so much fun visiting with my family and friends. I enjoyed countless delicious meals, I added a few new cocktails to my repertoire, and best of all - I managed to stay in control and on track (thanks to Jacy's voice in my ear). I was supposed to check in with her this evening at 8:15 for our weekly chat, but my husband and I are celebrating our 26th wedding anniversary, so I rescheduled for tomorrow. It's hard to take the Just 10 Challenge when there always seems to be a birthday to celebrate, or a road trip to take, or an anniversary to toast. But that's life, and you can't put life on hold. But you can learn to make a plan. And if you keep practicing the plan, day in and day out, eventually the plan becomes a habit. 

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