I returned last week from spending a week in Barcelona with my family. My husband had a conference there this week, so we all went a week early and spent a week on vacation, then I returned with the kids while he stayed to work. It was an amazing trip, mostly for the sights we saw, the beautiful city, the amazing architecture, the art, and the culture. However, the other thing that was amazing for me was how my new lifestyle has affected my experience of travel.
The first change was on the airplane. I used to barely fit in an airplane seat, and would make sure I sat next to my daughter so I could put up the armrest and use some of her seat too. I often had to ask for a seatbelt extender, which I found a rather humiliating experience. Now the seats felt almost roomy, my daughter and I could use our armrests, the seatbelt fit with room to spare. I was able to put the tray table down all the way, and eat my (yuk!) meal in some semblance of comfort. Also, just having to sit in one spot for so long, while still not a pleasant experience, was not nearly as uncomfortable as it used to be.
I decided to take a break from logging my food while in Barcelona, and enjoy their culture of food as part of the entire experience. The way they eat in Barcelona is to start the day with a croissant or some other pastry and a cup of coffee. Then for lunch there is a fixed menu lunch, and/or some tapas (though these are sometimes eaten as a snack between), then dinner around 8pm or so. We got onto a pretty late schedule–maybe a little too late, but it worked well for us–and would usually have tapas for our lunch. I think once we made it in time for the fixed menu lunch, but I came to really enjoy the tapas and we did that most days. Eating only a croissant for breakfast was a new thing for me, but it worked out okay for the week. I even tried their local specialty pasty, the ensaimada, which was very croissant-like, but even had powdered sugar on top. Definitely not the kind of thing I’ve been eating recently.
While I didn’t worry too much about what I was eating, enjoying the local foods, I still payed attention to how much I ate, making sure to stop when no longer hungry. I chose seafood dishes most of the time–certainly easy to do in Barcelona, since it is right on the Mediterranean. We made sure to start our dinners with a vegetable, which you have to order separately, generally as an appetizer, and they are not usually part of an entree. My husband and I didn’t eat many desserts–though the kids had gelato almost every night. And, perhaps most important of all, we walked like crazy. I wore my fitbit on the trip, and we walked about 25,000 steps every day. We didn’t rent a car, so we were either walking or taking the Metro (subway) everywhere. Also, our apartment was on the 6th floor of the building, and we took the stairs instead of the elevator.
Towards the end of the vacation, I had some digestive issues…let’s just say things were not moving along at their normal pace. I’m guessing this is from the severe change in my diet. While we were ordering vegetables with our dinner, and I would usually get some vegetable tapas, I was not eating veggies in nearly the proportions that I normally do.
I returned home on a Saturday night, and when I weighed myself on Sunday morning I had gained 5 pounds since before we left. As I said, my digestion was (ahem) not moving at its normal pace, and I guessed I was also retaining a bit of water from the flight, so I tried not to worry too much. I figured I might have gained a bit of weight, but probably not that much. As I continued to weigh myself during the week, it went steadily down. By Friday, my normal weigh-in day, I was down 3 pounds from before we left on vacation 2 weeks earlier. Obviously, the 5 pounds was just water weight and digestive issues, and since I doubt I lost 3 pounds in 1 week, that probably means I lost a little weight while on vacation. Very happy news, and a bit of a revelation that these lifestyle changes seem to be ingrained enough that it is part of life even while relaxing and having fun on a trip.
The whole trip was an amazing experience. It has made me realize how different travel is for us now, we seem to always choose fairly active vacations, and I am finding traveling much more rewarding as a result. I’m already planning for our next trip!