Maintaining, Away

By Debbie Koenig 

For the first time since the late 1990s, I’m taking two weeks off. Two consecutive weeks, I mean. Last year, at the end of our annual trip to Maine, my husband and I were whining (as we do every time) about how just as we were starting to feel really relaxed, we had to schlep back to the real world again. That’s when I suggested that for our vacation in 2016, we spend two weeks there instead. This may go down as one of my most genius ideas ever.

Two weeks seems like a genuine luxury, but it also offers some potential pitfalls, at least as far as my weight is concerned. I’m planning ahead as much as I can, to avoid them. Renting a house takes care of my eating; breakfast, some lunches, and most dinners will be prepared so I’ll have complete control. I’ll only have to deal with lunches on the fly, when we’re off exploring and eat wherever we wind up.

To offset what may be some indulgent eating, I’m ramping up my exercise while I’m away. The first week we’re up there, our son will go to day camp. My husband and I have developed a little ritual around this: Whoever drops him off does so dressed in workout clothes and hits the pavement upon return, while the other gets going as soon as they drive off. (Our paces don’t synchronize well enough to run/walk together.) No fighting for the shower, since we get back at different times.

The house we’ve been renting the last few years is no longer available, so we’re going to be in a new place, a different town. We’ve already mapped out our new routes. My path goes from our front door to a lighthouse a mile away, then back and around a loop through the teeny-tiny main street. All told I’ll do about three miles each time. I know from experience, the scenery will be so inviting, I won’t have to force myself to lace up my sneaks.

At least twice during that first week, my husband and I will go hiking. Walking alone together in nature — as in, without junior — is such a rare thing for us. Living in the city, we never feel solitude. On the trails we hit in Maine, we usually don’t see another person. Our favorite leads to a rocky outcrop overlooking the water, where we’ll sit and talk until we’re ready to turn back. I love that feeling, of being completely alone with my husband.

We’ve dubbed our second (bonus) week “Family Week.” We’re planning to do something active together every day. It might be as un-aerobic as miniature golf or as sweaty as a full-day hike. At the very least, we’ll take a daily walk after dinner, doused in mosquito repellent. We’re going to try kayaking as a family — in the past, I’ve been a little too nervous about my son’s swimming abilities, but I think he’s ready. And my husband is looking into bike rentals. (This scares me a bit, since I haven’t been on a bike since high school. Send courage my way, please.)

Now that I’ve mapped out a solid plan, I can say with confidence that I won’t gain weight on vacation. I may even drop a pound or two!

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