All That Walking and Four New Pounds–The Mysteries of Weight Gain

Thumbnail image for scale.jpg

I love vacation.  The chance to read all the novels that have piled high beside my bed or cluttered my eReader.  The long walks with no real destination in mind.  The fabulous farm stand with fresh corn and juicy ripe tomatoes that’s five minutes from our rental cottage.

Before leaving home this summer I told my husband that our month in Chautauqua, New York would be the perfect time to lose a little weight.  After all when we’re there, we walk miles every day .  Chautauqua is a pedestrian community, and since I take my pedometer, I know it’s not unusual to log seven miles in a day walking Nemo and going to programs.  What an easy way to lose those sneaky pounds I’ve added during the year.  What a cinch.

Having lots of time to read has its downside, too.  During our second week I read a Time magazine article online that gave me pause–but apparently not enough.  Exercise, it claims, does not necessarily help us lose weight.  In fact exercise is sometimes the culprit in weight gain.  Turns out that three things can happen after a strenuous workout.  One, we believe that since we’re exercising more, we can eat whatever we want.  Two, exercise makes us hungry and therefore more likely to consume calories.  Three, after a long, exhausting activity, we’re less likely to move around for the rest of the day.

But that’s other people.  Certainly not me or you, right?  And those homemade cinnamon rolls, maple spread and fruit pies from the farmstand that came home with the corn and tomatoes and zucchini?  Those wine and appetizer moments on our front porch with new friends and old?  When you walk seven miles a day, do you really need to worry?

In a word?  Yes.

My husband and I arrived home last night with everything we’d taken on vacation with us.  We also arrived with about four new pounds, unwelcome hitchhikers we were not prepared for.

So, how about you?  Did all those swims in the ocean, those hikes in the mountain, those hours of riding your bikes on country roads this summer help or hinder?  Have you stepped on the scales?  Are you afraid to?

Would I do the past month differently?  Maybe not.  Will I do the next month differently?  That’s a solid yes. 

Are we in this together?  Let me know.  Pounds shed with friends slip away faster.  In fact one of the characters in Fortunate Harbor, next summer’s sequel to Happiness Key, discovers that very thing.

Now, if only the author had paid more attention as she typed. 


  1. Ingrid King on September 1, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Sounds like you had a wonderful vacation – what’s an extra four pounds when you got to enjoy all these wonderful treats, along with all the walking you did. Vacations are for forgetting about things like scales, diets and the like.
    I haven’t used my scale in forever – I found the obsession with numbers unhealthy. I use the way my clothes fit as my guide instead. I’m also, finally, reluctantly accepting that my body, especially my mid-section, just isn’t going to look the way it did when I was in my twenties, no matter how much I exercise or how little I eat.
    And if you’ll excuse me now, I have to go walk off that cookie I just had with my afternoon coffee……

  2. Emilie Richards on September 1, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    Good luck with that cookie! And I hope you enjoyed it. I may need a report, but I don’t need a cookie, that’s for sure.

  3. Patricia Barraclough on September 6, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Sounds like you had a great vacation. I’ve decided no matter how good you are, a few extra pounds always find their way onto your hips if not some other place.
    We leave for a 2 1/2 week vacation the end of this month. We will be in Oklahoma and Texas. If nothing else, we have already planned some of our food stops – Taste of San Antonio, Octoberfest, Texas BBQ, Mexican food, cinnamon rolls. I’m doomed. If we could only eat one meal a day, but that would probably mess up the metabolism.

  4. Emilie Richards on September 6, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Ohmigosh! I want to stow away. I can taste the BBQ and San Antonio? You’re going to have a ball.

  5. Elizabeth Panni on September 23, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    Happiness is coming home from vacation lighter than when you left–but how often does that happen?
    I try so hard not to eat sugar and there is something about being away from home that causes my brain to think “no one will know’. Unfortunatley, it usually results in a downward spiral and I’m finally at a place in life (57) where I don’t want to deal with that. So, I don’t eat the sugar. Oh and thanks for the museli recipe!

  6. Emilie Richards on September 29, 2009 at 5:17 am

    Just returned home from Europe. You are welcome, and I hope you enjoy the recipe. It’s actually better than the version I had on the river cruise. Which is why I told myself that I could eat croissants on the cruise and save the museli (often spelled muesli in Europe, as I was reminded) for home. Now to find out how many MORE pounds I gained.

Leave a Comment