Going on a vacation when you’re trying to lose weight is like going to the Land of Plenty. Plenty of Temptations to eat more than normal. Plenty of Good Reasons to justify eating.

Part of me dreaded vacation. I’d spent two weeks renewing my mind to only eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m satisfied.

What if this trip to Seattle became a roller coaster, rousing my senses—sight, smell, taste—to incredible heights until I couldn’t resist. And then plunging me into a sea of gluttony and condemnation from which I’d never recover?

So I packed my Bible verses to remember who I am in Christ rather than identify myself as an anything goes tourist on holiday.”

First day in the city, my family walked to the Bay where the salty sea air wasn’t the only thing I breathed in. Asian, Italian, and Seafood restaurants lined the wharf where customers dined outdoors…savoring their meals in plain view.

I tried to shield my eyes from the culinary temptations, but the smorgasbord was everywhere. Ice cream waffle cones, fried fish and chips, shrimp cocktail, sushi, calzone, clam chowder. I felt like Pinocchio walking through the midway of food booths at a fair.

In the Public Market, food—cooked and raw—were displayed on ice or slanted trays like crowned jewels. People—hungry or not—lined up to satisfy their appetites. Until Thin Within, I never realized how food monopolizes our day.


Waiting until I was hungry to eat, wasn’t the problem. It was the mental debate before each meal: what I wanted versus what I was capable of eating before I reached a five. 

In the olden days, I might have postponed my diet or played the martyr…eating a house salad while my husband and son devoured the Seafood Sampler. However, Thin Within isn’t a diet, it’s a lifestyle. So I asked for the smoked salmon on a side salad instead of as an entree. Even so, the salad portion was larger than a fist.

“Food is fuel,” I said, and scraped half my salad on my twenty-year-old son’s plate. I took a tiny bite of my husband’s crab cakes. And I only had one slice of fresh sourdough bread. By allowing myself to taste different foods, my taste buds were tickled and my stomach had “enough.”

Initially, I thought I might lose weight because we never ate more than two meals a day. Never snacked between meals. Burned more calories by walking than we ate.

However, my diet declined as the week progressed. My battle wasn’t a lack of self-discipline as much as listening to my family.

“Eat what you want. You’re on vacation.

“You can eat smart next week.”

“You should try my Belgium waffle.”

“I can’t eat all this pizza. Do you want some?”

“I thought you were going to help me eat this Chocolate Brownie with vanilla ice cream.”

“Is that all you’re going to eat? Don’t you like it?”


Instead of saying, “I’m trying to lose weight,” I’d tell them, “I’m not hungry.” 

Not being hungry empowered me as opposed to sacrificing food to lose weight.

Portion control was my worse enemy. One afternoon, I ordered fish tacos from the appetizer menu thinking they’d be smaller portions, but the waitress brought three large tacos. I was satisfied after I ate the first taco. But my son refused to be my garbage disposal and eat the other two.

“Clean your plate & Don’t waste your food” were ingrained in me from birth. I made myself eat the second taco. My stomach groaned. “You’re not eating for two.”

So I tried a childhood trick. I picked at the third taco with my fork to make it appear like I’d eaten some of it. Then I placed my cloth napkin on top of my plate so the waitress wouldn’t see the uneaten food. 

Some folks might wonder why I didn’t ask for a Doggy Bag. 1) We never ate near our hotel, and didn’t want to carry it around. 2) Our room didn’t have a microwave to reheat the food. 

By the last meal, I stopped inventing ways to eat or not eat my food. Not knowing when I’d eat next, (another excuse) I ate both halves of my croissant breakfast sandwich despite being full. Rather than justify my actions or live in condemnation, I focused on the positive. 

  • Everything I ate was delicious.
  • I tried to limit my food.
  • I did better than I anticipated considering how little control I had regarding meals.
  • Thin Within exposed the false reasons that made me think I deserved to eat with abandon during vacation. 

I’m home now, and happy to announce, “I didn’t gain weight.” That’s a first for me! 


Photos: Karen Foster