“I have never won more than $2 playing the lottery but when it comes to family, I hit the jackpot. My Mom is an angel walking around in a mortal’s body and as good fortune would have it, she has an identical twin, who is just that– identical in every way. When I have the best news in the world and I’m busting at the seams to tell someone, it’s my Mom I call first. (I don’t have to call my Aunt b/c my Mom does that! Usually lovingly referred to by our husbands as “The Family Phone Tree”!). When my world falls apart and I can’t stand it one more second, the call I make is to her. My Mom is an incredible listener, cheerleader, problem solver and a voice of reason that I’m thankful for everyday. So my mom and my aunt each had two daughters and although only one of them is officially my sister, my two cousins couldn’t be much closer. Since we’ve been little girls, every June, we make our annual trek to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina to stay in a giant house together on the beach. It used to be the 8 of us- four girls and our parents-now we bring along husbands and collective 10 kids for a grand total of over 20 people!! It’s a BIG beach house! This is the week I live and work for, let me tell you! I was born in central Illinois but I think my spirit is from the South! I love it! Its been between 90*-100* everyday and we’ve spent most of the time we’ve been here so far at the beach or the pool. Each year I try to have a plan for the vacation. There have been years I’ve said “Forget It” to all healthy lifestyle behaviors and my “plan” was just to eat, drink and sit for the entire week. There are other years I’ve tried to go over board by restricting myself so much that it was stressful. A big part of our trip is going to nice dinners each night and when I didn’t let myself enjoy that, it put a damper on the trip. I no longer believe any weight loss is worth that deprivation. If I were giving out “bravo stars” (we do that at our ww meetings-have to be there to get what I’m saying!!!) I think I would give one to myself for the mental evolution that has taken place in my attitude over the last 10 years. I know what it feels like to take a vaca from being healthy and it’s NO TREAT! I like how I feel after I run in the morning. Taking walks on the beach in the afternoon feels good. I like eating light all day so that I’m physically hungry when we go out to dinner. Ordering all kinds of fresh seafood and veggies with a baked potato (and wine!!!) IS a treat!!! As we all know but don’t always believe or live: Moderation is Key. So that’s my motto for the week. Moderation and balance. Having all day everyday to do whatever we want, I’m taking advantage of the time to take longer runs and an extra walk in the afternoon and riding the beach combers whenever possible. I’m going light on the food during the day……..and making going out to dinner my main meal. That’s it-I’m letting the rest go and focusing on being with Darin and my family. As I sit here (looking at the beautiful ocean!) and re-read what I’ve written so far, I hope I don’t sound like I’m in anyway trying to be “Little Miss Perfect” because I’m not. Not even close. Part of the reason I write this blog is to keep MYSELF on track. I have a plan and I’m sharing it with you because I still have the urge to get down on myself and make less than healthy choices. I have to be careful not to let myself get bummed if I snack at night when I didn’t plan to or skip a run. A beach vaca is awesome but keep in mind the main article of clothing all week is a swimming suit. Ouch-no matter how cute our suits are-they pretty much bear it all for everyone to see and I don’t know if I will ever be comfortable with that BUT it’s time to let it go. When I’m down on myself (whether its how I look or what I have or have not eaten)it’s difficult to be happy and make good choices going forward. When I’m down on myself, all I am thinking about is just that-MYSELF and its a crappy feeling. So my plan of balance and moderation is mainly about my thoughts. Staying focused on what IS important-relaxing with my husband and family-NOT the food and/or what I look like in a bathing suit. Making myself slow down the pace to enjoy every second. I guess that should really be a way of life but I’m starting small and just trying to do it for one week a year!!—OK-that’s all for now-have to get out there and run before it gets any hotter!!!! I will be checking in with you again soon!!!!!——PS. Don’t skip our WW meeting just because I’m not there!!! I miss you guys but I have lined up some really good subs that you will enjoy and you undoubtedly take something positive away with you from their meetings!