Looking back on our vacation last week, I learned two things — one good, one bad — regarding their impact on my health and fitness journey.
Bad news first: Theme park food is really, really bad for PCOS sufferers.
And the good news? Four hours of walking up and down the National Mall in Washington, D.C. and then four days of running around in Busch Gardens provides some really good exercise.
Anyone who has ever stepped foot in a theme park before knows that finding healthy food is an extremely difficult task; I mean, those places are overflowing with fried foods, soft drinks, and sweet treats. I found myself facing an interesting conundrum, though: either I sucked it up for the duration of the trip and ate the park food, or I didn’t eat. Obviously, the latter option is the worse of the two, so I ate — but I was smart enough to control myself. I didn’t eat all of everything I ordered. On three separate occasions we ate at the same spot in Busch Gardens, a place called the Trappers’ Smokehouse. The place offers smoked chicken, brisket, and ribs; I always ordered chicken and never ate the skin, which was slathered in barbecue sauce, and instead just eating the white meat under the skin. Every cut of meat was served with French fries, and while I did eat them, I never ate all of them (because I remembered that potatoes are Public Enemy #1 for PCOS patients) and, on the last visit, I made a point of ordering a corn on the cob, which I ate without salt, pepper, or butter (and which I wish I’d thought to order every other time we ate there). We also had pizza once and pasta once, and I never finished my plate either time…The Hubby took care of that for me, bottomless pit that he is. I also shared ice cream with Joshua twice and finished a cupcake he’d started because I wasn’t about to let a $4 cupcake wind up in the trash. To counter that, I drank a lot of water from the refillable sports bottle the park sells.
Even after trying to take some measure of care and precaution with all the bad food at my disposal, it still did a number on my stomach. The fact that it affected me so adversely tells me that all I’ve been doing at home so far with cooking and eating healthier things has been a step in the right direction. When I came to that realization, I was immediately hit with a tremendous sense of pride. Eating well isn’t as hard as I’d always thought it would be, and I’m feeling better now that that knowledge has been confirmed.
As for the exercise, I knew that I’d be doing a lot of walking on this trip. Having been to both D.C. and Busch Gardens before, I had a good idea of what to expect. The National Mall is basically flat, but it’s long; we walked from Union Station to the Tidal Basin and back. We easily covered at least three or four miles within that four-hour period, and we did it with a toddler who insisted on walking, too. It was more of the same at Busch Gardens — Joshua refused to be tied down to his stroller, instead choosing to walk alongside us (and sometimes, running ahead of us) every day. The difference with Busch, though, is that it’s very hilly. I’m not talking about tiny little foothills, either; by “hills”, I mean steep inclines that knock the breath out of the fittest people. Now imagine doing that while carrying a toddler on your hip because he ran ahead of you, fell down and skinned his knee, and refused to walk another step on his own.
Cue shortness of breath here.
The Hubby seems to think we walked twenty miles or more over the course of the trip. I can’t speak to the accuracy of his numbers — I’m too lazy to work it all out on Google Maps — but I can tell you that I felt soreness I haven’t felt in a long time. Actually, let me amend that statement: I’m still feeling soreness almost a week after returning home. I’m not going to complain, though. The trip was worth all the exercise, and our family had a great time. I’m hoping to sort through all the pictures this weekend and get a recap post up on Monday.
So here’s my question to you: What’s your favorite way to get some exercise?