The Chowdown Is On

Vacations create the perfect storm for weight gain. Delicious, unusual food lies at every turn, we have a ton of time in which to eat it, and the plausible justifications for chowing down are endless:

  • “I’d better eat this while I’m here!”
  • “I came here for the food!”
  • “But I’m walking so much!”
  • “Vacation is the time to treat myself!”
  • “YOLO!”

Shoot, even our gut microbiome is hard at work against us.

Not surprisingly, people admit to gaining an impressively quick ten pounds on a week-long cruise and packing on the “foreign fifteen” while studying abroad. Tips for avoiding both abound, but maybe a small gain is worth it. No one wants to regret missing out on gelato, croissants, or deep-fried Snickers bars out of fear of gaining a pound or two, right? But that’s a topic for a different day.

I’m dealing with an unexpected and unspoken challenge: overeating at home, in anticipation of all the delicious Charlottesville foods I’m going to miss while I’m traveling. Yes, the mere thought of traveling is making me chow down. With two months of foreign travel set to begin in just ten days, I have an embarrassingly long list of must-eats. These won’t mean anything to those outside of Charlottesville, but topping the charts are:

  • The Hellboy pizza from Lampo.
  • The Bellissima pizza and world’s best nachos from Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie.
  • The El Jefe from Roots.
  • A this-barely-qualifies-as-a-salad salad from Mezeh.
  • Anything sweet from MarieBette.
  • My standard turkey and cheddar on sesame from Bodos.
  • Take-out drunken noodles and spicy eggplant from Monsoon Siam.
  • Anything from Pippin Hill, just so I can sit out and take in the views.

Pineapple, pepperoni, and roasted garlic pizza from Crozet Pizza – CHECK!

This list comes with its own special set of rationalizations, mostly along the lines of, “But I won’t be able to have this for two whole months!”* When we have a big trip looming, looking ahead creates a sort of anticipatory nostalgia for the everyday things we’ll miss while away. This is mostly good, encouraging us to appreciate what is so often overlooked. Needing to buy new pants at the 11th hour, however, is a considerable downside.

So, forget travel weight gain — I’m not too worried about that one. Walking and protein shakes will probably cancel out the occasional Swedish cardamom bun and Hungarian langos, and a post-trip 21 Day Fix will take care of the rest. But what about pre-travel weight gain? Is this a thing, or is it just me? And…umm…is there anything important missing from my list?


*Do I eat these foods so frequently that a two-month hiatus is reason for panic? No, I do not.