Well, happy to report I am back home after a month’s journey to the East Coast, Europe and back, and am ready to report my successes and failures (failure sounds like such a miserable thing, let me rephrase, my “less than ideals”).

I realized not 30 minutes after I wrote my last post that I may have bit off a little more than I could chew and that the purpose of being on vacation was not to give myself a billion rules that I knew would, not only be difficult, but add stress to a time that is supposed to be as stress-free as possible. So with that said, with the intention of being 100% transparent, I am going to report on the following goals I had set for myself at the beginning of the trip. I will score my rate of success on a scale of 1-5 (1 being total suckage and 5 being total commitment).

1. Move as much as possible daily (5)
Not only did I move as much as possible, I shattered some of my own Fitbit records (those little badges, as stupid as they are, are quite gratifying!). I actually logged 20 miles on our first day in Paris, which I definitely felt the next day. Not sure when and where I’m going to top that one just yet 🙂

2. Body weight train for 15 mins 3x/week (1)
Admittedly, this seemed a lot easier on paper, but when the rubber hit the road, committing to even 15 minutes a day became increasingly difficult, as the desire to be out and exploring our latest stop became more and more hard to beat. And while initially I was feeling quite disappointed with myself, I slowly realized I had no reason to. I was getting to experience each and every minute of my new environment with zero commitment to having to do anything other than that, and it was truly wonderful.

3. Practice yoga 2-3x/week (1)
Again, had good intentions on this one, but think I only managed a measly 3 yoga sessions 😦 And man, of all physical movement, I missed this the one most! Felt so good to get back into it once I returned, but had no idea how difficult that first class back would be! #overthehump

4. Eat only when hungry (3)
I probably overindulged here and there, especially when it came to things like mid-day gelato. But it was 90 degrees plus in a lot of the places we went, so when temptation struck it was hard to resist. On the days I wanted to be a little better, I would choose lemon sorbet, and boy did it hit the spot in that kind of heat.

5. Eat to 80% satiety (4)
I can only remember 2 times during the 3 weeks that I ate past this point and, honestly, probably way beyond it; to the point of feeling physically stuffed! A feeling I do not enjoy and try to avoid, but that does happen on a rare occasion.

6. Limit alcohol consumption to 2 drinks when choosing to indulge (1-2)
Ok, so on this one I give myself a 1-2 because most days I restricted drinking to the evening time or if I chose to day drink (which is not my usual MO), I would limit my consumption. But as so far as sticking to a 2 drink max, I can’t say I was super strict with that. But I can say, between my husband and myself, we would never consume more than one bottle of wine in the evening. So wasn’t as if I was completely out of control or throwing out the rules, but decided not to be as restrictive on this one. Again, in the heat, how could I refuse some delicious, ice-cold Rosé???

7. Choose alcohol or dessert, not both (2)
Dessert and wine were both pretty hard to resist, especially once in France. During my time in Sweden and London, I would probably rate myself about a 4 on this one, but France brought out an entirely different beast. Suddenly we are surrounded by gelato shops, creperies, and boulangeries, and the temptation to indulge became much harder to resist. However, often times, I would catch myself indulging in desserts sometime mid-day, in the midst of walking our current destination, and in the evening would indulge in wine. So while I may not have often chose alcohol and dessert together, I still give myself a 2 for eating both within the same day. #noapologies

8. Practice moderation when it comes to indulging in rich foods (4)
Aside from the occasional wine and cheese binge (so delicious!!!), I felt I held this one up pretty well. If I was eating anything I felt was really rich I would simply try to eat less, but never completely restrict myself from it. Part of the joy of traveling is getting to enjoy the local fare, and sometimes that will include foods that aren’t on your usual diet. But for me, making something off-limits, usually makes it more tempting and makes it have more control over me than just letting go and allowing for some indulgences every now and then. I am human after all.

9. Enjoy what the local cuisine has to offer while sticking to 4-8 (3)
This would be a 5, if it were just downright enjoying the local fare! 🙂 But unfortunately I had to go and be all ambitious and make 4-8 a caveat. So due to that, I have to take this one down from a 5 to a 3. Not great, not terrible, just average. And I’m ok with that.

10. Write down the moments that you want to remember forever (5)
I managed to capture the high points of the trip on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, which may not be a handwritten journal, but it was a way to capture the moments I wanted to remember forever. But more importantly, it allowed me to share those moments with all of you.

11. Take lots of pictures (5)
These pictures were shared as a part of 10, but I also took pictures of the moments I personally wanted to recall, so I could look back at this incredible trip and remember all the places we had been and where we want to return. Pictures don’t even really do justice to the memories that were made, but they are a great reminder.

12. Sleep as much as required for recovery (5)
Aside from a couple nights in London and Aix en Provence, where the heat made it incredibly difficult to fall asleep, I honored my body and got as much sleep as my body needed. Especially on the days with immense amounts of walking, to the point where my legs and back screamed at me. Sleep was my best friend on those days!

13. Enjoy every last minute (5)
How can you not enjoy every last minute while on a European vacation?? And while I did enjoy every minute, there were definitely a few highlights that stand out and made the trip that much more memorable.
1 – Eating one of the best meals of my life in a restaurant in Old Town Stockholm that was in a building that went at least 3 stories underground.

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2 – Eating the most delicious sausages I’ve ever had in the most quaint little pub in Old Town Stockholm.
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3 – Visiting the Calanques off the coast of Cassis in the South of France. This place is truly magical and a place we will definitely be visiting again! If you haven’t been, you must!
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4 – Staying with friends of my husband’s family in the Loire River Valley. Enjoying tours of the castles, vineyards, amazing local fare and a flight in a small plane to take in the views from above.
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5 – Walking the Seine in the evening in Paris. I don’t know what it is about Paris and dusk, but it has to be one of the most beautiful and romantic places/times of day in the world.
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All in all, while I could see anything I scored under a 4 on, as a failure, instead I see as areas for improvement and growth. Could I have been more strict or hard on myself? Sure. But instead I chose to be a normal, flawed human being. A human being that is determined to be a stronger version of herself everyday, even on the days where it doesn’t seem possible or even feasible. Keep striving and working at it everyday, and with patience you will see the fruits of your labor.

On the Journey to a Stronger Me,
L