I remember my first time seeing the leaves change colors along Skyline Drive.
Barely able to stay in my seat as we passed through the entrance of Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, I had been waiting on this moment for years!
Regardless of the season, you’ll notice the faux foliage decorating the top of our kitchen cabinets in recipe videos are Fall colors. That’s because I LOVE Autumn tones. Orange, yellow, brown, red…harvest colors are my absolute faves. They make me feel comfy and cozy. And, if they had a smell, I think it would be Pumpkin Spice.
Living in South Florida most of my life, we don’t really have four seasons. We’ve got Summer and Diet Summer. But, all throughout my childhood I watched folks on television and in the movies frolicking in the cool Autumn weather and tossing about multicolored leaves. One day, I would think to myself, it’s going to be me in crisp blue jeans and a turtleneck sweater, leaping into leaf piles and watching the colors of Autumn fall around me.
We started to make our way through those beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains with all the other foliage admirers. There was a line of cars as far as the eye could see in front of us and in back of us. Clearly, I wasn’t the only Fall fan. All along the winding road, there were beautiful trees to behold. I sat with camera in hand, poised to capture the most colorful. And, I thought to myself, “Well, here’s a check on my bucket list!”
Then, something happened which I hadn’t planned for when I was dreaming of this day. I started to become carsick. Not like, “I better sit in the front seat,” carsick. I became VIOLENTLY car sick.
Turns out, folks like me who live the majority of their lives at no more than 29 feet above sea level don’t always transition well to elevations like 4,000 feet.
It got ugly fast. Of course, my first response was to retreat. But, we were on a two-lane highway with no way to turn around for miles and miles. Whether I liked it or not, we were moving forward with this magical moment.
I rolled down my window to puke. But, I felt like such sweaty garbage, it was too challenging to hold my head up that high. I opened my car door and barfed for 105-miles at less than 35 miles per hour. This went on for about 4 hours. They say there are 75 scenic overlooks along Skyline Drive. But, I saw mostly road because all I could do was look down.
It’s an understatement to say this trip did not go as planned. But, the one thought that kept running through my mind, (besides “Please stop puking, Rachel”), was “There are a lot of people on this road with me right now enjoying a very different experience.”
Man, that ticked me off.
It’s not that I wanted other people to be puking on their vacation. But, I felt like nobody deserved to enjoy this more than me. After all, everybody around me had probably seen the change of seasons at least once in their life! I hadn’t. I had been waiting so long and had been looking forward to this time so much. Nobody could appreciate this moment like I planned to appreciate this moment! So, why are they having such an easy time while I’m grinding out every mile?
I’m embarrassed to say, I sometimes bring that attitude to my health goals. Whether I’m struggling to stay away from the snack closet, fighting to push back my eating window or grinding out the last 1,000 steps of a walk, this healthy life isn’t always breathtakingly perfect like I planned. Some days, it’s ugly. And, a quick glance at social media will get me bummed that other folks on this same keto highway are having a much different, easier experience.
My Skyline Drive trip taught me some things. First, stay in your vehicle. As Winston Churchill once said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” I couldn’t camp where I felt terrible, just like I can’t dwell on negative thoughts. It doesn’t help you in the moment and it doesn’t propel you to your destination.
Next, don’t wish you were in another car. It may not have been great in my vehicle. But, the only thing wrong with it was me puking. The air conditioning worked. The tires weren’t flat. Everybody in the vehicle cared about me and tried to help me the best they could while we rolled along. I don’t know if that was the case for everybody driving Skyline Drive that day. And, I don’t know if that’s the case for everybody living a keto lifestyle. Folks I see on Instagram may have an easy time with staying away from snacks. But, maybe there’s a challenge in some other area of their life that I’m not experiencing. My life isn’t perfect, but I’m thankful for it.
Finally, look forward to getting on the other side of this mountain. I’m back in South Florida now, which means that trip thankfully came to an end. Feelings, emotions and cravings seem so overwhelming in the moment. But, they will pass and you will experience the victory of traversing these obstacles.
On the other side of Skyline Drive, I got out of the car and cleaned up in a park restroom. A fellow motorist who saw I had experienced a hard time said, “I guess if you see another Autumn leaf in your lifetime it’ll probably be too soon, huh?”
No, I told them, I’ll probably love them even more. Now I know the cost of the view.
This week, remember you’ve paid a high price for your perspective. You’ve made tough choices, let go of entire food groups you may have loved for a long time, and traversed all sorts of unexpected obstacles along this keto journey. From one motorist to another, I’m proud of you! Keep rolling, Friend, and Keto on!