Not to worry, I still run, I still cook, I still take Zyflammend but a few incidents recently made me think that I’m not the Lauren I think I am and it’s time to come to terms with it. Let me explain. My husband and I have spent some time this summer looking at sleep away camps for our boys, yes- for next summer. I know it’s a pretty Northeast thing this sending your children away, I mean sending your children to these great places where they get dirty, play sports, eat far less healthy food and never brush their teeth. Camp is not where my dilemma lies; it’s choosing the right camp. In our minds, our choice boiled down to 2 camps. One camp, though a great camp, had the reputation for being “too sporty” and not campy enough. The other camp, to which many people we know went, is more casual, less structured. People talk about the amazing friends they made at this camp and how, I’m not exaggerating, it changed their lives. We were leaning toward the casual, live-changing camp.

Off we went for a special “rookie day” for prospective campers at sporty camp. It was a gloomy, rainy day not exactly the best weather for touring a camp. Before we could open our car doors, a smiling counselor was unloading our boys, asking them their names and, of course, their favorite sport. Well my boys’ favorite sport is hockey and yards from our car was a huge, sparkling roller hockey rink. We eventually tore the boys away from hockey heaven and were directed to a log cabin style building. Inside, we chatted with more smiling counselors from England and Australia before our boys were whisked off for their multiple scheduled activities. Casual this was not. The parents went on their own tour, in the rain. We saw the tennis courts and heard about the tennis program run by a pro who spends winters at a well known resort in Jamaica and summers at sporty camp. We went into the bunks where each boy had soccer shoes and tennis rackets and baseball mitt all organized in cubbies, by sport naturally. And we heard that the younger children have more female counselors around them as they tend to miss their moms more; these counselors escort them from activity to activity so they feel comfortable. Our boys knee boarded, went on a ropes course and zip line, toured the nature cabin and were returned to us dirty and happy.

A couple of weeks later, we visited casual camp. We drove into casual camp which unlike sporty camp had no guard posted at the entrance. We found our way to the directors’ area where we were warmly greeted by the camp director. There wasn’t a specified rookie day and so we all went as a group to see the camp. The director showed us the schedule which he hand wrote daily depending on the activities the children requested. We toured the bunks and met the counselors. We heard that 80% of the staff were prior campers (that’s loyalty). It was also alumni weekend so we had the chance to talk to many people who told us casual camp was “the greatest place” and that we had to send our kids there. We saw the waterfront (very pretty) and the basketball courts, we saw the tennis and also the hockey (as my 8 year old said “smaller than the other rink”) but this place wasn’t about bells and whistles or big rinks and organized bunks. This was about having your life changed…

We discussed our thoughts on the way home and listened to the kids’ opinions. Myles, my older son, said it was “a hard choice to make.” Today I emailed with a friend who has a son Myles’ age (this is my friend whose husband requested Dude Food). She saw sporty camp and liked it but saw another camp that she felt was “less a clipboard camp.” I listened as she described a camp not unlike casual camp. She liked the spirit and the vibe. I then asked my friend what was wrong with a clipboard? I told her I kind of liked the “clipboard” camp as to me this implied they were on top of things. And so I’ll end the suspense and say that we’re sending our kids to the sporty, clipboard camp and I couldn’t be happier for the kids…but I do wonder what it says about me.

Then, on Thursday, I had lunch with another friend. And yes, because we’re New Yorkers we talked about camp but we talked about a lot of other things blogs, food (she’s a pescatarian, take that) and travel. This friend went with her twin girls to Italy for the entire summer last year. She blogged about the experience and I cannot say enough about these posts. I mentioned we were headed to Paris and she asked “are you renting an apartment?” I loved the sound of renting an apartment but hadn’t even thought of it. I told her we were staying in a hotel. Lunch ended, we said goodbye but I was stuck on the Paris portion of our conversation. Should we have rented an apartment? Would we have had a more authentic experience? After all, not only were we staying in a hotel, I had been emailing with Christophe, the concierge, nonstop organizing our tours and meals.

And finally, the third incident that shook my previously secure sense of self happened with yet another friend. I told this friend that there were extra tickets to the Bronx Zoo fall sleepover. She said it sounded fun but asked where you sleep. I told her each family stays in a tent. Without missing a beat, this friend said “I draw the line at tents, I’m a hotel girl.” No apologies, no pretending, no guilt.

So while part of me likes the idea of casual, loosey goosey call it what you will, when it comes down to it I’m more comfortable with things scheduled and planned. And because all roads, in my life, lead somehow to food, I started thinking about my realizations and how it affects my clients. After all, it would seem that much of Foodtraining has to do with reshaping (literally) who people are. How can I expect the exercise hater or asparagus-averse to change while I cast aside casual camp? After mulling this over I realized that, with each client, I fully consider their daily schedule, their history and personality in formulating an appropriate food plan. We all have to admit who we are. I wish I could be like my anti-camping friend and declare my name is Lauren and I like bells and whistles, concierges and clipboards because I do. In fact, I’m going to email Christophe now.
Have you ever realized the self you’d like to be and the self you are can be very different? Which camp sounds better to you? Are you more the winging it type or planner? How do you think personality affects weight loss efforts or eating?


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