10 Tips to Stay On Track With Diet While Traveling

Work and travel get in the way. But, I’m sitting at the bar in the Chicago United Club and its the perfect time while in a travel mindset for an update.

Can you lose weight as a road warrior?

Verdict: Yes!

Conditions:
I’m down almost 35 pounds with another 20 to go (Starting weight 168. Current weight 134). I’ve gone from a size 12 pant and XL/L shirt to almost a size 4 pant and small shirt. I can wear a bikini this summer. I can also run again! I can also see myself back on the slopes hitting the moguls like before rather than shimmying down the green trails.

There are good weeks and bad weeks. It’s about taking one day at a time. The real test is your mindset. You really need to want to lose weight and transition to a life long healthy lifestyle. It’s not anything you haven’t heard before, the question is really, will you take it to heart and commit to change?

There are no cheat days. There are no days off. There are no days where you can give permission to poor eating and inactivity. This is your new religion. I firmly believe that taking off the weight and keeping it off is not a temporary mindset. Commitment is real – this is a marriage to a new you.

I speak from experience, both from being in shape and out of shape as well as tackling this later in life when hormones and a lower metabolism is my everyday enemy.

Being a road warrior  has taught me to be both realistic in how I scrounge for meals that fit healthy eating and living by the feedback on my wrist that says I am as active as I should be.

  1. Just move: I look for ways to get in movement anyway I can. It can seem crazy and extreme at times. I get in a workout at odd hours. I tour airport concourses. I skip the cabs or car rental if I can walk to where I need to be.
  2. Be Sally: When Harry Met Sally, everything is on the side. It is definitely awkward the first time, but you are the customer and can have your food any way you like it. Let the kitchen know not to coat your salmon in oil. Put calorie rich sauces on the side. Substitute the fries, rice, and mashed potatoes for another helping of steamed veggies. When you can’t get it right, get the grilled chicken sandwich, pull off the top bun, and eat your sandwich with a fork and knife.  You saved 120 – 140 calories and a bad dose of simple carbs.
  3. Portions: Get familiar with your portion sizes by measuring stuff at home. This way, those large plates can be put in their box. You know a healthy portion of steak, chicken, even salmon (it has more fat than you think, even if it is good fat, too much of a good thing isn’t good anymore).
  4. Get a Map: Are you getting your walking or running game going? If you don’t have an app, ask the hotel for safe routes and bike trails. Not every place is ideal, but just like knowing the great places to have dinner, your hotel knows the best places to get outside. If you have the time, go ahead and get in that cab/Uber/rental car to tour a city on foot or by run. You get a city tour you might not have had the chance otherwise to do.
  5. Love the bands: If you are heavier at the beginning or just have a lot more to lose, sometimes being self conscious will keep you from the hotel gym. For less than 20 dollars, a set of resistance bands lets you build muscle in your hotel room until you are ready to show off the toned bulges that start to appear after several weeks.
  6. Exercise apps: I can’t say I used them a ton because I am a cardio freak on and off equipment. But, my yoga apps and HIIT apps get me 20 – 30 minutes in my hotel room when I need to squeeze in a workout.
  7. Indulge pragmatically: This is where portion control is key. United in Chicago added a scrumptious chicken alfredo. It’s deadly, I know. But, when you’ve been stuffing your face with veggies all day, you have some extra calories. I don’t condone going over your intake goal. But, with a little planning, some small indulgences help you not feel deprived at the same time you don’t sabotage your work.
  8. Pack Snacks: At the beginning when I wasn’t so sure, I kept snacks and mini meals on me. As I’ve progressed and gotten confident and educated, I don’t do this anymore. When I started it gave me more control. I still keep a piece of fruit or low calorie bar in my purse just in case. But, I don’t dip in anymore as I’ve gotten in a routine.  So it worked to help me in the beginning, but it gives me a safety net when all other food options fail.
  9. Track it: Honesty comes from transparency. I was a tracking freak across 3 apps (Weight Watchers, LostIt, MyFitnessPal). I’ve narrowed it to one (myfitnesspal.com) because it does a good enough job and I share my diary with my husband and oldest son. This keeps me both honest, I get kudos on my progress. It also helps me see progress and let’s me adjust as needed if there are weeks where the scale doesn’t move or goes in the opposite direction, or in some cases when the weight loss is too fast (yes, you need to watch for this too).
  10. At home: With all the good intentions on the road, when I get home it is detox. Even though I’m pretty healthy on the road, when I am home, I go vegetarian or pescatarian. This is when I do have more control and I take advantage of it by enjoying my creative cooking passion and coming up with new healthy dishes and testing them on my family (husband is in, kids I think are hoping I just keep it to myself.) I also make sure that I get in 2 days of intense workouts. Hike a mountain, get in a run, go for a ultra long power walk, or on yucky days, pack in my machine and weight time.

I can actually see the goal in sight, but in reality, I hit my goal. Yes, I’m within a couple points of a healthy BMI. Yes, my RHR is at the athletic level. Yes, I can do things I dreaded doing or couldn’t before. Yes, I actually found a way to like veggies and salad. Yes, I feel I can do this for the rest of my life. My top ten helped me get there.

Don’t Let Airports Defeat Your Healthy Lifestyle

united plane (2)

I was so ready to come home yesterday.  A whole week on the road takes a lot out of me and working in healthy living was just another stress factor to a hectic pace. Even though I was thrilled to be headed back east, a day spent in airports and on a plane mentally felt insurmountable. I needed to figure out how to make the most out of the day.

Normally I am thinking about food. Yesterday I was thinking about activity. It is way to easy to check into the United Club or pull up at a bar and watch a game on TV with laptop running. But, the rings on my Apple watch were taunting me as I passed through security. Only a quarter of the way through, sitting was not going to be an option.

Here’s the thing. Airport concourses are big. There’s a reason why they add those moving walkways.  They can be as big as the length of a mall, or maybe bigger depending on the airport. So, chubby girl figured that if walking in a mall helps seniors with their exercise, why not use the airport the same way?

Well, that is exactly what I did.  I walked up and down the concourse in Seattle and Chicago to kill time and get in my 45 minutes of exercise. If you happened to be bumped or felt a swoosh from a little girl with a roller-bag in tow, sorry, that was probably me.

It may be a crazy thing to do. But, the walking helped me stretch out during my connection. I still spent time in the lounge, I just didn’t spend all my time there. I also didn’t spend any time at a bar allowing me to avoid the temptation of poor menu choices or having more than a single Guinness for St. Patrick’s Day.

The result, I closed my move and exercise rings easily and then some.

For the week, I pulled off a pound.

For the journey, today, my fellow hockey mom noticed I’d lost 20 pounds.

For happiness, I got some new lingerie. – too much information? 🙂

Living Healthy Through Hectic Days

At home, living healthy is so much easier. On the road, it feels like another job. When will that stop? I honestly think it won’t and can’t. As a road warrior, you have to carve out your own plan and be religious about it – even on the most hectic days.

My day started with a 6:30a prep call for a meeting next week with some of my company’s best clients. After that, I had an hour to get showered, dressed, and downstairs to the dining area for breakfast. A workout was not going to happen and the best I could do is be mindful of my breakfast choices at the breakfast buffet.

Did I mention how much I am loving Marriott’s breakfast options? Yes, yes I have. Pineapple, strawberries, scrambled egg whites, slice of whole wheat toast and chicken sausage left me full and not feeling deprived of a great breakfast. At about 340 calories, it wasn’t the lowest calorie breakfast, but a day packed with client meetings I wasn’t going to risk getting the hangries and loosing patience with my techie types. High in protein and fiber, I was quite prepared.

Coffee with its caffeine certainly adds another jolt of energy and I powered through my morning meetings. By the time lunch came, I was hungry, but not dying. This made menu madness as the Mexican restaurant bearable. Picking grilled tuna lettuce cups that were surrounded by carrot sticks, jicama sticks and celery sticks was exactly what I needed. Topped off with three glasses of water and an iced tea, heading to a two hour client meeting was a piece of cake. The only issue was making sure I hit the bathroom!

Finished, all I wanted to do was crash when I got to the hotel. My caffeine fix was wearing off. The combination of a  40 minute Uber to get my car from my first meeting location and then driving 30 minutes through traffic to the hotel was enough to allow fatigue to set in.  As I trudged up the stairs to my room, I fully intended to grab a Guinness out of the fridge and settle into the sofa to watch CNN.

Well, at some point between opening my hotel door and dropping my key, I threw off my heels and rummaged through my clothes to pull out my workout clothes. My goal was to close my Apple rings while watching The Daily Show on the elliptical. In the end, I stayed on more than the 20 or so minutes my rings closed and pushed through to 45 minutes by switching over to the treadmill.

With my workout complete and a quick hop on the scale that I know under weighed me (but I’ll still bask in the glory of a smaller number), I threw together a shrimp marsala to Billy Holiday singing from my iPhone.

Sitting at the kitchen table in my room, my belly full on half my meal, and done catching up on my emails, I’m relaxed and satisfied that I made it through a day that would normally have defeated me. I made the right menu choices.  I fit in a workout. I have room for that dark chocolate pudding in the fridge as a reward.

What did I learn? My way of making it through the road warrior lifestyle is to work in as much normal living as possible. Staying at a hotel that has apartment style rooms makes the experience more homelike, encouraging me to be in an “at home” mindset. My day wasn’t that different overall to what I experience when I do work at home or in the office. While I gravitate toward a Residence Inn, other extended stay options are out there, check them out.

So, to my fellow travelers, create a temporary nest if you are staying somewhere for two nights or more. It has been my biggest success factor. I head home tomorrow, getting in at 12:30a. I’m preparing myself for my real weigh in to see if I was actually able to take off another pound. Crossing finger – chubby girl shrinking out.

First Outdoor Run This Season

I got up this morning and headed down to the hotel gym for time on the treadmill.  I was rushed and only racked up about 25 minutes. I knew I blew it and the lack of exercise all day was gnawing at me all day.

Seattle was a rainy mess this morning, but by mid afternoon there was a little blue starting to peak through. By the time I stepped out of the office building, the clouds came back but the temperature was comfortably in the 50s. The best running weather!

While on the treadmill, there was a notice on the gym wall letting me know that MapMyFitness had running routes saved around the hotel I was staying at (nice Marriott perk!). So, I looked those routes up and picked a quick 1.5 mile loop for my first outdoor run.

Well, I can’t say that I did great. I need to do a ton more conditioning. I ran about a third of it at a 12 minute mile. Just barely over a power walk. The rest I moved at a power walk pace. It was so embarrassing! (I’m actually laughing as I write this). The best part was really that I was outside and at least for a while I did feel like a runner again.

For those of you that are running, go ahead, laugh and poke fun. I’m completely with you. It was hilarious. I think even my hotel door was laughing at me as my key didn’t work after three attempts at reprogramming and my punishment was to keep going up and down the stairs to the reception desk.

But, I am going to go out again tomorrow and see if I can at least get myself up to half the loop at a run. Or, maybe I put my internals to work and find a 3 mile loop. Either way, I am proud of the fact that I just got out and did it. I celebrate with a Guinness, zucchini noodles and shrimp alfredo (see skinny alfredo sauce at the bottom), and in a little bit a low calorie dark chocolate pudding.

Recipe: Skinny Alfredo Sauce
Serves 4

1/2 cup low fat milk
1/8 cup low fat milk (on the side)
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 T light cream cheese
2 T shaved parmesan cheese
1 tsp corn starch
salt and pepper to taste
Italian dried herbs to taste

Heat chicken stock in pan. Melt cream cheese and parmesan in stock.  Add in 1/2 cup low fat milk and mix well. Mix 1/8 cup milk with corn starch. Add to pan and stir until sauce thickens.  Add herbs salt and pepper to taste.

1 serving 60 calories

 

 

Yoga on the road

I hadn’t done yoga in a few years. To be honest, I really needed to lose some weight to make bending over easier and not kill my wrists and shoulders in downward dog. But, I was able to find an app on my Amazon Fire TV and one to download on my iPad and picked it up again.

The first attempt freaked out my dogs and confused my cats.  My Eskimo went crazy with barking and my Husky kept wining and speaking while bouncing around. My two cats kept coming over and moving in between my arms and legs trying to figure out what I was doing and then going over to the dogs to see why they were so upset. Not the most calming and focused yoga session for sure. I bailed after 10 minutes.

So, yoga now happens in my bedroom where I can close the door to keep my fur kids out.

It was a good trial run though. While the app has okay yoga sessions, being more of a beginner again makes it useful. I’ll probably figure something out later that is more diverse and challenging. Isn’t that what yoga is about anyway?

The best thing is that by working with no mats or blocks and simply finding a place in my bedroom that has enough room for my movement, this is going to be a pretty easy activity to fit into my travel. 30 minutes is doable and I still have options for 45, 60, and even 90 minutes if I’m inclined.

The only disappointment is that yoga isn’t the biggest calorie burner. Certainly it depends on the style, but my cardio is much more effective. What I can say is that I can feel a difference in my muscles.  A little achy in my shoulders and thighs that feels pretty good.  I know I’m starting to build more tone and strength. And, I am pretty calm and relaxed after. In the end it should help lift my metabolism.

The coming week is crazy with time in Atlanta and Seattle. I’m hoping for good weather so I can get out for walks and run. I’m budgeting in time for yoga 2-3 days as well.  I’ll let you know how it goes. Namaste.

Preparing for My Business Trip

This is a tough week.  With Valentine’s day tonight and 3 days on the road the rest of the week, restaurants will once again become my kitchen. Will I have to endure big salads?  Gosh, I hope not!

I’ve been lucky in keeping my travel light so far. Only two trips. But, I’m getting into my typical groove with San Fran, FL, Seattle, KY, Canada, and Vegas all coming up. I had a good strategy at the beginning of my healthy lifestyle and weight loss effort, but this is going to be the true test.

Here it goes, my plan is…

Activities:

  1. Pack running shoes, running pants, shorts and t-shirt(s). I’ve staked out the gym situation and can reasonably get there in the morning or night for my hour of treadmill/elliptical work. If the weather is nicer (FL!!!!) I’m heading out for my first real run. Will I make it through a mile without complaining? Let’s hope, no, let’s say I will!
  2. Pack swim suit. FL and Vegas have pools so why not try a few laps? At a minimum I can get into the hot baths in the spa to ease the aching of what I surely will do to my legs while over working them in my excitement of running outside.
  3. People watch. I’ve never been to KY and in Vegas it is just too hilarious to ignore the casino goers. I need to just get out for a little stroll and take things in. I have an RV road trip over the summer down to Nashville so maybe I can check out what’s around Louisville to have an idea of things to do for a quick stop. Vegas, maybe I’ll just snap a few pictures and share. 🙂

Dining:

  1. Nuts in snack baggies. This worked on my Munich trip so I’m doing it again. 4 points in a bag and just enough crunch and sweet to make me happy.
  2. Flight out with veggies, hummus and cheese. Another lesson learned that keep me on the straight and narrow.  It also let me save on points and calories so when I couldn’t keep on track or wasn’t sure if I was on track I had the wiggle room.
  3. Fish is starting to grow on me. I’m liking grilled salmon a lot. With the right seasoning and no butter, it hits the spot. Those grilled shrimp skewers and mussels in wine and garlic are also pretty good. With a salad or loaded up on veggies, I don’t feel deprived.
  4. Hold on to some low point, low calorie dessert. I’ve been keeping room for something sweet or chocolaty at the end of the day. I made mini-brownies, toast up apples and parmesan on a fajita tortilla spread with strawberry jam, or have a sugar free cup of chocolate pudding. I’m going to keep a few bite size chocolates on me for the evening sweet.
  5. A salad a day keeps the fat away. Yes, still going for the salad meal. I need to just get over the fact that this is a lifestyle change I need to make. Would I rather have KFC? Of course! Do I want to look like the vat of fat they use to fry the chicken? NO! So, hello salad lunch.

Healthy Living Month One

Changing from doing whatever to being mindful of a healthy lifestyle is hard. I keep having to reset my thinking that this is not an overnight activity. I won’t wake up fat today and tomorrow after a health day of living I’m at my goal weight dancing in my little dress on the beach. Even doing the math toward my goal weight I’m pretty sure this summer isn’t a bikini summer. But, there are some things I’ve learned about myself in this process.

First the stats:

158.2 lbs – lost 11.8 lbs since 12/31/2017
Down a jean size. Down a shirt size.
Work out 3-4 days per week on treadmill and elliptical for 30 – 60 minutes

Now, the lessons.

  • It’s the mix, not the volume. There is no question I can put away food like I’m starving all day long. But, shifting to a diet that is more plant based let’s me still eat like crazy but filling up on healthy calories rather than sugar, bad fat, and refined carbs. Lean protein thrown in and I can be full and satisfied at 800 calories (I need to force myself to add in snacks to stay at a healthy calorie intake). When I was pounding down fruit thinking it was healthy, I actually gained a pound.  When traveling to Munich I hadn’t eaten all day because of jet lag, so my dinner of fondue and wine didn’t matter, I still lost weight that week.
  • Prepare my own food. In the morning I would rush out the door and think I could pick up breakfast or buy lunch. This caused me to choose the worst food on the menu because I was hungry and it looked so good. Keeping healthy items in my bag while traveling and bringing food to the office allows me to plan for healthy eating and not cave to my basic instincts.  Still need to look at the numbers, but I’m pretty sure we are saving money on restaurants and office café this month.
  • Give myself permission to care for myself. My habits revolved around work. I prioritized clients above myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do so it never felt like work. However, it can be exhausting and to relax it was easier to plop on the couch to watch a show or movie with a glass of wine to unwind. But, this pattern caused me to eat poorly, not get enough sleep, and never get enough activity and exercise. Now, I needed to give my self permission to take care of myself and carve out time to prepare my meals to take with me, cook healthy dinners, and get time in to exercise. In the end, I’m more energized, thoughtful, and even in how I approach work. I’m more balanced.
  • Don’t compete with my old self. Competitive by nature, aggressively driven, and very metric driven, the fact that I couldn’t run at my old pace let alone get through a 5k is frustrating. The fact that I still have clothes hanging in my closet and pants in my drawers that I couldn’t put on if I tried just riles me.  It certainly is part of what go me motivated to turn my lifestyle around. But, it is also a curse to my journey. I have to actively separate my old self from who I am now. I need to treat who I was as someone that isn’t me. It’s a strange experience. When I would look in the mirror I didn’t recognize myself and subconsciously re-cast my image as my old self. Now, I look in the mirror and actively seek to see me. In this it lets me focus on today and not who I was.
  • Celebrate each gain towards a healthy lifestyle. There was a day when I only had a .2 weight loss. There was a day that I was able to move down a notch on my belt.  There was a day that I stayed on the treadmill for 60 minutes. There was a day when I wrote a blog. Some things are bigger than others. Together they each are signs I am moving in the right direction and should celebrate. Share with others. Walk a little taller. Smile a bit more. Be a little nicer.  I use each win to motivate me further on my journey.
  • Don’t punish myself for the bad days. I jumped on the scale earlier in the week and saw a 1.5 lb gain. It was right after crowing about my breaking the 160 mark. I looked hard at what I was doing wrong and couldn’t figure it out. It was crushing. It also wasn’t the first time that happened this month. Also, there are days when not only do I not close my Apple Watch rings, but they are so open, I look like a sloth! Let’s not forget my fondue night either. In the end, it doesn’t matter. I have more good days than bad and I’m headed in the right direction. As long as a bad day doesn’t turn into two, it’s not worth beating myself up.