I knew it would happen sooner or later. I eventually was going to have to travel while losing weight and I wanted to stay on track with my eating and exercise plan. A little over a week ago I went to Dallas to attend Bloggy Boot Camp. It was a chance to connect with other women bloggers and learn more about blogging. It was also a chance to enjoy a wine tasting party, an appetizer party, a dessert party, you get the idea.
For the 6 weeks leading up to the trip, I contemplated how I would handle this trip. In my past weight loss efforts I would give myself the weekend off and enjoy myself and then promise to get back on track when I got back.
The problem with this strategy was I usually gained a few pounds and then didn’t want to have a gain at my Weight Watchers meeting, so I would skip a meeting. Then one meeting would lead to another, and before I knew it I would have undone any progress I made in my weight loss efforts. This time I wanted it to be different.
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve already got.” ~Henry Ford
As I saw it my obstacles to overcome with traveling were:
- Surviving the airport without indulging in high calorie Starbucks beverages and muffins or pre-flight alcoholic beverages
- Surviving the flight without eating the snacks and in-flight alcoholic beverages
- Eating several meals where the food was pre-determined for me and I would have little choice
- Fitting in exercise or making myself exercise
Thinking about them ahead of time (okay, maybe borderline obsessing at times) made me make some decisions ahead of time. Other decisions were made as I went as I judged my surroundings and what I wanted most. There was a lot of conversation happening in my head the three days I was gone.
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”
A few weeks before I left on my trip I checked out the hotel’s site for workout facilities. The night before, I packed workout clothes for 3 workouts. I went with the intention of working out right when I arrived on Friday, Saturday morning before the conference and Sunday before I headed back to the airport. I mentally rehearsed this over and over, for weeks before I went. My commitment to myself was just 30 minutes of cardio each day – at a good intensity level.
The day before I decided to pack my own snacks for the airport, plane trip and at the hotel.
I packed cheese for my travel day, plus fruit, nuts, Fiber One 90 bars and pretzel crisps to last me throughout the weekend.
Follow Through and Adjust As Necessary
These were in my backpack easily reachable during flight. I ate a good healthy breakfast before heading to the airport and didn’t need anything else until I was on the plane. I was flying Southwest so my options were limited to peanuts and cookies on the flight if I relied only on what the airline provided. I didn’t.
I did choose to have a package of peanuts on the plane, but that was only after I calculated the Points Plus value with my Weight Watchers phone app (2 PPV).
When I got to the airport I really wanted Starbucks, and I had held off this long on having a Pumpkin Spice Latte (iced nonfat). I compromised with the smallest size, but later wished I hadn’t blown 3 points on it. It was good though.
At the airport, it was easy to not have a bloody mary at the airport bar. But once on the plane I had to remind myself, no alcohol on the plane either. It was a habit from long ago when I used to travel a lot. I hadn’t flown in a few years, so it was easier to break this habit. I had bought 2 large bottles of water from the airport gift shop and ordered diet coke on the plane. After a quick flight I arrived in Dallas, and shortly thereafter my hotel.
I unpacked and found the hotel map and located the gym before I could decide to do anything else. I wasn’t tired, because I had ate light and had no alcohol on the flight. I ate a banana and found the 2nd floor gym.
By 3:00 I was hitting the treadmill for a Couch To 5K workout, then a good long stretch session.
My next obstacle was the evening events. There was an appetizer/wine reception and dessert party that evening with a break in between for dinner on your own. I was sure the food at the party was going to be the high PointsPlus variety and I would have more than I would want to use if I ate any of it and I really preferred to have wine.
Instead of letting my food choices be outside of my control. I checked out the room service menu and instead ordered myself a salad with salmon and light dressing. This was not planned days ahead, just something I considered while on the treadmill.
I was full and satisfied when I hit the reception. I was able to enjoy some wine, meet new people and completely ignore the cheese that looked delicious. Yes it cost me money when there was “free food”, but it wasn’t “free points”. It was yummy and worth every penny. I even had enough points left at the end of the evening to have a couple of bites of bread pudding.
I tracked everything all throughout the day, most of the time before it even went in my mouth. That is the beauty of the Weight Watchers phone app.
I went to bed happy with myself for following through with my intended plans and making good choices.
Day 1 – Mission Accomplished!
I slept horribly on that first night. It was after 1:00 a.m. when my loud neighbors were no longer keeping me awake. When that 6:00 a.m. alarm went off, the last thing I wanted to do was work out.
I also knew that if I didn’t by 2:00 I would be fighting to stay awake and eating to keep myself focused. So I crawled out of bed and hit the gym. Surprisingly I pulled off a good elliptical workout. I think the 5.8 mph pace was the highest I have done so far.
(The incline and resistance in the picture were the final cool down, it really was much higher than that )
Next it was time to decide what to do about breakfast. We were told it would be a “light breakfast” but it was also sponsored by a meat company. When I had checked them out ahead of time, I saw bacon, ham, and other yummy not so point friendly items.
So I again chose to go with room service, starting my morning off with an egg white omelette with veggies, dry wheat toast, fruit subbed for the potatoes and coffee.
I packed some nuts in my purse and headed to the conference, where I just sipped coffee. The free breakfast looked yummy, but I was glad I took control of my breakfast choice and saved the points for the rest of the day.
The plated lunch was manageable (chicken, risotto and salad – skipped the bread). The afternoon snack included a fruit along with chocolate covered strawberries, mimosa’s, cheese, chips and salami. I filled a plate with fruit and sipped a mimosa.
The wine party that evening included more yummy offerings, but again I chose to use points for wine and just watched what I ate.
All throughout the past two days I have been using my Weight Watchers phone app to track my food. So I always knew what I had used and what I had left. This helped me make informed choices when I wanted to indulge.
I was invited to join several ladies to dinner at Cheesecake Factory. This could really sound like a land mine for food choices. There were 2 things that really helped. The first is we had to wait to be seated, giving us a chance to look at the menu ahead of time. The second thing was Jennifer, my fellow blogger and new found friend. She is is also on her own journey to better health and following Weight Watchers. So we looked up menu choices and calculated our points together while we waited to be seated.
By the time I sat down I knew what I would order:
A bun less turkey burger and a salad with light dressing on the side. In the past this would have made me feel deprived. But now? I didn’t care. I had an awesome time with these ladies, the great conversation and laughs made the food a pure afterthought.
I did enjoy a “skinny” mojito (4 PPV).
That was my indulgence for forgoing cheesecake
Day 2 – Mission Accomplished!
Sunday morning I woke up and my cold was back with a vengeance. I had been fighting it for 2 days and the freezing cold air conditioning seem to egg it on. I also had searing pain in my calves (maybe too many hill intervals on the eliptical???).
Given the calf pain and how I felt, I did not work out that morning before heading back to the airport. But I was okay with that choice. I again ordered the same room service breakfast as Saturday morning then headed back to the airport.
This time at the airport I stuck with a skinny vanilla latte at Starbucks and skipped the sugary pumpkin syrup. I ate the snacks I brought on the plane, again ordering diet coke and no alcohol. I made it home feeling good about the choices I made over the weekend.
Day 3 – Mission Accomplished!
What I Realized
In the past none of these things would have happened. Planning ahead this time was key for me. Visualizing the choices I wanted to make ahead of time, made it so much easier to make them.
Deciding that I really had control of my food choices was a turning point on Friday. Deciding to spend money for room service and forgo “free food” helped me make choices that I was happy with.
I choose to use my Weekly Points Allowance for wine and forgo higher point value foods. This is what I prefer, and I was completely happy with that decision. You need to decide where you want to spend extra points. Choose one thing that is worth it and you won’t feel deprived. If you say no to everything, you probably will.
Exercising the first 2 days helped me feel more confident, energized and alert. I was meeting a lot of new people and listening to a lot of speakers and the choice to exercise was one that I had no regrets over.
Sometimes You Have to Roll With It
I planned on working out on my last day. But my body thought otherwise. I don’t regret listening to my body. Over the following week I had a terrible cold and ended up hurting my arm from a workout (or getting my son out of the car, I’m not sure which so I am going with the workout). I had one of the lowest weeks of exercise I’ve had in a while.
I did prove to myself I could travel and stay on track. I used up most of my weekly points to get there, but it was still on plan. And I tracked everything I ate all week long.
What I didn’t realize ahead of time, but what made a big difference for me was explaining that my blog was about my weight loss journey to the new bloggers I was meeting at the conference. It made me very aware of my choices. Not that anyone was probably paying attention to what I was eating, but because that was in my head I was more intentional about making good choices. Also, meeting Jennifer helped me feel like I was not alone trying to navigate a host of temptations and stay on track.
I lost 1.2 pounds for the week.
I have never actually lost weight after a trip out of town – EVER.
I also came home and didn’t have to worry about getting back on track. I never got off track.
The effort was so worth the reward. Now I feel more ready to go on vacation in a little over a week and stay on track. I still am making my plans, but I know I can do it.
How do you handle staying on track when you travel?