Wednesday, September 12, 2012

There’s no place like home….comfort in routine

Yes, I am from KS….hence the cheesy reference to the Wizard of Oz (as a PC PSA - it’s ok when we do it to ourselves, and an insult when others say it to us).  But after my last 2 weeks it seems quite fitting.

I work for a large corporation with our global headquarters in another state.  I actually report to the Global office in another state (my boss is located there) but I am fortunate enough to remain in my home state of KS and work out of one of our local offices.  I travel to the headquarters on a semi-regular basis, usually about quarterly or semi-annually.   We currently are working on a large project and I am the only team member remote so was requested to travel for 2 weeks of training/planning.  So that put me living in a hotel for 10 days (8 nights but I did get to come home for the weekend in between….yay!)

I am a creature of habit so this travel has really put my recently new healthier habits to the test!  But I can certainly see that I have made GREAT improvements and come a long way from where I used to be.

Being away from the comfort and familiarity of home adds a variety of complexity for me when it comes to food.  I haven’t been staying in hotels that have a mini-fridge, microwave, kitchen supplies, etc. so that limits being able to make things for yourself.  You are then at the mercy of restaurants and eating out.  For a person with willpower issues this feels like I am asking for problems! I was scared!  If you haven't figured this out about me yet, I like routine. I get used to my own recipes and a couple times a month going out to eat at restaurants.  I eat a lot of the same things (don't venture out of my comfort zone much) when at home so I have a good idea what to eat to stay within my daily calorie goal. But being gone was like starting all over figuring out what I could eat!

My theory for eating while traveling used to be to try to eat at more "local" or new places instead of the usual chains that I can eat at home. I mean how fun is it to eat at places you have at home...the same ole same ole??  It’s ok (espec when it’s not your dime paying for it!) but it's much more fun to try new places and foods!  What I quickly found on this trip was that the “chains” seemed more diet friendly for me. Why you may ask? It was much easier to find nutritional Information for the chains. The local places were a crapshoot to try to find calorie counts for. Even if I was estimating by finding something close, I often found that what I thought was a good healthy choice was really much worse that I thought it would be. Can you tell yet that I have control issues???!

To add another layer of complexity, there is also the social aspect of business traveling. Eating around others can be dangerous if they are care free eaters and order the sinful( aka yummy) dishes on the menu. It can be easy to slip into old habits and order my own comfort foods in this kind of situation.  Fortunately on this trip, I was mostly on my own (which I honestly didn't mind...I don't often get peace and quiet when at home so it was a refreshing change of pace!).  So for me that made food choices easier.

 But twice I ate at a local restaurant with a friend and got a new dish that I had never tried before....bang bang chicken.  Omg super yummo!!! It seemed like a pretty healthy choice, had veggies and a bit of rice but after Researching I am not sure how great it was...scary to see some of the cal counts out there for that dish! I loved it so much I am researching recipes now and hoping to make a low-cal version at home that I like and will share with you all.

A great thing about where I work is that they are very big on and promote living a healthy lifestyle. The cafeteria has lots of choices and is generally very healthy. The calories are posted so while it was something different I was able to make educated choices. I pretty much stuck to a southwest chicken wrap (was soooooooo yum), a grilled chicken sandwich, or a chicken Caesar wrap and got hummus and pretzels for snack.
the fresh water bar at Corp Office...flavored with nearly every kind of fruit you can imagine!  Love this!

But i have to say my after-work-go-to meal was a Wendy's berry almond chicken salad. I am obsessed with at one, of course just in time for them to discontinue it since summer is over.....grrrrrrrr!!!! At less than 400 calories this was a great choice and since I love it so much it seemed like a treat! I am also working on a make at home version of this one so stay tuned for that also!

Another revelation I had while on this trip was that my scale is my security blanket. While most days (especially lately when the numbers haven't been moving down like I would like them to) I HATE that $@&!"! hunk of metal, i still like to have it around and feel lost without it. I like being able to make sure I am staying on track.   While it is often frustrating, I also find it strangely motivating. It's also like playing a slot machine, each time i step on it I keep hoping I am going to hit the jackpot.  Yes, I am usually an eternal optimist.  Guess that can come in handy sometimes! 

So while the eating was a big success for me on this trip, an even bigger win for me was working out. This was the first time I actually worked out while traveling (I have taken clothes and shoes before it never actually used them lol).  For me that is a HUGE positive step. I worked out in the little hotel gym all 8 nights I stayed there. They had 2 treadmills and an elliptical and some weights. It was great because each time i was the only one in thwre so i didn't feel self conscious or nervous.  I did the elliptical a few times but I have to say the treadmill is my favorite. I even used the incline and intervals to push myself even more. I take my iPad and watch my fave tv shows on Netflix or Hulu.  I am looking forward to working out even more these days because it seems to be about the only time I get to watch tv. With working out each day for at least an hour I am now almost not a whole season behind in some of my shows! I may actually be caught up for premieres...crossing my fingers!

So in honor of my great choices on this trip, I treated myself to getting my nails done.  I love having them done....I feel pampered, classy and glam. But as a practical mom, I usually don't justify spending the time or money. But I decided it was time to do a little something for myself as a regular reward for all the hard work I am putting in. I can swing $17 and 30 min every 2 weeks to reward myself for continuing to move forward.  It is continued motivation to continue working out...I would feel very guilty continuing to go if I slacked off on the reason for the reward!

My reward!!!  :o)

So this post is dedicated to truly making a lifestyle change, not just being on a diet!   It’s to getting to the point where you have learned enough to not let old bad habits take over your progress and derail you when the routine changes.  It’s to getting to the point where making better choices than you did before is second nature instead of feeling like a punishment.  And it’s to acknowledging just how far you have come and celebrating/rewarding (in a non-food kinda way) the successes.  May all of you come to this point in your journey’s also.  Trust me, if I can do it, anyone can.  Just get started.  Take it one day at a time.  And don’t stop!

So I can’t be the only one….leave a comment and share your travel or other success!

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  1. I rewarded myself with my nails once I hit my first 20lb lost last month. Then I hit 30lbs this month and went get a pedicure.... I also told myself once I hit 50lbs gone, it will time for my hair...LoL

    Congrats on the will power, I surely do understand how hard and tempting everyday life can be. Keep up the good work and I love to read your words of encouragement. You truly are making a difference in other's lives too : )

    1. Thank you Valerie!!!! Treating yourself is the BEST! Glad you have been able to do it too!

      Thank you so much for your kind words about the blog. I love writing it and hope everyday that I am making a difference in some small way. Some days it's easy to wonder if anyone even reads it lol. Your words warm my heart and continue to give me courage to share such an intimate process. Thank you!!!!

  2. Great post girl. And congrats on your success ;)

    I know that traveling and dieting can be a handful... But the fact that your thinking about it instead of winging it shows that you are on the right track. Keep up the great work!