I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend. Mine was filled with signs that I am indeed changing the way I approach things. If you remember, when I restarted this blog I said that I would be starting my new transformation on September 1st, but then very quickly changed my mind and decided to start right away.
The reason why I originally wanted to start after Labor Day was because I knew I was going on a long trip to Maine to visit with family. With 2 travel days (12 hours each day), a birthday party, and seeing relatives who also love to eat, I knew that the odds of doing well were not in my favor.
However, that was the old me. The new me asked a very simple question… “Is your new way of approaching food going to prevent you from ever travelling again?”. Seems like a silly question, obviously the answer is no, but the reality is I have to figure out how to deal with those times when we leave the comfort of the normal daily routine.
So I started my transformation early knowing that I would have to go on this trip. I also knew that traveling and eating poorly go hand-in-hand with me; It gives me an excuse to eat junk food all day long as rest stops and gas stations don’t typically offer healthy fare. On our last excursion that involved a lot of driving I actually ate so poorly that I actually threw up on the ride home! However, with a new mindset I was confident that I could battle this particular demon of mine and come out on top. It turned out to be a great choice because that’s exactly what I did…
Small Victory #1
The 12 hour drive up was filled with happy kids, good conversation with my wife, and also lots of healthy eating. In fact, we made the whole trip up to Maine without stopping and buying any food or drinks (excluding 2 coffees at the start of the trip). My wife packed an entire cooler full of healthy snacks and we had a gallon jug of water. My kids loved lunch; grilled chicken salad in a bag. They get a kick out of anything that’s just a little different so eating salad out of plastic baggies went over well. They also jumped at the chance to support their dad. After a quick bathroom break at a rest stop on the NJ Turnpike, I asked "Who wants to do a quick workout?". Of course the kids were up for it, so we all stood in a circle and each kid got to pick an exercise that we would do. We did jumping jacks, squats, and pushups off the picnic table. People that passed by looked at us a little funny, but my kids were having fun supporting their dad and so it didn't bother me at all!
Small Victory #2
I won’t go into too much detail about my time in Maine, but I will say that I did a decent job of not overeating. I did have some birthday cake as we celebrated my daughter’s birthday, but I was generally happy with my choices throughout the trip. However, the small victory came on the last day when we went out to dinner…
My family lives in a very rural part of Maine so they don’t get out much. The one thing my niece said she wanted to do was go to “5 Guys” for dinner and then “Sweet Frog” afterward. For those that don’t know, “5 Guys” is a popular burger joint and “Sweet Frog” is a frozen yogurt shop. It was an hour away (I said it was rural), but I agreed that we could go there. My typical meal at 5 Guys is a bacon cheeseburger, bacon cheesedog, and a large fry. Instead I ordered a plain hamburger and then the entire family shared a large fry. I probably got ¼ of the calories I normally eat there.
When we got to Sweet Frog I was feeling pretty good about myself and decided to keep it going. Instead of loading up a dish with every topping known to man, I instead chose to put a small amount of frozen yogurt in my cup and then proceeded to load it up with fresh fruit and then a few almonds and walnuts for some crunch. My guess is that I ate dinner and dessert all for about 800 calories. The old me would have eaten 800 calories just in fries.
Small Victory #3
My last small victory came after the long ride home. To make it easier on everyone (except me) I decided that we would leave Sunday night and I would drive through the night. I’ve done it before and I’ll tell you if you have kids it works out really well as they sleep the whole time. Anyway, I made the drive home through the night only snacking on fruit and drinking a lot of coffee. By 7AM the family was waking up and we were just an hour from home. We decided to stop at “Bob Evans” for some breakfast. At this point I was exhausted and really hungry. As soon as we pulled in I could hear myself justifying a huge breakfast all in the name of the “sacrifice” I chose to make by driving through the night. I “deserved” to eat a huge meal because of the selflessness I showed in the evening (yes my brain does think this way sometimes). In the end I showed restraint and ordered a veggie omelet. When the waiter asked if I wanted hash browns or home fries I astounded myself further when I said “neither”. He actually offered a fruit cup instead and I took it. I still can’t believe that I pulled that one off.
Of course there were a couple areas where I could’ve done better. For starters I didn’t drink as much water as I should have. I did drink some but it can be difficult when you are traveling as you don’t want to have to stop every 30 minutes to use the bathroom. I also could have exercised a little more. Basically I didn’t get any real exercise on Saturday, Sunday, or Monday.
Monday I just laid around watching TV because I was so tired, but I also went right back to my “normal” diet. In all this was the healthiest traveling that I’ve done in my entire life! It’s given me some more confidence that this time I have truly changed my mindset; these deviations from the routine are not an excuse to go wild, but rather, something that needs to be managed. I was able to manage this trip and came back knowing that I didn’t “undo” the hard work from earlier in the week. That was the best feeling of all!