Thursday, August 5, 2010

On Vacation...

Going on vacation doesn't mean we should completely go on vacation from everything, not just getting away from the house, but from eating properly or exercising.  I find being away just makes me that much more *aware* of my eating and exercise schedule.

First of all it makes me realize how much of a schedule my stomach is on!  I'm never really hungry when I get up but during my normal week I eat anyhow because I know my body needs fuel to get started for the day.  From there my body is just on one huge schedule!  Sack at 9:30, lunch at 11, snack at 2, dinner around 7pm ish depending on the day.  In there there's either a trip to the gym, my Taekwon-Do classes or down into the bowels of my basement to pay homage to the treadmill gods.  Boy when life goes off the beaten track do I miss these routines! 

At first its getting my body used to eating at different times, takes a few days and I find I have to suffer a few hunger pangs and travel with healthy snacks (I at least keep a Fiber1 bar in my bag, sometimes an apple too).  Then there's the exercise challenge!  If you're travelling its figuring out where to fit it in, and what exactly that activity will it be... since I'm away from home.

Before going on vacation you have to decide what do you want to do during that time, and you have three choices:
  1. Loose weight while on vacation
  2. Stay the same while on vacation
  3. Gain weight while on vacation (if this is your choice... set a limit so that you don't go hog wild!)
I think during the last two weeks I've done fairly well this year!  I started off my holidays with a few days at home and a wedding to go to.  I made sure I exercised the day before, of and following the wedding so that I was able to enjoy the fantastic food and that evil four letter word: cake without too much guilt.  Monday of that first week on vacation I went to visit my friend Sheila in premier cottage country here in Ontario, Georgian Bay.  I got myself up early enough to pray to the treadmill god, eat a healthy, and filling breakfast (my favourite smoothie with some protein powder added in for staying power), I packed a bagged lunch for the road trip (5.5 hours by car) to avoid temptations like Tim Horton's, Wendy's or McDonald's which litter many exits and rest stops along the 401 and 400 highways.  A little forethought and preparation and I was able to avoid eating "unnecessary" fast food points on the road.

Something that's easy to get worked up over when staying at someone else's home is "oh my God what is she/he going to feed me?", "will it be points friendly?", "can I eat that?"  Slowly over the last two years I've learnt to deal with this anxiety.  My early coping mechanism was to bringing along some of my favourite low point breakfast foods (Yogurt, Fiber1 Crunchy Original Cereal, Weight Watchers Bagels and light cream cheese) which when I first started the program was a huge help to me!  I was still learning how to eat and how much to eat and these foods were my safety net.  As time has gone by everyone who knows me is aware that I am an active Weight Watchers member and like to do my best to eat as well as I can.  I never ask for anyone to cook in a special manner just for me, that I can cope with whatever is on the table and there will be some things I may have just a taste of and other I will heap on my plate (aka veggies!).  This has worked very well for me and takes the pressure off of the host, though I have always appreciated it when they've gone the extra mile to cook healthy while I'm there!

When I am away and its a new area I'm going to I check to see if my gym has a branch in that area.  LOL so far I've not been that lucky.  I try to do my best to work out as many days in a row as possible before going away (and upon return).  When I pack my bag, my running shoes, a couple of sets of workout clothes and iPod are always packed!  They may not make it out of the bag, but if they're there I do think about getting out for a walk or a run and I often make the extra effort to do so!  Walking is always free (if you can persuade ... best done with a friend), and something is better than nothing.

During my 4 days at Sheila's I have to say meals were quite friendly and delicious and being at the "cottage" well for them its their home, one must enjoy the summer evening with a beer!  I have to say I did something I hadn't done in a long time I had on average one beer each evening, we somehow had chips and ice cream every day too!  Between being conscience of my portion sizes and getting out for a 30 minute/5K run each morning before it got too hot, only resulted in a 0.5lbs gain from Monday-Saturday morning.  I was quite pleased with that, considering the treats I enjoyed!

I had two days at home before I headed out on the road again.  From Friday-Monday morning I made an effort to eat very healthy, low point foods and to stay within my daily points target (20).  I also ran each day.  This time I was heading 5.5 hrs in the opposite direction to Quebec City with my Mum for a 4 day, 3 night trip.  This time I knew I'd be eating out every meal. 

I have to say that so many restaurants have somewhat healthy choices on their menu (and we never really know unless they publish their nutritional information which so many don't) that for each meal I ate without hesitation or guilt.  The one lesson I did learn since we did stop into McDonald's for lunch on the way to Quebec City is that if you think you're saving points by having a Quarter Pounder with Cheese instead of a Big Mac... go ahead and have the Big Mac there is only a 1 point difference.  Why didn't I order a salad you ask?  Well I've often discovered that having a salad in a fast food joint unless you eat it very naked is often just as many and sometimes more points than if you had the burger... and well I felt like having the burger (should of had the Big Mac)!

Exercise wasn't a big deal on this trip, I knew we'd be walking a lot, especially since Viex Quebec is built on a hill.  There's a lot of hills and stairs to tackle!  Also there was a fitness room in the hotel.  That I have to say was a very loose term to call what was there a fitness room.  The treadmill was "slipping" so I couldn't run, the elliptical was impossible for me to get going, the weight machine I didn't dare figure out, so I used the stationary bike.  I don't "earn" as many points as I do for running for 30 minutes but it was something!

What will the results of this 2nd week of vacation be?  I don't know!  I'm back home today and I've not worked out (way too tired, and the "fitness" room at the hotel was closed this AM due to a leak in the room that had soaked the carpet).  I'll weigh in on Tuesday to find out, in the meantime I'll be getting in my daily exercise and eating right!

I did weigh in on Monday before I left for this second road trip and from my previous weigh in after returning from Georgian bay I'm down 2lbs!  I hope my efforts and cautious food choices will pay off and those 2lbs will stay away!

Hopefully this has given you some ideas/food for thought for your next vacation!


Sew Wilde said...

Thanks for the insight! It is nice to know you can enjoy vacation and still do WW.


Anonymous said...

Good advice.

My concern is that I don't make tracks to the refrigerator too many times while I'm home recovering.

Vacation won't be until after my recovery weeks. Then we will be doing a lot of walking. If I keep in mind portion control, I think I'll actually be able to lose weight on vacation.