One of the reasons I started this blog was because I wasn’t finding what I needed to read: how to be fit and healthy in the real world. I found plenty of magazines and blogs for elite people who would meal prep with more vigor than most people did anything, and who would pick hotel rooms based on its nearness to a gym. Those people are lovely, but I’m not one of them. I had all these grand plans for November posts and as three family members have pointed out in two days, Pudge has been awfully quiet. It’s that life thing! One thing after another… you know the drill. Sometimes you just can’t catch your breath! The BeeGees’ song “Stayin’ Alive” has been on repeat in my head for weeks.
I made an unexpected trip, which didn’t really allow me to plan very well. I left for the airport an hour earlier than I had planned, and it still wasn’t enough. I planned to get breakfast on the way, but as I saw traffic, I realized I just needed to go. Which means my “breakfast” was a $20 meal from the airport at 11:30. But by then I was so hangry and un-caffeinated that it was completely worth it for this frugal gal.
Before I left, I rolled my eyes and told my trainer/best friend, “Well there goes my diet.” And he rolled his eyes with even more “enthusiasm” and said “Seriously? What would you tell your clients and people who read your blog?”
Well, yes, there is that. I’d have answers for those people! But it’s a lot easier to tell someone else what to do than it is to slow your own roll and do it yourself.
Once I slowed down and got out of my manic panic, I realized this trip wasn’t a crisis. And that nothing else was particularly either. Here’s how I’m surviving this craziness, just in case your own Crazy Train is at your station. I happen to be traveling, but this is pretty much the same advice I’d give if you were just in a nutso period of life. It happens sometimes! Maybe a loved one is in the hospital or suddenly work just erupts or it’s a crazy holiday season with so many gatherings that your head spins, or whatever it is…
- Realize that you’re not gonna undo all your progress in a few days: Breathe in, breathe out. You’re not gonna gain 20 pounds overnight. You’re not lose all your gym gains. Don’t stress. As my trainer annoyingly says, “We’ve had that talk.”
- Make as many good choices as you can: One of the advantages of having and following a meal plan is that you learn how to eat, regardless of where you are or what the situation. I ate crappy food yesterday, which included wings and a hamburger. But because I know how to eat, I didn’t worry about it. I made good choices, based on what my body needed. But I ate a very thin hamburger from Steak N’ Shake, with nothing but ketchup and because I try not to eat a lot of gluten, no bun. And instead of the 6 wings that came with my dinner, I ate 4 and a side of broccoli. Was it as good as what I would have done at home? No. Was it the end of the world? Also, no. Buuuuuut here are two important things that help:
- Start with protein, and build your plate from there. That will help keep you full so you aren’t as likely to make poor choices. Do not build your plate around carbs like pasta, rice, and many casseroles.
- Watch the salt as much as you can. Salt is in everything, and in mass quantities in restaurant food. But if you overdo it, that’s a quick way to put on a lot of water weight, and feel crappy. (Never mind “cankles” that can happen with travel. Not a good fashion statement for anyone.)
- Remember who you are: Learn to eat with other people with two goals in mind: enjoy their company and fuel your body. The truth is that while you eating carefully may be a cause for conversation at first, most people really aren’t that interested in what you’re doing. And generally aren’t as quickly offended as we believe they will be. If you’re polite about it, most people won’t mind if you don’t eat an item or two, or only eat a few bites of it. But as a rule, it’s not a great plan to eat only to make somebody else happy. Remember that you have goals! Have fun at the dinners and events you attend, but realize that the food isn’t why you’re having fun.
- Sneak in movement where you can, but don’t make it a thing: Truth, I did not google the nearest gym to where I’d be staying. I’d didn’t bring my completely portable resistance bands or TR-X. I have a pair of tennis shoes, but really only because I don’t wear crappy shoes any more. When I fly back, though, chances are good that I will walk as much as I can instead of taking the train. If I feel rowdy, there are plenty of bodyweight exercises I can do. But, because I don’t feel like I’ll hyperventilate or turn into a giant blimp if I miss a workout, I also feel ok just resting if that’s what my body says it needs. At the same time though, that’s the exception rather than the rule. I know that being sedentary day after day won’t make me feel good, and that taking care of my body means making the effort to keep it moving.
- Rest more if you need it: It is entirely possible that I was sound asleep before 9 o’clock last night, but I was wiped from a very long day. Remember that your body not only repairs itself at night while you’re asleep, but that’s also when it sort of “downloads” your day and processes everything. But in Crazy Train times, stress can require more of your body and brain than normal.
- Have some fun: Rest and fun are two things that always take a dive when stress is
high. It seems reasonable that you should just push and push until you plow through the rough time, but that’s exhausting. Be intentional about doing things that care for your spirit–whether it’s reading or shopping or laughing with loved ones.
- Survive, Not Overdrive: One of the things I teach my clients is that sometimes, their biggest job is just to survive. Do the best you can, but recognize that you may need to refocus your energy. This is not the time to push really hard on losing that 10 pounds.
- Get back on track as soon as you can: Don’t “milk” your downtime. When the craziness has simmered down a little, get back on track and back to your routine. Don’t let events become excuses!