So I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while and I’m sitting down and doing it.
One of the excuses I’ve used in the past in relation to eating healthy and/or working out is that my work gets in the way. In some instances I would say well I have an event to go to and it’s hard to mingle when everyone else is eating. This is true, when you see someone drinking wine or eating mini quiches, you want it. When you have a lot day of meetings it can be exhausting to get to the gym. Completely true, getting there is most of the battle. The problem with these two thoughts is that you’re putting something else above yourself. While my career is important to me, I know my health is too. When I’m eating well, I have more energy and I’m happier. When I get my workout in, I’m more productive and again, happier.
I travel for work a few times a month and I meet people for lunches and dinners, all of these are day trips, but it still adds the hard task of staying on track. Most restaurants don’t have an easy way to track their meals, but if you have an idea of portions then eating out can be easier than you think.
Most of my success I have to attribute to meal prepping and planning.
Last month I went a conference that last two nights and 2 days. I have been to day conferences before and I know that they usually involve mini muffins, juice and coffee for breakfast; salad with very little protein for lunch and dinner is on your own. I LOVE mini muffins, but I don’t like the extra sugar and wasted carbs that come with them. I knew that was going to be something I wanted to skip. I also don’t drink juice. Even when they say they aren’t from concentrate, they have high sugar content. Again, why waste precious carbs on something so empty?
I went into this with a goal: I wanted to stick to my competition prep lifestyle as much as possible. So I took what I knew and went from there. The first thing I knew was that the hotel had a gym I would have access to. I honestly had no excuse to not use it in the morning. So I packed two days workout clothes, headphones, lifting gloves and shoes. I didn’t know what kind of equipment there would be, but I knew I could improvise if I needed to. Since I had planned on lifting and I knew that there was very little protein typically served at these functions I packed 2 servings of my cellucor whey protein. Scooped, bagged and in a tupperware so it wouldn’t spill.
The next thing I knew is that I really like a high protein and carb breakfast. This always keeps me full the longest and helps me prevent snacking. Since I’m picky with weighing things that I can’t scan, I brought my own apples, one for each day.
I called the hotel to see if there was going to be a fridge in the room that I could use for free. Guess what? There was. So I also brought Chobani Greek yogurt: 1 they were one sale, 2 perfect portions for breakfast.
I looked at the conference schedule and noticed that lunch would be later than I was used to on both days, so I packed snacks. I packed fun carbs, protein and healthy fats:
- Scooby Snack graham cracker packs
- Mozzarella cheese string cheese
- Quest bars
- Kind Bar
- Caramel Rice Crisps (think mini rice cakes)
I have sad obsession with string cheese, but it’s got great fat and protein. At 80 calories, it’s great to help hold you over until you get a plate in front of you. That plate was definitely my concern the first day because like I mentioned I knew breakfast items weren’t well rounded. To save myself some heartache, I brought 1 meal prepped meal of chicken, brown rice and asparagus.
I’m not saying that you need to do this to be serious about your health, but if you have any concerns you should take matters into your hands, so I did. I’m glad I did. Lunch was a salad with some romaine mix and maybe 2 ounces of chicken with a side of bread. I actually had people staring at my lunch and saying that they wish they had thought ahead.
Even though it sounds like I brought a lot, I was able to fit it in a normal size lunch bag that fit into my work purse, which could fit a small child in it :] I had an ice pack so everything would last the day and it eased my mind that my food was on track. This doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy myself though. With Starbucks on the main floor, I had a blendicano post-workout both mornings and the second day of the conference there was a cocktail hour during the closing.
Here comes the sneaky, everyone else is eating and I want to as well. You have to make to decision, does it fit my goals today? does it fit my goals tomorrow? will I beat myself up if I eat it? I have had a bad relationship with food in the past. I’ve had moments of binging, just like many women have, but the best way I find to prevent that is to not tell yourself you can’t have something. One bad meal isn’t going to hurt you, just like one good one isn’t going to make you thin overnight. I skimmed the room and saw what they had laid out. From pitas and hummus (very typical) to chocolate covered strawberries and some mini custards and dessert cups, cheese platters and alcohol.
Knowing I wanted to be able to enjoy a good dinner I grabbed one strawberry and a few pieces of cheese and pita. I know the problem can be saying stop, you’ve had enough, but there can also be a problem depriving yourself. I don’t believe packing my own food prevented me from enjoying my time at the conference, I think it gave me piece of mind and allowed me to scope out what food options there were. Something as small as bringing my water bottle helped I me hit one of my goals: at least 160 ounces of water. I don’t always hit this, but I knew I could focus on it.
I don’t think that these concepts are ones you can use for just travel, if you sit in an office like I do, then bring them to work daily. I keep a gallon jug of water at my desk and I fill my water bottle from it. I bring my meal prepped meals to the office and put them in the fridge in a bag with my name on it. There’s nothing wrong with packing a lunch. I also work out on my lunch hour sometimes. I work two jobs and it can be hard to fit it in during normal hours, but I know I can always take my hour break at work. I can always use the gym on campus. Don’t have a gym? Maybe walk around the building or a few laps on the floor. Maybe walk up and down the stairwell.
I love my job, but I can’t let it dictate my health. I sit down almost all day, and even that can lead to poor food choices. If you want this, do it for yourself. Recognize that small changes can be made. Don’t let work be another excuse.