Thursday, August 2, 2012

My Obsession with Planning

I have had a crazy busy summer. I have been travelling a LOT, and with travel, particularly travel to see family and friends, comes a minefield of issues that can throw weight loss / maintenance into a tailspin and good habits off track.  So here, again, is another blog entry about the importance of planning.

One problem I have when I travel is what to do about exercise. When I have multi-day business trips, it's fairly easy, I find the gym and the pool at the hotel at which I am staying and I swim and /or work out on the elliptical or on the treadmill for an hour. It's just a matter of motivating myself to get down to the exercise facilities, which, once I started to make this a part of my business travel routine, has become pretty easy.

There are two instances in which exercise while travelling has become challenging, and planning helps me to make sure I do at least a small amount of exercise and keep my weight on track. The first instance is when I travel for business and rather than a multiple day trip, the trip is a really long day trip. I have one of those coming up on Monday, I have to catch a train at 6am and I won't be back to town until after 8pm. (Four hour train ride each way). I know myself well enough to know that I will NOT want to exercise when I get home.  The meeting is at a college campus, so I have decided to do a walk (this is my standard "what do do when there is nothing else" answer to exercise). There should be a 45 minute to hour long break for lunch, so I can get at least 1/2 an hour then. There also be a couple of short breaks between sessions throughout the day, so I can get short 10 minute walks in during those breaks. I'll make sure not to wear heals or uncomfortable shoes for this particular event, I'll dress in layers so that I can be comfortable in a ridiculously cold room (as tends to happen at these things) without having to worry about being sweaty and smelly after a short walk, and I'll keep my eyes open for stairs that I can climb to get the most out of my short time. There, planned. Now, for the food issue.

When I'm not going to be getting a lot of exercise, I need to make sure I balance my calories. I try to net around 1200 a day, which is not a lot at all and adds up fast, particularly when I don't get a lot of exercise. I am certain that lunch at my Monday meeting will contain a sandwich of some kind, which is fine. A lot of people will avoid breads altogether, which is not a bad idea, given that breads are generally laden with calories. I don't completely avoid bread, though I'm very careful about how much and what types I eat. If there is a whole grain option, for example, I will usually take that. Generally, this particular gathering offers boxed lunches with sandwiches that have do-it-yourself condiments. The mayonnaise will not be making an appearance on my sandwich. Instead, because I do not like my sandwich to be dry, I'll use a bit of the mustard. I will have some cheese on my sandwich, but only one slice (there are generally two or three on these sandwiches). I will avoid the cookies and chips and opt for the small piece of fruit that is usually included. I will pack a small lunch bag with snacks and dinner. I'll probably take some fruit - maybe an apple, some strawberries, baby carrots, a low-fat blueberry yogurt muffin or two, and a 100 calorie (one cup) bag of cheerios  (yes, I'm five and I snack on cheerios). That should get me by, but I will pack a couple of  HMR bars on which I can snack, just in case I get hungry despite my nutritious snacks.

Okay, Monday is planned.

The other instance in which I find it difficult to fit in my exercise is when I travel for leisure, particularly when I am staying with family or friends. It is really difficult to schedule exercise into these trips because I do not want to take time away from visiting with family and friends, but I do need to take some time out to do something. I have yet to master this one. I have started to wake up early in the morning and go to the local gym (generally around $10 for a day pass, which can get expensive, but thus far, I've managed to negotiate with them to secure a bit of a better deal). When I cannot go to the gym, I try to make sure I go for a walk. I will walk with family or friends, if they would like, otherwise, I just grab my husband and we go for at least an hour. It's something. It's also more difficult to plan when you are visiting friends / relatives. I'm still working on this one, but I'm getting there - and I'm sure I'll write all about it when I master it. :-)

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