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On this weeks show I’m talking about using your vacation as an opportunity to hit the reset button on bad eating habits. After the long, long winter most of the country experienced in 2017-2018 I had really fallen into a bad sugar and snacking habit. I had to stop the madness and reset my body clock for good food. In the Pettit house that is not always easy. Snacking is a competitive sport here and there is always something in the junk drawer when boredom, frustration, and anxiety take over. A few weeks before my planned departure I began thinking about using my solo trip as an opportunity to hit the reset button.
I started with the food part. I knew it was unrealistic for me to count points or follow any specific weight loss plan. I did hope to take off a few pounds but the goal was not weight loss per se but cutting the junk and getting my energy level back up. Way back in the seventies when my grandmother would see any of my five sisters eating cottage cheese she would say, “Are you trying to reduce?” It always makes me laugh. The formula was simple. Burn off more than you take in. My plan was simple. Lots of protein, lots of water, no sugar, minimum white flour and get moving.
- The temptation to eat fast food on road is high. It’s so convenient. Rest stop tacos and hot ready burgers are quick but they give you nothing but convenience. Half an hour after eating them you want to pull over and nap. Here’s a few ways I overcame my normal pitfalls.
- Plan ahead. I prepackaged quick protein breakfasts for travel days and snacks for lunch. Being able to grab a frozen slice of crustless quiche or frittata for morning was simple and got my day off right and also reinforced in my mind the goal to eat better that day. The stage was set for the day.
- Shop ahead. I planned food out for several days at a time. No stops in quickmarts along the way. I didn’t even go in when getting gas. I had everything in the trailer for success. I pre-purchased lots of water, packages of pre-cut celery and baby carrots, mini hummus containers that fit in my cup holder, rolled up lunch meat and sliced apples became my daily go to’s. I put them in easy to grab plastic snack bags so I could save time prepping and keep driving.
- Rest stop exercise. When stopping at a rest stop I parked as far away as possible and walked fast, jogged or ran to the potty. Before heading back to my car I made a big loop around the outer rim of the area to get my blood going. I also did squats and stretches. Most stops were about 15 minutes but because I was drinking so much water I made frequent stops.
- A little education went a long way. I know that cutting sugar out of your system involves cravings. I also knew that they last for about two weeks until the body adjusts. The initial week was bad! ugh! I wanted anything sweet but I told myself the craving was temporary, eating junk was contrary to my goals and lemon square bars were not dropping off the face of the earth. They would still be making them in the future. I used apples and naval oranges to get a sweet fix and stuck it out. Eventually the cravings subsided and it stopped being a battle.
- Encouragement came in the form of healthy food bloggers. There’s just so much inspiration out there. I just needed to tap into it. The cottage cheese and pineapple days are over. There are lots of great food ideas out there and you don’t have to look far. I followed a few inspiring people on Instagram for food ideas and to help me stay on track.
- Dealing with party food. On my trip there were three big Girl Camping events that I attended and they involved lots of party food, generally of the fat, salt and saucy variety. There was brisket with loads of BBQ sauce everywhere I went with dessert bars that stretched out for miles. I had to just Walk Away Renee. I brought my own dinner from my trailer or took what was least offensive in a small amount and had something healthier when I got to my own supply. It’s not a special occasion when it is there every day. At some point I had to make a choice for myself and I did.
- Reality check on coffee. I only drink one cup of coffee per day and have it with 2 teaspoons of sugar and a big dose of half and half. I didn’t even consider changing this formula and going over to an artificial sweetener or, worse yet, no sweetener. I kept my same daily coffee because that’s how I like it and that’s how I am going to continue having it. If I had changed that I would have possibly lost the whole battle over coffee. This was my line in the sand. As my sugar craving decreased though I found that two teaspoons tasted too sweet and I cut it back a little.
- Treats. When you absolutely want a treat, get a healthy one and buy it in a single serving. I was having such an ice cream craving so I drove to the frozen yogurt store and bought a single serving of a low fat yogurt that was delicious. I didn’t bring any home for later nor did I feel bad about having it. A planned treat is a good thing.
When I got home 37 days later I was down 10 pounds and had broken the sugar habit. Being on the road can sometimes feel like vacation and we have a celebratory attitude about food. It’s Christmas in our heads! We’re on vacation!! Let’s eat anything and everything we want. I changed the narrative and used it to celebrate good health and I’m so glad I did!! I used my time away to treat myself to a “spa” vacation of my own invention.