How to stick to your nutrition plan while you travel
Do you struggle to stick to a healthy diet while you're traveling? Me, too.
This weekend, we go to Bend for our tax appointment, a four-hour drive, one way. Then we wake up Saturday morning to go brand calves for my in-laws. It’s a hundred mile drive, one way, which disrupts my typical eating schedule and exposes me to all kinds of temptations.
The old me would stay on track with my nutrition throughout the entire week and then I’d cave to the DQ Reese’s Peanut Butter Blizzard or the chocolate-covered raisins at the gas station. I'd fall off the wagon, and then I'd restart on Monday, feeling like a failure and guilty for cheating on myself. Then I’d justify it, saying, “oh, well...it’s only two days...who cares…”
I got to the point where enough was enough. I figured out how to stick to my nutrition while we travel without feeling deprived and I want to share how I do it. Don’t think for a second you need to try harder or use willpower because it doesn’t work. Don’t think you could never do it, because I’m here to tell you, you totally can!
This post is a summary of what I cover in this video:
| Tip #1
The first thing I do starts before I even leave. I have defined goals. Everything is all mapped out.
Before you leave on your trip, make sure you have your goals set. Goals give you focus and a commitment.
For example, I'm on a mission to lower my body fat percentage. According to my Fitbit Aria scale, I am at 29.7% body fat. My goal is to get down to 20%. It's imperative to me. I know why I'm doing it.
| Tip #2
I ask myself, on a scale from 1 to 10, what is my commitment level to my goal? This conversation is a private, truthful conversation or gut check.
Making a pact with yourself is the most crucial accountability you can have.
When I drive by the Dairy Queen, I’m already committed to my goal. It takes very little willpower. It's not a struggle, but a choice.
| Tip #3
The third thing is a mindset shift. Instead of looking at my trip to town and all the temptations as something I can't have, I’ve shifted my thinking to, “I don’t want it.” Just like I don’t want a pack of cigarettes (I’m not a smoker), or I don’t want a super hot pepper (I don’t like spicy food). I don’t want the DQ Blizzard.
No, it’s not quite as simple as saying it. I honestly feel it. I don’t want the fake sugars and junk food in my body. I’ll explain more about how this came to be in another post.
But for now, let’s focus on the possibility.
| Tip #4
Planning is challenging for me. I am NOT naturally a planner. I fly by the seat of my pants, most of the time. But it's a recipe for disaster. When we travel, I make sure I know my schedule.
For example, our tax appointment is at noon on Friday. I have to get inside the car at a specific time to make it there on time. I know how long the appointment will take. I know what time we need to be home.
So why is it different with food? Why not take a little time to plan where, when and what you're going to eat?
For example, I will plan what time we’ll eat lunch, where we’ll stop and what I’ll have. Many chain restaurants offer the same menu, no matter where you're at, so you can already have a game plan.
The same thing applies when we go brand on Saturday. We will be at the mercy of who serves the food. It’s traditional with brandings to work for three or four hours, and then everyone celebrates with a big meal. We all sit around and drink pop or beer and enjoy the desserts, salads, rolls, meat, beans, bbq. I'm going to plan and decide if I drink a beer and eat a piece of pie.
When you are in a situation where the other people are providing the food, you can bring a side dish, and then you're in control of what you eat in a way that's not weird.
| Bonus Tip
If you travel and mess up, it's not the end of the world. Lose the fear. Don't live on the razor's edge of needing to be perfect. Don’t stress out and miss the joys of living.
On Saturday we're going to be doing something we love. We get to rope calves. It's a way of life that we cherish. It's a time to enjoy it. If that means I drink a beer, so I drink a beer. It's not the end of the world. The worst thing I could do is stress out and fear people are looking at me, thinking, “what's wrong with her?" Be real and enjoy stuff beyond the food.
If you happen to fall off the wagon while you're traveling, you're human. Start over. Don't make a big issue out of it. One time is not going to wreck anything. You'll be fine. Just don't let that be an excuse to fall back into your old ways. Believe in yourself. You are so much stronger than you realize. Take it one step at a time. Sit down today. Write out your goals. Take baby steps. Start making some progress. Let the old weak you go. And embrace this new empowered you who has goals and drive to accomplish what you want. You can do this. I know you can.
Did you find these tips helpful? I'd love your feedback and I'm always happy to answer any questions.
What tips do you follow to stay on track with your nutrition when you travel? Share them in the comments.
Join our Cowgirl Up Fitness Community to connect with other horsewomen who want to lose weight and get fit to ride.