Travel. Airports. They tend to trigger panic in the minds of anyone working to lose weight.
They certainly did for me! I’ve shared before how I used to binge almost every time I went through an airport. It was ugly. It made me dislike and fear travel. For most of my life, I didn’t think I even had the ability to NOT behave this way.
I’ve shared some of my travel strategies on the podcast but today I want to get really specific about some of my recent travel and how I’ve managed it.
This isn’t meant to be a self-indulgent post but rather to give you an inside look at what I do & how I stay focused without being deprived or insane. I’ve been traveling a lot and have more travel ahead. In fact, I’ll be speaking on Jimmy Moore’s Low Carb Cruise and I’m thinking about doing a podcast or blog series on successfully navigating an 8-day trip in terms of food & workouts. Stay tuned for that.
For most of my life, I saw travel (and really any change in my normal schedule) as an excuse to go hog wild (hog reference totally appropriate here).
I focused on everything outside of my control and completely convinced myself that “nothing” was in my control and granted myself permission to indulge in anything that wasn’t nailed down.
I immediately dove into the mindset of “since it can’t be perfect, anything goes and I’ll bounce back afterwards.”
What’s crazy about that mindset is that it implies that “perfect” was my default when not traveling. That’s not true at all! But, it didn’t matter what was true or logical. I readily snapped up the opportunity to over-indulge for days on end.
Here’s what’s actually true about traveling:
- Though not everything is in my control, a lot is
- Not being able to make perfect choices doesn’t mean I can’t make good choices
- I feel awful and don’t enjoy my trip as much when I overeat and constantly indulge
- I feel incredible and enjoy my trip more when I practice moderation & self-discipline
I’ll give you an example. The other day I flew to New England for my beautiful cousin’s bridal shower. I was up at 3am for an early flight and spent most of the day in planes & airports.
In the past, I’d be searching for breakfast as soon as I got to the airport. It usually included donuts & soda.
Here’s the thing though: do I normally eat at 5am? No! So why would I eat at 5am just because I’m within smelling distance of Dunkin’ Donuts.
Know what I ate throughout 12 hrs of travel? Nada. Nothing. I had a few coffees & a few bottles of water.
Was I hungry? Yes! Is that an emergency? No! Does it hurt? No!
Now, do I always fast in airports? No. Certainly not. It just so happens that I didn’t have a lot of time & during my layover I had some work issues to resolve so I didn’t have time to sit down and order a bunless burger.
In the past, I’d panic over hunger. I’d fixate on it.
OMG I’m starving!
I need a snack!
I’d think about it, complain about and act like I was losing a limb.
This time, I chose to stay really calm about it. The internal dialogue was intentionally different.
I’m hungry. I’m sure I’ll eat soon. I’m not going to starve.
Feel this, don’t fear it.
You’re sitting on your butt all day. I think you’ll make it.
When I finally got to my aunt’s house in Massachusetts, I was quickly offered banana bread and there were chocolates on the table. Did they look good? Sure did! How would I feel after eating them? Blahhhhh.
I sipped on my water and practiced patience & calm in response to hunger.
What can’t I do? Control the foods around me in someone else’s house.
What can I do? Choose what I eat.
Am I dying? No. Is this an emergency? No.
We started to talk about dinner and they decided to order pizza. I like pizza. How would I feel after eating pizza? Blah. Is there another option that would make me feel great? Absolutely!
Asking myself, “what can I do? What is in my control?” I asked my bride-to-be cousin if she’d like to go out to eat – just the two of us. I don’t see her often enough and we rarely have alone time.
Could I have worried about offending everyone else? Sure. But you know what? They were all thrilled that she & I would have some special 1-1 time.
We went out to eat. The server put a bowl of popcorn on the table. I was starving. I asked, “could you bring me a side salad before we order?”
That stale popcorn was certainly not a worthwhile indulgence.
I ordered a burger without the bun and side of steamed broccoli.
The brought out my burger with fries.
In the past, I’d have eaten them, not wanting to ruffle feathers and, seeing it as a “happy accident”.
Instead, I gently said, “I had ordered broccoli, not fries.”
I didn’t need to panic. I didn’t need to pour water on them or insist they take them away.
I didn’t need to create all sorts of negative energy. The decision had already been made to not eat the fries so they sat their on my plate and I didn’t eat them.
Why? Because that is something I can do. I can’t control that they brought them, but I’m certainly in control of what I put in my mouth.
I left absolutely satisfied.
As I went to bed that night, thinking about the wedding shower the following day, I asked myself, “What can I do?”
Well, I can win the morning. Everyone else will sleep in. I don’t have to.
I can get up at 4:30 (my normal time) and be productive. Feel accomplished. Get some work done.
I can workout. Do I have a gym? No. Do I need one? No.
In my room, I did 5 rounds of the following as fast as I could:
- 10 squats
- 10 pushups
- 10 burpees
- 10 situps
Equipment? None needed. Is it the best workout of my life? No. But it’s something I can do.
I’m writing this prior to going to the shower. There will be special cocktails & lots of treats, including mini donuts from a famous bakery in Boston.
What can I do?
I can ask myself, “what’s worth it?” and only eat that which I’m really excited about
I can have a treat or alcohol, but not both
I can be grateful for the family time instead of stressed over the food situation
I’m not perfect. I don’t have to be. Your travel choices are based largely on your attitude. If you’re fearing food and focusing on that which is beyond your control, you feel powerless.
If you’re focusing on all that you can do, you’ll feel powerful and confident.
Stay in your lane. Stay focused on what you can do. Stay focused on what is within your control.
When you see options, you’ll find them. When you seek excuses, you’ll find those, too.