Travel Failure and Lessons Learned…

So, after my particularly relevant post about eating normally while eating out frequently, I promptly went out and ate without thought to my body or health for the remainder of the trip.  Lots of it was stress eating; we definitely pushed ourselves very far out of our comfort zone with this trip.  Here’s what I took away from the experience:

  1. Always be mindful of your “trigger foods.”  I have two that are particularly nasty:  french fries and Chinese food.  We almost never go to Chinese buffets, because I know that I lack the control to stay away from the sweet and sour chicken or the dumplings (or veggie tempura if it’s a Japanese buffet) or fried rice.  When we get Chinese food (and we do regularly), I always get a healthy choice and immediately put half of it away to have the next day for lunch.  Built in portion control.  I also hardly ever eat french fries.  If I eat them once, I’ll go through an uncontrollable phase where they’re all I want.  I don’t mind oven-baking them (because I don’t believe that potatoes are evil), but actual “fries” are out.  Unfortunately, I had fries (once, which turned into three or four times), and we hit a Chinese buffet.  All in six days.  The takeaway?  Know your limits!  No one knows them better than you do, anyway, and it’s no one’s responsibility but your own to be mindful of what you can and can’t control.
  2. Pay attention to your fitness level in light of your destination.  We went to Portland, OR, and didn’t rent a car.  So we had to ride the bus, train, and walk.  Everywhere.  Tons of walking.  Up steps, up hills, and even four blocks in the dark in a scary part of town when the bus driver let us off at the wrong stop!  Not only is it walking, but it’s walking while carrying things, like luggage.  Forty pounds of luggage.  In the dark.  In a scary part of town.  This is something that I really should have been working up to…I may have been more prepared and less red-faced and out of breath.  Being tired and feeling fat because you’re tired puts a huge damper on a vacation.

Our next trip is going to be much more relaxing in that it’s not a “constantly on-the-go” kind of trip, but it’s going to involve a lot more hiking.  It’ll be in about a month.  The time to start improving personal fitness is now.

What about you?  Have you ever had a particularly noteworthy food or fitness issue arise during a vacation?  How did you handle it?

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Thoughts on Travel Eating

We’re currently in Portland, OR, visiting a friend who’s getting married on Monday.  Travel eating is something that I’ve always had trouble with.  When we travel, I live in constant “celebration mode.”  A Weight Watchers leader that I worked with always told her classes that, if you eat out frequently, then you need to get yourself out of the mindset that each dinner out is a celebratory experience.  Our inhibitions are deadened by the feeling that “this is a special occasion,” which hearkens back to the days when people seldom at out and as such, those times were a mini-celebration. These days, most people (to our own shame) eat out several times a week.  The point, then, is that unless the meal out really IS a celebration, the it should be treated like any other meal that you’d eat at home.

So, I’m in a strange location, learning to use public transportation for the first time, surrounded by strange sights and some people that, quite honestly, have frightened me, trying to navigate the streets of downtown Portland, and am faced with trying to find a healthy option for lunch…something that’ll hold me for a long time (because I have no idea when we’re going to have dinner with friends), but something that doesn’t start that cycle of self-loathing either.

This was my decision; we saw a Pita Pit in our exploration and I’d always wanted to try it; it’s a ham and egg pita, with hash browns and every veggie except mushrooms (apparently, pineapple is considered a “Veggie” there, so I’ve also learned that pineapple with ham, eggs, jalopeños, olives, etc. is actually pretty tasty!  I snagged a nutrition guide before sitting down (in this awesome little tucked-away space in the front window) and saw that the whole thing breaks down about about 500 calories and 16 grams of fat.  Not too shabby, seeing as I probably won’t get to eat until 8 pm or so.  High in protein and high in veggies…and some carbs to fuel all of the walking…it’s definitely done the trick, and I’m still full four hours later.  I’m also aggressively caffeinated, but that’ll be a story for a different post.

I have to be honest…I don’t know that I would have made a pita like this at home, but I also beat down my “urge to splurge” just because we were having a meal out.

And Mr. PhD is on a mission to try out every possible coffee that there is in Portland.  I have a feeling that we’ll be going through the DT’s for days after we get back home.

Tomorrow…The Portland Zoo!!