Last year I was doing really well with losing weight until the end of the year hit and work became crazy. I was traveling a lot and working long hours so it became harder to workout and plan healthy meals.
While that might help me understand why I fell off track, it certainly doesn’t excuse it. I thought I had a good plan going into my busy season but I couldn’t stay steady. If I’m going to change that, I need to understand what went wrong. And, even better, determine a better plan that can be tested real-time.
Analyzing the Breakdown
First off, when I think back on my “plan,” I realize it wasn’t really a plan at all. I did a few things to set myself up for success, such as:
- Booking hotels that had gyms.
- Packing workout clothes and shoes.
- Planning plenty of time for travel to keep my stress low.
Beyond that, I honestly didn’t do much. I thought I had built up my healthy habits and mindset enough that I could rely on that. The problem is a few things occurred that I hadn’t planned for:
- My “workday” was taken up by the projects I was traveling for more than I expected. As a result, I skipped workouts so I could knock out emails and my regular work in the evenings.
- The buildup of work and travel stressed me out more than I expected, which triggered old habits of eating food that was “easy” or “comforting.”
- I took too much advantage of being on my own, where no one but me knew how much I was eating so it was easier to hide.
The thing is, every Fall will be just as busy so it’s really important for me to figure out a healthy plan that WILL work. And out of the blue, I find myself in a perfect situation to work towards that.
Next week I will be attending a conference out of town, followed by a weekend trip – also out of town. That’s a whole lot of time out of my routine and away from my refrigerator, stove, and blender!
Thinking Through the Details
Looking back, I think my biggest mistake in the Fall was relying on my regular healthy habits to pull me through a highly irregular situation. So this time around I intend to plan quite a bit more.
To successfully plan for something unusual like this, I think it’s important to know a few things:
- What will the schedule for the day/trip be? How can you use that to your advantage?
- What resources are available to help you (i.e. Refrigerator in the hotel room, access to a supermarket or a car to get to one, a gym, etc)? How will you use those to serve your needs?
- How much free time will you have and when will it be in the day? How will your food/exercise needs fit into that?
For me to make an adequate plan, I also need to know what my primary goals are. In reality, my goal is to not deviate from my plan at all, which means hitting these goals at a minimum:
- 10,000 steps per day
- Tracking my calories and hitting my 500 calorie/day deficit
- 15 minutes of strength training
If I completely have my druthers I would get a full workout in instead of just the 10,000 steps and 15 minutes of strength training. Especially since I’ve really started hitting my workouts hard this week and I don’t want to lose that momentum.
After doing a little research, here’s how next week will look for me based on the above questions:
- Monday I will work from home for the first half of the day, then drive an hour to the conference location, where I’ll be staying. After arriving, I’ll be tied up from at least 4pm until 9:30pm.
- Tuesday our conference breakfast starts at 7am and every hour from there is scheduled until 4:45pm. Then I will have a two hour break and be busy again from 6:45-9:30pm. Dinner will be provided by the conference so those 2 hours are completely mine.
- Wednesday I’ll be tied up from 7am-5pm, at which time I’ll travel home and have the rest of the evening to myself.
- Thursday will be a normal day.
- Friday I’ll leave for work at 7:30am like normal. That afternoon, I’ll catch a flight so we can start our trip with family. We’ll land at 7pm, in time to go to dinner with family. We’re also staying with family for the weekend.
- Saturday and Sunday should be easy enough to figure out. We’ll be spending time with family and traveling home on Sunday but we’ll also have a fair amount of down time.
Unfortunately, after doing my research I found that I don’t have as many resources as I was hoping for during my conference. But everything is workable. 🙂 Here are the resources I do have:
- The hotel I’ll be staying at for the conference has a complimentary gym.
- The family I’ll be staying with over the weekend also has a treadmill and weights available to use.
- The family I’ll be staying with also obviously has a refrigerator and other kitchen items.
The hotel, surprisingly, does not have a microwave or mini fridge. Fortunately I do also have a few other things at my disposal, such as my Fitbit and other tracking apps I normally use. Long ago, I also wrote down most of the videos I’ve used from programs like P90X and Insanity. This makes it very easy to use them wherever, whenever I want.
Given all of the above, here’s my plan:
- For Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday I’ll do my workouts in the morning. I normally get up at 5am to work on this blog and other personal items so it shouldn’t be difficult to keep that same morning alarm.
- Since I don’t have much awareness of what type of food will be served, I want to be sure I’ll get my fruits and veggies in – especially because these are usually this first things to go when I’m in a tight spot with food. Since I won’t have a refrigerator, microwave, or any other way to prep food I’m going to relay on apples and canned green beans for the two full days I’ll be at the conference. The rest of the week days I’ll at least start my day at home so I can prep those days like normal.
- My family is pretty healthy so I don’t need to stress too much there. The only exception is I know we’ll be celebrating Saturday night so I’ll have to watch my portions with dessert.
- I’ve already made plans to go hiking with my family on Saturday, so the only thing I have to worry about is doing an alternate workout if the weather doesn’t hold out.
- If all of the above works out I’m not worried about skipping my workout on Sunday, as long as the above minimums (10,000 steps, calories, etc) are met. If something goes awry with my plan and I need more workout time, I’ll take advantage of my family’s workout space or entice my mom into a long walk or run.
Most likely, no one else will care about this post but I already feel immensely better about how next week will look, having done some planning. Fortunately the habits I’ve learned should help in a few ways (avoiding temptations, staying motivated, etc).
What do you do when you’re in similar situations? Have you found any tips or tricks that help you stay on track when your routine is disrupted?