A Mind & Body Reboot: The Travel Challenge

On the third, and last, week of my Best Body Reboot Program, I had to travel for work. We all know how difficult it can be to eat well while traveling. But, let me tell you, eating according to a specific diet program while traveling is way harder. Still, I managed to stick with it, eating bland salads from hotel delis, always carrying a bag of nuts with me and walking 40 minutes to the nearest health food store.

In the wee hours on morning of day 15 of my 21-day program, I left for the airport, headed to Hawaii. I had spent the whole night packing, the hardest part of which was getting all the supplements and stuff in there. I had to pre-bag seven days worth of morning protein shakes (I was surprised that security did not give me trouble about bringing white powder in plastic baggies), vitamin supplements, emergency things like charcoal (good to have on hand for food poisoning), vitamin C and headache pills and a bag of organic raw walnuts, almonds and goji berries (which actually lasted me the whole trip!) The night before, I had also gone to whole foods and bought an emergency supply of organic raw food bars and chips, in case I’d get stuck in the airport for some reason. About a fourth or a fifth of my suitcase was filled with food stuff, and I was very proud of my planning abilities. In my carry on, I also packed a big salad to eat on the plane.

A small selection of the supplements and foods I packed in my suitcase.

A small selection of the supplements and foods I packed in my suitcase.

I was still taking antibiotics for the scary chest muscle inflammation I told you about in my previous post. It turns out that medication and being in the midst of a diet revamp is not such a good combination. I had severe stomach cramps for several days, including the one where I had to be on planes for thirteen hours. This was not so much fun, but thankfully the cramps—and the muscle inflammation—disappeared around day 18.

Hawaii is a beautiful place in every way, but healthy food options are surprisingly scarce. Although I was there for work, I was staying in a large touristy hotel that had but one place that offered green salads that were very overpriced and probably not organic. It wasn’t the ideal option, but it worked in the situation. The really good thing about Hawaii is that there is great fish everywhere. Pretty much every night for the remainder of the program I ordered grilled fish with a side salad, and it was always delicious. I didn’t really feel deprived, besides a serious craving for warm bread rolls with butter and ceasar salad.

You cannot get papaya as good as the ones they have in Hawaii anywhere else, so I decided to make it part of my daily diet.

You cannot get papaya as good as the ones they have in Hawaii anywhere else, so I decided to make it part of my daily diet.

On a typical day, I started off by going to the gym. I had dreamed about going for runs along the beach for weeks. But, because it made my chest muscles hurt I had to settle for the air-conditioned hotel gym, where the only piece of cardio equipment I could use was the recumbent bike—not one of my favorite machines. I tried to mix it up by alternating going fast and putting on more resistance, and I actually noticed each morning that I could increase the resistance from the day before while still keeping the same pace. That was very satisfying and kept me motivated. After the gym I would go up to my room, shower, make a protein shake and get dressed for work. Every day I packed the bag of nuts, an apple and a bottle of water in my bag for between-meal snacks. For lunch, I usually had a green salad. Besides apples, I had lots of fresh fruits for snacks. They probably had a bit more sugar than I should have consumed, but I figured I was in Hawaii and I had to take advantage of the abundance of fresh fruit on offer.

Since I could not make green juices as I had in the previous two weeks and was trying desperately to find a place that make them, with no success. I had brought along packets of Green Vibrance, which is a powdered supplement—and great alternative to green juice—but tastes like sewage sludge. One day, in the middle of the week, I walked for 40 minutes to get to a health food store that actually made green juice. I cannot even describe the happiness I felt walking into this temple of good food, if they would have let me I would have camped out on the floor for the remainder of the week. I bought two, one to have right away and one for the afternoon. After that I never had a chance to go back, and it was back to green sewage sludge.

A very happy me, after finding a health food store with an organic salad bar and green juice.

A very happy me, after finding a health food store with an organic salad bar and green juice.

The hardest part for me were the evening functions—parties that offered an abundance of great food and open bars, none of which I would usually turn down. I felt very deprived and became a bit cranky on some occasions, but also felt a strange, floating sense of empowerment—I didn’t need all this stuff, I was stronger than that. It’s funny how setting rules for ourselves and making certain commitments can make us so totally change our behavior and not really think twice about it. I hope I can selectively channel that empowered feeling in the future.

Beware of the buffet! The temptations of the fancy food at evening functions were many, but I managed to resist.

Beware of the buffet! The temptations of the fancy food at evening functions were many, but I managed to resist.

What I realized during this last week of the program was how easy it is to be good in regular daily life, when set routines allow you to plan your diet. Being on program while in my office all day and at home at night was so easy—there really is no reason to ever eat bad food in those situations. I also realized I am so not into self-deprivation. When I am at a lavishly catered party or in a great restaurant I want to be able to enjoy that to the fullest. Being really good on “regular” days will make that OK, so that is the promise that I have made to myself. I will save all my dietary sins for moments when they are worth it. Magen Banwart, our coach for this program, recommends sticking to a 80-20 ratio—being good 80% of the time and allowing ourselves to indulge 20% of the time. If, in a week, you eat three meals a day, 20% of that is 4.2 meals—4.2 meals where you’re allowed to cheat! That sounds like something I can stick to.

Next week, I will sum up this whole experience and what I learned, share my weight and fat loss results and tell you about how I plan to move forward so as not to fall off the bandwagon again.

Also check out part 1, part 2 & part 3 of this series.

About author
A designer by trade, Johanna has always had a passion for storytelling. Born and raised in Sweden, she's lived and worked in Miami, Brooklyn and, currently, Ojai, CA. She started Goodlifer in 2008 to offer a positive outlook for the future and share great stories, discoveries, thoughts, tips and reflections around her idea of the Good Life. Johanna loves kale, wishes she had a greener thumb, and thinks everything is just a tad bit better with champagne (or green juice).
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