Week 5 (Day 31-38) : Learning how to make healthy food choices and create new habits while on vacation at Disney World.
This week was our first weight management test. Up until this point, minus the initial 7 day detox we have found it fairly easy to follow the weight management plan. Each day our nutrition and exercise routine got easier. Although there are times when it is difficult resisting temptation(s), saying “No, thank you” has also gotten easier.
For most of week 5, we vacationed at Disney World. During our vacation we did the normal Disney Park adventures and we also ran in a few races at the parks. We ran a 5K on Friday, a 10K on Saturday and a ½ marathon on Sunday. We ran a total of 22.4 miles over 3 days. Although we are proud of those accomplishments, we are equally as proud at our ability to make healthy food choices about 85% – 90% of our trip. It was not easy, but it was worth it. We saved money, we felt great and didn’t gain any weight.
Kristen and I have been running together for years, even before we became a couple. Over the years we developed a few bad habits, one of the bad habits is a food reward system. We would reward ourselves with delicious treats (high-calorie/high fat foods) after completing a long run or race. In the past year or so, we would “reward” ourselves for days at a time. We began to eat many more calories than we had burned, defeating the purpose of our hard work.
Bad habits, are hard to break. This trip we did not want to go back to our old habits, but instead wanted to create new long-term weight management habits for exercise and for vacations. **You may not be able to relate to our running reward system, but are there other accomplishments in your life in which you reward yourself with unhealthy foods?**
Here are some tips that helped us make healthy food choices while on vacation:
- Bring healthy food choices. We brought about 3 days’ worth of snacks – homemade protein bars, almonds and apples. Having healthy snacks within arms reach helped made it easy to not buy unhealthy foods that are offered along the way during travel.
- Buy groceries and make your own meals. The first few days of the trip we stayed in a room with a full kitchen, we bought and ate healthy meals for breakfast and dinner in our room. We also packed many individual bags of healthy snacks that we could enjoy throughout the day. The remainder of the trip (3 days & 3 nights)our hotel room had only a small refrigerator. We were determined to do the best we could. We bought hard boiled eggs, Ezekiel bread and organic fruit preserve for breakfasts. For lunch we made turkey and avocado sandwiches on Ezekiel bread and for snacks we had almonds, apples and oranges. For dinner we made healthy food choices at local restaurants. We did enjoy some unhealthy treats, but we limited ourselves to one time per day. Not one “cheat” meal, instead we would have one “cheat” serving. For example, we would eat a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner but we would split a piece of key lime pie for desert.
- When dining out look for healthy alternatives. We ate at a popular restaurant that offers a buffet, the evening before our ½ marathon. We needed to eat a big meal that would provide us a lot of nutrition and energy needed to run 13.1 miles. We loaded up on lots of raw and cooked veggies and one type of lean animal protein (canned chicken, offered at the salad bar). We were a bit surprised that there wasn’t more of a variety of healthy food options and the experience saddened us because we seemed to be the only people in the restaurant who were making healthy options. **Note – There were many foods that appeared to be healthy but because the way the food was prepared, the food was not healthy (example: baked chicken or fish = healthy, baked chicken or fish that is smothered in a butter sauce ≠ healthy.)
- Make healthy substitutions. Many of the places now offer healthy sides or healthy alternatives (ex. Baked not fried). It wasn’t always easy to ask for carrot sticks instead of French fries, but we did.
- Don’t forget to exercise. Many hotels/resorts have a pool and/or gym, use it. Look for fun activities in the area. You may not lose weight during a vacation but if you make healthy food choices 80%-90% of the time and exercise, you won’t gain weight.
Goals for week 6:
Nutrition – In an effort to reduce food cravings after having all sorts of sweet deserts and also to “reset” my digestive system, I will follow a 5-day food detox during week 6. There will be two modifications from the initial detox: (1) I will follow the detox for 5 days, initially I followed the detox for 7-days. (2) I will eat one serving of animal protein per day, initially I did not eat animal protein during the detox.
Exercise – I will run 3 miles per day and weight train 3 days (40-60 minutes each day).
Nutrition – Getting back into our normal routine will be much easier once we are back home and in our normal environment. I will too following the modified 5-day detox that Sean plans on doing. After vacation I want to get back into our normal eating/exercise routine and I think doing the detox for 5 days will help us our a lot.
Exercise – We have another half marathon (NYC Half Marathon!!!!) in 3 weeks so my focus will be on maintaining my endurance and strength training. I didn’t train well for the races that I ran at Disney and I do not want to get to run the NYC Half under trained and under prepared! I realized that the strength training that I have done recently has improved my running performance and recovery. I wasn’t sore from running 13.1 un-trained miles and I only have the strength training to thank for that!!