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Challenge ahead - next week in a hotel

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dear SparkFriends,

I am just back from running. I did 4 km - usually I do 3, and a bit more if I feel good. It was tiring, but I decided to do 4 km. And as I reached it, I also decided to reward myself.

We had a business dinner tonight. A colleague of mine, also a project manager, got a 1st place award for one of our innovation project, from TechForTaste. In Austria, healthy eating and bio-organic-natural products are very important and trendy. And especially here, in Styria (Steiermark), where there is a lot food and agricultural industry. There are lots of small and big companies developing new healthy products. It's really nice to want to eat and live healthy here, because I feel going WITH THE FLOW.
TechForTaste is a cluster initiative of the departmental government to network companies to innovate in the food industry. www.techfortaste.net/cms/1539

As it was already night when I was running (I love to run at night, it's so silent, calm, and relaxing), here's a pic of the band playing traditional Steirische Musik from tonight.

I was not planning to come for this dinner tonight, so in the afternoon I had only 5-600 kcal left in my budget, just enough for a light dinner, and before-after exercise nutrition.
The menu was tasty, the portions were perfect (small), and the food was healthy. However, as I promised myself, I tracked everything, although only by estimation, not weighing. So, I tracked all, and in the end, it is 240 kcal more for today than my budget.
Learning: small things add up, even faster then one big meal.

On Friday, I leave for a week to The Netherlands, for a training in organizational development. I like this topic, so I do it on my holidays and cost. Originally, I planned to work on Friday, and leave from work to the airport in Graz. However, I decided to give myself Friday as holiday as reward. So I can put down work on Thursday afternoon, have a good night sleep, and more time to prepare. I feel so much better knowing that my travel starts in a smooth way.

Next week will be a challenge. I will eat all meals provided by the hotel - breakfast, lunch, dinner, even coffee breaks.
Do you have any tips on how to deal with this?

I thought about the followings:
- bring my digital kitchen scale and measure

- bring some low calorie food with me like puffed rice, crisp bread, low fat milk
- buy fruits and vegetables to snack during the coffee breaks
- one calorie rich drink per day only (wine, soda, fruit juice)
- one calorie rich dessert per day only (chocolate cake and friends)
- drink water, cola light, tea during the day and coffee breaks
- ask for half portion, steamed vegetables from the restaurant if possible - maybe talk to the leader of the kitchen?
- inaugurate a fruit corner in my hotel room on Saturday

- if no internet, track things in my paper-food-diary
- announce in the beginning for the group that I have a limited calorie budget, so encourage me for drinking water, eating veg, and eating less in general
- bring my running gear with me, and still aim 10 min exercise per day, even if Beatrix is waiting for me in the lobby... (the queen in The Netherlands)
- ask in the group if someone wants to run with me

What do you think - any ideas, tips, experiences, how you deal with trips and hotel food?
Any feedback is well appreciated!
Otherwise, I hope to catch some nice tulip fields on my runs next week.

And thank you for your suggestions from last week and this week. I appreciate them a lot.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KIMBERTA99 5/19/2011 7:03PM

    Have a great trip!! Sounds like you have a good plan of attack!! I am sure that you will be able to find someone to go run with you!! Do you know if the hotel has a gym?? I am sure if you stick to your plan you will have a great trip and come back in good shape!! Good luck! Have a safe trip!!

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LAURIE9404 5/19/2011 1:06PM

    You really do have a great plan here. I know that when I went away for my last skating competition I hit the grocery store for some healthy, easy to eat snacks. I carried a bag full of fruit, apple sauce, granola, trail mix, and things that would be as filling and healthy as possible. Of course that's not to say that I didn't veer off course, but as long as you get that running in, you're on a great path! Does the hotel have a gym or fitness center? You could always try some new equipment to keep things fresh. I discovered the eliptical.

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FVHORVATH 5/19/2011 11:47AM

    I think that even withthe challenge you have next week you have it planned out so well! I know you will be successful in keeping those goals! I hope you do have internet as it will be interesting to see how you are doing!

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ELLEYKAT 5/19/2011 11:01AM

    I think those are all great ideas you have!! It sounds like you are ready to take on this challenge - good luck! =)

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CAPTHAMMER 5/18/2011 10:47PM

    It will be a challenge for you next week but I think your good attitude will see you through. Your plan is a good one. Take along something healthy packed into your bag. That will be a safe snack which may be hard to find.

Remember that it's wonderful if you stay within your numbers every single day but we all go over once in a while. Especially while traveling.

Certainly you need to keep up your exercise. Pack a resistance band for upper body work in your hotel room and, like you said, aim for continuing your 10 min runs. Beatrix looks fairly fit. And certainly Princess Maxima is familiar with exercise. I think they would approve of you exploring their country with a run. It would be excellent to find a running buddy among your workmates.

Good Luck! We'll miss you while you're away but I hope you have a great time.

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CONFIDO999 5/18/2011 10:04PM

    Your plan sounds great! You have thought of every possibility, and have a plan for it all. I think you will love seeing new sights as you run there.

The hotel and restaurants you eat at should have lighter options, even on the break tables. There should always be fruit and fresh veg available to you. Best of luck with your plan and have a wonderful time! emoticon

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BUGQUEEN90 5/18/2011 8:57PM

    You have a solid plan, and you will be successful in your goals during this trip. Last time I traveled (in February), I brought my scale with me to weigh myself daily. It's my way of staying on track. I can't think of anything else to add to your plan. You have everything covered! Keeping up with your running is key. Maybe the Queen will run with you?? emoticon

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PEGTIGER 5/18/2011 7:48PM

    Wow, you have really done a fantastic job of planning ahead. You have made such a marvelous list that I can not think of anything to add. Follow your plan and you'll do fine. Have a good time, and I'm so glad you rewarded yourself with Friday.

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NTSOHLTHNT 5/18/2011 7:28PM

    I'll be in the same boat in June--one whole week in a hotel. Though when I'm away, I usually stick to meals that are sure to be healthy, like fish with salad, or roasted chicken with salad. For breakfast I like to stick with protein like eggs, because it sticks longer, for lunch a nice salad or a sandwich will do, and for dinner I'll have a salad or vegetables with some protein--hold the potatos or noodles, please. I envy you--you get to run where others dream of running. What a great place to live! I used to go skiing in Austria and loved it.

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DAVISSTEVIE69 5/18/2011 7:05PM

    Realizing that this is a danger zone is the first step. You have some great ideas. When eating out, don't be afraid to customize your order a bit to make it more healthy. For example ask that cheese be left off. Another idea, if your hotel has a refridgerator, then order your dinner, ask for a take out box immediately. Package half of the meal and eat the remainder. Take the packaged portion back to the hotel and have it for lunch or dinner the next day. Good luck to you!

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Sitting like a log.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Yesterday, or rather today, I went to bed at 2am. I was doing my tax report for Hungary for 2010. I didn't plan to do, but I don't want to leave it for the last day either.

But somehow, today, I was still super active, and got a giga mountain of things done at work. Usually, Tuesday is my most active day during the week.
I think then, 17th May must be my most active day during the year.

Then of course, when I arrived home, I was feeling like the Duracell rabbit after the shootings are over.
I almost couldn't gather myself together to make any exercise. So, I just took my running gear as I promised for myself, and got down to the square. I was standing there, looking around for 5 minutes to figure out if I go North, South, East or West. But then, slowly I started to run. The landscape snailed by like a slow motion movie. I was not tired, just plafff mode.
Finally, after 2km (1.2 miles), I got the hang of it, and reached 3km easily, when I turned back. I had a very nice walk backwards.

Since I arrived back to my apartment, I am cemented into my chair. I am energized in mind, and tired in my body.

So, now, I stop reading your blogs and comments, and sleep.

By the way, 126 SparkPoints today.
New record.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BUGQUEEN90 5/18/2011 2:24PM

    I can just imagine how tired you were after staying up so late and then running. I hope you had a good night's sleep and feel rested today. Good for you for getting your taxes done!!

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FVHORVATH 5/18/2011 10:49AM

    Taxes are not my favorite thing to do but you have to gt them done. MY DH leaves everything to the last and then expects me to figure out everything. But I alway manage.

It's a good thing to get out and start the exercise. You may find you have more energy once you are out and if you don't at least you got in some!

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DORIS32 5/17/2011 10:50PM

    sometimes it takes a while to get into the groove of a run.. especially after a rough night. glad you found it. How awesome that you got out there, when you reallly didn't want to. I just went through that and know how hard it is.
BTW - how did you get 126 points?!! What's the secret?

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PEGTIGER 5/17/2011 6:37PM

    Fantastic that you got out and exercised after almost no sleep. That is such a hard time to make oneself get the job done. I hope you rested well afterwards.

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CONFIDO999 5/17/2011 5:56PM

    You should have a very good rest after all of that activity. It is so motivating to hear how you still made your run, even though you were tired. Way to go on your spark point record!

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DINGALLSTOO 5/17/2011 5:45PM

    I hate doing taxes, and my husband seems to like to wait until the last minute.

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The Moon lit my road

Monday, May 16, 2011

I tried again a new road today. This one was slowly uphill, about 200 m elevation over 4kms. This was the hardest I ever did, felt like double distance. But was so good to get trough. When walking home, the Moon was already up, and I met two deers again. There are some really nice places here.

For measuring portions, the challenge for me is the canteen. Today, I went to my desk and back with my plate to measure it on a balance. Would I look silly to bring my balance to the canteen?
Or how do you measure portions in a restaurant canteen?

Then, I looked for a similar recipe on the web, and estimated the calorie contents with that. Which is a funny quest. I search for the German food name on Google images, and when I find a similar looking plate, then I check the name in English and the recipe. If there is no calorie content indicated, then I have to enter it to the recipe calculator.

It looks like now we are regularly two drinking water during the coffee-talk after lunch.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PEGTIGER 5/17/2011 7:15PM

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful picture. Eating out has always been a problem to me for the tracking. I'm in a small rural town and we don't have the big chains that have websites and nutritional values. I just have to guess, but the similar recipes and vary so much!

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DINGALLSTOO 5/17/2011 5:48PM


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CONFIDO999 5/16/2011 10:26PM

    I understand your problem with measuring portions at the canteen. Often, places that serve food do not follow good portion sizes here in the US. I am hoping that the portion sizes are better in Europe. They traditionally are. I also understand your problems with finding accurate recipes to track. I cook dinner every night for my family, and I do not follow recipes typically--I just make my own creations. It sometimes is difficult to track exactly unless I actually create a recipe in Sparkpeople then divide it up by portions. I am usually not motivated to go through that work, so I just try to find something close.

Thanks for another beautiful photo!

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BUGQUEEN90 5/16/2011 10:16PM

    It's ok to bring your scale to a restaurant if you want. It must help you stay on your plan if you know the amount of food that you are eating. I have a friend who brings her scale with her everywhere because it keeps her in control. I think in time, you won't need to measure everything, because you'll be very good at estimating the amount of food. I don't bring my scale with me to restaurants, and I do my best at estimating the correct amount.

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MISSLORI5 5/16/2011 7:40PM

    Your pic is just beautiful! You make that area sound so terrific! I know what you mean by this measuring thing. I am finding myself more and more often having to get down and dirty to get past the eyeballing of things. It's amazing how often we trust other people to give us a serving which we are fully aware is way too much food! Americans eat such huge portions anyway, and the food industry makes sure we don't even realize it! Take care and keep that measuring scale handy! emoticon

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Life changing carrots

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The weather forecast is very precise here. It rained the whole day as it said it will rain. Then it stopped as it was supposed to stop. Austrian precision. Only Germany can get more precise then this.

Gleisdorf, after rain, in the evening. The air is so sharp and clean.

So, I did my run when it finally stopped. I really just did because I committed myself to do it, otherwise, I felt much more staying inside. But, when I was running, like always, I got the hang of it, and just didn't want to stop.

I reached Level 7 in SP, for which I really am happy for. These points keep me motivated, and reading all those articles for the points make me learn so many things. I read yesterday that the key pillars for the exercise are cardio, strength and stretching. So, I paid special attention to stretching before and after, as I felt I was doing just the bare minimum.

To reward myself, I bought two small digital kitchen scales (I already have one), which I can take with me for my trips. This goes well with this weeks challenge to measure everything.

I also made another big step today in my healthy life journey. I cooked a warm healthy meal for myself for dinner. I decided to start simple, and techy - as I like technology, to make it more appealing to do it. I googled how to steam in the microwave vegetables, and go. I steamed carrots and a fish fillet of Pangasius. It was simple, tasty, and fitting well into my calorie budget.
I see for most of you in the Daisy team this sounds silly, as mother of many, running big households, and cooking for many people. However, I haven't been cooking before.
Last week I made my first cold meal. Now my warm meal. In the end, beside eating healthy, doing cardio every day, I take the habit of cooking my own meals.

I enjoyed reading your (Daisy team, and some other members') blogs today so much. Funnily, reading them just keeps me even more motivated.

I wanted to write only a few lines, as this was such a simple day. But then, since I am on this Spark-journey, there are so many things happening, even on a simple day. My life is changing. I like these changes in me.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NOILEDNWAD 5/15/2011 11:31PM

    emoticon Learning to cook for yourself can be very rewarding. Because you know exactly what you are putting in the food you can really make it fit your taste buds and your calories. Nice job!

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ELEGANTFLOWERS 5/15/2011 10:30PM

    I'm glad to see your cooking healthy meals. It's hard to cook for just one person. You are so dedicated to your weight loss journey. I always enjoy your photos.

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CAPTHAMMER 5/15/2011 10:06PM

    yes, maybe I got a chuckle from steaming carrots but I bow down to you for attempting, and apparently succeeding, cooking fish.
Love your twilight photo.

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MUEHLBBO 5/15/2011 10:05PM

    Glad that you are trying the cooking journey, too. I don't always cook the way I should, opting to eat a salad. I'm always afraid I will get tired of them and start eating junk again. I still try to cook different things, but it's tough when cooking for one. Enjoy the new adventure.

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BUGQUEEN90 5/15/2011 8:21PM

    Enjoy cooking your meals at home. I feel best when I cook fresh meals at home, and I think it's a part of a healthy life. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KIMBERTA99 5/15/2011 6:44PM

    That is awesome you are learning to cook healthy meals for yourself!! Your dinner sounds YUMMY!!! I am glad you stuck to your plan of running....it is easy to put it off when you would prefer to so something else!! You are a great inspiration!

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PEGTIGER 5/15/2011 6:30PM

    Glad you are getting some warm meals. We all need some healthy comfort food.

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CONFIDO999 5/15/2011 5:24PM

    How great it is that you are so motivated and staying with your goals so consistently! I am very proud of you. I hope you will catch the cooking bug like you have caught the running bug--it is a very enjoyable talent to have!

Beautiful photo, as always!

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DINGALLSTOO 5/15/2011 5:04PM

    glad you are expanding your horizons. YOU can do this

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Running in a Rush (Spring 5% W2 D1)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

It was 6pm. I wanted to catch the 7pm service.
But I felt to run now, not afterwards.

Changing, stretching, drinking, should be OK in 10 min.
4 km at 7 min/km, that's 28 min.
Cool down walk, stretching, shower, drinking, banana, changing,-another 12 min.
3 min walk to there.
I should be able to catch it.

And I did.
Oh boy, but how stressful was to run like this.
Although, I had the same time for running like always, and I was the same pace, I felt urged throughout the whole distance.

First learning:
A 3 or 4 km run is a 1h program for me.

Second learning:
It's not just about squeezing in minus calories into the day. It's also about enjoying the neighborhood, let the day go, time for myself. It's about living healthy, which I prefer to do in a relaxed pace.

Third learning:
High heart rate and high mind rate can happen at the same time, but are different things.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CONFIDO999 5/15/2011 4:35PM

    Great blog! I do like the lessons you found in your running. It is about taking your time and enjoying yourself while you get healthy! I'm very glad you did the run anyway, even with some other activity coming up. We all should learn that lesson--make fitness a priority!

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MUEHLBBO 5/14/2011 11:37PM

    Great job on getting it in even thought you knew you had something else to do. So many people might just skip it. You're doing great and another fine picture. I'm getting adicted to them!

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NOILEDNWAD 5/14/2011 11:11PM

    I also don't like exercising when I'm rushed. It's more stressful than waiting and doing it after. But you got it in so that's awesome!!

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LESLIE_2B_LESS 5/14/2011 10:39PM

    Great job! Even though you were in a time crunch - you did get it in. You can enjoy it better tomorrow!

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MISSLORI5 5/14/2011 9:35PM

    It's amazing how being under a time pressure when exercising can increase our heart rate within itself. It must have something to do with extra adrenaline or something like that. You did just great, though! Keep up the movin'! emoticon

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KIMBERTA99 5/14/2011 4:55PM

    I agree it is better to exercise when you dont have to be somewhere right afterwards...I like to know I have plenty of time to do my workout and even relax after!!!

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PEGTIGER 5/14/2011 4:22PM

    You have made some great observations. I'm so proud of you for fitting the run in. I would have said no way can I make it and put it off. Running would be easier if I wasn't concerned so much about just "getting it over with" so I can move on to the next thing.

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BUGQUEEN90 5/14/2011 3:15PM

    Yes, this is the time to devote to yourself and release any stress that you may have. Still, you did a great thing by runnning today, even though you were under a time crunch.

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