Big challenge ahead
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
The biggest threat to my new lifestyle is right around the corner; my touring season is about to start. I work seasonally as a tour director, which means that I spend about three months of every year on other peoples' vacations. It's great work and I love to be able to travel, but it's REALLY HARD to stay on plan when I'm leading a tour. Imagine spending 2-3 consecutive weeks eating restaurant meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner with very little personal time for extra fitness...this is my immediate future.
My first tour this year is to Iran. I leave on Tuesday and I'll be there until May 1. Iran is actually one destination where I usually LOSE weight, because 1) I can't drink there (it's against the law!) and 2) I don't like their bread. So I usually lose 2-3 pounds without any effort just for cutting out the booze and the bread. This time, I will actually make an effort to continue losing beyond that, so I'm expecting good results. Here is my plan:
1) Eat lots of veg at breakfast. This will be easy to do because all the breakfast buffets at the hotels there have loads of cucumber and tomato slices. I can get a great start to my day by having a veggie-laden breakfast.
2) Enjoy rice with my lunch, but not with dinner. Skipping meals or doing my own thing is not an option (my job is like being on stage), but I can make my circumstances work better for me by managing my carbs. The rice is white and there's no getting around that, other than by limiting it to lunch and having a low-carb dinner.
3) Share meals. The people in my tour groups are usually older and their appetites aren't so big. Splitting a meal with one of my dining companions is a great way to avoid overeating. I usually have a willing sharer sitting near me, so this one should be easy to implement.
4) Only have dessert twice a week. I only go to Iran once a year and their sweets are AMAZING, so I would be really sad if I had to skip out on their awesome desserts altogether.
5) Wear my ankle weights whenever possible. And by "whenever possible," I mean whenever I'm out and about wearing pants, not a skirt (because that would look weird!).
6) Snack wisely. My job is demanding and sometimes I do need a snack to see me through to the next meal, but I will head off any weight gain by keeping the snacks small and smart.
7) Do some form of nightly fitness in my hotel room. Yes, there are gyms at some of the hotels, but sadly they are not available to women. Or if they are, the women's hours are in the middle of the day when I'm out on excursions with my groups. So I will do high intensity training workouts in my hotel room alternating with yoga, or sometimes both.
8) Bring my scale with me and weigh in daily. This may seem a bit extreme, but it was the dietary oblivion of touring that completely undid all my good efforts last year. I was off to a great start with my running and good fitness efforts, but by the time I finished all my tours and the year drew to a close, I was at my highest weight ever. Taking the scale with me will help keep me grounded in reality. Because it's not possible to say "what happens in Iran stays in Iran" if I'm bringing "what happens" back with me in the form of extra weight on my body.
I plan to lose five pounds in Iran. By sticking with the eight points of my plan, I think it's entirely possible. So that is my big April challenge. Whatever I weigh on Tuesday morning, I want to return home on May 1 five pounds lighter. And of course, I want to have a great time in Iran. It's a really lovely place full of amazing landscapes, architecture, (yes...) food and, most importantly, people. I plan to enjoy every minute while still keeping my goal in mind!