Challenge. Strategy. Result.

18 December, 2010 Off By Renée

I know it’s been a little while since I posted and I there are a few reasons for that. If you have been following along the last wee bit you know that there’s been a lot of stress at work again, mainly due to lack of personnel to do the work, which equals me filling in where needed, which equals quite some extra work, effort and energy given.

The weather’s been awful and I haven’t been able to go outside and run like I really want to and just as it’s cleared up I had to go to the UK for work so no running outside in my little neighbourhood.

I also got some news quite recently that my dad has prostate cancer. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback and have also had some email exchanges with him and my stepmom about the situation (we have an 8 hour time difference so still haven’t talked on the phone) and from what I understand there is a really good chance that he’s going to be just fine after treatment since it’s been discovered in an early stage. Regardless, last week Hubs and I made the decision that we will go to New Mexico early in March (dad has treatment in January), which we can’t really afford, but will clearly scale down in other areas in 2011 so as not to go bankrupt from the trip. It’s important. More important than any frivolous weekend away I could do next year. I need to see my dad. I hate being so far away from him right now, EVEN IF he’s going to be ok.

I mentioned I had to go to the UK for work, London to be precise and that’s really mostly what this blog post (title) is about. Since I’m basically in the maintenance stage of my weight loss (or should I call it a body hiatus?) and England is pretty “difficult” in terms of just how much yummy, delicious, fatty, gorgeous food is out there (from fast food to pastries to cafes and restaurants) and let’s not forget my mind’s desire to have a glass of wine or a pint of beer in a cozy looking pub as often as possible, I knew I needed a real strategy to get me through the few days I would be on my own for all meals and free time out for the most part.

Arriving on Sunday midday was probably the best thing I could have done. I packed indoor and outdoor sports clothes and shoes, as I knew there was a gym at the hotel, one near the office and also the possibility of running outside. Hubs made a joke that I was taking the “big suitcase” for only 4 days but I explained to him that I needed the indoor and outdoor shoes and clothes to work out. He even then had the audacity to challenge me “You’re not going to work out”. Hmmmmph. Normally he is the vote of confidence. I would show him.

I arrived at my hotel, dropped off my stuff, in fact, I even unpacked, put my things away, hung up my clothes (I never do that, I’m just really lazy in some areas) and then I went walking up the street to where I knew the shops were to hit up the grocery store. Breakfast at the hotel was £10 each day and while probably tasty and paid for by my company I thought to myself “what’s the real cost here?” and decided I could treat myself better than that. I found Sainsbury’s quite quickly, went in and proceeded to be overwhelmed first of all by all the good looking fruit and veg that was available. I wanted to make sure I had something to eat for breakfast and snacks throughout the day in case I got hungry. I must have been in there for an hour! (Side note here is, I love “foreign” supermarkets and could spend literally hours in them looking at everything, reading labels and making new discoveries). I picked up some fruit that I knew would last in my hotel room – mandarins, bananas, pears, a package of blueberries, blackberries and strawberries – some dried cranberries with macadamia nuts, yoghurt, a “trio” of small portion hummus pots, a dip made of sweet potato and harissa (totally going to make this at home), cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks and I picked up some Weight Watchers “wheat and oat” crackers (which turned out to be absolute crap). From there I walked further, checking out restaurants and shops and I wasn’t really lured in anywhere so I eventually decided to head back. When I returned I discovered I didn’t have a mini bar to keep my stuff cool, so thought it would be ok that night and the next day I’d just take the stuff to work and stick it in the refrigerator there.

I went downstairs at that point to the restaurant as I was hungry but they weren’t open yet so I went into the bar instead. I ordered a chicken ceasar salad and a “side” (the portions are too big – I’d say they are becoming “Americanised” with their portions) of hummus and toasted pita bread. As tempting as it was to order a nice cold frothy pint of beer, I stuck with a Diet Coke. I had plans for later and that was to hit up the gym.

That’s exactly what I did. After dinner (which I was unable and in fact unwilling to finish as tasty as it was) I waited a while, got changed and went to the hotel gym. I’ll be honest – I struggle to run on a treadmill because I don’t like the “going nowhere” feeling. The “treadmill” in the “gym” was like half a normal treadmill. The gym wasn’t really much of a gym either. It was better than nothing though, right? So I’m running on the treadmill and already feel my 42 year old bladder saying “Uh. Excuse me? I think I need to go.” So after 5 minutes I had to stop, leave the gym, and go all the way back up to my room because I couldn’t find the WC facilities on the first floor. I quickly did my thing and came back and the machine was even still on pause so I jumped on and started up again.

And so it went. I ate MY food for breakfast – banana, yoghurt, fruit – I took fruit and nuts and some veggies to work and I stuck with this strategy to get me through. For lunch I was on my own though. Monday I had a grilled veggie Panini and salad. Tuesday I had gone to the gym again in the morning before work and was ravenous by the time 12.00 rolled around so I had an omelet, some salad and some chips (fries), which – maybe not a big deal to some – I did not completely finish. Wednesday there just happened to be a pot luck at work and so I had a bit of what was on offer (Jamaican Jerk chicken, chili con carne, samosas, a scotch egg, a few crisps and in fact I had a few sweets as well).

The point of all of this – There were things that I could control and I did just that. I could have had a fry up every morning, and gone down to the store when I was feeling peckish to get a Toffee Nut Latte and a Lemon Poppyseed Muffin, or some biscuits or some other pastries (like I did the last time I was there in June) but I did not. I took care of my breakfast and snacks and I chose what I felt was appropriate at the time for lunch and dinner. I went to the hotel gym twice. I drank very moderately (also compared to the last tme) – one night I had one glass of wine that lasted me for nearly two hours and then went to bed early, one night I had two glasses of wine at dinner but spread out over a few hours and Wednesday, out with friends I had exactly ONE margarita (a first for me).

The challenge was to take care of myself. The strategy was to buy food items that I knew would set me up for success and make good choices out. The result is feeling pretty chuffed with myself. On the Scale? Who knows. And frankly who cares?! Thinking about situations and planning ahead is very empowering and I feel really good about how it turned out.

The trip was really good for me. It was good for my self-confidence, my self-worth, my belief in myself. And I mean that work and health-wise. The bonus part of it all was meeting Scott, Donna and Amy Wednesday night for dinner – unfortunately Scott is going back to Canada soon, but I hope to see Donna and Amy again in the near future. In fact, Donna’s coming to the Netherlands to do a 10.5K on January 9th, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be joining her.

I know I have been changing around my blog a bit and I think I’ll be sticking with this layout now. I just need to get the rest of the blog together, so, again, bear with me and thanks for your patience.

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