It’s time to address an issue that has been on my mind my whole life, but most recently more so ever since hitting the road: staying in shape.
I’m a person who has been technically overweight my whole life. Part of this is because I truly love to eat. Something about food tastes so darn good. Flavors, textures, you name it…if it’s about food, I’m all about it.
As I grew older and more self-conscious (and self-aware of my health), I realized that I, personally, needed to work out at least 3 times a week. Not only that, but I had to cut out many of the foods that I loved so much growing up: soda (pop as we in the Midwest call it), chips on a day-to-day basis, mayonnaise and chocolate among other delicacies.
The heaviest I ever grew was in college to 23o pounds. Freshman year was when I put on the most weight, drinking, partying, eating pizza and junk food into the wee hours of the morning, stuffing my face with dorm food, ordering takeout, you name it.
I visited the doctor for a routine check-up that he told me I had high blood pressure because I was overweight. That was the nail in the coffin for me. How could I have high blood pressure at age 19? I wasn’t a 65 year old man with high cholesterol. Worse, I was not educate when it came to eating healthy and staying fit.
That doctor’s office visit was the wake-up call for me to lose some weight and try to maintain a more conscious lifestyle.
Since then I’ve lost 35 pounds and managed to keep it off. I have fluctuated somewhere between 185-195 for the past 5 years. I can’t say it’s been all easy, nor have I been a saint.
The ways in which I keep off weight to me are simple (most days):
If it makes you feel gross eating it, don’t.
If you can feel sugar in your teeth after you eat/drink something, stay away.
Water is your best friend.
Stick to granola, bananas, hummus, pretzels, apples, and other light, healthy snacks.
Don’t deny yourself some pleasures.
Another key to staying fit is working out. I am a runner, albeit a rather slow one, but I do try to get out there at least twice a week and run a few miles. I practice yoga about 3 times a week, I lift weights and do pushups. I also love hiking, biking, climbing and swimming when the opportunity presents itself. My workout routine is moderate at best, some weeks ranking in at sluggish. Though I do sometimes feel guilty about this, I give myself one small allowance: I work on my feet as a waitress about 8 hours a day, clocking anywhere from 5 to 10 miles walked daily. Not to mention, I’m constantly, bending and lifting.
Routing is probably the best way to keep a healthy lifestyle, but with travel sometimes this becomes difficult.
When on a road trip, it’s almost impossible to pass up chicken fried steak in the south, the new-to-you IPA in the Rockies or huge T-Bone steaks on the grill in the country. This is life and it’s worth celebrating. Most often we celebrate with food and drink. It’s hard not to say “Screw it! I’m having a burger!”
It’s easy and fun to throw caution to the wind when it comes to eating and drinking. I find that the most exciting culinary experiences happen on the road. You get to try new flavors which initiate new sensations. Who couldn’t get behind that?
While all this is true, it’s also a recipe for disaster. I have been guilty of letting one small freebie turn into days, sometimes weeks on end of freebies. That’s when I get a little cushy, for lack of a better term.
Life most things in life, all things are good in moderation. While on the road, instead of indulging into my boyfriend’s bag of beef jerky, I’ll grab a granola bar and a yogurt. Let it be known, though, middle-American gas station selections rarely weigh on the side of healthy. I’m more often disgusted and would rather listen to my stomach rumble than eat taquitos and old, dry rotating hot dogs.
Another tried and true tip I use is if I’m full, I stop eating. This becomes increasingly difficult if I’m noshing on a plate of nigiri sushi, an amazing burger and beer combo or a huge, delicious steak. Other vices include kettle cooked potato chips and the occasional soda. What can I say? After all I’m American.
Staying fit on the road isn’t always easy, especially with endless opportunity and deliciousness knocking on your door at every turn. But with a little conscious decision making, staying in good, healthy shape can make your adventures last a lifetime!