Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Back in the saddle again - appreciating my routines

I love traveling and I hate traveling at the same time.  I love seeing new places and learning new things, and I love hearing about the history of a place.  For example, did you know that Washington D.C. was built on a malerial swamp?  Explains how stubborn Americans are - - "We'll go ahead and put our nation's capital right here in this swamp with all these biting insects that carry disease".  And they made it work, somehow.  That's determination for you.  Explains a lot about the people - - they just make things work.  I have to admire that. 

But I hate traveling as well, because it completely jacks up my routines.  And god knows that it has been my routines that have enabled me to be so successful in my weight loss so far.  I work out the same time every morning, on the same machine.  I eat the same breakfast every weekday.  I pack my predictable, prepared lunch and dinner every day to the office, full of delicious healthy leftovers courtesy of the Nerd.  I drink 3 - 5 bottles of water while at the office, refilling as I go.  I have built up a series of good habits that have helped me to control my calories in, and increase my energy expenditure out.  Because my patterns are so predictable, so habitual, it makes it hard for me to skip a workout day (I haven't missed a workout in more than 21 weeks), and it helps to keep me on track.

When I travel, though, all those routines are thrown upside down.  I found last week that I was eating at different times than usual, and I was really struggling to make healthy food choices from the hotel restaurant menu.  Portions were HUGE, and the foods were largely fried or cooked in butter or lots of oil.  Even the salads were minefields, dripping with dressing and full of cheese.  Mmmmmm, cheese... Sorry, went to my happy place there for a second. 

I was also struggling to drink enough water.  Next time I will buy a bottle of water and then refill it throughout the day as I do here at home, but on this recent trip I was drinking glasses of water at meals, and it just wasn't enough to counteract all the sodium in the food. 

On the good side, my hotel had a 24 hour fitness center, which enabled me to work out on an elliptical machine (as is my custom at home).  But the machine had a different stride than my machine at home, and I found that I was holding my feet in unnatural positions the first day, which led to minor muscle pulls that still plague me today.  I know that in time my legs will heal up and feel great, but I can still feel the muscle soreness in my calves, which is no fun at all.

Now I am home, and well ensconced back into my routine.  Sunday was the start of a new workout week for me and I am already back on my weight loss path.  I have returned to eating healthy, planned meals at regular times, and drinking my 9 - 15 glasses of water every day.  My workouts are back to their old predictable selves, with 40 minutes on the elliptical 6 days a week, and free weights 3 times a week.  My only change this week was to add another set of 12 reps to my weight routine, for 4 pounds x 12 reps x 3 sets, 3 times per week.  Still with the baby weight, but I can really feel the third set in my muscles, so I am happy to have stepped up the sets.

And I am seeing the results of my routine kicking in.  Last week (when I was in Washington) I did not lose any weight, but this morning I was at my lowest weight yet.  Still not a heavyweight, but very close.   Only another pound and a half and I will be at a fighting weight.  Not that I am a fighter, but it's the point of the thing, is all - - it's a goal.  The Nerd is officially a light heavyweight, and he wants to get down to middleweight.  I am currently above heavyweight, and want to get down to welterweight.  We're both well on our way.

Now that I am back in my routine and seeing positive results again, I appreciate the benefits of my good habits all the more.  That will make getting up early to work out on the elliptical tomorrow morning even easier. 

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