How To Healthfully Navigate A Weekend of Special Events
I’m reposting the following recap of a weekend I had a couple years ago because life includes plenty of special events, sometimes two days in a row! Whether or not I’m on a particular fitness goal, I have standards for the foods and drinks I enjoy, so having a plan is vital to my health, happiness, sleep and energy.
I don’t always navigate events perfectly, but when I have a plan, I succeed 99% of the time. Sometimes “success” means enjoying my favorite treats without guilt. And sometimes it means not eating anything I determined to not be worth it.
Regardless, it takes a thought process and discipline. So here is glimpse at how I prepared for and navigated this particular glorious event-fest.
I had a pretty great weekend.
My brother married a lovely woman in Dana Point, CA on Friday, and my best friend opened her family’s second restaurant in Marin, CA on Saturday. I was there for both!
I take this perfect opportunity to explain how to navigate a weekend of special occasions and a road trip without falling off the health wagon, and yet still allowing an enjoyable festive treat. After all, life includes birthday parties, weddings, travel and other things that can throw us off track if we aren’t prepared.
The beauty of regular exercise and the meal plan I follow and give people is that by living that way 99% of the time, the occasional treat at an event isn’t going to rock my health world. The sky won’t fall, my pants wont burst at the seams, I won’t die.
Using my weekend as an example, I begin with my plan for Friday.
How I Navigated a Special Event
*I ate a healthy breakfast, lunch and snacks as usual.
*Drank water all day as usual.
*Got a GOOD workout in. I call it an EARN IT workout. If I weren’t able to workout before the event I would get my sweat on the next day and I call that a BURN IT workout.
* I PREPARED! I thought ahead to what might be at the wedding: alcohol, cake, food to eat that I am not sure of how it is prepared or what the menu even is.
I thought about how good I feel right now and how I don’t want to mess that up by “treating” myself to all of the above. If I were to throw in the towel and just go for it because it is a “special occasion”, then I already know I won’t feel good in the moment, going to bed or tomorrow.
So I chose which of those treats I was going to actually treat myself to.
My thought process:
Food: I knew it will be delicious, but could anything be served that if I didn’t eat it I would regret it later? Probably not.
So I prepared to stick with finding the protein and vegetable sources.
Alcohol: I needed to drive back to LA after the wedding, a 1.5-2 hour drive, so drinking even a glass of wine wouldn’t be helpful and would probably make me sleepy. I also had to be up early the next day to train people so I didn’t want to mess with that energy.
Cake: This is where I would treat myself, but if it didn’t look amazeballs, it wasn’t going in my face.
Cake is cake so how great could it be? I decided that if I saw it and I could say to myself I know what that tastes like, then I would pass. Not drinking alcohol would make that easier to do by the way because alcohol makes everything a fantastic idea.
If I saw it and it was a combination of flavors that have never graced my taste buds before then it was goin’ in. But what if it wasn’t even cake?! What if they got all fancy on us and offered a special cupcake or some other treat? I might have to try that!
* I would enjoy it. I wouldn’t eat a side of guilt with it and suck the life out of it. If I can’t enjoy it then it won’t be worth eating anyway.
* The next day I would get back on the health wagon. With a new Sister-in-Law! BAM!
Here’s how I actually navigated the wedding festivities.
– Alcohol: I had to talk myself through this one, I’ll be honest. When I got there after sitting in a little traffic and the excitement of the night was setting in as family arrived, I considered enjoying a glass of wine. But I reminded myself all my reasons I wouldn’t be drinking and that stopped me, the first 2 times I looked at the bar. I got a bottle of water instead.
The only thing that stopped me the third time was accountability, I had emailed this plan to a group of people in a weight loss contest I’m coaching and that kept me honest. Accountability rocks!
I was glad when I woke up the next morning and felt a little more tired than usual. I instantly thought, it’s a good thing I didn’t drink last night, I would be a mess right now!
– Food: This was tricky. Instead of a sit down dinner, some delicious hors’d oeuvres and dinner foods were passed that everyone was loving, but there wasn’t a lean protein and vegetable option. So I made my meal of spiced nuts, strawberries, the turkey from atop a crostini and a couple crackers. And I was happy!
– Cake: Holy dessertfest. Wow it was a beautiful spread of cheesecakes, mini cupcakes, cake and more. I checked out the table 3 or 4 times but couldn’t narrow it down (!) and I realized I wasn’t even hungry, so I passed!
This is actually a big step for me. Old me would have over-eaten several choices.
So that’s how that went.
A major factor in those choices was knowing that the next day I had two clients and then a 6 hour drive up to San Francisco for the opening of my friend’s restaurant, Farmshop.
In other words, I would be driving 6 hours (inactivity) to a no holds barred Treat Meal. And so I continue on my weekend plan.
How to Navigate a Road Trip
– Started my day as I usually do, long walk, black coffee followed by a breakfast protein smoothie.
– Trained 2 clients.
– Exercise: 10,000 steps a day is the bare minimum for basic health. Most people do not get close to that on a daily basis. I can even over estimate how much I’ve done because I am active with clients, but I also drive a lot so I keep track with a FitBit.
I mention this because, knowing I would be driving 6 hours to eat (!), I wanted to be sure I got my 10,000 steps in before the drive.
My 50 minute morning walk had me at around 6500. So I parked a 15 minute walk away from the Santa Monica stairs and walked to them, did 5 sets (179 stairs in each set) and walked back. My Earn It workout.
– Preparation: I ate a healthy lunch and packed healthy snacks for my drive. Snap peas, unsalted almonds, an apple and 3 bottles of water.
– On the drive: I stopped for gas and started looking at the snacks in the food mart! Why?! Left with only a pack of gum, and a sense of pride. It is often a close call for me, which I find funny.
The Farmshop Treat Meal, aka The Yumfest That Landed in My Face
* 1 glass red wine, Cultivar (From a tap! So cool.)
* 1/3 of a Bianca pizza with stinging nettles
* 4 mini slices of olive oil graced grilled bread (one of my favorite treats!)
* 1/2 an incredible, farm fresh sweet and bitter greens salad
* 2oz halibut, 2 oz cod
* Spring fresh asparagus and heirloom carrots with tasty seasonings
* Valhrona chocolate dessert tart and strawberries in chamomile custard. By this point I had forgotten to take photos. I was in foodie heaven.
After sleeping like a rock, I woke up rested and enjoyed my daily morning walk.
I came across this footbridge, and knowing that starch carbs are stored in the body until burned for fuel (like gas in a car), I enjoyed the extra energy for my BURN IT workout. So I counted 172 lunges from end to end!
Why? The legs are the largest muscle group, so I could burn up those pizza and bread carbs pretty quickly just by focusing on leg exercises!
After returning to the hotel, my best friend was ready for her boxing BURN IT workout. Then I went to the gym and got my sweat on. 20 minutes on elliptical, 30 on treadmill hike and 30 minutes on a bike. Hey, I had another inactive 6-hour drive home, so I did what I had to do!
– Food: Ate a clean salad and egg whites for brunch.
– The drive home: Berries, roasted and unsalted cashews, steamed broccoli, kale, a lot of water.
– Dinner: A protein smoothie after the long drive.
I have to say, although I am used to putting forth this effort of thinking daily, that was a busy weekend and I’m really proud of how I did. I had so very many opportunities to just throw my hands up and say, I’ll make it a Treat Weekend!, but I knew that wouldn’t feel good in the end.
As I start my new week, I am grateful for a lovely weekend celebrating some big events with family and friends, and knowing that I did it all without sabotaging my health, fitness and happiness.
A successfully navigated weekend of special events, random food consumption and a road trip! BAM!
PREPARATION was, and is always, the key.