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« To All My Clients... | Main | A Few of My (Recent) Favorite Training and Nutrition Podcasts »

I Fell Down a Nutritional Rabbit Hole 

Two days ago I returned from a four day trip with my in-laws. Our destination was a ten hour drive away, visiting family. That's all good.

The food, workout and nutrition portion of the time was a horror, though, and firmly reminded me of how difficult my expectations are for many of my clients. I took a few protein bars (last resort), plenty of whey protein powder, some Fiberlyze (critical when on the road), and my workout gear. In a little cooler was some turkey breast, a bit of cheese, some decent bread, and fruit (basically cleaning out the fridge).

Circumstances change the best plans, don't they? I ended up with a meal at Wendys (triple with no cheese).  No fries, no Frosty. Panera Bread turned out to be the best option one time. I ate a shit-ton of Lime chips while driving the first night. Completely lost control. Horrible eggs and some Greek yogurt were my best breakfast options in the hotel.

Visiting relative's homes featured chips and guacamole and hummus. And wine at night. And a beer one day.

The highest quality restaurant meal was a splendid Sunday buffet in a health food store/restaurant. I had oatmeal (laced with syrup), four salmon fillets (in a suace with sliced almonds), an omelet, a bunch of chicken sausage, more oatmeal, some potatoes.... it goes on and on. All good, healthy, logical food, but I went to the buffet three times! It's like I lost my mind.

Local gyms weren't open at times that fit my schedule. My one workout in four days, two of which were sitting and driving or riding, was in the hotel "workout" room. Dumbells to 40#, a weird two-station Nautilus thing, one flat bench and treadmills. I goofed around for 40 minutes but it was unsatisfying in most respects.

To summarize, I mostly ate relatively healthy food. I exercised very little. One more than one occasion I ate much more than was logical, way too much. I didn't eat often enough, didn't have my usual five or six small meals each day. Few vegetables appeared in front of me at any time. 

I gained four pounds those four days (three days later, it's gone). I felt bloated and tired. 

Here's my take-home:  this is how most people live all the time! I was reminded how easy it is to go along with a family group, to spend hours visiting with no food. There were a few occasions I was so happy I had a shaker and protein with me. That was so superior to the somehow fake eggs at the hotel. 

I consider myself to be way above-average in food quality consumption, in will-power, in planning ahead. But I experienced first-hand how easy it is to fall down the rabbit hole of no food prepared ahead of time, long periods without food due to the situation, and what happens to the smartest and most experienced taste-buds when crap is put in front of them.

Lesson:  take even more of my own supplements or food with me on trips involving others (this isn't a problem when traveling alone or with Anne). Try not to drink. Have a shake every three hours no matter what food or restaurant promises are on the horizon; nothing happens quickly with a family group. And don't start on the chips!

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