This started me thinking that one of the keys to my successful weight loss is planning ahead and making sure that I have all the tools I need when I am away from the house. Now this is important not just for long trips but also for daily outings like going to work. This week I decided to share how I pack for success on a daily basis.
One thing I started when I began this journey was making sure my house was packed with healthy food choices. If I do not have a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, easy to prepare protein choices, and convenient snack foods, I will grab whatever is in front of me. So one thing Sean does religiously every week is to make a menu of daily dinner choices for the week and a list of healthy food ingredients we need from the stores. He also plans meals that will enable me to use the leftovers for our lunches the following day. And the secret is that I make the lunches as I am cleaning up from dinner preparation, so it is hardly more effort than just packing away the leftovers. For example, last week Sean made a healthy version of fried chicken using chicken breasts, along with a green salad on the side. I sliced up the extra breasts into strips, divided the extra salad into containers, and placed dressing into small cups before I put the bottles back into the refrigerator. In that little bit of time, all the leftovers were back in the fridge, and Sean and I had a nice, satisfying fried chicken salad for lunch the next day. The truth is, because I work out in the morning, if I had not made my lunch the day before, I would not have time to make lunches before work. Most likely I would have had to grab something on the road that might not be as healthy. It is important that I pack my lunches at night so I can have a successful day of healthy eating.
As you know from my blogs, we have been taking quite a few small trips throughout this year. It is important that we take all our tools with us on these vacations, whether it is just for the weekend or longer ones that keep us away from home for more than a week. Depending on where we go, we need to bring different equipment with us. When we go to Monterey, they have amazing bike paths, so we bring all our biking gear: bikes, helmets, gloves, biking pants, water bottles, etc. When we went to Mammoth last fall, hiking was our exercise of choice so hiking shoes and gear was essential.
Here in North Carolina, bringing my bike was not convenient, so running and jumping rope will be the main exercise I do here. I often look into the area where I am visiting to see what kinds of exercise are available to me. In fact, knowing that I did not have a long race planned for April, I decided that in between visiting family I might be able to fit in a half marathon. Tomorrow, I will be running the Raleigh Rocks Half, so I had to make sure I had all my racing gear packed and ready to go. This is why all the first items into my suitcase for this trip were items that would be difficult to replace on short notice, like running shoes. Running 13.1 miles in new shoes can be a huge recipe for disaster, so those were the first in the suitcase. So whatever it is you need to keep yourself active, make sure you pack those in so you have no excuses to leave exercise out of your daily routine.
I have learned over the past few years, that planning is essential to making successful lifestyle changes. You cannot plan for everything, but for what is in your control, just a little forethought is necessary to put you on the right path. Plan to fill your house with healthy food choices, pack lunches the night before so you have no excuses for those fast food lunch alternatives, and make exercise a priority when you pack for your vacations away from home. Pretty soon you will see, like me, that it becomes second nature to plan your days around exercise and healthy food alternatives. So pack your way to success--I promise that the extra effort will really be worth it!