Observations from a Nomadic Week

I recently spent seven nights hopping from bed to bed as my husband and I (yes, he bed-hopped with me!) drove my son from our home in western NC to college in NH. We covered over 2000 miles, saw great friends and wonderful family members along the way, and made time to ride the Virginia Creeper Trail before we came home. Overall, it was a fantastic trip. What was not fantastic, however, was the havoc all of that driving, sitting, eating out, sleeping/not sleeping in different beds, and traveling with two guys wreaked on my body!

Actually, I am feeling proud of the fact that I was able to get in some sort of exercise each day. Some days we took advantage of the gorgeous surroundings and found a local hike; other days it took some creativity, but I made a concerted effort to move my body every day. Once, my husband and I went to a local playground and made it our gym – pull-ups on the monkey bars, situps on the slide, box jumps on the steps, etc. Another time, I woke up early and found a soccer field where I was able to do sprints, walking lunges, shuffles, and burpees. Every day was different, which kept it interesting. 

So, the movement part was good. The areas that suffered the most were my sleep and my food choices … and I definitely felt the repercussions!

Of the seven nights we were away, I slept well on two of them. Being sleep deprived has many detrimental effects, and I definitely noticed them! The worst for me, however, was the food cravings. I don’t know about you, but I crave sweets and carbs when I am tired. Now, add in hours in a car filled with snacks for the boys (think chips, pretzels, popcorn) and this is a recipe for poor food choices. I did pack raw nuts and pumpkin seeds for my snacking options, but somehow those were not as enticing as the salty, highly processed, vegetable oil drenched chips! And then, trying to find quick, healthy meal choices on the road is almost impossible. So, I did the best I could, reminded myself that this is a temporary situation, and focused on enjoying the time with those around me. Also, I paid attention to how my body felt after I opted for some of the less healthy foods. 

Here is what I noticed: 

  • The “crap” food tasted really good and it was hard to stop eating it!
  • My stomach felt like I had just swallowed a rock about 15 minutes after eating the greasy, salty, tasty snacks.
  • It was a struggle to not reopen the bag even with my stomach hurting. Those companies definitely know how to make those foods addicting!
  • My energy level dipped about an hour after snacking. 
  • I was super hungry (again)  60-90 minutes later.
  • It was truly exciting to eat at a restaurant where I was able to get fresh vegetables/salad.
  • I did not sleep well. While I can’t blame this totally on the food choices, they definitely didn’t help.
  • I was constipated for days! Again, this was probably due to a combination of factors, but loading up on simple carbs did not help. 

What did I learn from this experience? Unfortunately, nothing new. However, it reinforced one of the key aspects of my coaching practice — the need to create and execute a plan(s) to keep me on track to meet my goals. 

I knew what I was getting into with this trip and did not take the time to create a plan that would give me healthy food choices along the way. Instead of beating myself up (which only makes things worse), I looked at it just like the wrong turns we took on the trip, I simply needed to reroute and keep moving in the right direction. No shame, no guilt, no second-guessing. We learn and move forward, hopefully making different choices in the future based on what we learn today. That’s what coaching is all about! 

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