May 22, 2011 § Leave a comment
I feel relaxed and fulfilled, realizing how lucky I am to be able to say that I just traveled abroad to visit extended family in EUROPE. Just returned from a trip to Hamburg and Paris (oooh la la!) where I was able spend much-needed QT with family and explore both the historic and ultra modern parts of both cities. To describe my trip in one word – FREEING. It was my first vacation after almost EIGHT months (since my last week of time off) of intern insanity and not a singe two day weekend since that time. It was needed and well deserved.
The most remarkable part about all of this, keeping with the purpose of this fitness blog, is show how I managed to stay on track while enjoying traditional Afghan and European meals. I was actually terrified to go; I know my appetite and the fact that I was traveling to food & wine-rich places with opportunities to eat my way fat again was almost overwhelming. I am also proud to say that I come from a long line of talented cooks who know their ingredients and NEVER measure. While this is a blessing, it’s also hell for me because once I taste a morsel of well-made Afghan food, I find it almost impossible to control my portions. I was also going to spend a considerable amount of time with my cousins so I was fearful that we’d frequently go out to eat and that I’d have a hard time controlling my cravings from the flavor and lipid- heavy menu options. Point is that I didn’t think I had what it would take to control myself in Europe and basically didn’t trust myself to make smart decisions. Thankfully, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
My tactic once I arrived at Manchester airport: Simple, really. Just followed the Points system. I didn’t want to spend the money on an internet package for my phone so I picked up a few paper trackers during my pre-trip weigh-in.
- tracked EVERY SINGLE bite I ate. And I mean every, from each bit of cucumber to chocolate croissants
- I did NOT limit myself because I knew I deserved the hell out of this trip and I was not about to leave without tasting some things I had dreamed of, I just tracked each bite
- Walked almost everywhere, except taking flights, driving from one city to the next in which case we either took the train or my cousins drove
- made sure I had a bottle of water with me at all times and made sure to drink at least 3 daily
- told my cousins that I was trying to keep track of what I was eating (love my family but regardless of how Westernized my family is, all Afghans have the same habit when it comes to feeding your loved ones…they pile food on your plate regardless of whether you can eat it or not and love to buy snacks/food for you everywhere you go)
- made sure to keep some homemade trail mix with me just-in-case
- took the stairs where ever possible; train stations, museums, the Eiffel tower where I was determined to take all 669 stairs to the second level, and the hotel room in paris…which was on the 13th floor
- only had one dreamy cup of cafe while in Paris (I’ve been
poisoncoffee sober for almost 2 months! Living off of a daily venti iced unsweetened green tea. Coffee/espresso makes my stomach feel like i’ve released a piranha in it)
- wore comfortable, practical shoes so that I was able to get the most out of my trip without developing painful feet
How have you stayed fit while vacationing?
Here are a few tips to review (which I should have done before I went abroad) if you’re about to embark on a trip abroad:
August 22, 2010 § 1 Comment
It just hit me that after this week I’ll be more-or-less vacationing for one month. Planned on taking a trip to Cali and doing nothing but relaxing my mind, hiking, and wine tasting. Perfect.
That also made me feel OK about the way things have been going with my weight over the past two months. I haven’t been to a weight watchers weigh in for four weeks now although I’ve been occacianally (OK, daily) stepping on the scale to chastise myself for the previous days’ gluttony. I’ve lost. Not much, but I’ve lost weight and I think some muscle mass has been replaced by adipose. Oh well. With the easy peasy schedule I have for the next four weeks I’ll be able to work out DAILY and continue watching what I eat. Hopefully I’ll finally make it to goal weight by the end of the term. 🙂
July 30, 2010 § 2 Comments
This month of night float is almost over…THANK GOD!
That lifestyle is for the birds
The things that this schedule has done to my metabolism, mood, waistline, circadian rhythm, personal relationships, work ethic are catastrophic. I have never felt more out of touch with the world, even while I made my monthly cross country treks during my last two years of school.
It’s such a struggle for me to look on the bright side of things right now. I hate seeing these changes in my life. I have been venting non stop to one of my favorite people how my life feels so out of whack right now and how I’m not sure how much more of it I can take – having second thoughts on a daily basis and wishing I had chosen surgery or ER over internal medicine. Dammit, I had the scores (I think). Why did I choose internal medicine out of the fear that I wasn’t cut throat enough to survive a surgical residency or fear that I wouldn’t get interviews? Why didn’t I tell the program director at my ER rotation that I would do anything to switch to his program because it was so strong in both didactic and clinical areas? I’m so damn sensitive. Why the hell did I settle? Maybe these ridiculous questions are just part of this treacherous territory. It’ll most likely all work out in the end…only if I get that cardio fellowship (fingers crossed).
The main goal of this post was to highlight how my body and mind have changed drastically this month. I have to look on the bright side and congratulate myself for the strides I know I’ve made. I started spin class when I knew my stress level was a bit high, fell in love with it and now I can’t get enough. I spin about 3 times a week and I’ve continued my C25K on days opposite spinning, almost right on schedule. That’s pretty stinking good, right? I typically only leave one day out of the week to rest my muscles one weekly. I’m so f^&*ng proud of myself for the determination that takes.
There’s a but….
Despite how much more exercise Im getting and how the scale reassures me that things are going well overall, I still look at my gut and overly large chest in the mirror and wonder why they won’t budge. Aggravation! I have attributed it to a few things, all related to night float (for the most part). I’m not doing nearly as much yoga/pilates as I was during my slightly flatter belly days, not eating on a normal diurnal cycle, and not eating the most of the healthy foods I used to crave – simply because night shift is such an abusive schedule on the body. I used to eat once every three hours and barely ate carbs simply because I didn’t crave them. I would have one of the major meals of the day and creaking it up with a Kind bar, fruit, little yogurt shakes, SOMETHING of substance. I can’t eat on my normal schedule when I’m sleeping at odd times and eating when I can. These days all I crave are bagles, Dunkin’ donuts grilled cheese flatbreads, chocolate, sweet breads, chips and salsa, chinese food, salty, and more chocolate. What the F*** is that about? I suppose my body is just in freak out mode because of the change in cycle – I think that’s why the carbs are being over desired. This is no bueno.
I’m going to attempt to take these changes in stride. It’s OK that I put on pound on this week – after all, the nurses loved working with my co-intern and I so much that both the ICU and the ER had little parties for us. That meant pizza, wings, ice cream cake, garden fresh veggies, homemade brownies/choc chip cookies, and my favorite – cheese and crackers. This, by the way, is an extremely rare thing for nurses to do for interns (so I’ve heard) so I’ll give myself (and my co-intern) a huge pat on the back for keeping the RNs happy. (Plus of the month) It’s OK that I ate that way.
I’ll also have to learn to forget the scale for the time being. I didn’t go for my weigh in this week because I knew what the situation was and I didn’t want to be too much harder on myself. I know what this night-style is doing to me so I’m letting it go. Along those lines, I’ll have to let go the negative feelings I have about my job right now. I think the mental and emotional hardship is part of the game at this point and I have to remember that I’m still learning. I think it’ll all be OK at the end.
My main goal of the week will be to add more of my Yoga or Pilates as my schedule changes to day team, finally. I’ll see how that schedule works out and if I have time for the yoga, I’ll do it; if not, then so be it.
Happy Reading 🙂