In Spring of the last 3 years I have stepped off a plane in Europe, wearing stylish skinny jeans and a classic neckline T-shirt. 3 or 4 months later, I was sporting a budding double chin and elastic waistline “athletic” shorts.
Upon returning “home” I would slowly shed my substantial souvenir, slip back into my favorite jeans, and board another plane to carb heaven.
It is the holidays… perhaps you can relate.
Eating My Way Around the World
To say we eat our way around the world would be more accurate than to say we travel.
Upon arriving in France, there are croissants, baguettes, delectable snails drowned in butter and garlic, and perhaps a pastry or two.
Down the road in Spain, you must try the paella, pintxos, and pulpo, and wash it down with a clara or caña.
Are you really going to visit Belgium and not have a waffle or frites?
And in Italy there is the pizza, gelato, gelato, and (did I mention?) gelato.
Oh, and about 20 pounds of pasta…
…the day Jr was born I weighed about 72 kg / 160 pounds, which is roughly my high school weight. At present, I’m topping the scales at 83 kg / 183 pounds (already a significant reduction from a few months ago.)
When things aren’t going the way you like, it is time to make changes.
I have a wicked sweet tooth, and love trying new foods, so plopping down in the middle of a new city is literally the kid in a candy store scenario.
This is no big deal in the short term – I eat all the things and then settle into a comfortable balance (pseudo-slow carby.) When we are in a fixed location for the long term, I have no issues with weight stability. But put me in a new place week after week after week and things get a little out of hand.
Self control issues? Maybe.
Although I’m more inclined to chalk it up to poor lifestyle design. Our ideal slow travel lifestyle has picked up speed, and we have been moving far too fast… faster than my waistline can handle, and faster than any of us would like.
Change 1: slow down a bit
Change 2: stop being an idiot
I was a 3 sport athlete in high school, so daily exercise has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My idea of a good time might include biking 900 km, no big deal.
When I was traveling often for work I would even crawl down to the hotel gym, hungover and jet-lagged. Ain’t nuthin like a good sweat to purge alcohol and adjust to a time zone.
Once we started traveling as parents, this all kind of went out the window. Unless we were in one location for an extended period, exercise was limited to walking (of which we did a lot.) I simply could (and did) ingest more calories than my body could burn.
Change 1: get off my ass – I’ve signed up for an Olympic distance triathlon and have been training
(The last thing I did before typing this sentence was swim 1,750 meters (1.1 miles.))
Change 2: Exercise is the first thing I do in the morning after dropping Jr at school (priorities)
Procrastination is fun, try it some time. But procrastinating a workout as a parent is tricky business… the instant you are ready to go for that swim or bike ride, nap time is over.
As such, I’ve scheduled all of my workouts to be during school hours, also known as business hours. The pool lanes are less crowded, and the bike trail is basically my own.
And since exercise is a normal part of daily life, Jr and I get to do it together. I do laps during his swim lesson, we ride bikes together, and we have already completed our first running race (600 meters.)
For father/son bike rides, the Trail-Gator Tow Bar is a sweet invention. Jr can ride as fast and far as he wants, and then I can tow him home.
For the more mundane parts of life, Winnie got me a Mi Band. It’s kinda cool. It seems I walk at least 10,000 steps everyday, and it tells me if I’ve been sitting for an hour (playing guitar or writing or whatever) so I know to get up and swing the kettlebell.
Age, bad habits, and poor choices have finally caught up with me. I’m not 25 anymore, and it was time to make smart food and exercise habits an integral part of normal life. Retirement isn’t a vacation from adulting.
Moderation in all things… including moderation. Perhaps 1 pound of pasta is enough, just after I get back from this bike ride.