My Travel Diet

Before leaving for Germany one of the things I was most nervous about was my diet.  I love food.  I love cooking and I love trying new foods.  I’m a very healthy person and pride myself in my eating and fitness habits.  Naturally, I was convinced that I’d land in Germany and instantly gain 10 pounds.  In my head I had images of everyone, at work and in my personal life, pointing and whispering about the added pounds upon my return.  I mean really?  Get over yourself Crosby!  Also a few pounds, even 10, would it really kill me?!  No.  Would it kill my ego?  Yes.

Quite honestly I’ve done remarkably well in all aspects; I’ve found a healthy balance between eating well and forgiving myself the occasional indulgences.   I’m in Germany, I AM going to eat schnitzel sometimes.  And don’t even get me started on the beer and wine.  But, if you ask my friends and family, body image defines too much of me.  They’re right.

So Germany, having to break away from the comfortable environment which fosters my healthy habits, couldn’t have been more perfectly timed.  The first few weeks here I don’t count because I was a mess.  I had a terrible cold and was still pretty anxious with the transition.  As such, my diet consisted of coffee, cliff bars and protein shakes.  Now having reached a comfortable place and found routine amongst the chaos that is the life of an Overseas Military Services Coordinator, I have begun to navigate the art of eating healthy under even the busiest of circumstances.

The way the OMSC position works is that one week I’m “home” meaning in general I sleep every night in my apartment.  Those weeks are easy; I can make my own breakfast, lunch and dinner sticking for the most part to a Paleo-esque diet.  If you’re not sure what I mean by this, look it up, it’s a great lifestyle!

During these weeks when I’m “home,” I can also run at least three times a week and this past week I even managed to fit a spin class in!  The weeks in between I’m on the road, this is where it can get tricky.  This can literally mean that I’m in a different place each day, sometimes more than an hour apart, and often arriving pretty late at night.  Most military bases don’t have much in way of food options and even when they do I’m so tired I don’t even care about food.  At times a cup of coffee and some Twizzlers (the sugar helps to keep me up, caffeine doesn’t always suffice) seems like a good option.

You can imagine this gets old pretty quick.  Not to mention how completely unhealthy it is especially being so physically active.  If there is one thing I’ve learned, not eating enough will absolutely lead to injuries.  If there’s another thing I’ve learned, when it comes to being healthy no obstacle is too big.  This coming week is my travel week and it’s an especially crazy one, but this girl’s determined to put an end to the sugar and coffee diet.

Old Carlye would have turned her nose up at the idea of peanut butter and jelly.  “I can’t eat bread!”  The idea of it would literally hurt my soul a little.  Again, get over yourself Crosby.  New Carlye is willing to listen to logic and logic says that good calories are better than no calories. Our metabolism functions much like a fire.  If you don’t feed your body enough calories your metabolism will stop working just like a fire will go out with out enough oxygen.

Now there is a difference between bad calories and good calories and you really are what you eat.  Getting back to my PB&J, oh the options!  I could choose white bread, sodium filled processed peanut butter and sugar filled jelly or I could chose multi-grain bread with at least 3 grams of fiber, all natural peanut butter with little sodium and all natural jelly with out any added sugar or artificial sweeteners.  I get this might sound a bit… blah, but give it a chance.  And don’t forget you really are what you eat.  Give your body something natural, something real to work with and it’s going to give you a lot more in return.

Now, I’m not only going to sustain on PB&J for the week no matter how tempting.  I have also packed apples, they are filling and c’mon an apple a day keeps the doctor away!  Granola bars with 25% less sugar.  Fat free or low fat can often mean more sugar and sodium.  Less sugar is always a better option, this is a perfect example of good calories.  If something is only a hundred calories, but it’s got 30 grams of sugar and you can’t pronounce half the ingredients, trust me your body doesn’t want it.  Take the few extra calories and save yourself the secondary degree in chemistry.

Finally I’ve packed a few of my favorite “go to’s”: protein shakes, trail mix and all natural apple sauce.  I’ll still have to fill in a few gaps and my goal is to actually make it out of bed early enough for breakfast, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves!  This travel diet, as I’ve been calling it, isn’t perfect and it’s certainly not how I would eat every day if I had access to a kitchen.  Two things though, 1. I’M IN GERMANY.  2. Good calories are better than no calories.

Check out the picture below of my packed lunch, keep in mind it’s only two days worth, and wish me luck!  Planning ahead, having a routine, not only does it make me feel better it also saves me a lot of time and anxiety.  More and more I’m learning that no matter the circumstance you can find routine and balance.  It’s difficult, but rewarding.  And let me tell ya’, the schnitzel, the German beer/wine, THE chocolate…such a sweet reward indeed!

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