I’m back from my travels and am pleased to report that the lifestyle changes I’ve made in my exercise and food choices were sustainable through the weeks away from Billy and Sarah, even during the holiday season.

Because I had a few weeks in the same place, I joined a local gym, and though it was certainly not as nice as DIAKADI, it had most of what I needed to keep on track, plus a fantastic child care program on site - I was able to bring my son with me to the gym and get my workout in without worrying about child care.

In terms of food choices, I found that there were a few notable things that contributed to my weight loss on the go:

  • The food in much of the country just isn’t as good as the food in San Francisco. It’s easy to forget how unique and remarkable the food options are here for us in the Bay Area. We have the option to buy much of our food direct from the farmers and producers who grow and harvest it, often the same day it was harvested. We get fresh organic meat, dairy and eggs at very reasonable prices, as well as incredible prepared foods like breads, coffee and chocolate. When you have remarkable handmade bread on your counter, it’s hard not to eat more than you should. When you have a plastic bag of factory-made bread on the counter, it’s much easier to say no. And I don’t mean to ignore the fact that some of these artisanal organic options are expensive and out of reach for many people - but even on a budget (as I am!) it is easier to find higher-quality fresh food in SF than in many other parts of the country.

  • No snacking. My office at home is in a corner of my kitchen. I tend to snack at my desk, and that does not serve me well, even when I choose healthier snacks. When I was traveling, I was not working as much, and did most of my work on my laptop in a bedroom, not near food. I definitely found myself snacking less during my time away, and have resolved to keep that up now that I’m back.

  • More meal planning. I’ve talked about meal planning in other blog entries, and it’s something I think makes a lot of sense. When I was staying with my parents, I did some bulk cooking that then took me through several days of breakfasts and lunches, and then we mostly ate dinners together either at home or at restaurants. One of my favorite breakfast options is an easy cook-ahead staple, but with a twist: savory oatmeal. At the start of each week, I make a big batch of oatmeal. I like to use half steel cut oats, and half rolled oats, and I like to bake it on low heat in a casserole dish rather than watching it closely on the stovetop. Use the directions on your favorite oats for the proportion of grain to liquid (I use water, but you could use milk - dairy or non-dairy - or coconut water, or even broth) and bake it for 45 minutes or so at 200 degrees. Cooked oats keep well in the fridge or the freezer, and then you can reheat them in the morning with your favorite topping. I tend to chop up whatever vegetables are leftover from dinner the night before, add a handful of fresh spinach or other greens, and then sprinkle in some parmesan and black pepper. This is also a great way to use up leftover salad - I made a fantastic radicchio and apple salad for our New Years’ Eve dinner, and it was even better in oatmeal the next morning. Try it!

Overall, I had a wonderful time visiting friends and family on the east coast. I missed my routine at home, especially my time with Billy and Sarah, but I was really glad to prove to myself that I can continue to make healthy choices and lose weight on my own. Now that I have only 8 weeks left in my Commit to Fit year, I’m fired up to sprint to the finish line - but also to remember that it isn’t the end of the big changes I’ve made, just the beginning of the new patterns in my life.