Thursday, September 23, 2021

A Few Keys to Success on Travel: San Jose

Do you know the way to San Jose?

Many people often talk about "keys to success". Sports announcers often bring these things up before the start of a game/match. Coaches, I'm thinking football in particular, make these "keys" the theme for the week. What are the things that need to be emphasized and done well, the sine qua non (I'll let you look that one up), for success.
The keys to success on Noom have centered around one concept: consistency. Most of the time the already existing routine helps to foster consistency. During most weeks I get out of the same bed at roughly the same time, use the same toilet, weigh myself on the same scale, grab the same two fruits and two proteins for breakfast and snacks, get the same cup of coffee, take the same mile-ish lunch walk, heat up the same-ish lunch, head home at the same-ish time, coach/work out/run at the same-ish time, unwind at similar times in similar ways, hit the proverbial hay around the same time and repeat.

As droll as that routine might sound, there's plenty room for variation in what I eat, how I exercise and what I do. The routine is the key though, the template for success. It's where the habits are formed and where they will be most effective.

However, there are times when this "baseline" routine gets interrupted. For example, I am currently on travel for work. My schedule has just taken a detour from the routine that has been key to success. The main danger here is I just want to let my guard down and eat 32 oz steaks for lunch and dinner and drink old fashioneds and beer from 10am until closing time. 

Okay, maybe that's a little bit of hyperbole, but I do want to explore the area and slack off a little bit on the things I've been doing day-to-day. I think some manner of leniency is okay and expected, especially since this is my first trip in a year-and-a-half. As I'm starting to look at my schedule though there are more trips and potential disruptions to my baseline are emerging. After all, it's nearly October, nearly the holiday season! Thus, there will be lots of opportunities to stumble and get off track.

With all those thoughts, I now feel like I'm staring up a mountain to keep progressing along this journey. All from a silly three-day trip!

So, what can I do? There is a part of me that wants to just get a case of the "F--k its" and buy a wholesale case of KFC and blame Chuck Norris (I leave it as an exercise to Google "F--king Chuck Norris" if you don't get the reference). 

The better part of me though wants to work on the problem at hand. Now is the time to figure something out as travel and the holidays are as much a part of my life as "ordinary time" (thank you Catholic dogma).

What then are my keys to success for travel, for long weekends, for the holidays? I like to "keep it simple" so here are some "simple" keys:

Commit to this being a 24/7 mindful lifestyle. It's easier to stay on track and, more importantly, get back on track if the healthy living journey is something you're committed to. I'm not saying 24/7 perfection, that's impossible, but mindfulness and progress go a long way.
Do a little preparation. My baseline program relies on some preparation and planning. Largely this amounts to Sunday grocery shopping and looking at the week ahead. There's no reason I can't do the same on travel. At a minimum I brought some exercise clothes and was able to go for a 3-ish mile jog yesterday around the SJSU campus. There's no reason I can't bring some healthy snacks as well. I did tuck away a couple protein bars, but some of my staples, e.g. mandarin oranges, would have traveled well too.

I can also plan out where and what I might eat for meals out on the town as well. Again, this can be more automatic during the day, creating some calorie budget for the evenings.

Use the resources I have. I have the Noom app, this is the basic guide. On it are weighing in, water intake logging, meal/food logging, activity tracking and the group/support forums. How can I keep on doing these things when I'm out and about? 

Water intake, particularly at least a glass to start my day, is one of my "smart goals" so hopefully I can get my 8+ glasses.

Also, I've already found the fitness center, complete with a scale. Note that all scales read a little different, +/- a couple pounds, so taking the number with a "grain of salt" and just performing the action to keep routine is helpful. I can also use the fitness center for, uh, fitness :).

I can still log my foods. This will help monitor calories. I'll likely budget to eat less during the day so I can have a little more leeway in the evenings.

Think about the next level. This is the "aim high" philosophy. While on the trip I'm thinking about what might help me stay on track more. One thing for sure is making a grocery run. Conference centers and downtown areas are often "food deserts" where you are stuck buying overpriced meals that are more about taste and less about nutritional value. The little convenience shop, at least at my hotel, don't have any fresh fruit. Finding a grocery store that's a little walk (gettin' steps) or taxicab ride and picking up some of those go-to items would really help. I definitely wouldn't have had to eat my mediocre $12 sandwich from a vendor yesterday, or have to wait for the Starbucks to open at 7am (two hour time change, I'm wide awake before 5)

Be kind to myself. I'm not perfect, I admit to having a beer or so too many last night. Knowing I can get back on track at any time, even by saying "no" to an extra beer or not finishing the one you got is an important part. Sometimes things get away from me though. It's important to know that this is part of the journey, even if it's a little detour. 

Having some objectivity and using it as a self-teachable moment goes a lot further than letting my negative thoughts get the best of me. 

As for this trip I would say I'm doing 75% well. Oversized dinners and evening drinks are a bit of a sticking point as well as finding fresh food for during the day. I have some extra time this morning so I think I'll go track down some fruit and maybe even a couple hard boiled eggs :)


  1. Having this all thought out is half the battle. So adaptability is the flip side of consistency. Adapt your goals to your surroundings and make do with what is available and what you can search out.

    1. I'm working on it! I guess that's the mindfulness thing. After writing this, I realized I could order groceries using DoorDash so now I have some deli items and a few fruits!