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I can't believe it is done. Four and a half months on the road, three countries, 20 states, and 10-15 pounds later: my semi-North American Road Trip is over! And to be honest, amidst euphoria and nostalgia, my late-20's body was feeling pretty gross and worn down by the end (guess this isn't college anymore!). Here's the low down on the downfall of our trip, what I am doing to boost my health and wellness after a road trip, and what I've done to already lose three pounds in one week.
How I became unhealthy on my road trip despite doing yoga:
Do you see those photos? The deliciousness is literally seeping through my screen.
I hate meal tracker apps, I am not giving up bread and cheese, and I refuse to count calories -- but my health needs some TLC because I ate the most food EVER on this road trip (actually everything was going well until the last month, when it all turned to non-stop fast food ... American interstates need more options! #JustSayin).
While the weight mostly accumulated in the Midwest, I can't entirely blame those regions and their heavier meals: our car rides lasted four to seven hours a day and I simply wasn't moving enough, even though I tried to do yoga a few days a week. On a road trip, days blend into each other and, paired with lack of sleep and lots of sightseeing, it takes a toll.
My water intake was not sufficient (despite always having a gallon by my feet) because it was either very dry or hot outside (requiring me to double my intake). On the other hand, I didn't want to keep asking for rest stop bathroom breaks.
So now I am home for the summer and it's time to fight back. Here are the three keys that will help me get my health back on track!
1. Drink more Water and Track Meals
My current meal / weight "solution":
Water is number one. I am taking a major wine and beer tasting break and I've returned to my morning hot lemon water routine, followed by drinking only water throughout the day. I have already seen a reduction in bloating and more regulated bowel movements. My joint pain has also reduced.
Another major change I've implemented is tracking my meals on a "note pad" to help me start eating better (note, I did not say eating less).
I am not good at remembering to update fitness apps, but I do love jotting things down in general (read: I am a To-Do list feign), so meal notes might actually be my thing.
Tracking my meals highlighted the (crappier) foods I ate during my road trip that I may not have noticed before. Now I am making better breakfast, snack, lunch, and dinner meal choices. Once I see it written down I realize that it probably wasn't the best choice and give myself a nudge to avoid it in the future or substitute some of the ingredients.
My DIY meal tracking tool is super simple:
I use the notepad feature on my phone to record my meals. Sometimes I don't even type it, I just use the voice-to-text microphone feature and speak to my phone. I also put asterisks next to a food listing when I want to call myself out for eating something not so great.
I was surprised at how many junk foods I let slide in there in the first three days. I was embarrassed to even see it written down! It's been a little over a week and I haven't come close to those (bad) foods since.
2. Take vitamins to feed a nutrient-starved body
I am not going to lie. I hate veggies. It is no surprise that after almost five months on the road the only time I actually ate greens was when Alex's aunt made some during our visit to the Bay Area. So yeah, I'm currently a little nutrient deprived because I did not make it my priority to seek out vegetables.
My nutrient solution:
Good ol' fashioned vitamins. To promote my overall health, I've decided to go the multivitamin route and increase my nutrient intake.
First, I went to Walmart and headed straight to the pharmacy section to hunt down vitamins for a much needed health boost.
In the multivitamin aisle I grabbed a bottle of the new Centrum VitaMints Raspberry (have you heard of these? They're like "refreshing" vitamins) and Centrum Gummies (cue my weakness for all things gummy and yummy). Both 60 ct vitamins claim to offer energy, immune system, and metabolism boosts and were under $7 each.
Second, I made sure to bring print outs of my Centrum coupons and paid a total of $7.50 for TWO bottles. You KNOW how expensive vitamins can get so I was super stoked.
Third, I bought both MultiGummies AND VitaMints because I plan on keeping one gummies bottle in the house and the VitaMints in the car in case we decide to go on mini road trips (my traveling schedule has made me become forgetful). By having the VitaMints in the car I can have fresh breath and still remember to take my multivitamin whenever I'm in a rush.
Lastly, they're super easy to take. Just two a day (as per the directions) and you're all good. The mints have no chalky, vitamin aftertaste and can be taken without food or water. They come in a sleek case as well (as opposed to a standard wide, cylindrical bottle).
3. Follow a 30-day exercise plan
I am giving myself 30 days to lose about 10 pounds (it's already been 10 days). I feel sluggish, tired, and self-conscious, and it really sucks that my clothes don't fit -- we're talking two ripped pants in the trash that I am NOT happy about.
While I was still doing yoga on the road trip, the sessions were short and my lower back was still experiencing pain from so much sitting.
My yoga solution:
I am going back to the basics. My joints have been aching a bit lately (I attribute it to the Spring rain, extremo blogging, road trip idleness, and of course -- Lupus) and I've had trouble sleeping. Instead of self-guided yoga routines, I am using DoYogaWithMe.com's free beginner yoga videos until I can rebuild stamina and de-stress. I specifically target 20-minute morning routines and then a relaxing evening routine for my lower back.
Here are my favorite beginner level yoga videos:
- Core Primer (15 minutes, Free)
- Yummy 20 (20 minutes, Free: my morning fave, currently)
- Yin Yoga for the Lower Back (38 minutes, Free)
- Gentle Hatha Yoga for Lower Back Pain (22 minutes, Free)
My ULTIMATE cardio solution:
Haha just kidding, get out of here. I hate cardio.
Okay kidding again -- I am doing reasonable cardio during my 30 day health boost. But I keep it simple. No money spent on a gym membership. Just good ol' dedication.
For that, I am using Shape.com's 30-day slim down challenge (they posted it back in December, probably for New Year's resolutions or something) which only starts with ten reps a day and increases by another ten each week.
The calendar comes with slim down tips and a pretty simple layout so I thought, why not?
How will you boost your health?
Feel inspired or in the same boat as me? Let's chat: How are you getting back to good health?
Whether it is losing weight, upping your vitamin and nutrient intake, or finding new ways to exercise I'd love to hear from you.
Staying healthy is REALLY hard, especially when you are traveling. I thought I had it down, but I was not an experienced road tripper (and apparently that is different from backpacking -- a LOT more sitting) so I learned a few things THE HARD WAY.
I hope these tips help! Enjoy staying healthy with simple solutions like Centrum Gummies and VitaMints, and have fun getting your fitness on. :-)
*These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.