It’s Not All Burgers and Cupcakes
Two weekends ago, we went tent camping for a three day dirt-biking adventure down at White Wash in Green River, Utah. Our campsite was 27 miles in off of the highway, and even back in town (I use that term very loosely) there wasn’t much more than an old gas station.
I spent the day before we left doing something that I don’t usually do when I travel these days:
I prepped food.
I baked salmon and sweet potatoes, grilled up chicken and asparagus, and prepared spiraled zucchini with Tessa Mae’s ranch sauce, and neatly packaged it all into tupperwares and ziploc baggies. (You’re not living until you eat cold salmon out of a Ziploc bag at 7am)
Hold up, Jen.
Here’s the thing: context matters, with everything, always.
While I no longer obsess about packing my food everywhere I go, I do understand that eating in a manner that supports a physique I love, as well as allowing me to perform my best, requires – just like with any good relationship – compromise.
I travel frequently, and over the years I’ve figured out how to do so while navigating tricky eating situations so that it doesn’t derail me much. I have staple items that I always pack to fill in any gaps, and outside of those things I can always make do at restaurants. It may not be ideal, but traveling rarely is, and that’s okay; we simply do our best with what we have available, and then move on.
Riding a dirt bike – especially in the heat – is physically demanding. Plenty of endurance and energy are crucial for hours of riding, not to mention that it makes for a significantly more enjoyable experience. If I bog myself down with a bunch of junk food, I will inevitably feel horrible, and feeling sluggish and crappy brought on by poor food choices is never a good time.
With all of that being said, you probably know from my social media that I don’t make any effort to hide the fact that I indulge as long as it’s….
Completely, Totally, Inarguably Worth It
I don’t just mean, “Oh, yeah, I guess that’s pretty good.” No, no. I mean that it has to blow my mind.
It must be a holy-hell-this-is-Christmas-morning-for-my-taste-buds type of situation.
Typical camping food doesn’t even come close to making my mouth dance with joy. Hot dogs, beer, potato chips – not even s’mores – are worth it for me. They are all so-so at best, and I will eagerly choose delicious grilled meats and veggies, and fresh fruit, over sub-par food any day of the week.
Pro tip: if you take a bite and you aren’t sure it’s worth it, it’s not. Anything that isn’t a resounding yes, is a definite no.
Give and Take
Another reason for my food packing extravaganza was that I knew I was coming to Vegas in 10 days, and Vegas has foods that rock my world. The filet at Botero at The Encore, the desserts at Bouchon in the Venetian and Palazzo, and the mojitos at Firefly – all shared with somebody that I care about, creating moments – now that is worth it.
If you follow my work, you know that I can’t stand strict diets that tell people that they have to eat chicken and broccoli, or tilapia and asparagus. That isn’t necessary for outstanding results, and it’s making things much harder than they should be.
But it can’t all be burgers and cupcakes, my friends.
Sweet potato in one hand, chicken breast in the other.
Is prepping food a pain? Yeah, kinda. I was pretty rushed the day before we left, and had a ton of things to do, but the 90 minutes that it took me to prepare everything was more than worth it.
Knowing that I had plenty of delicious sustenance to power me through a rigorous weekend that nourished my body alleviated so much of the anxiety I would have had if I’d have gone unprepared and suffered the wrath (both physically and mentally) of eating garbage that doesn’t allow me to feel or look my very best.
Sleep and Food Choices
I never sleep well when I camp. As a matter of fact, I sort of despise camping solely for this reason. Lack of sleep directly effects ghrelin and leptin (hunger hormones), and I know from experience that poor sleep is my nutrition kryptonite, always, every time, no contest.
Jen + sleep deficit = poor food choices.
Knowing that my sleep wouldn’t be optimal, and that I would be even more likely to dive into so-so junk foods, made an ever stronger case for me to make sure I brought plenty of foods I loved, but that were also in line with my goals.
Real Life Happens
I can not, and will not, spend all of my free time in the gym and eat out of tupperware for every meal. This is real life, and for me, that means that means embracing yes at every possible opportunity. I pack my life full of events, travel, adventure, and festivities, and this can make sound nutrition tricky, so sometimes we have to do a little planning.
Constantly winging it, and hoping for the best, isn’t an effective strategy.
Even if you’re not currently seeking fat loss (and I’m not), it’s easy to get so wrapped up in the fun that even maintaining our current body composition can start to slip.
We have to pick and choose our battles. If the food isn’t ridiculously delicious, I will pass every time, and if I know something is coming up (a trip to Vegas, a dinner at my favorite restaurant, etc etc) then I will stick to my guns a little more closely leading up to the event.
Indulge sometimes but not all of the times, and be sure it’s worth it. If you’re trying to maintain your current physique – and especially if you’re trying to lose fat – you need to plan ahead.
Besides, a little cooler full of tupperware here and there never hurt nobody.