Sunday, December 9, 2007

Traveling and the SWEET Life

Appraising Your Success
The end of the week is a good time to review the past week of your SWEET Life and count up your accomplishments. Your goal is 5-6 times per week for each aspect of the SWEET Life: Sleep, Water, Eating, Exercise, and Tranquility. If you didn’t achieve some of your goals for the week, then next week, focus on those areas more and think about how to fulfill them more consistently.
How do you feel at the end of this week? Are you better rested? Do you feel relaxed? Are you more energetic? Do you feel generally healthier? Continue with the SWEET Life and you’ll experience all of these feelings!

Topic of the week -- Traveling and the SWEET Life

As Thanksgiving and the holidays approach, many people will visit family in other places. Late night parties and sleeping in an unfamiliar bed can sabotage your efforts to sleep 7-8 hours. Also, you will likely get out of your water-drinking habit with the change from your usual routine. Moreover, you will eat in a lot of restaurants and at family banquets. Lastly, you will be away from your usual exercise routine. However, you will probably get more tranquility and relaxation than usual. In short, being away from your routine at home can be disastrous to the SWEET Life.

So how can you have a relatively SWEET Life while traveling?
Sleep: Try to go to bed and get up at your regular bedtimes, despite any changes in the time zone. Earplugs and an eye mask can work wonders in blocking out unfamiliar lights and sounds.
Water: Drinking from 16 oz. bottles may likely be the easiest way to keep track of your water intake because you can carry it with you. You may have to spend some money to buy them around here and there, but you may be able to refill them at a drinking fountain or relative’s house.
Eating: Start with a basic, healthy breakfast, and keep meals without family and friends simple and nutritious. You will likely be eating a number of family banquets, so eat only a little of each dish, 2-3 bites, and load up on the veggies. You can get tired of eating so many big, holiday meals, so eat balanced, nutritious meals in between the feasts.
Exercise: I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the number of times I’ve taken workout clothes on a trip and not used them. While, on some vacations, it’s easy to take long, beautiful walks, on other trips, exercise is definitely more of an effort, possibly against everyone else’s will.

My advice about vacation exercise frequency is the following: If it’s a 2-day trip: skip it, but try to exercise the days before and afterwards. If the trip is 3-4 days: try to exercise once, so that you are not skipping half a week. If the trip lasts 5-7 days: exercise 2-3 times; if it lasts 8-10 days: exercise 3-5 times. For a trip lasting 11-14 days: exercise 5-7 times. Basically, I’m suggesting you exercise every other day. However, you can’t just “say” or “try” to exercise; you must plan it like an appointment or else it’ll never happen. Look at your trip schedule and decide, at the beginning, which days and times you will exercise; then stick to it.

The next question is where you will exercise. If you belong to a gym, see if there’s a location near you (& remember to bring your card). If your gym belongs to the IHRSA (International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association), you can use its passport program to be a guest at a member club where you will be traveling. Go to: to find out if your gym is a member and to find a gym in the city where you will be visiting. If you don’t belong to a gym, most hotels have fitness centers in them or agreements with local health clubs for their guests to use their facilities.

If you prefer not to work out in a gym, suggest taking a walk with family or friends (instead of eating out another meal!). Another option is to find a nearby park or scenic area where you can go for a walk, hike or run. Last summer while visiting family, I found a park near our hotel where I could run while my husband played with our kids at the playground. It worked out great for everyone!

Another option is to do some toning exercises in your room. You don’t need much space or any special equipment to do some lunges, squats, push-ups, tricep dips and sit-ups. Find a curb or step and do some calf raises. Bring a resistance band with you (they don’t take much space) and you can do some bicep curls, lateral raises, and low & high rows. Spending just 30-40 minutes will help you burn off some of those holiday feasts, feel better about yourself, and help you keep living the SWEET Life while on vacation.

Tranquility: The best part of visiting family is that you will probably get lots of rest and relaxation. At the same time, visiting relatives can get overwhelming. Take some time out to be alone, if you need it. The morning might be the best time, before you meet up with anyone: read the paper or a book, take a bath, etc.

Other general suggestions are to bring your SWEET Life Plan to help you keep track of your SWEET Life quantities. If it’s an extended trip, say a week or longer, bring your SWEET Life Cycle and check off which aspects of the SWEET Life you are completing each day. As you know, a lot of the SWEET Life is just paying attention and being aware, so if these tools help you keep the SWEET Life in mind while traveling, then take them along; they don’t take much space in your luggage.

If you have the SWEET Life habit, then a week off of it will break your hard-earned habit. Don’t let traveling prevent you from having the SWEET Life!

Have a SWEET week!


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