I found out this weekend that eating low(ish)-carb while away from home is much different than eating low(ish)-carb while at home. (Read: much more difficult.)
This past weekend we went to my mother-in-law’s house. We mainly ate there, so there were no restaurants to contend with or anything like that. In theory this should have been almost as easy as eating at my house. I had brought some low-carb staples along, and my mother-in-law had bought some for me as well (isn’t that nice!), but for some reason it was still difficult.
Part of it was just the little things that were missing. Take my lunch salads, for example. I had the lettuce, veggies, protein options, cheese, nuts…you name it. But I didn’t have deli mustard.
No deli mustard for a salad? So what?
Well, I like to make my own dressing – partially because I like it and partially because I know exactly what’s in it (and I use Splenda – which I brought). Virtually all of my homemade dressings (at least the quick/easy ones) use deli mustard – because it tastes fantastic! So I still had my salads, but it wasn’t the same.
Which brings me to the issue of bringing stuff. It’s easy to bring the basics, but it’s tough to bring everything I might need to make the food I’m used to eating. So I aim for a happy medium (e.g. bring the Splenda, leave the mustard), but it’s more of a “moderately satisfied medium” than a “happy medium”. I still have to bring a cooler full of stuff, and I still don’t have everything I want. I’m sure, had I asked, my lovely sweet mother-in-law would have bought everything I needed, but I don’t want to ask her to do that. Why should she have to do that just because I’m choosing to eat differently from everyone else? So I went with the moderately satisfied medium…and was moderately satisfied.
Of course, then there’s the whole “we’re on holidays, therefore we can eat treats” attitude. This is an attitude that I have embraced whole-heartedly in the past, but that made this weekend all the more difficult since “treats” are generally high in carbs.
I’ll be the first one to admit that, yes, I am willing to cheat on my “diet” (I hate that word). In fact, I think cheating from time to time is a good thing because it makes it easier to stick to my way of eating if I know I can indulge on occasion. Still, I know myself, and I know that I need to indulge in small doses if I want to be able to rein it back in again.
Thankfully my mother-in-law does like to eat healthy, so there weren’t a lot of indulging opportunities, but the snacks came out from time to time – including ice cream (ate it), chips (didn’t eat them), popcorn (ate a bit), and cake with strawberries and whipped cream (compromised: ate the strawberries and whipped cream, left the cake). So I guess I did alright.
I think “moderation” was the key word this weekend, and I think I managed to stick to that pretty well…especially for my first trip away from home as a low(ish) carber. And my bloodsugar was actually really good all weekend too! In fact, it was better than it’s been at home lately! (Hmm….maybe I should be indulging more often!)
Now I’m thinking ahead, though. My little family and I are taking a trip to visit extended family in May and will be staying with my aunt. I’m going to have to navigate some restaurant menus, some airplane food, and some home-coooking. Again, I don’t want to impose on anyone to buy my “special” food for me, but this time (since we’ll be flying) I won’t be able to bring as much. It’s definitely going to be a challenge. It remains to be seen whether I will truly stick to my carb-moderation or whether I will have my first “cheat week” since starting this. Hopefully I can find a “moderately satisfied medium” out there too!
If anyone has any suggestions for low-carbing on the road, I’d love to hear from you!