Last week I alluded to a gauntlet of eating challenges facing me. The biggie was a four-day/three night trip to New Orleans for a grant related conference for my work. I did so-so, gaining a pound for the week. I ate too much, but not much that I regret (I had a "Wow!!!" mahi mahi dish at Melange), and not as much as I've eaten in the past. The best part is that I walked a lot.
On this trip, I couldn't help notice some clear behaviors of my most fit colleagues. These are great lessons for anybody looking to improve their health and fitness.
Schedule Exercise First. Our workday on Saturday started at 9:00 and one of my co-workers ran a 5K race at 7:00. A colleague from another state ran the half-marathon. This being New Orleans, the architecture was interesting and they had bands scattered along the race route. It made me wish I was a runner.
Build in Extra Activity. We had dinner within walking distance each night, an average of a mile walk each way, plus diversions. I took a long walk along the Mississippi as well. One of my fittest colleagues worked out and went out dancing every evening.
Split Dishes. Appetizers and deserts taste the same whether a large serving or a few bites. I enjoyed my bananas foster, but there'd have been less to burn off if I'd have shared the calories with others.
Take Charge. The most important lesson is that fit folks don't just assume it's a foregone conclusion that they have to gain weight while in tempting situation. Their healthy habits carry them through and they put fitness first. That's a good lesson at all times, but it's especially important in a gourmet environment. Even where gluttony is the norm, you can enjoy the experience and be healthy. To do so, you need to take charge and control eating and exercise, rather than letting the environment control you.