We all know that keeping on track even when we are at home can be a challenge, but when you are away its even harder! My job is such that I spend nights away from home in hotels and travelling for hours up and down the motorway.
I know first hand how hard it is when you are no longer fully in control of all the ingredients for the food you are going to eat, as well as other evil temptations that come our way!
This time last week, I was preparing to go away for work for 2 nights! I started off with great will power! As I needed to leave home about 3 pm on the Sunday afternoon, I decided to bring my usual Sunday roast forward from 7 pm to 2 pm so I could have dinner with my husband.
Usually we have a full English for breakfast, but as we were eating earlier, I just had a couple of weetabix with milk from my HEA.
Lunch was roast pork, roasted potatoes, broccoli, roast carrots and yorkshire pudding. I wanted to keep on plan so my potatoes and yorkshire were cooked in frylight. The fat was removed from the pork but kept for my hubby who loves it.
So far it was looking good !
I had a 4 hour drive to Darlington so I put a diet coke in my car to keep me going!
I also filled up my Hydratem8 bottle with squash. I love this bottle. I have 2 of them and they are a god send when i’m travelling. I also always keep one filled by the side of my bed as I get thirsty during the night!
I arrive at my hotel without any hold-ups just before 7 pm. I always try and stick to the same hotels when I’m away. Today is Hogarth Hall Hotel. I’ve been going to Darlington for almost 6 years. I’ve tried a few hotels but this one really suits me. Its close to where I need to be and it feels comfortable. The hotel has its own golf course and pub on site. I’ve never been to either. It is in the middle of nowhere, down a country lane but has its own ‘ladies own’ parking area which I think is an amazing idea and never seen it anywhere else before!
The hotel itself is quite tired and could do with an update but its clean and tidy and the customer service is excellent. What I really love about this hotel is the conservatory off the restaurant. I always ask to eat in this part as the views over the golf course are amazing. In the mornings you see so much wildlife and there is also a family of swallows nesting in the building so you get to see their comings and goings!
Top tip – when eating out tell them you are dairy free! I actually can’t tolerate much dairy – I used to be dairy intolerant for 10 years but can now have some. It really does help when trying to keep the calories down! As usual the chef alters the menu to give me dairy free option. You will be surprised what will have a sneaky bit of butter in the food!
Tonight I fancy steak! Yes I’ve had a roast but I’m still hungry. I opt for steak but instead of chips I ask for salad – no dressing. Because I am going for dairy free option the mushrooms and onion rings are not included. I love onion rings so if they had been there I know I would have eaten them!
The food as usual was amazing. As I’d had a good lunch I didn’t need a desert so decided to retire to my room. I always have hifi bars in my case just in case I have the urge!
The next morning is the breakfast hurdle. Because I know this hotel I am really confident in my choices. They have a lovely platter of fresh pineapple, melon and water melon which I have a bowl full of! For breakfast I order grilled tomato, mushroom, bacon, beans and 2 poached egg! I remove any fat from the bacon. I also take some lean ham and a slice of cheese from buffet to go with it. A bit weird but I think of the ham as bacon and the cheese is because I know I am rubbish at having dairy due to old habits!
I’m pretty full now so the plan is I won’t have to eat until dinner tonight! So I thought!
When I am away I don’t always know if the company I am visiting is providing lunch or not! Sometime not is better as I have more control! I would try to buy something on my way just in case, but today I didn’t pass anywhere where I could buy food. I had a great breakfast so it didn’t matter. I was armed though with diet coke and hifi bars as I didn’t have my HEB for breakfast!
I arrived to deliver my training in this beautiful old warehouse that didn’t look like it had changed for over 100 years. That includes heating! I had been warned to wear jeans and a jumper even though it was a business trip, but I also kept my coat on most of the time. After 6 hours enough was enough! I was hungry and cold! The company only had vending machines on site which meant chocolate, crisps etc so I didn’t even visit them. Instead I opted to go out in search of somewhere.
I put ‘supermarkets’ into my sat nav and luckily for me there was a Morrisons a mile or so away. You can be sure that a big supermarket will have a cafe! And yes it did! I happily ordered jacket potato and beans. I checked that it wouldn’t come with butter which it didn’t but it did come with salad. I topped this of with a hot peppermint tea!
I was so cold when the meal came it was like eating in a 5 star restaurant! It was just what I needed and healthy too!
That night I was travelling to Manchester ahead of a meeting the next day.
I arrived at my hotel – Hilton at Deansgate! It was a lovely hotel. Again I asked for a dairy free menu! You will be amazed at the options available. The Hilton didn’t disappoint! I had a chicken noodle dish to start and salmon with vegetables for my main. It was lovely and I knew that not a single ounce of butter or cream passed my lips!
Because of the last couple of days I was quite tired and in need of warmth. I decided on an early night with a hot bath and relaxing into my onesie!
I don’t know why but I suddenly got a craving for meat crisps in my room! It was so bad I even checked my mini bar to see if they had any. Thankfully they didn’t. As I was in my onesie I also knew I couldn’t just pop to the bar – I was too tired to change! So that put that to bed!
I went off to sleep knowing I had still eaten well!
The next morning I went down to breakfast. I have to say this is something Hilton do well. It’s buffet style which I usually find can be a challenge as you don’t know how its cooked. Not at the Hilton! They label their food so you know exactly how its cooked. Again I had a good selection of fresh fruit to start. I always say you can tell the quality of a hotel by its fruit salad! Less quality have tinned moving up to its fresh fruit for the top quality!
I also pinched a couple of bananas for snacks later!
I then hit the hot counter! Bacon, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes and 2 boiled eggs! I resisted any bread to save my HEB for later! I did however do my usual and add ham and a slice of cheese!
It sounds like a lot of food but all within plan!
I head to my meeting which went better than expected! Then after lunch its time to head home down M6!
Unfortunately I didn’t see anywhere before I hit the motorway to pick anything up for the car if I got hungry! I had refilled my Hydratem8 bottle when I left the hotel and I had Hifi bars if I needed them!
Being a frequent motorway traveller I have built up some really good tips for not going off track! You know what service stations are coming up in advance! I always look for ones with M&S, Waitrose and Subway! That way I can get a healthy meal. I have also learnt that if you think you might need to spend a penny even if the service station doesn’t have your ideal food outlets stop! If you don’t you can guarantee the second you pass them you will be stuck in a traffic jam!
The first service station I came across thankfully had a M&S! It also had all the tempting things like Burger King etc but I avoid them!
I walked in their fully in control! I pulled my phone out for my Slimming World app to check what was really good ! No signall! Ok so I’m now flying solo. Its ok I can do this! I check the salads. I decide on a chicken noodle salad which came with a sauce. I work out if I don’t have the sauce its syn free! Yey.
I then look at the fresh fruit! I pick up a lovely selection of mango, melon and pineapple! I’m doing really well here! Next a drink – easy – diet coke! That’s it it’s time to hit checkout and back to car! Oh no there is a queue ! Its ok yes there is chocolate and cake here but I’m not interested. Oh look some more fruit! I’ll have a banana! You can never have too much fruit!
I get to the check out! Then the disaster happened. I was surrounded by Percy Pig sweets! Yes I had looked at them. Yes I thought about buying some but NO I was strong! Ha Ha!
‘Can I interest you madam in some Percy Pigs today madam’ came the voice from over the counter! No I said but thank you. ‘Are you sure madam?’ On no! That voice in my head said – are you really sure? Wouldn’t you just love them? You could just buy them and if you don’t eat them give them to hubby! ‘Oh ok then I will take a bag!!!’ Those words were out of my mouth before I knew it!
So I walked back to my car not sure what I had just done. But it is ok! I still have all this healthy food so I won’t touch those sweets will I!
I pull back onto the M6 and disaster happens! I’m stuck in traffic! At least I’ve been to the loo though!
I’ve been on own for almost 3 days and I’m missing my hubby and dogs and I’m getting lonely and bored! And there in the corner of my eye I see something that might make me feel a little better! Percy Pig! Ok so what harm would it do if I had 1? I decide if the bag is too difficult to open I won’t bother at all!
I try to open the bag ! Iti is difficult but then I’m stuck in a traffic jam not moving – its not like I’ve got anything more interesting to do! I eventually get into the bag! Right, just the one! Ooh this is nice! I wonder if the other colours taste the same
Right that’s it I don’t need these, I’m going to throw them onto the back seat then I can’t reach them! Oops there is only 1 left! Well I might as well have that too now!
Moral of the Story!!
You can have all the best intentions but sometimes you just slip. We are all human! I had been so good for the days I was away. I had done everything I could to ensure that what I ate was as good as possible even though I wasn’t in control in the kitchen. What let me down was that final temptation in M&S. Its silly really as I know I didn’t need those sweets. They didn’t make me feel better! I had healthy snacks in the car. I know now it was because I was bored an lonely!
I can’t tell you for sure I won’t make that mistake again but I can say I will think twice about it.
We can’t always control what our food is cooked in but we can choose when we fall off the wagon. If that happens, don’t be too hard on yourself. Just learn from it and move on!