If you don't already know, Kalvin (my husband) and I moved to Okinawa, Japan about three weeks ago. We've been living in a hotel room for about 2 weeks until this past week, when we finally were able to move in to our house. We still don't have all of our belongings but we are slowly putting our house together and buying things we need. That's when I realized how little we had in the hotel room! All we had were 2 bowls, plastic utensils, a microwave, mini-fridge, and a little coffee maker with hotel coffee. Being in a new country and all, we ate out a lot so we could explore this new land more. We are some amazing food and feel like we know the lay of the land a little better now. But we are definitely ready to start cooking and eating home made meals again.
Healthy eating is challenging, there is no doubt about it. Especially if you are unprepared. Here is what I learned about healthy during my two week stay in a hotel room.
Eating out does not have to be unhealthy
Like I said, we ate out several times during our hotel life. In one day, we ate breakfast at the Officer's club, lunch at the golf course, and then dinner at a local restaurant. Sometimes, we would even eat lunch and dinner at a local spot. There are tons of options in the way of delicious food, but when it comes to healthy food, it takes a little bit more work. My goal at each restaurant was/still is to eat as many fruits or vegetables as possible. Also, I opt chose to eat lean protein when given the option, as well as low fat dairy and whole grains. Most times, my eyes go directly towards to salad options on the menu or towards the sides options as grilled vegetables are almost always available instead of french fries. My biggest tip is to skip the appetizer and order an entree salad to split as an appetizer. My next tip - order one item at a time. I'll typically order a salad while I decided what to eat for my main course. This prevents me from over-ordering (and over-eating). Remember to keep the salad light and filled with vegetables (stay away from candied nuts, processed meats, heavy cheeses and get your dressing on the side).
Planning ahead of time and keeping snacks on hand is vital to healthy living. We made sure to stock our little room with non-refrigerated fruits like apples, kiwis, grapefruits, mangoes, and bananas. I also noticed I had a strong craving for popcorn and chocolate in the evenings, so I made sure to keep little treats like dark chocolate and pre-popped popcorn on hand. It's so easy to run down to the little convenient store and grab a treat that isn't necessarily on track with my goals. I did make sure to sneak in a indulgent treat or two, don't worry.
Snacks are a great opportunity for sneaking in fruits and veggies, especially if you didn't get any during your main meals. If you're looking for your snack to keep you full until your next meal, mix two different food groups (like a lean protein and fiber-rich carbohydrate). If you want a low-calorie option, snack on some fresh fruit or vegetables. Really take the time to think about your snacks and make them count! Get in on the snacktion!
Staying hydrated is key to living well
The weather here is HOT and HUMID. It is no joke. I'll be completely honest with you; staying hydrated is really hard for me. I don't drink anything other than water but I just don't drink it frequently enough. So the other day, I paid for it. My head was pounding from the minute I opened my eyes to the second I fell asleep at night. I didn't have the energy to do anything, but I had already committed to plans and couldn't bail. The whole day, I felt completely off and wasn't able to interact socially the way I usually do. I made everything worse by going on a three mile run that morning. My performance was terrible and my headache got worse. I have spent every day after that drinking plenty of water and replenishing any additional water loss. Moral of the story - stay hydrated. It's cheap and honestly so important.
Exercise can really change your mood
With this new transition came unwanted emotions, such as sadness, loneliness, emptiness, and frustration. There were times I didn't want to get out of bed, let alone get in a good workout. Not only did I not have access to my amazing apartment gym with a stellar view of the pool, but I now had to reorient myself to a new space and figure out the best time to get to the gym to claim my tiny sliver of workout space. Despite all these challenges, I made sure to get in a workout every day, even for at least 30 minutes. With proper planning, it can be done. Not all exercises where done in the gym. Some would be down by the beach on my yoga mat, or maybe a run along the water. After each workout, I could instantly feel my mental health improve. I became more positive, I felt better about myself, and was able to bring my whole self to the table and really show up not only for me, but for others around me. If you're ever feeling down, try sneaking in a little bit of movement. But also, don't be afraid to seek professional help. There is no shame in that game.
There you have it! Hope my hotel lessons help you the next time you are in a hotel room. PS - I also decorated a little bit to make the room feel more like home. I suggest you pack some items to remind you of home next time you travel (I packed a photo of my puppy, some framed art work from friends, and bought some candles).