Thursday, February 14, 2013

Traveling 36 hours on the Cohen Diet + The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl by Shauna Reid

I finally decided to buckle down and get strict with my weight loss my last birthday (Dec!).  After signing up with First Personal Diet and having the full metabolic blood test done, I received my diet.  Under this diet, I have to weigh my food raw and to cook without using much of my usual spices and sauces.   Meals are spaced 5 hours from each other - not allowed to skip a meal or to eat less than the specified portions.  Fortunately, 110 grams of fish is a decent portion.  I got into a routine and after the first week it felt manageable.  I finally started losing weight at the rate of 2.5 lb/week.

I had to travel to the Philippines though 3 weeks into the diet and I was desperate to come up with ways to make it from JFK to Manila and keep on the diet.  I just wanted to share my experience in case any of you have to go through this or a similar situation traveling.

1)  Check the meals available.  It turns out that aside from the usual vegetarian and fruit plate options, China Airlines also has a raw fruit and vegetable plate.  I wasn't able to reserve that - had some trouble making the changes online - and could only arrange for my meals when I checked in. This meant that I had regular airplane food during the longest leg of my flight from NYC to Osaka.  From Osaka to Taipei and Taipei to Manila I had the fruit plate.

So, from 10 am EST to 8 PM Japan Time, I had to rely on what I could pack, buy, and find on the plane.  JFK doesn't allow you to bring liquids to the secure areas, but I packed 2 apples (I'm allowed 3 pieces of fruit a day), canned tuna with the pull off lids, and hardboiled eggs.  I got those past security without any issues.  I later wished that I'd packed crackers as I'm allowed 6 crackers a day.  I'd regret not having them later when I succumbed to a warm roll in the morning! I found a $10 salad with grilled chicken, grape tomatoes, spinach, shredded carrots, croutons, and a balsamic based dressing.  Ditched the croutons, carrots and dressing and I could use the salad to fulfill my veggie requirements for the next 4 meals and have the protein for one meal!  

I felt a little self conscious about taking out my food and would accept the meal trays with my neighbors.  I was sitting next to this slim Japanese couple.  Chubby girl takes out a salad - didn't want to do it! I would try to ignore the smell of the warm meal (the fish was cooked Japanese style and looked quite good), the warm roll, the small piece of cake. I'd eat the salad greens and bits of fruit.  I made it through 2 meals.  But on the third - the breakfast of Chicken Noodle something - I made my mistake!  I planned to just take a peek. Then to just have the bits of chicken. And mushroom. And onion. And pretty soon I was eating the noodles!  After having caved, I ate the warm roll!  Then ignored the lemon or mango cake and drank 2 glasses of water.

Next time for my return trip, I'm booking the raw veggie and fruit plate.  If they aren't able to do it, I'm getting the fruit plate or asking them not to give me the hot meal.  I'm packing fruit but I'll only be able to eat that during the 2 hour flight from Manila to Taipei. The remaining 30 hours of travel I'll have to have things that will pass customs!  I have found larger cans of tuna that are closer to the correct portion size of 105-115 grams of fish.  During the NYC to Taipei trip I had a 3 pack of 70gm cans.... I will have packets of wheat crackers that I can portion out.  I'll have a small cup non fat, plain yogurt which will be partly frozen and can survive the trip.  That'll last me the 30 plus hours of traveling. 

Another thing that really helped me during that long, exhausting flight was the support from the message boards. I'd asked fellow Cohen dieters what they do when traveling and just fleshing out the possible problems was a big help.  It didn't hurt to hear that they knew I could do it since I was so determined to plan and follow through. This reinforced the whole - I can do this and I will do this - that I get when my diet and workout plan have results.

I'm 4 weeks in and just had my blood test taken. I'm awaiting the results and the adjustment to the diet. I'm also 13 lbs lighter and it feels great!

I've been reading fitness and diet books but have also come across this hilarious and encouraging book, The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl by Shauna Reid.  Diet Girl deserves and will have a full post - just wanted to send out a teaser!

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