It’s finally here!!
I have been waiting ALL YEAR LONG for this last weekend, and I am so incredibly excited that it finally arrived.
That’s right: CAMPING!
Every year, my family gets together for a 5-day camping trip just outside of Randle, WA. 5 days of lounging, reading, bike-riding, swimming in the river, picking berries, and hiking; this is one of the most rejuvenating occasions of the year for me.
There’s a problem, though; camping tends to bring with it all manner of unhealthy foods for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and especially snacks. You know the foods I’m talking about: hot dogs, bacon, s’mores, more bacon, additional hot dogs, chips, soda, and definitely another round of bacon.
That, coupled with hours of lounging around the fire, usually means a few extra pounds when I head home at the end of the trip. I Really. Really. Really wanted to avoid that.
Here’s how I managed to stay on track while surrounded by bad but oh-so-delicious options:
1. Pack easy snacks!
Fail to plan, plan to fail! The easiest way to avoid gorging myself on fatty, greasy, gain-10-pounds food is to simply bring my own healthy snacks. If I don’t have another alternative, I know that I will cave and indulge in sinful snacks, so I need to have something else to munch on. A few snacks that I took:
- Low-fat cottage cheese (you can put fruit in that!!)
- Sliced Bell Peppers
- Hummus (you can dip so many things in hummus…)
2. Bring. Less. Bacon.
Bacon is really my weakness here, can you tell? My folks bring literal pounds of bacon for camping trips and cook through it feverishly to use it all up. The higher the quantity of delicious food available, the more I’m apt to eat.
Bring less of it! If there is less available, it is leaps and bounds easier to limit how much I eat. And trust me, I DID eat some bacon; just substantially less than I used to.
3. Stay Active!
The Pacific Northwest is beautiful, and I was right in the middle of old-growth rainforest. What better way to keep moving than to explore my gorgeous surroundings! I’m not even talking about hiking, necessarily; just put on some walking shoes and start making the rounds. I visited the other areas of the (rather large and spread out) campground, took an easy trail to the river, and even just repeated the same loop several times. Experts suggest 10,000 steps per day, and this is a great way to get that in.
I also busted out my ancient, rusty, discolored bike for a few blood-pumping loops around the campground!
4. Do Go Hiking
As an upgrade to my walks, I went hiking deeper in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Trails in this area vary from casual strolls through gorgeous meadows, to intense, seemingly vertical treks to peaks with stunning views. Deer, Elk, Chipmunks, and countless birds kept me company and entertained, and I finished each hike sweaty, spent, and in blissful peace. This was also a wonderful opportunity to connect with my Dad, and I look forward to our early morning scouting trips all year.
5. Campsite Crunches
Yup, I busted out a good ole body weight workout right in my campsite! Well, that was the plan, anyway. I brought along a cheap yoga mat and some small dumbbells to enhance my workouts. Unfortunately, the rain made an appearance this year and effectively dissuaded me from my planned workout (no worries, I just biked and hiked more). Here is some of what I had planned:
- Crunches! There are a lot of different variations; check out this guide!
- Squats; gotta build that booty!
- Donkey Kicks
- Planks (I have a love-hate relationship here…)
- Tricep extensions and kickbacks (small weights)
6. Buddy System!
Starting a new healthy eating, active lifestyle regimen is HARD. We’re talking about breaking habits that I’ve had for YEARS and replacing it with brand new ones. I’m a pretty stubborn person, and I like a challenge, but this really stretches me, and I (not infrequently) cave in to some bad choices.
This process is made that much easier if I have someone to encourage me and keep me accountable; someone who knows my goals and my struggles, and cares enough to help me stick to the process. Someone that is mindful of what environment they may place me in, knowing that it can be the difference between hitting my goal or doubling my calorie consumption for the day.
7. Log Each Meal
Logging the foods I eat has helped in more ways than I have room to write about here, and I worked hard to continue that habit while camping. I wasn’t going to deny myself a few hot dogs or s’mores while camping (did I mention my brother-in-law brought steak?), but I wanted to make sure I left room for those items in my calorie budget. MyFitnessPal has a great tool for logging meals. It is a little limited offline, though, so I recommend checking some of the foods you know you will eat (bacon, hot dogs, s’mores) before you head into the woods. If you use Noom, their database works great offline!
Guys, it worked.
I lost weight during our entire camping trip, and I feel SO GOOD about sticking to my plans. I am confident, energized, and even more determined to continue working hard towards a healthier me. The best part was having another family member ask me about what I’m doing and what works best for me; I am overjoyed to use my progress to help others achieve their goals.
What camping tips and tricks do you have for sticking with your health and fitness plan?