Friday, May 04, 2007
Fit Buddies update
As Dr. Sanjay Gupta's 2007 Fit Nation Tour heads to Denver, Colorado, for the weekend, the CNN Fit Buddies are working to improve their eating and workout habits. Here's an update from the third week of the weight-loss and fitness challenge. Read about their successes and pitfalls every Friday here on the Paging Dr. Gupta blog.

CNN correspondent Ed Lavandera:

Bare with me a moment as I crunch some numbers. I've worked in four different cities the last nine days. Take those nine days and multiply by three meals per day and that equals 27 total meals. Eighteen of those 27 meals I've eaten on the road.

I suspect there are a lot of you who live out of a suitcase. This is the biggest challenge for me. I'm getting better at making smart choices when I read through a restaurant menu but it's tough. I don't like sitting in a restaurant on the road for several hours. Often I just want to order the quickest and easiest item on the menu so I can get out of there. This might sound crazy to some of you but ordering the right food requires a lot of "brain energy" for me. More than anything, it's a mental challenge for me. When you're tired, cranky and wrapping up a 15- hour work day taking the extra time to find the healthiest option is a chore.

CNN Domestic director of coverage Stacia Deshishku:

Long before I joined the Fit Buddies bandwagon, I planned a girl's trip to Jazzfest in New Orleans. Therefore, last weekend was a challenge for me to stay on track with my eating and exercise. There is simply no city like New Orleans - especially when it comes to eating and drinking! The weekend had high points as well as its share of low ones. On the one side, I really thought about my food choices. At the fest, instead of etouffee and fried bread, I opted for salad and sushi. Instead of sitting all afternoon, I walked around and around the fairgrounds. I racked up 30,000 steps on my pedometer! On the downside, I did partake in some of the Big Easy's most famous delicacies - hurricanes and beer! The "old" me would have fallen off the wagon and not gone back to the gym. But the "new" me privately looked forward to Monday's grueling workout with someone who could help me refocus on the task at hand.

This week's lesson: cheating doesn't have to spell the end! Just make the best choices possible at the moment, don't get discouraged and jump back on the bandwagon ASAP!

CNN Medical News producer Matt Sloane:

As I sit on a plane ready to takeoff to the next Fit Nation stop in Denver, I'm reflecting on last week's stop - New Orleans. I don't have to tell you that it's a city of excess, or about how many poor choices I made because Stacia already has covered the temptations.

The plan was to get back to town, get back on the wagon with my eating and working out, and just regard last weekend as a "speed bump" of sorts on the road to fitness.

You know what they say about plans. With only 2 1/2 days in Atlanta before leaving again, it seemed there were things that needed more immediate attention than my diet. My house was a mess, my dog was lonely, my chain link fence needed to be finished, and I had a ton of prep work to do for the Denver trip.

Guess what? No workouts this week. We're heading to a Cinco de Mayo festival in Denver, but I promised myself, Robert and my girlfriend that I would eat well and keep the drinking to one margarita with an old buddy of mine. Here's hoping my will power is stronger than the allure of authentic Mexican food!

Fitness trainer Robert Dothard:

We all knew this stuff was going to happen - that there would be bumps in the road to fitness for each of you. But I encourage you to keep the faith and workout and make good-for-you food choices. There will always be set backs and challenges. So what do you? First, refocus - remember why you started this fitness journey in the first place (odds are those reasons still exist). Second, educate yourself on healthy eating, fitness and exercise. Lastly, and you could see this coming, take different ACTION. For example, over the next week, I would love to see a lot fewer nutrition and exercise log entries start with: "I was bad"... "I caved and had XYZ"... and of course the final type of entry... a selection from the library of excuses we all have!

Next week let's re-start - not to dismiss all the work you have done so far - I mean you have inspired me to lose 10 lbs and 1 percent body fat since we started, but to keep us all from leaning on old habits like an athlete clings to his or her glory days.
Hi Ed,
Living out of a suitcase, huh? Never done that myself. But I can imagine it would be as bad as someone that sits in front of the television eating, because you don't pay attention to how much or WHAT you're eating, and that is the problem. I have traveled, though, and honestly I sat down before I went and planned what to eat every sort of place I could stop, like at McD's I'd have on my list "Grilled Chicken Caesar without dressing" so I don't have to think about it. For me though, I have to do that or die a slow death because I have Celiac Disease. Therefore I have a disgustingly healthy diet :)

If you went dancing at all, well, that could be considered exercise, right? And yes, cheating doesn't have to be the end of it, just pick up where you left off and keep going. Don't fall off and give up because you messed up- that's a great attitude.

Hi Matt!
Being anywhere near Authentic Mexican Food would make me forget all about a good diet in about two seconds *good luck*. But just playing with your dog and fixing that fence are also burning calories, so don't feel bad!

I look forward to these updates every Friday. I hit refresh about ninety times today on this blog waiting for it to come up. You three really are making my week!
Bumps in the road seems to be the theme of this past week's Fit Buddies update. One of the things that I try and encourage others to do is start any change in regimen slowly. A few days on, a few days off, until you gradually condition yourself to remain on for longer periods of time. The danger in allowing for too many "off days", however, is that they can gain momentum, and then become the norm.

Keep up the great work guys!
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