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Cooler Mania

Jul 29, 2011   //   by Allison Ethier   //   Blog, Nutrition  //  1 Comment

Why I take my cooler everywhere

There it is. Over in the corner.  Not sure when it all happened, but is a habit that I cannot break.  It just feels unnatural.  Like forgetting your watch (for those who where a watch) or nowadays your cell phone.

Most would look at it and think – What is in there?  Is it full? You eat all that?

It is my largest accessory.

What is it you ask?

24 cans or bigger

My cooler.

I have I experimented with other lunch bags – but they all had flaws. Number one flaw - too small - only big enough to hold a granola bar and a bottle of water. (And I don’t eat granola bars) Even the ones that look like a purse – super cute, but not practical for the individual with some serious physique goals in mind.

There are a few reasons why I take my cooler everywhere – yes everywhere – you name the event and my cooler has probably been there.  The beach, car, weddings – (yes, me all dressed up with this big box cooler on my hip), work, social events, gym, doctor, or even the hair dresser.

With some advanced planning, and packed just so – I can fit a week’s worth of food in my cooler. The best part of bringing my cooler everywhere is that I am never without something good to eat. (Translation: unprocessed)

If there is a delay or layover in the airport, I am always prepared.  Most times people will look at my meals, and wish they had what I was eating.   Anyone who has prepped for a show knows that solid nutrition is the majority of your training, and a missed meal can really throw a wrench in your training plans.

I like to eat on my schedule: not someone else’s.   Call it being selfish, or perhaps a bit obsessed with my food intake (bordrline orthorexia perhaps?) but when I am hungry I want my food.  I want to eat at the times that are convenient for me, not for everyone else.  I want the food that I want to eat as it makes me feel really good.  Energized.  Eating a meal out at the restaurant is great every once and while, but do that frequently and one feels like a bag of crap.  Results are means oriented.

Consistency = Results. 

Eating with friends at a social event is great, once a week, or maybe twice a week – but what if you have 4+ social events per week?  It is extremely hard to maintain a physique under those conditions, no matter the type of training you are doing (athletes aside; however they even make proper food choices when in the throws of super training). For the rest of the population you have to make sacrifices somewhere to make up for the lack of activity, and that would be consistent nutrition. 

As a parent (and you learn this one quite quickly when you err)  you would never leave the house without something for your child to snack on.  In baby land, now does not exist.  I act in a similar way – in relation to food.   When I am hungry – I want food now!  Not in 5 minutes, not in an hour – now.  When you are working and are busier than a breakfast place on Mother’s day – you want food immediately so that you can fill the void and move on to the next activity.  Having my food with me keep me satiated, and I am able to keep going with my food, fueled, and sans hunger pangs.

Believe it or not having my meal with me frees up a lot of time – when you take the food out of the equation, and I don’t mean just skip meals – but when it is all cooked, and divided out, you can simply eat and move on to the next activity without having hunger pangs distract you, or brain fog cloud your judgment.

My cooler is a hard cooler, and if required,  it can act as a footrest or table.  (No I don’t do both at the same time)  On a plane, it fits under the seat in front of me (except on jet blue flights), and I can put my feet on it to maintain good blood flow, and reduce possible leg swelling on a plane.

Feel good food – we all know how eating well makes us feel.  And we all know that when we eat our ‘non regular foods’ either on vacation or when visiting others after a few days we cannot wait to return to our clean eating.   It makes a feel good to eat less, eat natural non-processed foods, and at regular times.

So here it is - on one end of the bell curve I sit.  Alone?  No.  I know there are more of you out there who do the same – but we are few. It bothers everyone and no one at the same time. It makes those around us feel uncomfortable, and question why you eat the way you do.  No one ever said that you have to eat out in a restaurant when you are traveling.  It does take a bit of planning, but you will feel better, maintain or achieve your physique goals, and get to select what is on the menu, ahem, YOUR menu– not what someone else dictates for you to eat.