By Valerie Driscoll, Lead Coach and Coaching Program Developer for Apollo Health

I have been traveling for the last few weeks, visiting and staying with friends and family I’ve not seen for the previous 2+ years. I often kiddingly say that the Bredesen Protocol lifestyle turns someone from a BYOB guest into a BYOE (Bring Your Own Everything) guest. The contents of my car prove this to be a true statement, as it is packed full of KetoFLEX 123-compliant foods, light weights, KAATSU bands, exercise bands, a yoga mat, unscented everything, backup supplements, and two pair of walking shoes. Surprisingly, most of it has actually been used. The carload was then paired down to a suitcase-load as I got on a plane and flew into Denver, where “Protocoling” was a cinch.

Taking this show on the road has crystallized a few key points and strategies that have made this time less stressful for me, and as so many of our participants express difficulty while traveling, I thought I would share my insights a few weeks in:

● Perfection need not get in the way of progress. At my current PreCODE stage, I can choose to take an occasional detour on the path; taking this time to make a mindful, guilt-free choice also helps me stay close to the path without careening into a ditch. I have learned to always keep the path in sight, even if I am not on it.

● Use all forms of “Google-y” things to plan ahead. I knew where I could easily shop, drop, and roll in every locale. Preparation made it easy not to get stuck without resources.  I found farmers’ markets and other ways of shopping and eating well. I explored every new neighborhood on foot and found wonders on every walk. I attended Pilates class, practiced yoga with friends, and meditated in beautiful parks along the way. Those annoying digital devices are a big help wherever you roam.

● Practice your elevator pitches. This lifestyle is a departure, and it requires some explanation. I quickly developed one pitch for the interested and one for those just trying to make polite conversation; the real skill came in getting better at recognizing the difference between the two. As the song says, you got to know when to “hold ‘em” and know when to “fold ‘em”; I got better at folding them.

● Know your weak spots: As a guest, creating any bother for my host is anathema. Bother, for me, equates to asking for anything. We all have our idiosyncrasies, and this is one of mine. Balancing being a good guest with a good protocol follower has been tricky. The vitally important self-care skill of asking for what I need is constantly testing my comfort levels. On this jaunt, I have asked for freezer space, earlier dinner reservations, time for a walk and meditation in the schedule, space to do yoga, etc. As with everything, the more I do it, the easier it gets.

● Rehearse your responses to situations likely to trip you up. It sounds silly, but it is a great tool in the toolbox, especially around your weak areas. I practiced out loud what I would do or say in certain challenging situations. I cannot believe how helpful it was, especially around the no-breakfast situation.

● Be okay with the new you. Remind yourself why all of this change is important. My friends who are used to late-night movie watching-ice cream, chocolate, and pizza eating-yes, please, refill my wine glass-Valerie was a bit taken aback. While some choose to look at my choices as a sad circumstance of old age (or possibly a cult following), I see my lifestyle as a proactive step toward being healthy enough to travel like this for a long time.

Finally, I cannot stress how helpful having my mindfulness practice is to all of the above. As I have written before, the states created with mindfulness practice — recognizing and accepting discomfort, trading judgment in for curiosity, and being responsive rather than reactive (there were more than a few eye rolls thrown my way, and I never took the bait) allowed me to stay in a place of choice mostly. Choice made this trip in full PreCODE mode much more delightful than stressful.

No matter where or how you roam, there is a way to be prepared and stay true. I am already in refinement mode, planning my next successful trip into the wild, wild world.

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