Going through a permanent change of station (PCS) is a real pain in the a–. But it’s what military members and their families do. Most have gotten used to the fact that it comes every couple of years. But have you met anyone who has every bit of this thing completely managed, organized, and under control? Nope! It’s hard for everyone, and it’s especially hard on your healthy lifestyle. Fitness and eating clean during PCS season take a little more willpower and creativity for obvious reasons —hello, your kitchen is in cardboard, and your workouts are second to house hunting, purging, and packing.
And a PCS doesn’t happen in just one day; no, it’s a whole freakin’ season! It starts with anticipation. Then you’re frantically trying to schedule and nail down actual dates. Next, you endure the pre-move inspection, followed by the initial cleaning and pack-up prep. After that period of dusting things for the first time since you moved in and furiously posting “porch pickup” items daily, the official pack-up starts. It usually takes a couple days for a crew of people you would really rather not be touching your granny panties to stuff everything you own into cardboard boxes. Finally, comes loading day.
But, that’s just the beginning.
Now it’s time to hang out on some air mattresses in your empty house for a few days or stay in the temporary lodging facility (TLF), which sometimes makes sleeping on an air mattress in an empty house sound like a dream vacation. Then, of course, you’re ready to actually move to your new duty station, so you hop in the car for an extremely long road trip. Finally, you make it to the other side, only to land yourself once again in a TLF or an empty house. It takes months to feel settled again. It’s absolute chaos!
So, what do you do when you’re focused on making a major transition, but you don’t want to sacrifice your fitness and clean eating during PCS limbo? It’s far too easy to say #dontjudgemeImPCSing or #Igiveup. But there are a few simple ways in which you can still fit in a workout and eat healthily.
Modify Your Fitness to Fit the Craziness
Just because there’s a lot going on, doesn’t mean you can’t pause for a quick workout. You may not be able to get to the gym, and maybe your P90X DVD is already packed, but you can go for a walk or take a run anywhere! And, what about the kids and all their pent-up energy? Keep a ball handy. No matter where you are, you can kick a ball around.
Fight the Fast Food Temptation
It’s convenient, but it isn’t the healthiest choice! Yes, your dishes and utensils have been packed. But the grocery store does sell some of the plastic variety. Keep a skillet or two, as well as a couple of cooking utensils, with you during a move. That way you can still cook a little something.
If you have to grab fast food — and sometimes you just do — look for the healthier options on the menu, and squash the mindset that this fast food run is going to derail your typically clean eating habits.
You’re already trying to purge everything from your refrigerator and pantry, so this is the perfect opportunity to eat clean, healthy foods. Grab some fruits and veggies — foods you can eat right away — so you don’t have to worry about storing them. And make sure to pack easy, healthy foods to bring with you in the car or plane as you make your way to your new digs.
PCSing is a drag. But don’t let it drag down your healthy lifestyle. Take care of yourself and your family, especially during this huge transition period.