I’m back from a whirlwind trip to a Hatcher Pass, Alaska. It’s a beautiful area up in the mountains located about 60 miles north of Anchorage. 

This is one of our favorite areas to hike with our dogs because the views are incredible and the vibe is authentically Alaskan. My 11 year old niece is visiting us from Texas, so we decided to take her out for an overnight stay in one of their little red cabins. 

We have talked about staying in these cabins for years, and while rustic, they did not disappoint.

Places like this, tucked way up in the mountains are just another reminder of why I love living in Alaska. We had a great time, and enjoyed two kid friendly hikes; one yesterday morning, and another early this morning after making breakfast at the lodge. My niece hated them both.

Hiking is my preferred method of cardio exercise, because it allows me to do a lot of things in one trip; get in a workout, connect with my wife, exercise my dogs, take photos, and disconnect from the rest of the world.

In other words, mountains are better than treadmills. One day I’ll put that on a shirt. 

One of the biggest challenges I knew I was going to face on this trip was sleep deprivation. I was not wrong. The cabin was cozy enough, and we all stayed warm, but there’s something disturbing about sleeping in a bed that is not yours. I can sleep in a hotel bed just fine, but there’s something about camping where I can’t seem to get it together. 

Lela and I were sleeping up in a loft with my niece down below us, and the only way up or down was via a solid, but creaky ladder. This made middle of the night bathroom visits mildly treacherous and extremely loud. Needless to say, we kept one another awake pretty much all night. 

I love sleep. It’s one of my favorite things in the whole world. When I get enough every night, I have zero cravings and hunger is non-existent when cutting calories. Just let me have my routine, get my 8 hours and everything will be good. I’m lucky if I got 4 hours of sleep last night.

What typically happens under thees circumstances is that I want to EAT. I want caffeine, and I want food all day. Sleep is critical for keeping the hunger hormone ghrelin in check. When sleep deprived, your brain tries to get you to eat more by cuing more frequent feelings of hunger.

Cravings, the bottomless pit in my stomach, and that urge to pass out literally anywhere take over until I can get to bed. I found myself looking for random things to eat when we got home- anything to get this feeling to go away. I didn’t track macros and I didn’t fast today, instead I ate intuitively and did the best I could to manage the cravings I had. Basically, my plan fell apart as I suspected could happen.

However, I’m happy with how I managed the unraveling. There is that tendency to fall off the plan, then say “fuck it,” and overindulge. I never feel better after that. Even if I feel great for the 10 minutes I’m enjoying the food, I’m always pissed that I so easily gave into my weaknesses. Not this time. 

I stayed on track yesterday despite going out to a restaurant for lunch, something that can completely derail you if you give in to your FOMO. I chose a salad with dressing on the side and it was satisfying. Not nearly as delicious as my nieces huge cheeseburger and curly fries, but I survived. 

A big part of being successful with fat loss is allowing yourself to roll with the punches and not getting upset when things don’t go as planned, because I promise, you will take countless punches along the way. 

Having fun on this trip was just as much of a priority as my fat loss goal. I’m cool with juggling fun and discipline, it’s what needs to happen right now. 

Sometimes, no matter how well you plan ahead of time, and no matter how healthy the cooler of food you have with you is, you’ll fall off. Just get back up and start again.