Work travel or vacations take us away from our regular daily routine. This is beneficial to our mental wellness because we experience new scenery and can rejuvenate ourselves, but it also can take us away from our healthy eating habits.
Being away shouldn’t be license to go overboard. Try and work some of my strategies into your travel day. Most of my clients have had success with this and I’m confident this will help you as well.
For the business traveller…
If you travel two to three times a month for work, it’s a routine not a holiday. With hectic schedules and travel plans, sticking to a diet can get tricky. Odd-hour arrivals and departures, inconsistent schedules, work dinners, catered lunches and crazy hours cause all well-intentioned diets to take a nose dive. The trick is to plan your diet differently for when you’re home (where you achieve
maximum weight loss) and out of the city (where you try and maintain what you lost).
Business travel is erratic at best and there are plenty of temptations to divert you from your diet when you’re travelling. The trick is to simply plan a little, so that you can stay committed (and that you don’t have an excuse for the third helping of mashed potato from the buffet).
Stash a few fruits, granola or protein bars, unsalted nuts or unsweetened dried fruit in your carry-on. These foods provide sustainable energy and satisfaction too. They work on the road, in mid-air and in the hotel room. Better than the triple-fried double-salted mini bar peanuts.
Don’t skip meals
Demanding travel schedules can lead to skipping meals. If nothing else, always make time for breakfast. Eat complex carbohydrates like fruits and oats. Combine that with some high quality protein like eggs, milk and yoghurt. Avoid buttered breads, croissants, sugared cereal, canned fruits and fruit juices. Aside from being calorie-rich, they are high in glycemic index. Have a big lunch and munch on some carry-on snacks in the evening. If meal timings fall in place you will not need a big dinner to satisfy your hunger.
Learn to order safe
During your client visits and business meals, if you can choose where to eat, then remember; it’s salads over sandwiches, grilled over fried, vegetables over rice, fish over potatoes and veto dessert of any kind.
Drink more water…
When preoccupied with work, the most neglected nutrient is water. During travel, dehydration from alcohol and caffeine is very common. Make a voluntary effort to drink water when flying, during meetings, in-between meetings and definitely before sleeping.
… and less alcohol
For most of us, alcohol while travelling is gratifying and therapeutic. Instead of going all out, plan a drink over a business meeting but don’t make it a drinking night. Ration your alcohol intake, stick to the simplest form of alcohol (no cocktails) and cut calories by avoiding sugary mixers.
Always carry your sneakers
Run, walk, hit the gym or just stay active. Schedule your workouts with your arrivals and departures. While in transit, you can walk through the airport or window-shop rather than sit in the lounge. Use the stairs instead of the hotel lift.
For the vacationer…
Holidays are all about taking time off from the routine and monotony of home, diets and workouts. As lovely as it sounds, the only downside from enjoying time off is that you return heavier with more weight (sadly I don’t mean just your luggage). In order to help avoid over-indulging and completely breaking away from your diet plan, these are a few things that have helped many of my clients keep things in perspective:
Moderation is the mantra
Restaurant portions are big compared to what we eat at home, so control your portion size. Avoid all the pointless calories from the table munchies. A little consciousness will help you reduce the overall intake of saturated fats, cholesterol and sodium.
Alcohol, desserts and junk food
It’s not a vacation if you can’t indulge in all of these things. But try to follow these simple rules: stick to one of them in a particular day, share your desserts and alternate every drink with water. You can imagine the disaster if all of it happened every day for the entire vacation. It’s a holiday, right? Not a week-long bender!
If you like adventure then there is always a good calorie burn from such vacations. However, if you like to lounge on the couch all day, you will have to make a conscious effort to burn some calories. Walk around the property, explore, plunge in the pool or just go shopping. You don’t have to hit the gym every day, but some activity is better than none at all.
Remember travelling for business or leisure, it all comes down to a balancing act. By all means indulge, otherwise where’s the fun. But also prioritise your fun meal, follow up with a damage control plan, keep the next meal lighter and reset yourself after it’s over.