dieting on the road

I’ve been a road warrior for about 6 years now.  When I first started traveling for work I definitely took advantage of the free/company paid food and drinks.  I didn’t gain weight right away as my metabolism was somewhat quicker than normal.  But after 6 months, the pounds started to slowly pack on.  I wasn’t working out at all and was eating more than I would if I was at home and not traveling.  I gained about 10-15 pounds within a span of 9 months.  I really didn’t do much about it.  I would try to work out but lose you need to be consistent.  I was not.  I wanted to go to team dinners and happy hours, which just added to the pounds.  I’d go through workout spurts, but again not consistent enough.  At one point, the hubs and I had our version of a “Biggest Loser” (we weren’t trying to see who would lose the most but we were trying to get to our goal weight), but after a couple months and 5 to 8 pounds later, I gave up because of the amount of traveling I had to do.  Excuses, I know.  That’s the same thing the hubs said.  I was also somewhat consistent prior to the wedding but working out on the road is tough stuff.  Hotel gyms are small.  You either workout late or early depending on your work schedule.  Not fun.  But here are some helpful tips that I’ve used over the past few years to attempt to keep my weight in check while on the road.  Notice I said keep in check, not lose.  You have to be VERY committed to lose weight on the road.  Commitment that I don’t have all the time.  Please note this is what has worked for me personally to keep my weight consistent and I am sharing with you.  I do not have a nutritional degree.

  • Start your days with a well balanced breakfast.  Lots of fiber, protein, and vitamins.  Eggs, fruits, whole wheat bread, etc.  Starting the day right may help curb the snack attacks or overeating.  Mama knew what she was talking about when she said breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

  • Whether its lunch or dinner, start with a side salad.  Filling up on veggies will curb your appetite once you have have your entrée.  But make sure you don’t DOUSE your greens in dressing.  That doesn’t help.  It just adds to the calories.

  • Halfsies.  Halve your entree or sandwich (whichever) and eat half of it AND save the rest for later if you have a refrigerator and microwave.  If not, consider purchasing a combo of half salad and soup or half salad and sandwich.  I’m a fan of Panera’s You Pick Two option.

  • Don’t eat everything.  You DO NOT have to eat a three course meal at dinner.  Sure the company may be paying for it but for your waistline’s sake, you really don’t need to have appetizers, a meal, AND dessert AND a cocktail or milkshakes.  Corny but spend the money like it were your own and eat how you would if you were at home.
  • Pass on the bread & butter or chips & salsa.  These are extra carbs that will fill you up quicker and possibly not satisfy you the way you’d like.  If you really want some, have some but I’d suggest ordering a lighter entree.
  • Consider ordering from the appetizer menu for your main meal along with a side salad.  Appetizers are typically a smaller size than entrees (at most restaurants).

  • Want a variety of food?  Why not order family style with coworkers?  I’ve done this a couple of times where we ordered a variety of apps or entrees and split it amongst us all.  Very Spanish.
  • Stay somewhat active.  Take a flight of stairs up to your room (obviously do this with discretion.  I’m not telling you to walk up to the 18th floor.  But if its a 2-3 story hotel, take the stairs instead of the elevator).  Do Yoga in your room.  Bring work out dvds with you and play them on your laptop in your room.  Pack resistance bands in your suitcase.  Jog in the hotel gym, no matter how crappy, or if there is a park nearby or the hotel parking lot.  Walk laps around the hotel parking lot.  Even if its for 10 minutes, that’s 10 minutes you burned some calories and partook in some sort of exercise activity.  Something is better than nothing.

  • Sharing is caring.  Especially with dessert.  Don’t think you can’t indulge.  Definitely don’t deprive yourself.  Everything in moderation.  If you’re not that close with your coworkers or are traveling on your own, if you can order a smaller version the dessert, if available.  If not, pop in a mint or grab a small square of chocolate.  You’d be surprised how much a small bite would curb your craving.

So those are my tips for keeping the weight off when on the road and at home (if you eat out a lot). What are your tips to keep your weight in check?  I think that scoop of ice cream is okay this weekend, especially with the ridiculous heat.  Happy Friday!

Note:  Images have been linked back to original source.  

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