If you travel frequently for business, you know how tiring the whole process can be – starting with early morning wake-ups, flight delays, dodgy taxi drivers, traffic congestion leading to missed appointments, too-soft /too-hard pillows, noisy air-con, etc. To cap it all off, you can always look forward to the tedious expense claims process which never seems to reconcile fully with the receipts you have and the total amount on your credit card.
What concerns me the most about frequent business travel is the almost inevitable increase in weight and, being in my late 40’s, gaining weight seems to occur with the mere thought of a nice chocolate cake for dessert.
It took me nearly 12 months of 3 gym sessions per week and the near-total removal of processed sugar from my diet to lose the fat hanging around my mid-section. Now I do enjoy the feeling a flat stomach brings and have no desire to increase weight to the degree where I feel my stomach wobble when I walk.
There are people who recommend bringing home cooked meals to cover the duration of travel so you can control what goes into your body. But to this day, I have never met a business person who does this – it’s just not feasible, especially when travelling overseas.
Personally I don’t have any desire or luggage room to bring homemade food with me on a business trip. Therefore this post is for all business travellers out there who are keen to avoid gaining weight in the name of business but have no desire to bring home-made food with them on their travels. Below I provided my personal tips for keeping the weight off while travelling. They seem to work for me so hopefully they will for you too.
Tips for keeping the weight off
No Carbs 3 Hours Before Bedtime And Cut The Sugar
I would have to say that avoiding processed sugar and not eating any carbs at least 3 hours before I go to bed enabled me to drop the fat off my body fast. To be honest, exercise did nothing for my weight loss and that’s logical, right? The less you eat, the less chance your body has energy left over that it needs to store. The most effective strategy I have found is to not eat any carbs 3-4 hours before I go to bed. I sleep better because my stomach is not full of carbs. Again, it’s logical that your body needs to either burn or store what it gets fed so if you are resting in front of the TV or sleeping, the food will not be burned off, right?
Treat Yourself Once
So you have “suffered” all through the business trip watching what and when you eat. I need to reward myself and often for the last night I have a bit of a gastronomic splurge and treat myself to a nice dinner or lunch, which ultimately includes something sweet. I have found that my body seems to forgive this indiscretion but I only splurge if I am away for more than 3 nights.
Have A Good breakfast To Fill You Up
Let’s face it – business travel leads to unpredictable eating times, especially if you start crossing time-zones. I always attempt to have a big breakfast that fills me up and keeps the hunger pains away for at least 4 or 5 hours so I avoid mid-morning snacking. I don’t fill up on bacon and eggs, but cereal and bread normally do the trick for me. I am not worried about the carbs ending up as fat as it gets burned throughout the day. You have heard of the saying: “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper”?
Walk To And From The Restaurant To Exercise
I walk to and from where I eat and will try to walk at least 10 minutes each way. For some reason, this helps aid digestion and I feel less full when I get back to the hotel room.
Try Asian Cuisine For Dinner
I have tried many different cuisines over the years but for me Korean, Japanese and Thai seem to provide the least carbohydrate and heavy sauce options. My favourite dish while travelling is the Korean dish called chicken kimchi, which is a chicken and cabbage (kimchi) stir-fry. It’s very light and spicy and there always seems to be a cheap Korean in every city. I will often have chicken kimchi every night in the build-up to my “blow-out night” 🙂
Bring Healthy Snacks
There are times when I just cannot stick to my regime of having a full breakfast that keeps my stomach fill for 3-4 hours so I make sure to have a healthy snack in my bag. Now a healthy snack is not the processed, sugar-rich ‘healthy’ muesli-bar cons you see, but instead a small bag of dried fruit and nuts or a snack from an organic store where there is no added sugar and the ingredients don’t make you feel it was created in a laboratory.
Eat Plain Food
By this I mean dishes that contain as few ingredients as possible (back to my chicken kimchi). I bet most of you are not exercising while travelling before or after work! I tried but since most hotel gyms I have stayed at appear to have had a former life as a linen-closet and have been gracefully decked out with one stepper (“under maintenance”) and 1 dumbbell, I gave up. Therefore we need to go back to the logical conclusion that what you put into your body needs to go somewhere; it’s either burned or stored. Dishes rich in sugar, carbohydrates and fat increase the chances that your body will store the excess food around your waistline.
Scout Out The Local Food Joints
If you have time, scout around your work and hotel area for food spots on the first night. Don’t pick the first one you see; normally those are tourist traps with expensive and crappy food. Ask the local workers where they go. It took many business trips for me to work this out. I often would find a really brilliant restaurant on my last night after eating crappy food all week at the local tourist traps. It’s my theory that restaurants and cafes that are far away from the tourist areas provide much better quality food because they cater to the locals not the tourists, who will never be regulars.
Well, that’s it!
That’s how I keep my weight in-check while traveling – I hope you gain some value reading this post.
If you have any hints then please post them in the comments section below.