Business travel creates challenges with healthy eating. In fact, business travel, and the lack of predictability, can easily exacerbate overeating, stress eating, and mindless eating choices.
Creating smart strategies for managing overeating on the road is well worth it, given the benefits that eating well has on your health, your weight, your energy, and even your productivity and focus.
It’s one thing to create routines that work for you in your day-to-day life, but when you hit the road for business travel, the rules change. You lose your familiar structure, access to your own refrigerator, and often your regular schedule and timetables. Without a workable approach, it’s all too easy to lose your good intentions or just throw up your hands until the trip is over. And thus begins another cycle of being on and off track – which is hard in so many ways. On top of that, losing your routine and getting off course can create a loss of momentum. It’s not always easy to get back on track when you get home again.
Smart strategies to avoid overeating when you travel for business – four tips to avoid overeating when you travel for business:
1. Plan your approach.
It sounds obvious, but planning for your own wellbeing when you are planning business travel is something most busy people skip. Before you leave town, give some thought to how you would like things to go.
How do you want to eat when you’re away?
What are the situations that might get in the way of your best intentions or the way that you want to eat?
What kind of strategic thinking, brainstorming, and planning can you do ahead of time that might empower you to better handle these situations?
What do you want to say to people if you want to decline food or request an alternative?
How do you want to handle the menus?
What are the room service options?
What are the kinds of things that you want to order when you’re eating out?
It’s amazing how often we just hope that “things will go well” and we don’t take the time to put together a plan. “Winging it” tends to go sideways when it’s been a long day, or you’re jetlagged, or it’s been too long since your last meal.
Instead of making decisions on the fly, consider creating a few policies ahead of time, so that you aren’t always relying on yourself to make good choices in the moment. For instance, you could have a policy that you don’t eat bread with your meals, or you don’t order appetizers. Maybe you’re only going to eat seafood for dinner or you want to make sure you have a salad every day.
Decide once, before you go, and you’ll do better with decisions you may be making when your focus is elsewhere.
2. Do your homework.
Google is an amazing thing. Use it to check out your possible eating choices if you can. Check out the menus, and, again, consider making some decisions ahead of time about what you’d like to order. What looks healthy? Do you have questions about what will be available for breakout snacks or catered meals? Consider what kind of information you can gather ahead of time that might be helpful to you. Are there backup foods or snacks that would be helpful to travel with?
For most of us, the more we know ahead of time, the more control we have over the choices we make, and the less likely we are to make decisions on autopilot.
3. Decide about drinking
You will be more successful if you decide what your policy is with alcohol before you leave the runway.
Does that glass of wine lead you to abandon any policies you’ve set, or do you lose your good intentions after the second drink? Are you better off not drinking at all, or setting a limit for yourself? You know yourself better than anyone, so set your policy with alcohol before you go. This includes whether you are going to drink, and if you aren’t, what you will order, drink, or do instead.
Especially if you are someone who usually orders the glass of wine or the cosmo, having a crystal clear picture of your alternative strategy is going to be key.
4. Create a fitness strategy
Keeping up your healthy routines helps to maintain your momentum and your confidence. Unfortunately, too many workout plans get sabotaged by business travel, and that can spiral into letting go of healthy eating too. Women who travel frequently need a fitness program that addresses time spent on the road. This doesn’t mean doing the impossible, it means having a plan and goals that reflect the realities of your life.
When you address fitness during business travel, make sure you know your goal. What are your minimal expectations as well as your ideal outcomes? Be specific with yourself. Even if things get crazy, or the fitness center doesn’t have the equipment you wanted (you can do your research on this), what are your minimum expectations for yourself?
Business travel sabotages fitness efforts when you are not able to work out, and it also sabotages us mentally when we arrive home discouraged and feeling like we couldn’t make the impossible happen. This is where minimal expectations are especially useful. Your minimal expectation might be daily stretching or core work, a certain number of steps, or taking a walk every day.
The point is to know what you expect of yourself before you go, and have a reasonably clear idea of how this will be possible.
You won’t always get it perfect when you are traveling, but with a little thought and preparation, you’ll keep things moving and feel better when you step back into your own routine and nontraveling life.
Take good care,