Travel Diet Tip : Track Your Diet Victories

November 5, 2010

A Frequent Traveler sharing her travel diet tips

I’m a frequent traveler.  I travel at least 50% of the month for work, and on top of that I travel frequently in my time off.  It’s been a pretty typical month – in the past 4 weeks I slept at home in my own bed less than half the time, and I’ve taken 9 flights and 8 trains.


Creative Commons License photo credit: A.K. Photography

Because I feel eminently qualified, I’ve decided to write a series of posts about “Travel Diet Tips”.  (I already wrote about weight loss tips for meetings and conferences).

Travel Challenge : Too Many Choices, Too Many Temptations

When traveling, one of the weight loss challenges  is that the options multiply, the temptations are everywhere, and the good choices are harder to find.

Motivation is fine, but when good options are nowhere to be seen what can you do?  All your plans for what to eat or how to move go out the window when your bag goes missing or your flight is delayed.

Good choices – well, better choices, are around if you look hard enough, but getting yourself to actually make those better choices can be tough, especially if you’re tired and cranky, or if your self-control has been used up by already turning down lots of temptations.

Frequent Traveler’s Weight Loss Tip : Tracking Your Strong Moments

One strategy that works for me is to give myself credit for each good choice by keeping a list of all the stuff I manage to turn down.

The desserts turned down, the better menu choices, the decision not to have a drink with colleagues.  Each of these (and other) choices matters and adds up.  The choice itself may be minor, but the course it sets you on is major.  A bad choice early in a trip can spell disaster for the subsequent ones.

Weight loss in general is about a series of choices, a long series of turning down things that are easy and tasty for the far-off reward of a slimmer, healthy body.  On the road what’s more challenging is that the temptations are often harder to predict and more numerous than in our “regular” lives.  In addition, having decent substitutes is also tougher.

“You can’t feel virtuous and deprived at the same time” – Sandra Ahten

I love this quote, this philosophy, from diet coach Sandra Ahten – I think it’s a great reminder that the same action (no cookies) can be interpreted in your self-talk as depriving yourself of a treat  or as being a tower of strength and virtue for upholding your weight loss plans.

It’s not always easy to do – and personally I use the technique rather infrequently, but it’s a nice way to reassure myself that overall I’m doing pretty darn well in managing myself and my weight despite being on the road so much.

Everything I DID NOT eat the last few days :

  • Airport Lounge: soda, juice, snacks sweet and salty
  • Delayed flight: candy in magazine shop
  • Plane: generous flight attendant who gave everyone both little bag of crackers and a pack of 2 cookies
  • Starbucks: sweet drinks, cakes and sweets
  • Dinner room service : half of the menu, all the desserts, ordered a sane and simple dinner w water… Tray came with 2 breadsticks and big pot of butter… unexpected extra temptation
  • Chocolate on pillow : no need, I have my own
  • Breakfast : everything I don’t usually eat. Actually it’s usually really easy for me to pass these things up, I don’t even look.
  • Lunch: big bread basket, creamy strange soup, rice, dessert buffet w panna cotta
  • Snack: my new secretary went to a local bakery and came with cakes. I had none. It’s easier to establish a personality with new people (Sarah doesn’t eat sweets)rather than re-deciding each time
  • Worked late: did not eat the leftover stale sandwiches from some lunch meeting, and didn’t eat the chocolate in my desk drawer either
  • Room service : started with a frustrating conversation about what wasn’t available before I just asked if I could have the same thing as last night.  Breadsticks and butter again (this time they brought 3…)
  • Breakfast : today the muesli looked appealing, but its not my usual breakfast and I’d already served myself so I just let it go…
  • Lunch : went to a local bakery and got soup and a salad where there were lots of nice sandwiches and tons of sweet gooey dessert specialties on offer
  • Snack : walking through the train station I was hungry (light lunch) and EVERYTHING looked good.  Hot dogs, pizza, bread, bakery, chocolate, sushi bar, grocery store, another chocolate shop… in the end I decided if everything looked so good I probably was more bored than hungry and that I should eat the snack in my purse and drink some water and just eat dinner early
  • Dinner : bread with 4 kinds of dipping sauces (asked them to take the whole thing away).  A rich potato side dish on my plate.  Had to almost physically restrain myself from asking for the dessert menu, but instead just ordered tea.

It’s hard to start writing the list and not make the next choice a good one.

It’s hard to look at that list and not feel proud.

What temptations have you turned down recently (this tip works even when you’re not on the road!)

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