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Staying on track while traveling

Friday, February 21, 2014

Just returned from a business trip, and I wanted to share some of the strategies that worked for me this time. In the past, I have found it difficult to stay on track with my healthy plan while traveling. This time I decided to not let a business trip derail my progress. I hope my experience might help others to feel more in control of your success, even when you need to travel.

Step #1:
Looking back at the past and figuring out what specifically went wrong when I travelled. This is not for dwelling, but the important first step in planning for success in the future. We need to not beat ourselves up about past mistakes, but learn from them. Slip ups are wonderful opportunities to learn. No, seriously! I know it doesn't seem that way while in the midst of them, but they are. Journaling after a slip up is a great way to figure out exactly what went wrong, and then the crucial next step:

Step #2:
Figuring out solutions that will help with those same challenges for the next time. In my case, I had a few things I wanted to handle better in the future.

Challenge #1: Breakfast
Every time I travel for work, I find it extremely challenging to stay on track with my healthy plan for breakfast.

Frequently, ordering room service for breakfast was outrageously expensive, and didn't really have the options I was looking for to accomplish my healthy eating goals for the day, which includes staying within my calorie range for the day!

Coffee shops such as Starbucks are generally filled with land mines for me. There may be a healthy low calorie option hidden in there somewhere, but it is, generally speaking, not filled with good healthy low calorie options. Even the ones that sound healthy-ish - when I look up the calories on the Starbucks website, were way more calories than I thought they'd be, and generally not a vitamin powerhouse either.

Solution:
I decided that instead of giving in to those temptations, I would set myself up for success by packing a box of Luna bars. Now, I try to generally stay away from bars and other prepackaged processed foods when eating at home, but I decided for the purpose of this particular trip, I would be much happier with a Luna bar for breakfast rather than the alternatives. This worked out so perfectly, accompanied by my standard cup of black coffee and a glass of water to wash it down. Luna bars do pack a decent amount of nutrients including a fair amount of protein, as well as some vitamins. And it was quick and convenient and zero stress. And bonus, my boss will be impressed with how cost effective it is!

Challenge #2: Lunch
In the past, I've let my coworkers guide me to restaurants of their choosing that they particularly enjoy getting lunch from. This led to me making hasty choices from the menu on the spot, and really not knowing what I was getting as far as calories and nutrition. I wound up having post-eating sticker shock when I discovered just how many calories that burrito was (or whatever the choice of the day was!)

Solution:
I researched on yelp in advance, and found places within a short radius of the office that I would be comfortable making choices from. I then looked at their menus on their websites and chose exactly what I would order, and tracked the calories in my tracker. This made it a no brainier.

Bonus: my coworkers wound up coming along and complimenting me on my choice of restaurants, and said they love it when I come to visit because I get them out of their lunch ruts, making them branch out and try new places!

Challenge #3: Dinners
There are two types of dinners that happen on my business trips. There's typically one night where everyone in our large team goes out together, and I don't have complete or even very little control over the place. In this situation, I am essentially told where the dinner will be. This is the most challenging situation. In the past, I have not made great choices off the menu, and was really disappointed with my meal.

The second type of dinner that happens is a night or multiple nights where it's just my fellow travelers that are generally eating with me. This is still challenging, and I have not made the best choices in the past when doing this.

Solution:
For the big team dinner, this time around, I looked up the restaurant online. I then picked out exactly what I would have in advance, and figured out the calories. When I got to the restaurant, the waiter did suggest a different entree I should try when I told him my dietary restrictions, and so I did wind up having something different than originally planned. This worked out fine though, since I made my dietary restrictions known. And the bonus was that I loved my dinner so much! I was able to really enjoy it knowing that it was within my healthy guidelines for my day. I felt in control and enjoyed every moment and every bite!

For the other travel meals, I researched in advance places that worked for my plan because of healthy, fresh, delicious options. I then sent out invites to my colleagues in advance asking them to join me for dinner. And then I made the reservation! Again, this worked out great, I ordered what I planned to in advance and really enjoyed my meal. And the bonus was that both my fellow traveling colleagues also really enjoyed the experience and their meals, and thanked me for choosing a great place!

Challenge #4: Exercise
In the past, I have really let my work travel derail my exercise plan. Different schedule, different environment, none of my stuff. Honestly, I didn't even try very hard. I just gave in. I perhaps made a passing note to self that maybe there was a gym in the hotel, but never actually set foot inside, or made a plan as to when I would use it!

Solution:
I planned ahead for success! I knew it would be too easy for me to let my exercise plan slide while traveling unless I gave myself every advantage. I know how easy it is to let it slide at home whenever the slightest thing happens to upset my perfect plan, so I needed to do everything possible to set myself up for success.

The first step in this plan was packing! I made sure I had an entire workout outfit for each day. I put together each outfit, stacked them all up together in bundles, and made a corner of my suitcase be exclusively for these outfits. And of course I packed my workout sneakers too!

Secondly I decided in advance when I would workout. I realized that the only way I was going to fit it in was to get up early and do it before the meetings began. That meant setting my alarm for 530 am. And that led me to realize I could not stay up late watching cable channels in my hotel room, but instead ensuring I got to sleep at a decent hour. For the first time ever, I did not take advantage of the tv in my hotel room! And I didn't miss it at all! I felt so great after working out and getting my day started on track.

Bonus: a skinny girl also staying at my hotel saw me all sweaty on my way back to my room after my workout and she said, "oh wow, you worked out, I'm so jealous! I had such good intentions but it just didn't happen..."

For some reason, this made me feel so awesome! I was so proud of myself for accomplishing something many people only think about doing!

Another nice thing was that I got to use a really cool treadmill that showed scenery of different running trails in New Zealand, really fun, and I also saw the sunrise over a beautiful bridge with sparkling lights through the window of the gym while working out. It was such an amazing way to start my day, and really added to my enjoyment of my trip. It put me in the perfect mindset to have a successful business meeting too.

I learned so much from this experience. I learned that planning ahead is a key to success, and that sticking to my plan and achieving my goals feels so awesome, I want to always feel this way!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLUEJEANS27 2/21/2014 8:59PM

    SO impressed with your planning and thinking things through! Fantastic work!

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Julia

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IWANNAGOAT 2/21/2014 7:38PM

    Wow! You did great! Thanks for sharing!

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WANTSRECOVERY 2/21/2014 4:16PM

    Thank you so much for breaking this down. I'll be traveling soon and was starting to work on figuring out my plan.

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KSWENSON8 2/21/2014 3:32PM

    GREAT IDEAS... So helpful. My hubby and I are always traveling and I ALWAYS derail my progress.. Thanks for sharing!

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