Getting in Shape

Constant traveling is putting a strain on my diet! Help!

Hi all!  I'm pretty new to TK and very new to the forums.  I figured this would be a great place to find advice since I have a pretty unique situation (as in the only people I know in this situation are the people I work with.)  I travel extensively for work.  I pack my bags Monday morning and I don't see my house or my fiance until Friday evening.  Once I'm at a location, I'm there M-F for 1-12 months.  Some hotels I have to stay in are great.  They have refrigerators, microwaves, and some even have kitchens.  The problem is, those are few and far between and most of the time I'm stuck in a room that has a bed, bathroom, and a tv.  What does all of this mean?  I'm eating out every meal, every day while I'm away.  For the last few months I was fortunate enough to be working close enough to home to come home every night but, I just found out that I will be going to NYC for my next assignment.  Last time I was there, I put on weight.  It wasn't from not working out either.  I'm actually very good at that part of staying in shape.  While I've been home, I got back down to my normal weight (which I'm happy with).  I'm terrified of going back to the city and putting it all back on.  Our wedding isn't until May 2012 but I really don't want to be in a situation this time next year in which I'm trying to lose everything I've gained.  I'd rather not put it all back on. 

Does anyone have any tips on better choices when eating out (keep in mind it's every meal of the day)?  I can do salads for a while but they get old, and are sometimes not very fulfilling.  A lot of times people tell you to eat 5 small meals a day but that's nearly impossible in a situation like this.  Any advice, especial from people in similar situations, would be great!
~Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction~

Re: Constant traveling is putting a strain on my diet! Help!

  • NYC is a pretty big city.  Depending on where you are staying, there may be lots of dining options to choose from.

    Personally, I find that eating Asian foods makes me feel less guilty a lot of the time (cuts out the pasta, cream and cheese that I love so much!)- dishes like broccoli beef and steamed rice are pretty guilt-free as far as I am concerned (obviously avoid anything deep fried).

    You might also consider stocking up at a local grocery store on (unsalted) nuts and fresh fruit (that doesn't require refrigeration) to snack on in your room so you aren't ravenous at meal times.  Peaches, apples, oranges, etc can usually be good for a few days in a bowl without refrigeration.
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  • See, I'd think that NYC would be the perfect place to have to eat out every day, since there is just SO much variety. 

    Your best friend will be planning ahead.  And salad bars.  You can totally keep a salad interesting (and filling) by making sure to stick to dark, leafy greens (either spring mix or spinach kinda thing) and making sure you've got a protein on in (chicken breast, turkey breast, hard boiled eggs, beans) and then topping it differently every day.

    Use a site like Chowhound or even just Google to find out what's availably near where you are staying/working and plan out healthy meals you can have.  And as slubkin mentioned, keeping snacks on hand from the grocery store is a fantastic idea.
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  • Google a blog called Missy Maintains.  She lives in NYC and food journals online.  From all I've read, it looks like she eats out a lot and tries new healthy places all the time.  And she's a frozen yogurt guru.  It makes me so jealous that I don't live there when I read her blog. 

    Whole Foods has an awesome salad bar (although kind of expensive) that you could rotate in for at least one meal a week.  I agree with the PP who suggested that you get some non-perishables and fruits.  There are lots of local markets in NYC to get fresh fruits and veggies every day.  Trader Joe's has a big selection of bars and they have the cheapest prices on bagged nuts that I've found.  You can make your own trail mix with several kinds of nuts and dried fruits.   

    If you are anything like me, breakfast will be your hardest meal of the day.  Subway does breakfast now and I think you can at least add in some veggies to your morning.  I would just do some research on the chain restaurants so you have a better idea of what to order and translate it to the non-chains.  I think it was joesgirl that mentioned to another poster yesterday that you can ask for almost anything in a restaurant these days due to all the common dietary restrictions.  Don't be afraid to ask for grilled chicken and steamed veggies now and then.  Japanese, Thai and Indian food offer lots of healthy options.  You an also consider ordering vegetarian options when they have several servings of veggies. 

    I would just set some personal boundaries (i.e not finishing the entire huge plate, only one piece of that delicious NY style pizza instead of two, only ordering dessert one day a week.  Good luck and enjoy the food that NYC has to offer! 

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  • I live in NYC and there are some great, healthy options. We have Energy Kitchens all over the city, and they have low fat wraps, burgers, etc...they have the calorie count on all the items as well.  Also as other people said sushi is a great option.  All resaturants in NYC are now supposed to list their calorie count on the menus, but unfortunately that does not seem to be enforced everywhere. 
  •     I have a similiar issue with traveling for work so much.  I am a College Admissions Counselor so I'm traveling all over to speak with students and let them know about the College I work for.  

       For me I eat a lot of sushi.  Brown rice is of course better than white rice and I am constantly getting different kinds of rolls.  I also liek to go to Whole Foods, though sometimes expensive they do have a wonderful variety of things. 

         Having Fiber One Bars and other healthy snacks is a great idea too.  They keep you full and can be eaten on the run.  I stock up at Sam's Club before traveling so I can have a lot of them around.

       I also try and stay at hotels that have gyms and pools.  That way when I have down time I can go to the gym for a few minutes and not feel as guilty.  I don't like running outside if it is an area that I am unfamiliar with, so again having those facilities right there motivates me. 
  • I am in the same boat. I am usually traveling 3-5 days a week. I have starting packing granola bars with me in case I can't find the time to stop at a store. And to prevent me from eating in the airport. I also downloaded a few apps for my phone that I can look up the calories at most places I eat. I find this keeps me on track and make better choices. What made the biggest difference for me was downloading an app the allows me to track all of calories and exercise daily. I was amazed the difference.When I was on the road and thought that I was eating well, I really took in way more calories than I should.  Just from tracking everyday I have lost 7lbs in the past three weeks with traveling. 

    Good luck.
  • Thanks for all of the ideas!  They're great.  I've already started planning it out.  I'll be giving it a try next week during a conference in MD.  We'll see how it goes!
    ~Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction~
  • I travel a ton and I am big on dieting. Everywhere I go, I order one of the following thingd that you can get basically anywhere:
    salad with chicken and a vinegrette or dressing on the side
    salmon broiled or baked with a rub, not a creamy sauce and veggie sides (tell them you're lactose intolerant so they dont sneak butter in)
    egg white omlette or oatmeal with berries for breakfast
    turkey chili, veggie soup, any kind of brothy soup that isnt cream based
    chicken breast with veggies on the side
    This may sound crazy, but I literally think to myself "do I really want the pizza? it will only last a moment and the lbs will last at least 2 months"- I do have cheat meals, but then I get right back on it. You can do it!!!!!!!
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • AWWW!!! Ladies..I'm a flight attendant!!!!lol....the biggest problem I have is having no time in the day to eat! 6 legs a day...and only one smallish lunchkit to pack 5 days wrth of food in! I rely on snacks alot..instant oatmeal (archer farms blueberry almond flax=yummy) bars and nuts. Before I go to the restaurant to eat, I have a lil something so i dont gnaw on someones arm while im waiting (or kill the breadbasket!). I dont know if you can get elevate me bars in the states...they are amazing! they come in 3 pieces, and one piece will bring your energy back. They are the purest cleanest bars available! I order normal stuff off the menu too..just add and subtract things from them to make them healthy! i had a grilled chicken burger last night with half the top bun only (allergic to white breads) no mayo lettuce tomato and peppers. had a side of rice and veg...alot of restaurants will substitute for you. cook things without oil or butter, exchange breads, all you have to do is ask! I had a water cooked stir fry once at a restaurant without rice and they didnt charge me extra for the veg!  I could write forever about other lil tricks we flight attendants have...keep me posted if you need some elaboration (how to make a hot meal in your room without a microwave lol) good luck!
  • I'd love to hear about that hot meal in your room without a microwave thing!  Haha! I get so sick of going out to eat.  When I'm in the bigger cities with longer commutes to work, I'm typically not getting to dinner until 8 or 9 at night and by then, I'm so exhausted I don't really want to go very far or wait very long! 
    ~Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction~
  • Lol...we get with tinfoil (can heat things up using the iron), used the coffee maker to heat up soups (gross but after 5days without something hot you can find a desperate girl hunched over a 4cup coffee pot!) I've also purchased a small electric kettle with a large opening I take with me sometimes. Heat up cans of soup/sauces and heat mostly cooked noodles in hot water etc. Ive also known flight attendants to carry small george foreman grills and make paninis on layovers! Lol...yikes...after reading that I'm a lil grossed out/impressed with hot meal survival skills! lol....
  • I would try to find vegetarian or health food restaurants in the area. Sushi is great, filling, and there are so many kinds! For breakfast, high-fiber, low-sugar cereals (like Cheerios, etc.) and a banana. If no refrigeration, take it in a ziploc on-the-go and purchase a milk carton (low-fat) on the way to work. Skippy brand natural peanut butter has reduced sugar and doesn't need to be refrigerated. Everyone loves pb and (wheat) crackers. I would figure out maybe the top five high-fat/cal foods you're most likely to go for (ie, burgers, fries, pizza) and try to find a healthy alternative that still will satisfy. Trail mix is great- you could even sprinkle in a few dark chocolate chips. Also, water instead of soda. Simple swap. If you need a caffeine boost, Enviga by nestea has zero-five calories, and I think it tastes pretty good. Or try a cup of hot black tea. Hope it helps!
  • I'm back on the road again for work... my second week in over a year!  Ugh!  I've been super busy but, I'm proud to say, I'm doing well with the eating thing!  I'm at a hotel with a little kitchenette which helps a ton but, I'm also doing really well at lunch time... the one meal a day I HAVE to eat out.  Thank you all for the suggestions!  They were enough to keep some variety so that I'm not giving in to the "I'll just call for chinese because it's a lot easier" mentality that I used to have.  I know it's only been 2 weeks but it's probably the longest I've gone on the road without making at least 1 unhealthy decision a day! 
    ~Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction~
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