Thursday, April 1, 2010

Business Trips + Losing Weight = HARD

I was just worrying about this. Perfect. Weight Watchers rocks my world.

Staying Slim on Business Trips

It's so easy to suspend your sensible-eating and exercise habits when you're on the road. But there are ways to stay on track while traveling - even when your job routinely jets you from coast to coast.
Even though you've been eating so well lately, this is where it ends. You just learned that next week you've got to hit the road for work. Might as well kiss all that progress goodbye — business travel and weight-loss do not play well together.

As a management and organization consultant, Gail Griffith spends about four days a month on the road. But, as a lifetime member of Weight Watchers, she makes the extra effort to stay on track when she's traveling. Ironically, says the Baltimore-based executive, "sometimes traveling can be easier because it requires so much more planning. I never go anywhere without food."

  • Pack a Smart Snack
A compact cooler stocked with carrots, vegetables and healthy snacks accompanies Griffith in her car up and down the East Coast. Because she snacks, she's not starving by the time that calorie-filled business dinner rolls around. A wise tactic, observes Dale Huss, a registered dietitian and American Council on Exercise spokesperson. Skipping meals is a very common diet trap. It leaves you ravenous by mealtime and more likely to overeat.
  • Cocktail Hour Traps
But overeating at mealtime is just one thing to watch out for when you are on the go. "Alcohol is one of the biggest ways to get off track," says Huss. Aside from adding nutritionally bankrupt calories, he says, drinking lowers your ability to resist tempting foods, "so you're likely to consume more."

  • Workout Worries
On the road, exercise can become a low priority. What's worse, when you finally get home, it can take a week to build back up to your usual routine. There are so many distractions: Work has piled up in the office, the house needs attention and the kids missed you. It's easy to let exercise take a back seat.

Healthy Tricks of the Travel Trade

There are, however, ways to beat the temptations:

  • Don't forget your sneakers. Pack workout clothes so you don't have an excuse to blow off exercise.

  • Healthy hotels. Book a hotel with a gym. If it's not possible, do a few sets of push-ups and sit-ups in your room. Or ask the concierge to direct you to the nearest safe park for a daily walk or jog.

  • Light in flight. Request low-fat meals on airplanes. Or, go a different route: Buy a salad with grilled chicken at the airport and eat it onboard with your own low-fat dressing.

  • Snack power. Power bars and peanuts (in moderation), bottled water, fresh vegetable sticks and fruit can prevent hunger between meals.

  • Buffeting buffets. The good thing about huge buffets is that, well, they're huge. Usually you can put together a diet-friendly meal somewhere along the mile-long display.

  • Just say no. Request water or seltzer with a twist instead of alcohol when traveling, especially on the plane. Water keeps you hydrated and may help you recover from jet lag faster. The result: You'll have more energy and motivation to exercise.

  • Moving plans. Put exercise on your schedule, and treat it like a business meeting that cannot be missed.

  • In the swim. Most large hotels and conference centers have a pool. Use it. It's a great whole-body workout. (But, if a dip is in your plans, don't forget to pack a swimsuit and goggles along with your workout clothes.)

  • Think out of the box. This might be your best defense. On a recent trip to Chicago, Gail Griffith realized that there wouldn't be time to exercise unless she made time. While packed shuttles transported her colleagues to nearby meetings, Griffith opted to walk. "I'd rather move than sit," she says. One night in Pittsburgh, she scheduled a 'walking meeting' with a coworker in a park. Walking meetings have now become part of their routine.

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