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Business Trip Advice

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Old 08-09-2004, 05:45 PM   #1
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Default Business Trip Advice

I'm going on my third monthly business trip since I started trying to eat healthier. Typically, these trips go disastrously poorly. Here's what happens.

I wake up at the hotel, grumpy I'm not at home. Wander down to breakfast. There are healthy choices, but there are unhealthy choices, and I'll usually grab something healthy -- but then an unhealthy treat.

I eat breakfast at about 7:30 am. I'm used to eating at around 9 am, so I'm not as hungry, which often means I'll just eat the unhealthy thing. But then by noon, I'm ravenous. Lunch is catered. I'm ravenous, but I try to eat moderate portions of what usually isn't too healthy (but not too unhealthy, I suppose) fare. And then there's desserts. They have amazingly sinful brownies and, after eating sparsely at lunch, I succumb to one.

Then comes the long afternoon stretch through 6 or 7 pm. I'm used to snacking in the afternoon, but my usual foods aren't around when I'm working on site. But the brownies are! And having eaten sugar, I usually succumb to another during the afternoon.

But, it's not a lot of food in quantity, just in caloric intake, and I'm starving again for dinner. I'm also exhausted from a 10 or 11 hour day at work. And still grumpy being on a business trip. So I catch a cab back to my hotel, where there's nothing to eat, so I order takeout. And then things really go downhill because I figure the day's already a wash and top it all down with a cheeseburger and fries, or a huge cheese calzone, or something. And there are minimum delivery amounts, so I'll get more food than I really want, to boot.

So that's the travesty. This repeats for 2 or 3 days and then I go home. This time I'm going to be there for 3 days. I have some new ideas to try but... advice? I'm particularly interested in small snacks I can stuff in my computer bag and surreptitiously snack on mid-afternoon and even mid-morning.
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Old 08-09-2004, 06:00 PM   #2
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It seems to me that there's a theme to your "cycle," so to speak. You get hungry and everything looks good... but especially the no-nos. Is there any way you can have a snack mid morning and mid afternoon? Something with fiber that will fill you up enough to hold you for your meal and you won't chow down on anything. It's so much harder to eat in "moderation" when you're hungry.

Kudos for knowing yourself and how you handle yourself on these trips- it will really help you in planning on how to change that. Take out some paper and write a plan. Maybe the first day keep a paper in your pocket and write down when you get really hungry so you can plan for the next day. And don't let the "I've already messed up, how about a cheeseburger now?" attitude prevail. It'll only make you feel worse!

Hotels should have phone books- look in the yellow pages, they should have some menus and you can probably go from there.
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Old 08-09-2004, 10:35 PM   #3
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pack something!!! laughing cow light cheese doesn't need refrig. neither do whole wheat crackers. i used to travel with a few apples. and you can certainly take a piece or two of fruit from the breakfast buffet to help you through the day.
and you can also eat some of your breakfast at 7:30 and save some for closer to the time you'd normally eat.

as for that 6-7 pm thing.. eat your planned snack. stop at a deli for yogurt.

some hotels have refrigs.. by the way, and you can take some yogurt or whatever else you feel you need.

and while getting take out is fine, sometimes walking to a restaurant is a good way to relieve stress, get some exercise, a MUCH NEEDED change of scenery, and your food.

and don't forget to keep drinking!!! i've always found that i drink so much less when on a business trip.

good luck!!!

next??? keep those ideas coming!!!
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Old 08-10-2004, 01:03 AM   #4
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I would definitely try to take stuff with you as well as scoping out places that stay open late and see if there is a plce that you can pick up stuff late.

Definitely take stuff that doesn't need to be refrigerated, some options

PB on whole wheat bread
Fruit
Meal Replacement bars that fit into your diet plan
Create your own "trail mix" kind of thing that would fit into your meal plan. Whole grain cereal, nuts, seeds?

I know it won't sound very tempting compared to the treats that are offered but just keep your focus on your goal of healthy eating. Good luck, try to get creative with your options and if possible try to get a fridge at your hotel, some hotels offer them or charge a small fee (5 dollars a night) to have one put in your room.
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Old 08-10-2004, 01:26 AM   #5
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Hey Jennifer

I think you've done a great thing in deciding to plan for these trips......I know its really tough, I used to travel a lot on business, and its demanding and stressful and sometimes hard to be away from home.

So, like the good folks have said, try to eat every 3/4 hours, and bring (or buy) snacks: fruit, raw veggies, nuts/seeds, low-fat yogurt/cottage cheese, whatever you snack on at home really! Maybe challenge yourself to try just one healthy eating day, to see how it goes....maybe it will be easier than you think! In the evening, take a long-ish walk to a restaurant, and then ask them to cook the food the way you want it - that way you can have a really enjoyable healthy meal.

I hope you have a good trip!
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Old 08-10-2004, 10:50 AM   #6
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Everyone has given you such great advice. I like Jiff's idea of walking to a restaurant if you really want take out. Also, since you know where you'll be staying and such, why not do an internet search beforehand and pick out a couple of places that offer healthy choices so you'll have a plan of attack going in.
It might also be a good idea to give yourself an itenerary for your meals. You've already given a timeline now actually write down what you plan to eat—The fruit, half a bagel, whatever for breakfast. the meal served with the luncheon maybe with a note to not eat it all on your plate and then write down your snacks.

I think you're doing great by recognizing that you need to do something before the trip hits.
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Old 08-13-2004, 08:33 AM   #7
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Hrm. Maybe I'll pack a Luna Bar a day or something. At least I do drink a lot of water on these trips, they have a huge refrigerator of free beverages, so I go through a lot of water (and some caffeine free diet coke).

There's a Subway, apparently, on the 1 mile walk home. If it's not too late it should be a safe walk. Maybe I'll get a backpack for my computer and gear, so I don't kill my shoulder with the strap of my humongously heavy laptop on the walk home. I could do a sandwich and chips, or even sandwich and a cookie. There's also a grocery store nearby that I could walk to and pick up something. I forget if the hotel rooms have fridges and/or microwaves, though.

I don't know why breakfast is such a challenge. I don't even really like their cinnamon rolls but I eat them. Usually I do something with protein in it for my morning meal, along with oatmeal, so maybe I should try a hard-boiled egg, though I don't particularly like them. That's really the only option there. Or maybe bring some nuts, but that doesn't sound appealing.
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Old 08-13-2004, 11:20 AM   #8
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You could always make instant oatmeal in your room for breakfast (hot water through the coffee maker and eat it out of a mug)....not particularly elegant, but filling.

Also, you could pick your dinner out in the morning....that way you avoid the "Oh well, I've messed up the day anyway" mentality. There is no decision making involved when you are starving and looking for a quick fix. Would writing down what you intend to eat before-hand make you feel more accountable to your own plan?

It's so tough when you are away and cannot keep your own routine! Kudos to you for making a plan!
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Old 08-23-2004, 11:51 AM   #9
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Alright. Business trip starts tonight when I fly out.

Here's what I'm packing in my bag for snacks (which I hopefully will consume instead of brownies and cookies): 2 luna bars, 1 Clif bar, 1 huge orange, several 'snack packs' of trail mix (otherwise I'll eat like 5 pounds of it in one sitting), single-serving microwave popcorn (ditto on serving size issues) in case the hotel has microwave access, and a stick of fruit (not sure what it is, from the health food store, and the only ingredients are fruit, kind of crazy fruit jerky).

I didn't succeed in getting my computer backpack for walks into the office. Bummer. I might run out to buy one over lunch. I think that would motivate me more to make the 1+ mile walk than lugging my super-heavy computer with a shoulder strap that kills my shoulder.

Dinner, I'm still not sure. We might go out to the ballpark, and that sounds like a recipe for disaster. The other night I may or may not go out with the group. If not, there's a Subway and grocery store nearby where I leave, if only I can overcome the temptation of ordering in.

I'll see how this works.

P.S. I just realized, totally unrelated, a funny slogan on the back of my Lean Cuisine meal! It's one of the larger-sized meals, 380 calories, more designed to be healthy than super low calorie (but fine for a meal for me at 1600 calories a day). Anyway, on the back of the package it says something like: "You're tired, you're hungry, and the tub of whipped topping is calling your name..." With of course the alternative being eating a healthier Lean Cuisine meal. Hee!
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Old 08-23-2004, 12:46 PM   #10
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Good luck with your trip. I'm sure you'll do great.
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Old 08-23-2004, 02:42 PM   #11
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Even the ball park does not have to be bad. I heard a lot of ball parks are offering healthy alternatives. Even if you get a hotdog you are only talking about 250 calories. Everything in moderation. I don't know about you but I would just stay away from all trigger foods while your out. I know it's alright to treat yourself with dessert and I do it on occasion but for these three days I would just steer clear of it all. That seems to be your downfall. So if you do stop at subway don't get the cookie get a bowl of soup or a bag of baked chips instead. You can do this we are all pulling for you.
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Old 08-23-2004, 10:16 PM   #12
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Jennifer - How did the first day go? Remember hun, don't be too hard on yourself. Just make better choices 95% of the time and you'll be fine! Everyone has offered such great advice.. Now RUN WITH IT!
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Old 09-01-2004, 01:15 PM   #13
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Jennifer I have not seen you around or maybe I just missed you there are so many post going on. I was just wondering how you were doing and how you held up with your trip. I hope all is well and that your trip went great. If it did not don't beat yourself up about it. Today is a new day.
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