My day job keeps me on the road a lot and I find that staying fit and eating healthy can be a challenge. From finding the best time of day to workout to staying on a sensible meal plan, let’s face it, it can be tough. Most of my meetings revolve around eating.. meeting for coffee, luncheons, dinners, and banquets. I have realized through trial and error that I have to have a plan or my health is going to take a backseat on my work road trips.
Here are six tips that work for me while traveling and honestly I really think that these tips can apply to anyone. If you have a 9 to 5 desk job or you’re a stay at home parent, it’s all about planning and looking for opportunities to make the right choices for your health.
Tip #1 Preview the menu. If I know where I’m meeting a client for lunch or dinner I will get online and look at the menu ahead of time. I will pick something that falls into my dietary guidelines, that is easy to eat and not messy, the last thing I want is mustard running down my face. Planning my meal ahead of time allows me to make my meal decision before I get in front of the client. Whether it’s a work situation or a casual lunch with a girlfriend, as soon as we sit down we are usually talking and catching up with little time to really think about what healthy options are on the menu. Previewing a menu ahead of time is a good way to avoid those quick decisions that you may regret later.
Tip #2 Pack a cooler. Even if I’m going for a day trip to meet a client I will pack a small cooler with healthy snacks and water. This is also a huge time and money saver, now I don’t have to worry about stopping at a gas station for a snack and I don’t have to worry about the possibility of being tempted by the candy or chip isles. It’s all about limiting your chances to make bad decisions, this can be done through little adjustments to your planning like packing a cooler.
Tip #3 The Workout. If you know your schedule ahead of time, for example, if you know your conference starts at 8:30 AM or your last meeting of the day will end around 5 PM, plan your workout accordingly. This is where you really need to know yourself… I know from personal experience that I will not work out in the evening time, I always find an excuse as to why I’m too tired or I may actually book social time that completely eliminates the time needed to workout. By blocking out a specific time of day and adding it to your calendar, you will most likely complete your workout and stay consistent. If you have any health concerns or recurring pains, it’s worth speaking to your health specialist to see if they can help you put together a workout plan for while you’re traveling. Clinics like this Brooklyn Clinic provide pain management services and they can help you understand what’s going to work for you, so you will have a regime you’re more likely to stick with. Other tips to keep your workouts on track are to lay out your workout clothes the night before. I keep my running shoes on the scale in my bathroom, this reminds me it’s time to hit the road and put some miles on the old sneakers. It’s just like previewing your dining menu, select your workout ahead of time, mentally prepare yourself for the morning.
Tip #4 Find an accountability partner. This is a great method to use on all of your goals. If I know I want to lose five pounds I am going to tell my family and friends (in a nice way) “hey I’m on a healthy kick right now” or “hey I just started a cleanse, so sorry I can’t eat the double stuffed brownie goodness that you made from scratch.” I find that saying your goal out loud and better yet to a friend, family member, or mentor instantly ups your accountability percentage. One step better is to have a partner who is also working towards the same goal as you.
Tip #5 Set up your meal plan. Every Saturday I have my routine, I plan out what I’m going to eat next week. If I know I’m traveling on Wednesday and Thursday then those are days that I especially need to plan for. Now I’m not into the meal prep thing, but I mentally decide what I will eat on each day of the week, keeping mind leftovers, travel and social schedules. (**Pause to shop moment: Now that I have Walmart Grocery on my side, that makes shopping even less than a hassle. Click here to read about my experience with Walmart Grocery online shopping – hint there is a $10 coupon code at the end of my blog post.)
Tip #6 Mind, Body, and Spirit. If you are stressed or anxious it’s time to take control. Your mental status can cause you to make bad choices during the week, sometimes you may not even be aware that you’re making them… until the button pops off of your pants. I am a stress eater, I know this about myself, so if I’ve had a tough week (or even day) my eating could go through the roof if I’m not careful. The way I prepare for every week is pushing the reset button. On Sundays I like meeting up with friends at Church, I love hearing Pastor Will’s message, I always have an Ah-Ha moment at Brazos Fellowship. Yoga is also an excellent reset button. I enjoy hot yoga, the kind that when you leave it looks like someone dowsed you with a water hose. There is something cleansing about sweating, I feel like I’m getting rid of all of the toxins in my body. Go enjoy a movie with friends, catch the early show, and give yourself time to relax in the evening before kicking off your week. Other tips… don’t wait until Sunday to grocery shop or do laundry. I typically try to keep up with laundry throughout the week or even Friday evening when I’m winding down with a glass of wine. I say all this because you need to take care of yourself, seriously take an hour (heck take 5), and have some “you time” and push your reset button on Sundays.
Another really simple tip is just to listen to your body. If something is starting to ache in the mornings, pay attention to it, and see if it is a little issue or a sign of something more serious. As we get older it’s important to discuss these issues and a plan of care with your doctor first. As we age, arthritis can become an issue and is common in older adults. In addition to consulting with your primary care physician, there are many resources available such as https://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/best-cbd-cream-for-arthritis-pain that can point you in the right direction.