The #1 Thing to Avoid Weight Gain When Traveling
Up the fat.
As in… change the macronutrient composition of what you’re eating.
I write that not in jest but in all honesty, if I don’t emphasize that the goal is not simply to add fat, but to eat a variety of different types and sources of fats instead of the breads, the pastas, the bagels, and yes, even fruit, it can, at time, be taken out of context. (Nixing the obvious bad guys with sugars that aren’t even trying to hide themselves goes without saying… I hope!).
This tip is certainly not something particular to travel; the only reason I’m positioning it as such is that anytime I’m on the road, it’s a good reminder of how easy it could be to get completely derailed if one didn’t have time and a well thought out plan as to what and when they’d be eating, despite having a sound education of what is and is not healthy.
If you allow your body the change to become reliant on fat as its primary fuel source, which it will do when proper dietary parameters are implemented, it doesn’t matter if you’re at home, battling another hectic week at the office or juggling kids’ schedules or on the road; you simply are more satiated, need to eat less often, have stabilized blood sugar levels and will rarely, if ever find yourself in any of the all too common situations that making eating well difficult.
Let’s start with the flight. It wasn’t too long ago that I was, with all the best of intentions, suggesting that preparing a balanced meal and brining it on board in a thermal tote with ice pack was the way to go. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that… but through client feedback as well as with my own findings, it’s simply not practical all the time. So where does that leave you? Sure, you can opt the self-inflicted victim approach, shrug your shoulders and tell yourself you had to eat the pretzels, over salted entree followed with the cookies and ice cream, but how is that going to leave you feeling?
If you’re fat adapted, you can simply use your travel time as the perfect window for a day of IF.
Just the other morning when I flew to Seattle, it was all I could do to keep from laughing when I saw the breakfast entree, from which there was one potential option to salvage- an egg. The rest of the tray contained a croissant, a roll, a large fruit platter and….wait for it… ambrosia. Really?
Next, we have meals on the go. I’ve been in back to back meetings since I arrived Wednesday morning in Seattle and if I weren’t fat adapted, there’s no way I’d have been able to go nearly all day without eating. Me. Someone who does know a thing or two about what to eat and how to doctor an entree in even the trickiest of places!
It wasn’t a function of not planning; I simply did not have a spare moment to think about hunting down something to eat. So here’s what I did. My flight was at 7:50 am. I woke at 5:30, had an espresso with some MCT as I showered and got ready to leave, followed by water.
I wasn’t hungry anyway, as I’m used to this protocol, so by the time the plane took off, I was still feeling quite focused. I had my travel jar of MCT as well as my packet of coconut butter, so a few hours later, I had a coffee on board with some of both.
More water. (I must stress: the water is not to suppress hunger; rather, we simply need more water and some added salt when we’re fat adapted!) (1)
I landed, got my rental car, headed to my hotel… still not hungry, by the way, mapped out where I had to be and when and saw a brief window for a quick stretch + run on the hotel’s treadmill. After a quick shower, it was time to go. At that point, roughly 16 hours had elapsed since dinner and I felt a little hungry, so I popped across the street, grabbed a quick salad to go (basics- lettuce, chicken, olive oil- but it did the job). More water.
Then it was time to head out to my first meeting.
Busy, busy, busy all day long, incredible mental focus and zero issue with blood sugar peaking or crashing (because guess what? I wasn’t using sugar as my fuel in the first place).
Several hours later, I enjoyed a lovely meal of steak, sprouts and salad, with coconut oil, avocado and a few nuts. My stomach began grumbling, and I checked my watch to see it’d been about 6 hours since lunch, or ‘meal #1’ , which made sense as that’s more or less the pattern I’ve fallen into).
This is a pattern typical not only for travel but for regular day to day, whether I’m on season for racing or not.
It’s suitable for weight loss. It’s suitable for someone who’s already lean but wants better focus. It works for men. It works for women. It’s practical. And the health benefits from shifting to an eating plan like this are endless.
Regardless of whether you’re an executive platinum kinda person with millions of miles under your belt each year, or a stay at home mom who wants to avoid yet another holiday season feeling stressed out about not gaining weight this holiday season, this one tip can be your ticket to healthier living.
(1) “Endurance Athletes Who ‘go against the Grain’ Become Incredible Fat-burners.” News Room. N.p., 16 Nov. 2015. Web. 28 Oct. 2016
(2) Photo from https://blog.doortodoororganics.com