My First Trip Trying to Stay Healthy: Giving Myself an A-

I have three trips in the next two weeks. I must admit these trips typically kick my butt. They involve long hours, lots of mental energy, less than healthy food, and way too much coffee. But I’m trying to take better care of myself and I want to incorporate healthier habits on the road. But fatigue, schedules, and access to healthy food are all barriers for me while traveling.

I’m grading myself on a relative scale. In other words, I’m comparing myself now against how I used to take care of myself while on business trips.  My report card isn’t perfect – BUT – considering what it “could” look like, it is fabulous! 

Travel Health Grade for Trip 1: A-

Food for Fuel:  B

I made several good choices for food  (chicken, veggies & rice; fritata with spinach, tomato, feta; oatmeal & fruit; Subway Turkey  Flatbread). BUT I also had fast food during the drive (Jack in the Box Chicken Pita & McDonalds Sirloin Wrap). I didn’t look at the nutritional information before I ordered, but was happy to see some smaller portion “snack size” options (uh fast food “snack” is between 300 – 400 calories). The upside is that I didn’t eat super sized 1500 calorie options. (Note: I was actually surprised to see that the Jack in the Box Chicken Pita has less sodium than the Subway option.) Might I add, I didn’t eat one pastry or dessert? Hmmmm – maybe this should be a B+?

Lesson Learned? Plan a bit better – if I’m going to be starved in transit and have to do “fast food”, try and plan it around some better options (Subway? Chipotle?). All these places have nutritional information, so I’m going to do more research in advance to know my options. Plus, for the most part, I ate very regularly, so when I’m not starved and tired, I’m able to make better choices.

Exercise: A-

On Day 1, I put my shoes the minute I got into the hotel room and went for a 60 minute wog. Day 2…. Nada. On Day 3, I hit the treadmill for 30 minutes in the morning and did a REAL Wk 4 of Couch to 5K Wog. All and all, 90 minutes of activity on the road is a victory. I’m giving myself the “-” cuz of Day 2.

Lesson Learned? Sweat + Music = Moodbooster  I need to get moving before I think I have the option to cop out. Plus, when I work out I drink more water – so it’s a win-win.

Fluids: A-

I’m giving myself good points on this one because I drank water – in the car, in my hotel room, during the conference. Each day, I had 6 – 9 glasses (not perfect, but within my baby step goals for sure). I did drink coffee, but not all day every day. And I did have 2 diet cokes (that’s the “-”). I did get a new water bottle at the tradeshow ;-)

Lesson Learned? Sometimes when I crave a soda, I’m just plain thirsty for water . I need to make sure I don’t confuse that with wanting a soda. On Day 1 when I bought the soda, I paused, drank some water first, and then was satisfied with only had a few sips of the soda. It was quite eye opening actually! (Check out my Syncope Post if you’re interested in my water story.)

Rest – A+

I was asleep by 10:30 each night.

Lesson Learned? I felt rested and great! Do this again!

Mental Health – A+

I didn’t work every minute of my trip. I actually started a book and enjoyed music in my room. This really helped me avoid mental fatigue, which I think is a huge influence on my choices on the physical side (food, exercise & water).

Lesson Learned? Taking care of the mental side is as important as the physical side. I will read and listen to music more on my trips!

Overall, I’m very pleased with how this went and I wasn’t completely exhausted when I returned home. It is totally worth the effort to take a few action steps towards physical and mental health while traveling. While I’m not excited for my next trip in 2 days, I’m in a much better place to take it on!

Any tips for healthy travel habits?

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Comments

  1. Coco says:

    Travel is tough, but it sounds like you did really well.

    Since I usually workout at home, I look forward to a nice hotel gym and always plan to “open up the gym” in the morning. That also gives me a reason not to have too many cocktails in the evening.

    Water is also tough, especially if the hotel charges $6 for the bottle of water in your room. But, another benefit of hitting the gym is that you can refill your ater bottle there. ;-)

    For food, if I’m not eating at the hotel, I usually eat @ Starbucks b/c I know the calories of their food – the oatmeal or low-fat turkey bacon/egg sandwich are good, and they have calorie counts on their other sandwiches. Becareful of Chipotle, their calories are really high unless you have the salad option and limit the toppings.

    I also try to pack snacks – Kashi granola bars, Cliff Z-bars, Luna bars – and can have those for breakfast or a snack instead of the giant cookies they seeem to serve at meetings.

    Good luck with your next trip!

    • Coco – Those are great! Yep – free water in the gym – bring it! I’ve been checking out the Starbucks stuff, and there are definitely some good choices there. It is really great that we can look up all this stuff at various restaurants/fast food, eh? It’s a brave new world…. I’ve never been a “bar” girl, but I’ll def check out your suggestions – I think they’d be great. And yes, anything is better than those cookies at the break! My next hotel has a fridge… so I’m gonna get creative ;-)

  2. This is such an important subject! At home, we can almost take the four areas you’re focusing on (+ water :)) for granted. Everything’s in place there w/ all our routines. On the road it can be SO challenging to stay w/ our healthy habits.

    You’re doing a great job! I’m going to be dealing w/ this at Christmas and I’ll think about what you did as inspiration. If we can come back feeling like ourselves, I think we’ve succeeded :).

    • Thanks Suzanne – it was really interesting actually. My friend used the word “mindful” – that is so true. It’s the first trip I ever paid attention to these things. But I must say, it was totally worth it. I feel better (I know shocking) and didn’t have my butt kicked LOL. Good luck in the holidays – keep us posted – it IS challenging!

  3. Travel, especially this time of year, can wreak havoc on us. It sounds like you’re using your head, and making the best decisions that you can given the circumstances.

    Planning ahead is definitely the key. Snacks, water, equipment (shoes, mp3 player, etc.), and so on. I’m impressed.

    • Thanks Todd! I’m definitely being more “mindful” about it – during this second trip, I definitely didn’t workout the last couple of days – but, oh well. I managed 2 nice walks in when I could ;-) Thanks for stopping by Todd ~

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