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Top Tips for Eating Healthy and Getting Fit When on the Road

Staying healthy while traveling is challenging enough, and trying to lose weight and get fit adds a whole other level to that challenge.  Since I am on a journey to reduce my weight, get fit and stay healthy, I thought I’d share what I’m doing with you:

Eating When Traveling

When I leave home, I usually fly on a morning flight.  I have a protein shake before I leave my house.

For the plane, I take two or three of the items below, depending on what is in my pantry and refrigerator.  For a long flight, add more of the items.

  • Hard boiled eggs, peeled
  • Berries, any kind (inside a ‘baggie’ with a plastic fork for eating)
  • Cut up vegetables (cucumbers or yellow or red peppers are my usual)
  • Dried Apricots
  • Almonds
  • Protein bar
  • Apple
  • Square of dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher)
  • Instant steel-cut oatmeal (with a plastic spoon). If in first-class, there is usually a bowl available that I can mix this in with hot water.  If in coach, ask for two cups of hot water, ½ full, and add half the oatmeal to each cup.  Using one cup is usually too small.
  • Green tea bags (decaffeinated) and request a cup of hot water.

For a flight later in the day, most of the items above will work.   In addition, a lettuce-wrapped ‘sandwich’ also is good.  Wrap up items inside one or two large leafs of lettuce that will not spoil within a few hours, such as a variety of veggies (tomatoes, cukes, onion, peppers, mushrooms), and add some avocado.  Wrap tightly within plastic wrap and bring extra napkins, as these usually are a bit drippy.

When boarding a plane in another city, I almost always find a healthy salad in an airport restaurant or take-away stand.  I try to find a salad that has chicken or other protein included.  Sit-down restaurants will prepare a meal for you to take on the plane, so ask for what you’d like.  Do not be limited by the exact items on the menu. Remember to get utensils if you’ll be sitting in coach.

When eating in restaurants, whether at your hotel or elsewhere the city you’re visiting, it is very doable to order a healthy meal.  I usually order salmon or chicken with extra vegetables, no rice unless it is brown rice, and no bread.  For breakfast, I’ll order a vegetable omelet, with no or little oil used when cooking, and sliced tomatoes instead of toast or potatoes.

Exercising on the Road

In my hotel room, I use a variety of items: Exercise bands, fitness DVDs (where a lot of jumping is not involved if there is another hotel room below mine); and my latest fitness device, an X-Iser.  The X-Iser can actually fit inside your roller bag as it weighs only 14 pounds.  I am fortunate to be in the same hotel most weeks, so I leave the X-Iser with the bell desk when I leave at the end of a week, and pick it back up again when I return. Even if you do not travel with it, it’s wonderful exercise equipment for home.  In addition to being portable, it is very time efficient as you only need to use it 4 – 12 minutes a day.  Check out http://www.xiser.com for details and a video on the X-Iser. Jonny Bowden, whose wrote Eating on the Road for our smart women travelers is a proponent of this fitness device.

Some of the large chain hotels (Hilton, Omni, Marriott and more) have exercise equipment that can be brought to your hotel room.  Ask if a treadmill is available for you, or other available equipment.  This site provides the names of hotels with in-room treadmills available: www.inroomfitness.com.  Other fitness amenities, such as a 24-hour yoga channel, is offered by Kimpton Hotel’s “Women In Touch” program.

In the hotel’s fitness center, I always do cardio on a treadmill or elliptical.  If the fitness center has weights, I’ll use them every other day for my upper body.  I tend to work out in the evening as the fitness centers are usually less busy than in the early mornings and I can get the equipment that I want.  Also use the swimming pool to get some exercise in.  Some hotels are now offering an escorted guided runs (check out RunWESTIN), so ask your hotel.

To sum this up, it is very possible to eat healthy and stay fit even when traveling. It takes a bit more planning than being at home, but I’m doing well with it so far.  Let our community of traveling women know how you’re staying fit on the road, or what challenges you may have.

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