How To Stick To Your Diet On A Travel Day
I like traveling.
I like the excitement of going somewhere new and different.
I enjoy the fact we can step into a metal tube in one place and however many hours later be somewhere wildly different to what we know.
I like how it challenges and changes me.
Traveling is fun...the journeys, often not so much.
Sometimes they outright suck.
From car, to train, to airplane…you’re sat still in one place for hours on end with nowhere to go.
What starts off exciting soon becomes tedious and boring as the hours tick by.
You can only browse the duty-free store so many times before it too loses its appeal (if it had any to begin with). Next up are the bookstores, where if you’re like me you spend more money than you should, but they soon give way to the restaurants.
A quick bite to eat whilst you wait, a few snacks for the journey, a few more snacks because you’ve got nothing better to do. Boredom has set in and idle snacking becomes a way to keep busy.
The vending machine suddenly becomes an attractive option as you wind your way to your departure gate. The next thing you know you’ve had a full meal, dessert and snacks and you’re not even on the plane yet, let alone at your destination.
Your calories are through the roof and your holiday/business trip/family visit starts off on a sour note.
Yes, being stuck in a tin can 8+hours can suck, but what’s sucks more is going way off track on your diet as you go.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Here are actionable methods in 3 key areas for staying on track on a travel day.
I’d originally started this sentence saying;
“If you’re going to eat on a travel day…”
Then I thought better of it, as most people will eat so…
Let’s start again with,
When you eat (you can fast, I’ll discuss this a bit further down) on travel day there are a few things you want to do and a few things you don’t;
What You Shouldn't Do:
Don’t eat the food on the plane/train/boat/bus
Plane (and other transport) food is crap.
It’s precooked, reheated garbage that almost never tastes any good.
It’s pointless calories you won’t enjoy and that won’t fill you up.
You’re much better off saving these calories for food either before or after your journey.
Don’t buy snacks at the airport
For the same reason, most people can’t keep certain foods in the house (you eat them), you shouldn’t buy snacks at the airport.
If you do, you will eat them.
If you eat them you increase your chances of going over your daily calorie allowance.
As with above, you’re much better off saving these calories for food either before or after your journey.
What You Should Do:
Do bring your own food
By bringing your own food you can control your calorie intake.
This means instead of finding yourself in a position of having to eat something for the sake of it, you can eat what actually want, and know the calorie content.
Do eat satiating foods
As you’re not going to be eating on the plane/train/boat/bus and not buying snacks in the airport, you want to focus on eat satiating foods.
This means focusing on things like;
Eating lots of vegetables
Getting a good helping of protein
And other foods which are known to be very filling, like;
- Cottage Cheese
All these things will help you stay fuller for longer and make it easier to avoid snacking.
Do stay hydrated
As well as helping to control hunger, staying hydrated is just plain good for you.
Drink more water.
An Optional Alternative
Another option is to fast on (or for some of) your travel day to help control calorie intake.
If you’re going to do this then you can take steps to blunt your appetite using 0 calories drinks and accept that you’ll feel hungry at times.
You’re never more likely to snack and mindlessly consume calories than when you’re bored.
That’s a fact.
Well, …at least I feel like it’s a fact.
I’ve noticed it in myself, my family, friends, and clients.
For most of us, we eat when we’re bored.
It’s even more likely to happen when we’re bored and stuck in a fast-moving small tube with little better to do.
How do you overcome this?
How do you stop a journey becoming a binge?
You stay interested in something (or go to sleep), that’s how!
1. Get Some Sleep
A simple solution to both pass the time and stop you from passing biscuits into your mouth.
If you've got a long journey ahead, try and sleep your way through it or at least through a chunk of it.
2. Do Something Engaging
Do you ever notice how whenever you do something that really engages you time just flies by?
This is the key to managing your time and your food intake.
Don’t just sit around waiting to get to your destination, do something.
You’ll be amazed at how quickly 12+ hours can go by when you dedicate your full attention to something (and get some sleep).
It could be;
- Watching a movie
- Reading a book
- Chatting with the person next to you (you never know who you might meet)
- Doing some work
- Listening to a podcast
- Studying something new
- Or any number of other things
It’s as simple as that, I promise.
Do Some Exercise
Don’t break the routine just because you’re traveling that day.
Instead, try and get in a workout before you go to help;
- Combat the fact you’re going to be seated a lot of the day
- Keep your routine intact and increase the chance you’ll continue when away
- Put you in a good state of mind ready for the travel day ahead
- Get a bit of extra calorie burn to help keep you on track
Or once you land;
- Help combat jetlag and get you into the swing of your new time zone
- Get you up and out of bed on your first day
- Ease out any stiffness from your traveling
It doesn’t have to be your usual routine, depending on where you’re going and why you’re going, maybe you can;
- Take a walk, jog or run around a new city
- Hit up the hotel gym for a workout
- Do a bodyweight workout in your hotel room
- Go for a swim, in the sea or the pool
- Play some sport with the locals
Ok so maybe it's a bit much with all the bullet points, but you get the point...lots of options.
Travelling is amazing, but the journey is often tiring and boring, a dangerous combination particularly when you have lots of time, not much to do and food on tap.
To help you stay on track when traveling you should;
- Avoid eating on the plane, train, bus, boat, etc..
- Eat before you leave or bring your own food
- Try intermittent fasting
- Get some sleep
- Combat boredom by doing something engaging
- Get in a workout before you leave or once you land