As a former road warrior, I get it: excuses and roadblocks are abound preventing healthy eating on the road, and make it challenging to maintain a healthy weight or exercise regimen. For over 5 years I was on a plane at least 4 days a week and sometimes twice a day. It was during this time that I started transitioning to a whole foods plant-based (WFPB) diet and the struggles are real out there! Quick, convenient foods which adorn airports and fast food restaurants do not cater to a healthy diet, let alone anyone who wants to only eat vegetables not cooked with butter or cheese.
I get asked most about how I was able to maintain my diet and weight while traveling. Also, about how I was able to eat healthily while on planes and trains and in hotels and foreign cities. I have decided to start a series around eating healthy while traveling and how to take steps towards achieving your healthiest and happiest self as a road warrior.
That’s right! I believe that you can start taking steps today to be healthier than ever before even though you aren’t home cooking everyday and may only have access to room service at midnight.
I won’t lie: it is NOT easy and it requires discipline, planning and a positive outlook on adhering to your goals. But once you make the decision to put YOU, your health and wellbeing first, nothing will be able to stop you from putting only the foods you want to be putting in your body.
This series isn’t going to be just about eating a WFPB diet while traveling, but rather about adhering to whatever “healthier” diet you want to follow while traveling. I will share with you some tips, tricks and healthy habits I formed while traveling every damn day so you will be able to apply them to your diet and lifestyle! Besides, my transition to a WFBP diet took over seven years (more in another post at a later time on this), and I still know where you can get hormone-free meats and delicious cheese plates.
What reigns supreme in everything I will write about: make the best decisions you can which are in alignment with your belief system. While that may sound complicated or even a bit existential, the reality is if you feel good in the moment with the decision you are making, I would invite you to enjoy that moment and move into the next. Beating yourself up about past (what-may-seem-like-now-as-bad) decisions will only prevent you from being your happiest and healthiest self currently and in your future. So let’s work a bit on also enjoying those meals that you choose to indulge in, and stop beating yourself up later about it!
Let’s talk about the decisions you have to make while choosing which foods you want to put in your body.
That’s right: YOU are in control of the food you put in your body and nobody can make you put anything else in there. Isn’t that a powerful thought in itself?
Read it again and make sure you truly understand that you are in control of your diet. Your job, your travel schedule, all of the chaos around you: it is not forcing you to put something in your mouth that you don’t want to.
The lack of sleep, the stress from your boss, the complaining employees, definitely lower your strength and ability to be strong enough to make better decisions at times, but if you can find a way to remind yourself to put YOU first even in those moments of weakness, I will bet you will start feeling better.
Applying a sticky note to the back of your phone: “Put down the fork.”
An alert on your phone at 6pm: “Leave happy hour.” or “Just one drink.”
An alarm in the morning which says: “YOU got this!”
The great thing about making that first positive decision that is in alignment with your goals, is it helps empower you to keep making them. That one decision starts to overpower the exaggerated yawn, the late-night work demands and incessant whining. You realize that you can take control of you and drawing a line at 8:45pm so you can still get something healthy from a nearby restaurant, is more than reasonable. We all know that if you wait until 10pm to try to find a healthy option, they don’t exist.
The biggest thing I want to impart on you in this first Road Warrior post is that as hectic as your life seems, you are in control of your basic needs. You choose exactly what food you put in your mouth. Although a delayed plane and early meeting shortens your sleeping hours, staying focused on what you can control will give you a lot of strength. With time, it won’t matter how tired you are or how mad you are at a coworker. You will always make the best choice you can to put the right foods in your body.
As you find you can control that one most basic, yet most critical component of your life, stress from that silo lifts and you can start tackling things like: more exercise and more sleep. You are one step closer to being your happiest and healthiest self!
Now I realize you may not be in full-on snowball effect yet, but you are almost to the part of the top of the hill where the decline gets graded enough to start rolling on it’s own. That’s where I want to go with you… down the hill, adding more and more accomplishments in your pockets and on your sleeves to the point where you are inspiring others to reach their happiest selves!
YOU are in control of the food you put in your body and nobody can make you put anything else in there.
*Opportunity Discovery*: When you are about to put something in your mouth that you are regretting at that very moment, stop, take a deep breath and ask who has the gun pointed at your head. If you realize in that moment that YOU are making the decision and you are going to enjoy it, then do it! If you realize in that moment that regret has already creeped in, then put it down and take a big sip of water. Congratulate your self in either (or both) situation(s) and look how much you have grown! I’m so proud of you already!
In an effort to keep these posts short and digestible, I have broken this post up into two-see part two here. Tune in next Friday when you can find more tools (with fill in the blanks) to help you start making decisions to be control of what you put in your body. Since I’m new at this, please let me know if you like long posts to begin with! Also, please post any comments or questions- they are my inspiration!