Traveling and TBDS

We received this letter from a Beck Diet Solution reader and frequent traveler:

My concerns are that I travel nearly every week for work.  I have been on the program at home so far which is easy.  How will I be able to manage this when I am traveling?  I think for those of us who are road warriors, we often find ourselves hungry, stressed, tired, and without many choices as far as what we can eat.  I have been stuck in airports where there is little healthy food or stuck in airports when all shops are closed so that my dinner must come from a vending machine or I will not eat at all.  This is true with hotels too.  Sometimes I end up in a hotel which does not have room service so if I don’t eat before I get there, then I don’t eat! Here are some of my ideas: 

-Continue to eat slowly while seated.
-Remember that it is okay to be hungry–I won’t die from it!
Don’t get the key to the mini bar!
Really watch portions and always get a salad.
Avoid alcohol.
Ask for crudités with dip on the side even if it’s not on the menu.
Eat an apple before going out to dinner.
Stay hydrated.

I don’t know if this is enough for me to be able to reduce my caloric intake enough to actually lose weight while traveling.  Do you have any other suggestions?

We thought this letter was a great illustration of a problem many people face.  The suggestions are excellent, and we have a couple to add:

1. Because you’re going to be eating out so much more when traveling and are at risk for taking in a lot more calories, consider ordering a salad with the dressing on the side and topped with a lean protein.
2. Plan ahead!  If you know you’re going to be arriving too late to buy a decent dinner, bring travel-friendly food with you, such as tuna fish in a can or pouch, processed cheese that doesn’t require refrigeration, fruit, high fiber/high protein bars, or nuts.
3. Ask for a mini fridge for your hotel room and stock it with foods you can eat.
4. Try to avoid buffets, but if you do find yourself eating at them, survey all the food first, pick two or three things to eat, and then don’t go back for seconds.
5. When eating out, remind yourself that if you want to be thinner, you can’t have appetizers, bread with your entree, and dessert.  Make compromises!

We also recommend you read (or reread) Day 32 of The Beck Diet Solution and if necessary, bring the book with you on your travels to keep everything fresh in your mind. 

If you have any more suggestions, we’d love to hear them.

2 replies
  1. CBT fan
    CBT fan says:

    The key for eating on the run is….Pre-Planning.

    What I have done is come up with some very SIMPLE and TINY foods I can always have with me, enough calories to fill me up for at least several hours.
    I keep them prestocked, and basically don’t leave home without them. I started using them for Hiking, but now I use it as a backup food plan, in case I get stuck somewhere with no decent food.

    What I do is make my own Trail-Mix, which is a combination of nuts-fruits and whole grains, which I combine with a banana, veggies, and a calcium tablet. This is mixing starch-protein-fruit-veggie-dairy, and thus gives full nutrition, and steady blood-sugar, in an incredibly small package, that stays fresh all day.

    This is all you need:

    o 1 banana
    o 1 tbsp mixed nuts (walnut, almond, soynuts, pumpkin seed, sunflower, peanut, etc)
    o 1 tbsp mixed dried fruit-berries (papaya, apricot, raisin, dates, cranberry, blueberry, wolfberry, etc)
    o Whole Grains mix: 1 crushed ricecake (unsalted brown rice, no additives), or RYVITA CRISPBREAD, and raw oatmeal, Cheerios, etc
    o Raw Veggie mixed-bag: (½ cup) baby carrots, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, radish, etc

    o 1 calcium tablet with Vit D (put in bag with nuts)

    § Directions:
    · Mix nuts, dried fruit, and crushed rice cake and Whole Grains in small ziplock snackbag.
    · Mix washed-dried raw veggies in another medium snackbag.
    · Put small nut snackbag inside medium veggie bag for compactness.
    Its very important to have the WHOLE GRAIN in the mix, as it gives you quick energy, and the nuts give a longer term energy when mixed with the banana.

    It literally is much much better than the so-called “energy bars” as I have tried many of those, and they don’t last more than 15-30 minutes in the stomach. I find the above snack can last up to 2 hours even when hiking, especially if you eat half at a time.
    The combination of Whole Grains, dried fruit, banana, mixed nuts, veggies and calcium tablet really works, and its low calories as long as you control the portions.

    Once you get it down, you can premake a bunch of it in a jar in the fridge, and just pour it into a snackbag, so it only takes seconds to make.

  2. Cindy
    Cindy says:

    I’m a professional opera singer who is frequently on the road, facing the same problems as the business traveller. I’m also a Type II diabetic, which means that although I can ignore hunger, I cannot ignore low blood sugar. Also, I eat very little processed food and try to eat organically whenever possible.

    I always travel with homemade trail mix, a small package of all-natural beef jerky, and Think Thin bars, which are very high protein/low sugar/low carb. Since my hotel stays tend to be a little longer than the average business traveller, I mail a kitchen kit ahead (electric skillet, a few utensils, spices, etc.) if I am staying in a place without cooking facilities. If the hotel can’t provide a mini-fridge, I use the ice bucket as a cooler, shortterm. Sometimes it means going to the grocery store every day, but if that’s what it takes for me to eat right, I’ll do it.

    Most processed food is very high sodium and very low-quality in terms of taste and nutritional value, but if you must, you can take packets of dried soup mix (most hotel rooms have a coffeemaker, and you can get hot water anyplace that sells coffee and tea) or even Ramen noodles. Also try vacumn-packed tuna, which tastes a lot better than canned. Instead of nasty processed cheese, try string cheese in individual packages. It’ll keep for a day or so unrefrigerated, but you can always ice it down in a cup of ice or your hotel room ice bucket if you prefer it cold.

    At hotels that offer continental breakfast, I always grab an extra fruit or two and packets of peanut butter, if they offer them.

    The key, as CBT said, is planning. 🙂


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