How do you maintain a diet plan when you are traveling?
Great question! There are quite a few right answers to this one actually – and I will talk about 2 of them:
Eat like a normal person!
One answer is “Don’t worry about it, take a few days off your diet but don’t get too out of control.” That answer is certainly the easiest – and if you aren’t preparing for a contest or working against a deadline to reach a goal, you can certainly go that route. I know I have in the past – and a few days of eating like a real person does wonders for your brain if you’ve been dieting for a long time. This option is best used if we are talking about a short duration – a few days up to a week at the most. It is very unlikely that you will end up becoming a big fatty boombalatty in just a few days of eating “like a normal person” unless you are doing all you can eat lard and fried Twinkie buffets for every meal. You might end up surprised to see that a little time off actually helps.
Stick to your diet!
Duh, right? I know the question is “how are you supposed to stick to your diet when you are going to be flying across the country and staying in a hotel room” – well it isn’t that hard. My plan is simple and has worked for trips across the country and even trips out of the country. Step 1 is to head to Costco and buy a large bag of whey protein powder, a large bag of almonds, a bulk package of Quaker Oats, and a large box of granola bars. Step 2 is to figure out how long it will be from the time I leave my house for the airport and the time I will be at my hotel room and determine how many meals I will need to put in my carry-on bag. I try to plan for a “meal” every 3 hours in everyday life – so I try to keep that consistent when I’m traveling. I will generally fill a large ziplock bag with almonds to cover the “fats” for the meals I will need plus some extra just in case anyone else needs a snack. For “Protein/Fat” meals I will put 2 scoops of protein powder into a ziplock bag for the protein half. “Protein/Carb/Fat” meals will end up being either 2 scoops of protein powder and enough oats to equal the carb goal, or a granola bar to meet the carb goal. I always make sure to throw in at least one extra baggie of powder just in case something happens. The stuff that doesn’t go into the ziplock bags goes into the checked luggage for the destination and the trip home. I haven’t had any problems going through security with this setup in several years of following the plan, so you shouldn’t either. Once those are packed in my bag I will throw in a shaker bottle or 2 and an empty 32oz water bottle that I fill up at the airport. It is pretty easy to eat your meals on schedule this way – you may get some funny looks from the other passengers when you pull out a bag of powder and start mixing it up, but they get over it.
Once you get to your destination you have a few options – you can either stick with a protein powder diet, or you can go grocery shopping. Many hotel rooms have microwaves and refrigerators in them these days – so that makes it EASY to stick to a healthy diet out of town. You can cook frozen chicken breasts in a microwave, you can cook sweet potatoes very easily if you just poke them full of holes before putting them in for 4-6 minutes, you can cook eggs in the microwave if you put them in a bowl and scramble them up a bit… you get the idea. It just takes a little planning ahead to meet your goals.
Alrighty then… that is how I would handle it, and my method has worked really well for me. Your mileage may vary.