Often I hear a lot of excuses from people who are busy and always “on the go.” Whatever that means. To me, it sounds like an excuse. Yes, I know traveling a lot can be a bit stressful. Quite often it’s difficult to find healthy food options. Well, I have a few strategies that may help keep on track while you’re on the go.
Currently, I’m not a huge traveller. I may take 2 trips a quarter. I prefer to drive whenever possible. I hate dealing with airports and delays. I choose to drive to maintain the majority of control. I also enjoy seeing the countryside.
Usually, my trips are finished within the day. The strategy I use is that I fast on a travel day. For instance, if I have an 8-hour drive ahead of me, I’ll get an early start. I’ll have a big mug of coffee and lots of water. I do pretty well not stopping. If I do have to stop, I don’t get anything to eat. No snacks, no fast food, nothing.
This isn’t a big deal for me. I practice intermittent fasting daily and typically do not eat anything until around 12 noon anyway. On these days, I just extend the fast a few extra hours.
There are few reasons why I do this:
- Traveling naturally carries with it a bit of stress. Not a huge stressor but a stressor nonetheless. I try to minimize stress in my life as much as possible. Digestion is also a stressful event for the body. It requires time and energy. I do not want to add additional stress to the traveling protocol.
- I’ll be sitting most of the day and won’t be burning that many calories. Therefore, my caloric need that day won’t be as high.
- Have you ever tried to fall asleep when you were hungry? It’s next to impossible, am I right? Well, that’s another key thing. Once I hit that state of hunger, I don’t have to worry about falling asleep at the wheel.
The coffee will help to suppress appetite, along with the water. Sometimes I’ll throw a splash of milk or creamer and some stevia. These may contain a few calories but are minuscule in the grand scheme of things. Don’t go overboard here though.
When I arrive at my destination, I’ll usually have a nice large meal. My favorite would be when I return home to East Texas and enjoy a nice grass-fed ribeye steak with some veggies.
If fasting is not something you feel like you can do, well, you’re wrong. But, if it something that you refuse to do, there is another option which can still be beneficial.
Stick to a liquid diet while traveling. This will make the digestion process easier than when consuming whole foods. As I stated earlier, digestion is a stressor and requires energy from the body.
Now, I’m not saying that the natural stress of traveling and the stress of digestion are too much for the body to handle. It’s not. But, too much stress can wreak-havoc on the body and any attempt to minimize stress is warranted.
Make sure that these liquids contain a significant amount of protein. Beverages filled with sugar are not going to be as beneficial as those with more protein. Sugar-filled drinks will improve energy in the short-term but could leave you awfully tired after a few hours.
The protein should help to satisfy your hunger enough to last you until you have arrived at your destination. If you need help determining which protein is best for you, check out my article “Protein Powders: What to Look for.”
But Hey, I MUST eat…
I would like to challenge you. Have you ever been truly hungry? If you’ve never fasted for 24 hours or more, you’ve probably never truly experienced hunger. Your appetite may have been stimulated but the true need of nourishment you have not experienced. For many of us, a day of fasting will do a lot of good.
An obligatory disclaimer:
I would like to add that I am not a doctor and do not pretend to be one on the Internet. These are simply strategies I use when I travel. If you prefer to eat and keep it healthy, simple decisions are not hard.
If you have to eat, stick to lean meats and veggies. If you must have some “non-healthy” options, just make sure you account for them in you overall caloric intake. As long as you’re not eating in excess, you can pretty much get away with anything. For macronutrient recommendations, click here: “How to Calculate Your Macros & Calories”
I find that often it’s not a lack of knowledge but rather, a lack of will. If you want to be healthy and fit bad enough, you will make it happen. If not, you’ll make an excuse. I challenge you today to make no excuses and become the person you were meant to be!