11 Tips To Lose Weight When You’re Always Working Away
Working away from home is a dieting minefield causing you stress and anxiety at every hotel stop. Losing weight simply feels like Mission Impossible. And even Ethan Hunt would find this a head-fuck.
So can mere mortals marry working away AND dieting successfully? Or is your diet destined to self-destruct whatever you do?
Well, hold off calling Tom Cruise for now. Because here are 11 Tips To Lose Weight When You’re Always Working Away.
The Plague Of The Business Trip
Travelling for business and working away from home might make your Instagram feed look pretty sexy, but it’s not doing much for your waistline.
Because most of the time you’re not in control. Whether travelling abroad or constantly on the road, your diet is often at the mercy of hotels, clients, and colleagues.
Sure, the plush hotel rooms with their duck feather pillows, scented oils, free bottles of water, and power showers might seem like manna from heaven. But it’s not that simple, is it?
There’s the breakfast buffets, business lunches in fancy restaurants, and colleagues wanting to impress you with the local delicacies. Or maybe it’s simply a case of grabbing anything that constitutes food from room service after a 14 hour day without stopping.
Now that might seem like the very definition of a First World Problem. And it might even cause you to think, “What the fuck are you whining about?”… “It must be so hard to eat nice food and have everything paid for you.”
Which is true. But when you’re dieting, it can be a nightmare. It feels like a near impossible task to stay on track with your diet.
And that’s where these 11 top tips come in to save the day.
1. Keep It Simple
Trying to do all that while you’re travelling and working away is a recipe for disaster. And it’s one recipe you’re not interested in right now.
So keep things simple. Strip your nutrition back to the basics. And focus only on the things needed to achieve results.
And that’s calories. If all you did while you were working away was concentrate on calories, then you’ll have done 80% of the work. The rest is much less important. Stop worrying about specific protein, carb, and fat ratios. They’re mostly unimportant anyway. By simplifying what you have to think about you’re not only staying on track, you’re keeping your sanity too.
2. Assign Calories Per Meal
This one is a little bit of a game changer. So pay attention, you don’t want to miss this.
Take your calorie target and apportion rough calorie targets for each meal. For example, if your normal eating pattern is 3 meals a day, then put a quarter of your calories to each meal. And don’t forget to leave the final quarter for snacks. Because let’s face it, we all love a good snack.
In real terms, if you’re consuming 2,000 calories per day, then breakfast, lunch, and dinner are 500 calories each. You’ve then got 500 calories for snacks throughout the day.
If you find yourself travelling up and down the motorway, eating out of service stations, this makes it easier to stay on track. Simply look at the nutrition labels and pick foods / meals that fit into your broad calorie targets.
Of course you can flex the targets as much as you like. Want a lighter breakfast that allows you to pack away a hefty lunch or dinner? Cool. Do that.
Essentially, the beauty of the method is being able reduce the amount of thought you have to put into the process.
Because the less you have to think the better, right?
3. Adjust Meal Frequency & Timing
In terms of fat loss, you should pay as much attention to meal frequency as a non-Patriots fan does to their Super Bowl run.
It really doesn’t matter. But when you’re looking to find strategies to stay on track while working away it can be a useful tool. In particular, Intermittent Fasting. Or to be less fancy, “skip breakfast mate.”
But why is IF suddenly a good solution here? Is it because fat loss fairies hang out at hotels and spring into action when you skip a meal?
Well no, but it would be nice, right?
Truth is, it helps you maintain a calorie deficit by navigating some high calorie encounters. The breakfast buffet though delicious, is the scourge of many a dieter. Unlimited deliciousness laid out across multiple stations. Frankly, you feel rude for not checking out each one. After all, you can’t let the guy on the ice cream counter feel left out.
So that leads you to systematically destroy the buffet in a 1,000 calorie binge-a-thon.
Even though you wouldn’t dream of having cereal, omelette, waffles, ice cream, yogurt, and fruit in one sitting, somehow it’s perfectly normal when you’re working away.
So avoiding the buffet bonanza saves you from the situations where you can’t resist temptation.
IF helps you skip all that. Simply grab a coffee to go and be on your merry way. Of course if you have willpower of steel, pick something low calorie and enjoy brekkie.
4. Save Calories Before The Trip
Very rare are the times when your boss taps you on the shoulder and says, “Hey, you’re off to the Strasburg office in 5 minutes.”
More often than not, it’s planned. So use the time to plan what you’ll do with your nutrition, instead of researching the best tourist spots for the perfect selfie.
The days leading up to a business trip serve as a great opportunity to increase your calorie deficit and bank a few extra calories. Because this whole calorie deficit thing doesn’t just work in confined 24 hour blocks.
So let’s say you’ve got a business trip coming up in 2 weeks time. How about increasing your deficit by 200 calories for those 14 days? You’d bank 2,800 calories as a buffer for your trip. If you combine that with not eating like a complete gimp during the trip, then this trip could be a dieting breeze.
Fuck you Tom Cruise… I’ve got this nailed.
5. Pack For The Trip
Randomness is one big reason you stray off track on a business trip. You’re unprepared, so you end up buying random crap because that’s all you can get your hands on. Suddenly, you’re in a service station and a 6 pack of Krispy Kremes seems like a good addition to your morning coffee.
So get yourself prepared. What can you take with you to stop you buying tons of high calorie foods while you’re away?
And think more along the lines of snacks. Because, you can’t exactly carry around a topside of beef and roast it on the petrol station forecourt. Or ask the chef at the fine dining restaurant to whip you up an egg white omelette (using the eggs you brought with you, obviously).
No, no, no, that would be a faux pas of massive proportions. Although, your boss may never ask you to go on a business trip again, which may have its upside.
Instead, think protein bars, powder, and fruit. Food you can cram in your suitcase or bag to tide you over. And if you’re not going abroad, this becomes even easier. Just chuck a load of stuff you like in the car that’s not going to go off. And hey presto, you’re on track.
6. Shop When You Get There
We live in a world where you can find pretty much anything you want anywhere in the world. And food is no different. So use this to your advantage.
Before checking in at your hotel, do a quick search for the local supermarket. Then make a minor detour to stock up on foods you enjoy and are calorie controlled. Most hotels will have a fridge too, so there’s no real excuse. You can stock up on pots of oats for breakfast, salads for lunch, and snacks for during the day. The only meal you have to think about then is dinner.
And if you’ve put a little thought into it, that would be relatively easy by now.
And don’t use the excuse of being abroad. Just take a stroll to the nearest shop. Because unless you’ve been posted to the Sahara Desert, I’m sure you can find something on offer.
Either that, or just get Deliveroo on the go.
7. Use Your Busy Day To Your Advantage
From experience, I know business trips aren’t sexy. Days are long, mostly boring, and in some cases struggling to stay awake is the real challenge.
But you can use this to your advantage. More often than not, everyone his trying to squeeze their pound of flesh from you. Cramming in back to back meetings, pushing you from pillar to post, barely giving you time to breathe. And it might not seem it, but this can be a dieters blessing in disguise.
Because you haven’t got time to eat. Hell, you haven’t even got to think about eating.
Focusing on the job in hand and powering through the day can weirdly make those feelings of hunger disappear. And even if you don’t want to power through hours on end, focus on being task driven. Go for something to eat AFTER you’ve finished the important piece of project work or mammoth 3 hour strategy meeting. Any by strategy meeting I mean listen to a series of people who enjoy the sound of their own voice while spouting utter crap, like “let’s not to try boil the ocean” and “I think we need to do a deep dive.”
Seriously, what normal person talks like that?
8. Learn The Power Of NO!
This is an important one. You don’t have to say YES to everything. If you don’t want to stay up having drink after drink in the hotel bar, then don’t.
If you don’t want the cakes and biscuits with coffee, politely pass on them.
Be an adult. You have full control over every choice you make. Unless you’re in some weird business meeting where you’re restrained and force fed cake, you have the ability to say no.
And don’t feel like you’re committing some form of social etiquette suicide. People won’t think less of you for passing on the muffins. Trust me, they don’t even care. The sugar and icing just clogs up their heads and they can’t hear you anyway.
9. Plan Ahead When Eating Out
Ok. So there are going to be certain situations where what you eat is out of your control. And pretty much, you’re going to have to just go with the flow. But even in these situations, all is not lost. Because you can plan ahead.
If you’re going out to restaurants, politely ask where you’re going. Unless you’re the most awkward fucker on planet Earth (ie me) you can slip that question casually in to conversation. Then, armed with that information, you can do a little detective work. Google the restaurant, scan the menu, and have a think about what you might order.
But perhaps stop sort of phoning the restaurant and asking for the macro breakdown of the sea bass main course.
“But Simon. When I look at the menu I haven’t got a fucking clue what to order.” Never fear, I’ve got your back.
When faced with a menu that appears to be more difficult to comprehend than a GCSE language exam, stick to this one tip. Keep it simple.
Either pick something Low Carb / High Fat or something High Carb / Low Fat. Removing one of these macros helps reduce the calorie content of the meal. And in my experience, removing carbs is the easiest method. For example, order the steak, but swap the chips for salad. You still get a great tasting meal. And you’ve no doubt saved about 600 calories in the process.
It comes down to making smart choices.
Oh. And when it comes to the bread and olive oil at the start of the dish, remember you can say NO. And you can say no to dessert too.
Never forget, you are an adult. So start adulting.
10. Don’t Miss The Chance To Workout
Most decent hotels have gyms, so use it. A quick workout or a dip in the pool can help you keep on top of that calorie deficit. And if there’s no gym, simply do a bodyweight workout in your hotel room.
In fact, I’ve got a badass bodyweight workout you can read right here.
These days there’s no real excuse. Plan it in and get it done.
11. Keep Everything In Perspective
Lastly we have context. The art of keeping everything in perspective.
Yes, you can use all the previous 11 tips to lose weight when you’re working away on business. Or simply when you’re routine is all out of whack.
But is it like that all the time? It might be yes. But it also might be no.
And if it’s a no, then know this.
What you do 80% of the time matters more what you do 20% of time.
Trying hard to stay on track while you’re working away is never going to be perfect. Often it’s damage limitation. But even though you might not nail it perfectly, concentrate on what you do for all the other weeks of the year. Because that’s going to have the biggest impact on your progress, not a 3 day trip to Aberdeen to map out Project Zeus.
The Bottom Line On Losing Weight While Working Away
Even though you might have no routine and you’re always working away you can still achieve and maintain the body of your dreams. But there’s one caveat.
You’ve got to WANT it.
Because you’ll need to put some effort it. You need to plan ahead, develop a strategy, and have the strength of mind to stick to.
If you crumble at the first sign of things not going your way, don’t expect a fat loss miracle. It won’t happen.
So put these 11 top tips into practice and give it your all. Do that and Mission Impossible just became Mission Possible.
Fuck you Cruise. I don’t need your short ass for this one.
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