Rules for Traveling

When traveling and staying in a hotel, dieters may be tempted by the treats in their hotel rooms. Hotels are smart – they often leave a basket of snacks in full view so they can tempt people to spend money (Day 32 of The Beck Diet Solution). But dieters can take the basket and put it in a closet or cover it with a towel and develop a rule to always carry their own treats with them instead of eating anything from a minibar, basket, or snack machine. If they’re hungry, it’s important for dieters to remember that they’ll have their next planned meal/snack within a few hours or have breakfast the next morning (Day 16 of The Beck Diet Solution).  We ask dieters to imagine if this were thirty years ago when there was no food in hotel rooms.  What would they have done then? 

Our dieter, Jason, had to apply this rule in a different way.  He travels for business once or twice a month and there is always an abundance of snack food at the back of the meeting room. He often feels either bored or somewhat stressed during meetings and it is particularly difficult for him to resist the high fat, high sugar foods. Jasonknows that eating these snacks is contrary to his plan, that he will soon feel weak and guilty, and that he could gain weight, he still has a hard time resisting in the moment.  Jason needs to read the advantages of losing weight just before each meeting. He’s also decided to make a rule for himself that he will not eat any snack food provided at meetings. It’s helpful for him to realize that he’s not alone—not everyone at the meeting eats these snacks between meals. Just like the minibar, he can’t give himself a choice about this or he will struggle every single time.  As soon as Jason makes this rule and practices following it ten times in a row, it will become so much easier for him to resist and stick to his plan.

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4 comments

  1. I’m glad you wrote about this. I am a professional opera singer and travel regularly, for long periods of time. Often well-meaning choristers will bring baskets of homemade goodies to rehearsals. There are so many opportunities to eat off-plan! And of course, during breaks, people cluster around the food.

    One of my strategies is to either leave the room during breaks, or to get a cup of coffee or tea and engage someone in conversation on the opposite side of the room. The good news is, resistance does become a habit and after a short time, I don’t even think about the food! I always feel stronger, healthier, and prouder after resisting, though. Good luck, Jason!

  2. All my eating strategies went out the window when I went on a week-long cruise. I usually stick to a certain number of calories each day, but on the ship I had trouble estimating the calories of my meals, so I quit calorie counting for the week. The tactics that I use to control my sweet tooth, such as eating good fruit, were useless when I realized that you don’t get good/fresh fruit on a ship. The hot vegetables were all covered in butter or oil, and the salad bar contained only a few veggies and a lot of oily salads. There were only 2 cereals available in the morning that had some fiber and were low in sugar. I also usually keep a small protein snack handy, like a piece of cheese, but these types of snacks weren’t usually available.

    So, I decided to abandon my eating plan and follow a few rules, hoping for the best:
    1. Exercise 45 minutes every day.
    2. Have beer or wine, but no fruity cocktails, which have loads of calories.
    3. Walk around the ship and take the stairs whenever possible (our room was on the 8th floor, so we climbed a lot of stairs).
    4. Eat only foods that tasted great (most cruise food is very average).
    5. Keep apples and bananas (the only decent fruit) in my room, so when I got the munchies at night, I could have a healthy snack.
    6. Stop eating when I’m 3/4 full.
    7. Eat a healthy breakfast each morning (cereal, boiled eggs, yogurt, or fruit).

    Even though most days I ate a dessert or two, I managed to come home exactly the same weight as when I left! I was very pleased that even if I couldn’t follow my eating plan from home, I wouldn’t necessarily gain weight, even after a week’s vacation.

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