I am back in London again today, albeit this time around for business meetings as opposed to “Pilates-marathon-training.” So needless to say there will be less tucking and messy buns and more dresses and PowerPoint over the next few days. As I have mentioned, I tend to travel quite frequently between work and fun and although I find that my habits and routine are quite durable back at home, I must confess that the business trips are the hardest times for me to stay on track. When I travel for pleasure, I build time into my schedule for my habits and the things that I enjoy, which does include working out and I have more say in where, when and what I eat. However, when it comes to work I have much less control over my circumstances and there are a lot of challenges and obstacles which present themselves.
To begin with, my days tend to be exceptionally full. Between physically traveling, extended working sessions, hectic meeting schedules, and dinners with clients and colleagues, there are some days that truly don’t allow for anything aside from work. Ordinarily I tend to be very consistent in terms of my sleep schedule, but the long days, early/late flights and potential time zone changes impact me to an overwhelming extent. Also, equipment and space available in hotel gyms can often be lackluster to say the least (but not to worry, I have a post on exercising while traveling headed your way this week!). Frequently, I am eating with others at places that I wouldn’t necessarily choose and at times that I almost definitely wouldn’t choose, and/or my options are limited to whatever the clients (very graciously) provide – usually an array of sandwiches on a platter to allow for a working lunch. When I am away on holiday, if I encounter something delicious and unique to the area that I am visiting, I can choose to enjoy a vacation treat because I actually want it and it’s worth it. When I am away for work, a sub-par, sad, and unhealthy catered lunch because that is all that is available is #NOTworthit
Another, perhaps more curious, phenomenon of traveling (particularly alone) is the impact of increased anonymity. The power of anonymity on social behavior, especially in online interactions, has been well documented and substantial research shows that very often people say and do things that they usually would not when they are detached from their normal identities. When it comes to travel, there is a strong tendency of many people to make decisions inconsistent with their typical conduct simply because there is no witness their choices and behavior. Although technically no one is holding me accountable for my health decisions while I am at home, just being around other people who know me and my habits does make things easier compared with being in an unfamiliar place and around people who don’t know or care what my priorities and goals are. For me this can create a slightly out of control feeling, which I do not particularly care for.
The beauty of forming consistent habits is that they eliminate the need for decision making and willpower, becoming ingrained so that they are no longer choices – or at the very least, much easier ones to make. Although travel can present serious challenges, having a good foundation and awareness of the potential stumbling blocks which lie ahead can help. From there, the times I am the most successful in staying on track are the times that I purposefully plan ahead. I have packed workout clothes and a resistance band for my “Hilton Hotel Room Barre Sessions” and breakfast, lunch and snack options to ensure that no matter how busy the day, what the options offered for lunch, or who is or is not judging my actions, I am ready. I know I won’t be resigned to a disappointing menu or going hungry because I have one of my favorite go-to chicken salads on hand. Super easy to make, airport security approved, and packed with flavorful protein and healthy fats… I present you with – my Buffalo Chicken Salad.
All my travel meals, snacks, and condiments packed and ready to go!!
- Cooked Chicken (Roasted, Grilled, or Baked) 3.5-7 oz (100-200 g)
- Red Onion (diced) 1 TBSP
- Celery (diced) 2 stalks
- Paleo Mayo 1 TBSP
- Frank's Red Hot Sauce 1 TBSP
- Sea Salt and Black Pepper to Taste
- Mixed Greens (optional) 2 cups (75 g)
- This recipe is an easy way to use up any leftover chicken that you might already have on hand. If you don't have any, you'll start by cooking some up however you like. Grilling is great, but in Ireland the weather can often get in the way, so I preheat an oven to 350F/180 C and place the chicken on baking sheet lined with foil. Drizzle the chicken with coconut oil, season with salt and pepper and place in the oven for about 15-20 minutes until cooked through to 165 F/74 C.
- Once your chicken is ready and cooled, start chopping the chicken, onions, and celery finely and mix them together in a medium bowl.
- Add the Paleo Mayo and Frank's Red Hot sauce and stir until well combined
- Add salt and pepper to taste and layer on top of a bed of greens. Drizzle with additional hot sauce as desired.