Not taking one for the team today!

If there’s one thing that’s tough about constantly being on the road it’s eating healthy and working out. Airplane food isn’t exactly healthy, especially when you fly a lot in international premium cabins. And I have the added justification of trying everything I possibly can cause I want to be able to report back to you guys. As far as working out goes, between jetlag, timezones, and trying to get work done while still sightseeing at a destination, it can be tough to find the time or motivation to work out. And at least for me if I don’t have a workout schedule it’s just not happening.

After spending a bit too much time on the road and too little time at the gym and eating healthy, I’m finally back into the swing of things. Usually I still go “all out” on airplanes, though today I’m going to see what it’s like to only drink water and eat a minimal amount of healthy food.

I’m headed to South America today on American (though I feel like I’m headed to South America every time I fly with them into/out of “Mee-ammi”), and have three segments on them in premium cabins to get there. I think this is a great opportunity to give this a shot since I’m so familiar with their product and don’t think I’m depriving you guys of any food picture goodness. Skipping hot nuts and the ice cream sundae won’t be easy, though!

Anyway, so far so good. I got up at 4AM this morning to go to the gym, and have been drinking water all day. One of the nice things about eating less/healthier is that you’re not as hungry, which makes things easier. So far I’ve had some yogurt in the lounge before departure and this for breakfast:

A bit healthier than the quiche with a muffin that I was offered.

Then for lunch it’ll be a protein bar and banana, and we’ll see what I have for dinner tonight, if anything.

The reason I’m mentioning this is because a) you better curb your appetite for my trip report now and b) a lot of jetlag “experts” suggest not eating on planes as a method of arriving more well rested, so we’ll see how it goes. Even though I’m “only” flying business class I’ll be sporting my American pajamas, and will try to get comfortable and sleep as soon as we take off.

In the meantime I’ll keep going to the gym regardless of how exhausted I am or what else is going on in my life.

Now, this whole plan will get a lot more complicated when I fly some international first class products over the coming months that I’ve yet to review. Doubt you guys would let me skip a first class meal on British Airways, Emirates, Air China, Korean Air, and China Southern (all of which are coming reasonably soon). I guess I’ll still go for all the courses but just sample them instead of going to town. And by then hopefully the results will have kicked in and I won’t mind enjoying a nice meal in conjunction with the gym.

Oh, and the toughest part of all this? No Diet Coke with lime. I’m pretty sure I drank enough Diet Coke to keep them in business, so that’s the toughest thing to kick out of my life. I hope this doesn’t translate to them not having any Superbowl ads next year.

If I keep this up I might even go for a date when I fly Emirates… along with Arabic coffee, of course!

Filed Under: Travel
  1. Aren’t you already lined up for a date with a certain Singapore Air someone? Now Emirates too? Way to go Ben, international player!!

  2. Just don’t make yourself miserable. Cut back here and there and don’t try and live The Devil Wears Prada. “I’m on this diet. When I think I’m going to pass out I eat a cube of cheese”.

  3. Ben, is it EK F? Which route, if you don’t mind me asking? Their HKG-BKK flight is really fun, just not long enough.

  4. Good on ya. The pounds are harder to lose as you get older and as you travel. I recently did a 30 day program based around some very healthy shakes, bars and lots of water (plus no booze) that worked wonders. Lost 24 pounds and it has stayed off. Have a Vegas trip in Sep and Maldives in Oct and plan another 30 day session in between to go under my ideal weight as I sure as hell know that on SQ F, Etihad F and Park Hyatt Maldives on a passport escape we are going to be eating and drinking LOTS

  5. Last I checked Diet Coke didn’t have any calories. Heck if it did I’d be 15 pounds heavier as I am an addict as well.
    I wouldn’t worry too much about diets. It’s all calories in vs calories out. When you create a calorie deficit of approx 3500 calories, you’ll lose a pound. For me, the preparation for marathons and ultra marathons allows me to keep my weight in check. For you it might be navigating the endless concourses such as at BKK.
    I for one won’t miss the chessy-mush pictures like that one you did recently of the spinach gnocchi on Aer Lingus. Still having nightmares of that one.

  6. One of the best ways to explore a new destination is in my experience by going for a run outside. Running will help you get over the jet leg, expose you to the sights and sounds of the location you are visiting, cover more distance than you could walking, and is all around just a great way to see the world. Plus, you’re working out šŸ˜‰

  7. Ben–Great idea for a trip report: how to travel and be healthy. Take 10 minutes to understand the glycemic index and/or glycemic load. If you are just eating a fruit plate (good carbs but carbs nonetheless), you are going to be starving in an hour and probably hungrier than if you hadn’t eaten anything. Insulin is funny.

    Get some fat and protein so you don’t crash and gorge.

  8. @ Lucky – all the pointers you can would be helpful. I can easily fluctuate 30lbs when a stressful / work travel filled stretch occurs. Flying, being “on” in front of clients all day, and then a late dinner does not leave me with any motivation to hit the gym – or the ability to wake up early.

  9. Trying lose weight before the Chicago Seminars, so we don’t all find out how fat you’ve gotten? šŸ˜‰ I’m just gonna stay home and skip the diet!

  10. A couple of diet tips. Control your portion sizes. Eating one meal on an eight hour flight with a light snack should be enough. Eating two or three multiple course meals will pack on the pounds. Avoid high calorie cocktails and opt for Vodka club soda or even a glass of non sugary wine.

    An important thing is to reduce sugar and simple carb intake. Cut down on the white bread and rolls on the plane and eat more whole grains such as German Volkornsbrot. Reduce your simple carbs when flying especially white rice, etc. as they turn into sugar, and sugar becomes fat when it is not used. Eat double portions of salad(light on the dressing) and low sugar fruit like apples or bananas. Moderate portions of nuts are good for you as they actually help burn fat and alleviate hunger. An occasional ice cream sundae is ok, but if you are eating them two or three times weekly, it is likely to be too much. These same rules apply when staying at hotels. Just because the food in the Executive lounge or breakfast bufet is free does not mean you are obliged to eat a lot of it. Try egg white omeletes with a whole sliced tomato, a small portion of cheese, and even a small portion of bircher Muesli for breakfast.

    As far as exercise goes, it’s great if you can get to the gym, but what is more important is that you are active and moving. If you are in Europe or walk friendly cities, walking and moving is the best thing you can do. The rule of thumb is that you need to take 10,000 steps a day.

    Happy travels lucky.

  11. Isbuffs: I doubt Lucky will ever walk far at BKK, considering his travel patterns and TG ground services… šŸ˜‰

  12. You’ve mentioned you weigh very little, around 160 or so? Why are you even trying to lose weight?

  13. @Phil, what plan is that? I’m looking for a ‘kick-start’, to get myself back into shape. Cheers.

  14. @ Christine — When did I say that? My target is about 165-170 for my body type, though am a few pounds over that at the moment.

  15. Most people who go to the gym end up “lounging” on the Elliptical “thinking” they are actually working out lol. You need to word hard and sweat and you can eat all that stuff.

    It’s even better if you workout hard AND eat healthy of course.

  16. Well this is certainly a new take on trip reports. Here in the country that somehow made perpetual gluttony a national pastime we now have an expat helping to teach us about healthy traveling. Kudos on the idea Ben! (seriously)

  17. Very interested to hear about this trip to SA
    Like to hear about the hotels, the currency exchange angles, the places and the weather .

    also,are you going to be on LAN anytime in this trip- your comments always appreciated.

  18. I always admired that you posted pictures of the gym everywhere, and figured you were also a workout nut like me (every day without fail!). I assumed it was the only way you kept in shape with all the food you eat. Now I know better!

    And if you like diet coke, don’t deny yourself – there’s nothing wrong with it. It helped me lose 65 lbs and keep it off. I also went from not being able to run a mile to running 25-35/week.

  19. @DJ – I did Isagenix. If you google it, you wil find a lot of stuff saying either it’s wonderful or it’s a scam. Let me be straight up – it *is* a multi-level marketing scheme. But it *is* also a good product. In fact very good. I compared in depth the nutrition content to competitive off the shelf products that you can buy at the likes of GNC or grocery stores, and it was clearly significantly superior (less sugar, less salt, better balanced ingredients, less chemicals etc). And cost-wise it works out about the same too. You need to be disciplined (going a whole month dry was a challenge for sure) and also exercise. But I found it gave me the structure to make it easier. Feel free to email me at phil at milesabound dot com if you want more details. Lucky – sorry for stealing the space. But it worked well. I am 5′ 9″ light build and went from 186+ to around 160-162 and have maintained it well since. Hope to drop to around 150-155 before going on vaccay

  20. Hey Ben, Speaking of Mee-ammi, We have a long layover in MIA in route to UIO with AA (flying awards tickets coach) next month. We have a couple of Admirals Club passes or we can use our free Lounge club visits (the free ones with ink bold). Which lounge would you recommend? Thanks for you time!

  21. “Yes, all those fAAty low-nutrition meals are going straight to your huge wAAist, you blubbery whAAle.” šŸ˜‰

  22. Ben…YOU AREN’T EATING ENOUGH! That fruit plate has maybe 40 calories. Yogurt (120), banana (120), protein bar (120-330) and “weā€™ll see what I have for dinner tonight, if anything”? Are you kidding?

    Eating healthy on the road means making the best decisions with what you have to work with, not forgoing eating. Make reasonable choices, not extreme starvation diets. You have to find something livable for the long term (ie the rest of your life). The problem is Americans in general seem to find severe under-eating and crazy overeating to be reasonable while eating what you need to be healthy and taking a bit of exercise is just lunacy. Please realize the old adage all things moderation is the key.

    See these posts:

  23. A comment on Diet Coke. Again moderate portions of Diet Coke are ok, but there are some reports that excessive amounts( 2 litres a day regularly) can actually cause weight gain due its chemicals that can cause the body to retain weight. I personally like Coke Zero as it is made with the same syrup as regular Coke, but it does not have all the excess sugar.

    PS: it sounds like you are in good shape despite all the traveling. Perhaps take a body mass index done to learn what your muscle and fat content are.

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