I write you from Chicago where I am 1 of 20,000 attendees at an HR Conference. Yeah, big f-ing event.
I’ve been on the road since Friday and so far had a great mix of visiting with friends interspersed with going to sessions, workshops and networking.
It can be challenging to maintain a health routine while on the road and yesterday I blew it! I was no road warrior, and instead was more of a road wimp.
As usual, the trip started off beautifully. I dined on healthful homemade meals with friends (one on a rooftop with a spectacular view of the skyline thanks to Happy Eats Healthy), went for a bike ride along the lake, and got to spend quality time with people I care about. Yes, I ate cod (a food that doesn’t work for me) and pasta (which I made an exception for because it was fresh and at an amazing restaurant) and had 2 glasses of wine (hey, it went with delicious truffle pasta!). The rest was mostly in line with what I would normally do at home.
Come Monday, arriving at the conference at 7:00am immediately threw me off. My friends generously sent me on my way with an apple, peach and tea so I was off to a good start. But once there, it was clear the food options limited even if I could get to the front of the line.
By the time 5:00pm hit I had eaten:
- 8:00am: small apple and peach (thank you Kelly and Michael!)
- 11:00am: two portabella mushrooms (what could I say: the rest of the sandwich was too sad to eat)
- 1:30pm: the bottom part of a turkey, lettuce and cheese sandwich, and a few Sunchips from the provided “lunchbox.” I was hungry!
By the time I got to my hotel at 6:30pm I was hangry (conference schmoozing surely works up an appetite), a combo that led to me going off, which I promptly and decisively did (if you’re going to fall off the wagon, I highly recommend you be decisive about it. You will better control what you do and how you bounce back).
Cocktail, house-specialty meatballs with ricotta cheese and crostini, balsamic brussell sprouts (to at least get a cooked veggie in), topped off with a (too close to bedtime) glass of red wine and unbelievable dessert back at my trendy hotel. Side note: if you go for dessert, I highly recommend the Chocolate Banana Cake at the Ace Hotel's City Mouse restaurant. The description of chocolate date fudge, hazelnuts, banana rum ice cream doesn’t do it justice! I did take a probiotic after overindulging, which really helps me with digestion and sleep.
We all go off sometimes and yesterday was my day. How do you navigate diet and exercise while on the road? If only I had followed some of my own tips:
- Stock up on whole food snacks like fruit, nuts and non-sugary meal replacement bars for when hungry or a proper meal not available
- Bring a water bottle so you can fill it up at fountains and water stations (it’s better for the environment too)
- Staying hydrated will help you with digestion. It’s especially good to alternate with caffeinated or alcoholic beverages to avoid headaches and disrupted sleep
- Scout out food options online in advance (my fatal mistake!)
- If you do get off track, brush it off and jump right back on. Again, be decisive about where and when to indulge. The pre-packaged sandwich bread is probably not worth it, while the house-made focaccia at a quality restaurant totally is
- Make time for a walk or workout, especially right after flying to get the lymphatic system going
- On that note, if at all possible do not eat on a plane. The altitude always messes with my digestion. Drink peppermint tea prior to and on the flight to settle your stomach. I always bring some teabags with me.
What is your favorite tip to maintain your health protocol while on the road? Please share!
Being on the road is both thrilling and exhausting. Yes, I get to hear inspiring people like Adam Grant, Sheryl Sandberg and Oscar Munuz talk about corporate culture (I love my work at Balance Integration!). But it’s hard on my feet, ability to get quality sleep, digestion and definitely my ability to stay on course with my health plan.
Instead of beating myself and going further off, today I will start anew. OK, so I had a latte (I am a bit of a disaster on caffeine), but still skipped the pastry and got to the conference early enough to grab some nuts and fruit to ward off hunger, and plan to eat lunch at the hotel next door instead of the sandwich, cookie and chips the conference offers.
So, don’t be a road wimp, be a road warrior and return home strong and energized! Enjoy the trip!
From the road,
Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™