Tuesday, April 24, 2012

To Live and Die(t) in LA. This week's healthy travel plan

Big surprise for me:  I've got yet more travel in front of me.  It's a relatively longer trip that stretches over the weekend, so it's got my alert systems gearing up for a potential health wreck.  

With this in mind, I'm going to try a new(ish) practice:  actually writing down a plan and sharing it publicly.  The logic behind this is pretty straightforward, but for me, it's also pretty powerful.  Some time ago, I wrote about research around Hot States and Cold States.  As a refresher, here is what they are:
  • Hot state:  when we find ourselves tossed into a situation full of temptation right in front of us and having to make decisions in a vulnerable mental state.  For example, if I were to fall into a large vat of mixed nuts, that would likely put me into a hot state.  I would deal with the situation by eating my way out of said vat-of-nuts.  Not surprisingly, research shows that people are less likely to be make smart decisions in a hot state.  
  • Cold state:  This would be an instance in which we were developing a plan for which the subject of temptation was not immediately in front of us.  In a cold state, we can be much more calculating.  In this case, I might write a plan to ask for a life preserver when I get tossed into a large vat of nuts and have someone on hand to pull me out.  
The point is to make decisions when we are not feeling hot and bothered, so we can act responsibly.  Sometimes in life, we don't have a choice, and we unexpectedly end up in a so-called hot state situation.  I would argue that more often we can see the perilous waters long before we hit the water fall.  It's in times like these that we need to pre-arm ourselves and have a plan.  

I've known all of the above for a while, but sometimes my good intentions just seem to get misplaced somewhere in the fun house otherwise known as my brain.  This time, I am going to take a new approach by actually writing said plan down.  For many of you, this is probably not a big deal or revelation, but for me it is.  I am not wired for such activities.  I despise to-do lists and anything that generally resembles them.  I only do them out of duress.  In this case, I will do one to avoid later duress.  It's all a trade-off.  

So here's my new plan for this coming week (let's call it Dangerous Water Plan:  template 1.0)

Down and Out in Beverly Hills?
How bad could it really be?

I'm hopping on a plan on Wednesday morning, and I will be attending a bunch of different meetings and conferences over the coming six days.  I return on a red eye on Monday night.  There will be a lot of socializing-type functions, and the conferences will no doubt be littered with food stations.  I will be a little jet lagged due to the three hour time difference, so I expect to be slightly sleep deprived.  Finally, I'm stuck in LA over the weekend sans family so I will be feeling sorry for myself, eager to tend to my brittle emotions with the loving salve of bad food.  

My plan:

  • Once and for all, I am going to attempt to summon every ounce of will power to ask the flight attendant not to offer me nuts.  In fact, I may ask her not to even offer before she offers.  
  • I will order whatever seems the less unhealthy as part of the meal service
  • No mini-bar food excursions!  
  • For the weekend, I might hit a local grocery story and stock up on some fruit in the room so I have alternatives
  • Oatmeal 'n fruit 'n yogurt.  Pretty easy.
  • Whatever healthy thing is available.  At the conference, look to use smaller plates.
  • Order healthy and try to leave 1/3 of the food on my plate.
  • Skip dessert
Snacking at conferences
  • Only fruit
  • Try to stick to coffee
  • This one is easy.  Both hotels have good gyms, and one is close to the gym I belong to (Equinox)
Selectively letting go
  • Give myself two dinners where I will take the shackles off a little.  I'm thinking Friday and Saturday night.  Get back on plan by Sunday night.  
So that's the plan.  What is interesting about this post is that I really did write it 98% for myself.  Should you get anything out of it, that's great!  




  1. Plan the work and then work the plan my friend :) you can do it

  2. Never ever hurts to have a plan and to follow it. Yes, I know the feeling of "poor me" guess I'll have some _____ so I'll feel better. Lots of luck to you in getting through the week without any damage. :)

  3. When travelling for work related stuff, I find it easier to stick to my plan if I have a "buddy" with similar goals and we make plans for eating and such together. It's not always possible, but it works when it is possible.

  4. Interestingly, you didn't mention alcohol. Huh, Dave? I think I recall that you drink...may want to revise and work that into your plan.

    I am thrilled to know that you are visiting my great city (well, we live in Altadena which is a city in the foothills north of LA but I can see downtown LA from my backyard). There are SO many good and great healthful options here since we have an abundance of fresh produce all year long. I hope that that is reflected in your buffets.

    Are you going to be anywhere where the public is welcome (hmmm, didn't mean that to sound stalkerish (I just finished all 3 of the "Fifty Shades" books, so that is on my mind), just wasn't sure if you were doing a book signing).

  5. You go, Dave! It is good to have a plan - something is better than nothing! Traveling seems to be the most challenging for any of us with sticking on plan. You can do it!

  6. Some hotels allow you to remove the mini bar (or take away the key for your stay). Another option is to ask for a mini fridge. I do this when I am in NYC and stock up on cut produce, hummus and fruit cups. I realize that time may not allow you to go "shopping," but a quick run to a supermarket (if not a lovely farmer's market) is a worthy investment.

    1. Funny you mention it. The organizers of the conference had all of the mini bar contents removed. It helped!!!

  7. Tell the flight attendant that you are allergic to nuts as you get on....that way they won't even offer it to you...

  8. I'm on trip myself, driving cross country from Miami to Seattle (no way I'm sticking my giant malamute/wolf puppy in a plane hold). It's so tricky staying not-hungry when you hit the boring stretches; for meals I'm trying to make sure I get a lot of protein + some fat + fiber (like, say, sushi with wakame salad) as that seems to keep my able to do battle with the Diet Demons & win. Travel is tough on a working WW.

  9. David, I like your plan. As a WW Lifetimer myself, planning is key even though we still end up making choices. Stick to it. SS.

  10. I have used the allergy excuse with a twist. "I'm allergic to pizza, I break out in fat!" Gets a laugh and people get the message and don't push it.
    Travel can be tough, I am already thinking about what I will do in August when I go back home for a visit. Trying to visualize myself making better choices.

  11. I think this will work! You made yourself even more accountable! My husband travels and has a similar plan, but if he need reinforcement, I can have him list his plan. Love the pizza comment (Karla).
    Thanks for sharing,

  12. Well, having lost 1/2 of my bodyweight (218 pounds) with a combination of WW and some serious fitness efforts, I think your model looks good. The slider days are very important as the ability to have a short lapse every now and again w/o guilt makes the long term easy. The W/E slides are great. I just hit the workout first thing the next day for a little "penance"

    Never found the mini bar to be a problem as I am not gonna pay $4 for a snack!

    My kryponite is the minefield of candy, cookies, bagels, what-have-you at work. Well it does keep me at my desk so I avoid it - for the most part.

    Something you might consider. at lunchtime I head out for a walk. If I can grab somethign to munch on while walking, I kill two birds with one stone. Something light to eat, and a little activity.

  13. David

    Like your plan, I travel every week, and stay away from the nuts also.
    I tell the flight attendant that I'm allergic to them, when they look so serious, I smile, and tell them it's not life threatening, I just break out in jokes.

    I've lost 107 pounds in 10 1/2 months by the Grace of God, Wweight Watchers, and exercise

  14. My only recommendation to your plan, which all sounds great, is to remove the words "attempt" "try" and so forth. Rather, use more positive, affirming words such as "can" and "will," and you WILL be be successful. :) Weight Watchers ROCKS!

  15. Hi Dave-

    You are so funny and I LOVE your outlook on life and weightloss. Your blog is inspiring and is helping me through a tough time. Thank you so much for sharing your journey!!! I want to be you when I grow up :)

  16. I wanted to share with you my favorite room service breakfast that I perfected after years of travel and watching my weight suffer. I order two poached eggs (no oil or butter that way), dry english muffin and a side of fruit with coffee. Just a suggestion in case you get tired of oatmeal

  17. I am a leader and I love your book! Yay for you.
    Yes, remove words like try and you will do great.
    I have been inspired by your book this week! Thanks so much. ;)

  18. Bought ur book this week. Hope it keeps me on plan. I know the plan works if I work the plan. Btw...it would be great if WW came out with inspirational bracelets or rings. A bracelet that has "believe" or "amazing" to help remind me to stay on track. I think a tattoo on my wrist "eat clean" is a little excessive. ;).

  19. Like this ^ . Really good idea -like a friendship bracelet that you can wear on your hand. Something to remind you every time you food to your mouth. Perhaps with the Ww saying nothing tastes as good as slim feels!