If you’re a “road warrior” I’ve got some advice that I’m convinced will work for you as you take off weight while occupying the friendly skies, and elsewhere on your travels.
Eat Healthy Food at the Airport
Let’s be honest: most airport eateries aren’t noted for the variety or quality, of their offerings. Airports are filled with high-fat, high-sugar snacks. If I must chew on something, I stroll right past the kiosks selling junk food and look for places where I can buy healthy food such as: fruit, low-fat yogurt, or a salad.
Carefully examine the menu in airport restaurants. You can usually find a low-fat or low-calorie selection. If you have to grab airport food, look for a way to bulk up your fiber intake with things like fresh fruit (especially berries), salads, whole grains and vegetable soups.
What if you can’t find anything that qualifies as “healthy food?” Sometimes I simply go hungry a while longer. If I must order a less-than-healthful item, I eat only a small portion of it. (Be warned this tactic requires extraordinary willpower.)
Be Active and Walk Around Before Your Flight
Be active. Avoid the moving walkway. Unless you’re absolutely going to miss a connecting flight, walk briskly to your next gate using your own two feet without the mechanical help.
Walk around the concourse. If you have time between connecting flights, start to walk around at a comfortable fast pace. Sure, I know you might be tired after a long flight and don’t want to trudge through the airport, pulling your carry-on through throngs of other passengers. But trust me, be active, a little walk will rejuvenate you and prevent travel pounds from piling on. Try to get in at least 10 to 20 minutes of brisk walking.
On the Plane
Airline food is almost universally considered a bad dining experience. We’ve all seen those UFOs (unidentified fried objects) and had that ubiquitous chicken breast which has circumnavigated the globe many times by now. If you’re on a flight that offers a meal service (or your fortunate enough to have upgraded to a class that provides an actual meal), make the same choices you would in a restaurant and choose healthy food. Choose the low-calorie, low-fat, healthful selections, and eat sparingly of those carb-rich items like rolls and desserts that aren’t very healthful. Also, use only half the salad dressing you’re given, and don’t put butter on the roll. Ask if you can have some fresh fruit as a substitute for dessert. Little things add up fast.
Try to eat like you would at home. So if you don’t tend to polish off a three-course meal with a giant hot fudge sundae at home, don’t eat one on the plane. I guarantee it’s not going to be the best hot fudge sundae you’ve ever had, so why blow it on something mediocre?
Don’t drink too many calories. When the beverage cart rolls your way, ask for water, tomato juice, or a calorie-free diet drink. Just say no to alcohol and beverages with caffeine because they contribute to dehydration. The snacks-for-purchase on flights aren’t the greatest, so pass those up too. I suggest bringing your own healthy food to snack on: fresh fruits, cut-up veggies or one of my power cookies.
On long flights, be active from time to time. I don’t mean roam the aisle and get in the flight attendants way. Just stand up every half-hour or so and stretch your legs, arms and other muscles.
This doesn’t just burn a few calories; it may help prevent deep-vein thrombosis (DVT), a serious medical complication of long flights. If your legs are immobile for long periods, blood can gather in the lower limbs and form a clot in the veins found in the muscles. If the clot then travels to the heart, lungs or brain, it could be fatal. You’re more at risk of a deep-vein thrombosis if you’re elderly, obese, have conditions such as cancer, or another acute medical illness, and if you have undergone surgery, or are pregnant, on birth control pills, or hormone replacement therapy.
There are other preventative measures you can take if you’re at risk. A 20-to 30-minute brisk walk around the terminal building will keep your circulation going over several hours. Stay hydrated, too. Alcohol dehydrates you and makes you less mobile, increasing the risk of blood clots. Lots of airlines now offer exercise routines which you can do in your seat.