It’s one thing to be on a restricted calorie diet with a focus on weight loss when you are at home or in an office setting where you can dictate what, where, and when you will be eating. It is an entirely other thing to try to control your diet when on a business trip, particularly when the boss man is into large meals.
I flew to Atlanta on Tuesday night, arriving at the Hilton at about 11:30PM, only to find out that they’d overbooked the joint and I got sent off the La Quinta for the night. The Hilton picked up the tab, which would have been great had I been on vacation (i.e. not on expense account). The next morning, I went back to the Hilton and had breakfast. They have a buffet there, so it is really easy to control what you eat (and conversely, to go crazy).
On Wednesday, I was locked in meetings all day and for lunch I had a turkey sandwich. Pretty low calorie, but I knew what was coming, so I needed to conserve a few. That night, my boss took a bunch of us out and we went to a steak and seafood joint. One my colleagues, who himself has lost 40 pounds and looks great, had said that he wanted a good steak that night. The boss gave him a hard time about how much that would cost and so he ordered a modest sized steak and the boss proceeded to order a huge lobster. We had two dozen oysters for the four of us who would eat them and two crab cakes a piece as appetizers. I had about six of those oysters and a crab cake. I also had salmon, which was grilled and a side of vegetables. No sauce on the salmon, which was good and it was actually crispy on the top. I’ve never had salmon that was crispy. I figured the oysters were low calorie and I did splurge a little on the crab cake but I didn’t have any sauce.
That night, we went to a preview of Lincoln, Spielberg’s new movie. It was terrific. As you know, Spielberg doesn’t make small movies and this is a huge movie. Wow, what a story. I was offered popcorn after that big meal and I turned it down, of course. Generally, I did pretty well in that environment. I enjoyed a little treat, but I could have gone hog wild.
The next morning, I had a breakfast at the Hilton, a small bowl of shredded wheat, milk, about one scrambled egg, and an orange. That’s about 450 calories. For lunch, we went to California Pizza Kitchen. This is a joint where you order your own pizza, but I went off the board a little and had a chicken breast with chimichurri sauce. It came with a generous portion of grilled vegetables and it was advertised at 550 calories. I thought it was very tasty. More and more, I am realizing that there are a lot of places with low calorie offerings. I do note that these offerings often have a little of a premium price, but if you are looking to stay on a calorie count, a couple of extra bucks are worth it. Plus, water is a really good drink option.
That evening, we went out for a group dinner. There were 14 of us and plate after plate of appetizers were passed around. I generally passed on these, but there were a few vegetable plates that I tried. I had fish again and it was okay, but nothing really special. This was another huge calorie opportunity and in the presence of a number of people, it can be easy to go crazy. The good news is that people noticed my weight loss and commented quite a bit. If you are well on your way, it’s easier to refuse a large indulgence, I think, than if you are just starting out. Nevertheless, it is a little difficult to pass on really good food. It’s one thing to drive by a Big Mac — it’s another thing to forgo really good stuff.
The next morning, again at the Hilton, I had the same breakfast as the day before. For lunch, we went to McCormick and Schmick’s. The menu there was not exactly low calorie. They are into huge portions. It is a fish joint, which is good, but they also like creamy sauces. Again, I had salmon because they had a lunch special (read smaller portion) and it came with vegetables and rice. The salmon and vegetables were doused in some cream based sauce, so that wasn’t exactly low calorie, but considering all the traps I had navigated on this trip, I ate the whole thing. This was kind of a late lunch (we got done at 2:30) and our flight left at 7:15, so we didn’t eat at the airport. I declined the snack on the plane, which isn’t much, but I didn’t really want it.
I brought workout clothes on the trip, but I did not work out. The first morning was after a short night and I went between two hotels. The second night I made up the sleep lost on the first night. The third night I could have worked out, but I woke up at 3 AM and was not able to get back asleep until after five, so I punted on an early morning workout. Oh well, I’m home and can go to the gym.
If I had gained a couple of pounds on this trip, it wouldn’t have been the end of the world. But, I treated this as kind of a test. I knew what the situation was and I know I’ll be in this situation in the future. Can I enjoy meals without going crazy? I did enjoy the food I had and I didn’t go crazy. But, I had to be mindful of what I was doing and exert control. I was happy with my results. I came back 1.6 pounds lighter than when I left.
Total Loss: 46.3