Different timezones. How to eat??
We are not living the normal lifestyle in the same time zone, on the same spot. To eat healthy, it doesn’t mean you must only eat vegetables, fruits and chicken. You need to find a balance. Can you eat chocolate and enjoy a beer? Of course, but in moderation. I would say 80% of your foods must be “clean food” and 20% can be the “fun food”. I have learned that there are several ways to cope with eating in different time zones and destinations.
There are days that take longer than other days while traveling. for instance, traveling to the west will only extend your day. You take off in Europe at 1500 local time, fly for 10 hours and land in the west coast of the US at 1630. Your day basically takes 8:30hrs longer, which makes you more hungry off course. After that 10 hour shift, I often see colleagues craving food and ending up eating chips, chicken wings and drinking loads of beer. All American style, so XXXL portions. Let’s say a guy ate 2500 calories throughout the day and ends up having that huge snack at the end of the shift. That’s probably at least 3000 calories on top of it. So that’s eating 5500 calories on a day where he/she has been sitting most of the day! I don’t even do that during a bulk! My question, is it worth it? Are there other ways to cope with these cravings in a “32:30” day?
Replacing bad habits
An approach if you are actually craving food at the end of the day, is to eat a good meal before the landing, or to eat something healthy at the destination. Like I said, I often see people just go lose in a snackbar after the flight. It might sound harsh, but this is my take on it. You are hungry, that doesn’t mean you need to eat a plate of nachos with melted cheese on it! Simply have a chicken salad, or even just a turkey wrap to begin with. Try to eat in moderation. You don’t need so much of it. The reason why it’s hard at the beginning, is because you are used to this lifestyle. Approach your whole diet like this. Try to eat good wholesome foods throughout the day that actually fills your stomach more than a fatty pizza which contains 1300 calories. Also often you are thirsty and not hungry. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. I would go for at least 3 to 4 litres a day. First of all for general health, but also because it fills you up. Coffee works great as well to suppress the hunger.
Try to also eat your calories and not to drink it. A can of Cola contains the same amount of calories as a plate of chicken or a steak. I don’t know about you, but i’d prefer to eat the steak. If you really want to drink a soda, have a diet coke. 0 sugar 0 calories. Is it healthy? In moderation i’d say it’s not unhealthy. Like I said, find a balance.
The life of FASTING
Another approach I normally use when i’m trying to lose some fat, is intermittent fasting. What is intermittent fasting? Basically it’s eating your meals in a shorter timeframe and fasting for the remainder of the day. A famous approach is eating within an 8 hour time window and fasting for 16 hours. In my case I would fast at the beginning of the day and shift my big meals until later on. I’d wake up in the morning, drink a cup of coffee have a workout in a fasted state maybe and then at around 14:00 I would have my first meal. I love this method, because I love having big meals instead of small meals throughout the day. Also because you’ll be needing most of these foods after your workout, so the calories taken in will be used to rebuild those hard worked muscles. This is definitely a method you can use during these long flights. By delaying your meals as long as possible, you could eat your meals in a timeframe that would make it look like a normal 24 hour day. for more information about intermittent fasting, check out https://authoritynutrition.com/what-is-intermittent-fasting/
Room in your suitcase?
Another good thing is to take some food with you on the plane. Like fruit, a couple of protein bars or packets of oatmeal. It fills you up, it’s really healthy and contains a low amount of calories! When I go on a trip of a couple of days, I stack lots of protein bars, shakes and packets of oatmeal. It makes sure that when i’m hungry at the hotel or wherever, I’ll have a healthy snack within an arm’s reach. It fills me up, I know what I’m eating and its healthy!
One of the best advices I can give you, is to track your meals. It doesn’t all have to be precisely measured, but a good estimate of what you’re eating will take you extremely far. I thought I knew how much calories I was eating more or less before I tracked my calories. One day I decided to download an app to track it all. I was so shocked of how much I was actually eating! It changed my life completely to how I look at food. I can highly recommend the app “Myfitnesspal”, which you can download for free on IOS and android. It contains a database with almost all the products of the world added by the community. The app contains a barcode scan feature that if you take a picture of the products barcode, it usually identifies it. You just have to fill in the servings or amount. If you have a meal with 200 grams of chicken and a cup of rice, just type it in and add it like that. It takes getting used to, but once you found your way, it’s so easy and it takes 0 time, because the app saves your meals. Use your daily caloric intake (explained later on below) and it will show you how calories you have left of the day. Since I used the app on a daily basis, I notice I can fully control my body. If I’m in a lean bulk, I can add muscle to my body and minimising the fat gains. When I want to lose my body fat, I can controllably lose fat and minimising muscle loss. Everyone said it’s impossible to have a six pack with a profession like this, especially with long haul flying. It’s a great feeling to prove people wrong! For more information about the Myfitnesspal application, check out http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/what-is-myfitnesspal.html https://www.myfitnesspal.com/
See it as “weekly calories”
Don’t forget that at the end of the day, it’s not so much about daily calories, but about weekly calories. One screw-up day or cheat day will not mind if the rest of your week is fine. Just don’t make the screw-up day much of a habit by overdoing it. It’s fine to have a couple of beers. But do you need the whole gallon plus the kabab? All in moderation. Live in balance.