Working Girl/Boy Manifesto

One of the issues that commonly comes up in the nutrition world is the work-life balance.  Yes – it would be ideal if we could workout 2 hours a day, eat 3 home-cooked meals and well-rounded snacks, avoid the candy jar and liquor cabinet.  But would it be fun?  Heck no!  And is it realistic or sustainable in our busy world?  Absolutely not.  But guess what the good news is?  You don’t have to be a saint all the time to look great — you just have to have a few good tricks up your sleeves for when things get a little tricky.

Case in point: one of my girlfriends works at Credit Suisse doing campus recruitment.  As part of her job she has to travel a lot and often has cocktails and other events to attend.  And believe me, I know as well as anyone that when you have a couple of glasses of wine, those spring rolls look increasingly delicious.  Here are some tips to staying healthy on the fly and navigating the cocktail hour:

When you’re traveling:

  • Your best defense is a good offense!  When I know I’m taking a trip, I make sure to pack a ton of healthy snacks with me, and not just because D needs to be fed at 2 hour intervals or else he becomes cranky.  Things like instant oatmeal (you can get hot water anywhere!), raw almonds/cashews/walnuts, natural granola bars (Luna/Larabars/flavor and fiber bars), bags of carrots and celery, or apples.  All of these things are pretty portable and can make good breakfasts, snacks or even mini-meals.
  • Check out your hotel beforehand.  A lot of hotels are offering fitness rooms these days – and if I have the option of booking a hotel, I always make sure there is some kind of workout facility either in it or nearby.  You can also call the hotel beforehand and ask if there are any good trails in the area for running or walking.  Trying to sneak in even 30 minutes of exercise during the day can help stoke your metabolism and keep you energized for a long workday.

At Cocktail Hour:

  • Spoil your appetite beforehand.  Have a little snack – a handful of nuts, a couple of whole wheat crackers with hummus, an apple, and make sure to do it no more than an hour before your event.  Going into any event STARVING is the worst idea ever.  Not only are you setting yourself up to make bad choices, any alcohol you drink will go straight to your head, making matters worse.
  • Alternate alcohol with water or seltzer and keep a drink in your hand at all times.  I know this seems very old-ladyish, but seriously it is the best advice I have ever received and I’m passing it on to you.  Not only does this make you less likely to get hammered (and that’s not very professional is it?), it keeps one hand busy and away from the snacks.  If you keep your hand holding a cup you just can’t reach for that much food right?
  • Navigate the hors d’oeuvres.  If the cocktail hour is where you’ll be eating dinner (and this happens from time to time), scan the menu and fill your plate first with vegetables and lean proteins (crudité, shrimp, grilled veggies, chicken skewers) — basically the healthy stuff.  Then pick one or two small items that look special and delicious and you simply can’t pass up.  For example – I was at a cocktail party recently and the sushi looked particularly amazing — I filled my plate up with a couple pieces of sashimi, a couple rolls and some veggies.  Later on I had half of a small peking duck pancake that D said was amazing.

With a little planning, travel and work don’t have to sidetrack your health goals and you can stay fit and fabulous, no matter where your life takes you!

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