Traveling and being on a cut is definitely more challenging than being on a cut at home. My calories don’t go as far because I don’t know what goes into every recipe or how food is prepared. I have to overestimate calories and work out first thing in the morning so we can work vs training mid day like normal which is a lot easier for me energy wise.
However, being in a calorie deficit, doesn’t mean eating food I don’t like, no matter where I am. But, it does mean choosing something healthy 90-95% of the time. It also means always prioritizing my protein and asking for more ingredients to be omitted or served on the side so I can control portions. Some days I choose lighter meals from time to time to “save” calories for a nice lunch or dinner out. That being said, I’m not someone that starves myself or skip meals when I’m hungry just to “save” calories. To me, that’s far more detrimentally than beneficial, and something I would NOT recommend doing.
I’ve also had to change my approach to how i’m consuming my calories while traveling. Since most meals are high in fats, I’ve been having more lower carb and higher fat days and every couple of days I’ll make an effort to choose meals low in fats and then really up my carbs. This helps with my energy levels and maintaining strength for training.
My training has been on point over the past 3 weeks, and I’ve consistently gotten 10-16k steps a day. I haven’t experiences any loss in strength, but I would be lying if I said my motivation was high. I can’t say I’m surprised as I don’t sleep as well when we’re away, and between that and the change in my training time and decreased calories, it takes a lot more will power to do the same things I usually do.
One thing I’m particularly cognizant of during my cut is only eating when I’m hungry. Sounds simple doesn’t it? But, as a nutrition coach it’s one area that 90% of my clients struggle with.I did too! (And sometimes still find it challenging when I’m overtired). So many of us eat on a schedule or at a set time regardless of hunger. We eat when we’re bored or because we haven’t eaten in 3 hours and, “oh my goodness, someone told me if I don’t eat 6 meals a day my metabolism will slow down”. Not true. And while there are people that need to eat every x hours for medical reasons, that doesn’t apply to most of us.
Most of are are lucky to live places where food is not scare. But as a result, we’re often out of touch with our hunger cues. We don’t know how to stop eating before we want to unzip our pants or eat just enough so we don’t feel the need to take a nap. We often eat because food is there, not because we’re hungry.
Three things to try if your goal is weight loss or simply a healthy relationship with food!
1. Take photos of every single thing you eat in a single day. Every single bite, taste, link and drink! Throw it into an app and make a collage or figure out a way to view them all at the same time. Now, reflect on everything. Did you eat more than you realized? How were your hunger levels when you ate each of those things? How many of those things did you need to satisfy your hunger, and how many of those things were foods you ate just because they were convenient or yummy. Now, don’t get me wrong, I want you to eat yummy things! But, the key is sticking to only eating those yummy things when you’re hungry.
2. Before you eat anything, ask yourself “Am I hungry?”. When you stand in front of your open fridge, ask yourself, “Am I hungry?” And if the answer is no. Then close it! Drink some water. Get busy, clean your apartment for 15 minutes and see if that boredom/hunger passes. If it doesn’t, eat! If it doesn’t, great, you didn’t really need that food.
3. Make yourself a hunger chart. You can make a scale in a way that makes sense to you. The idea is to use it to assess your hunger before you eat anything. When you make it, decide what number you should be eating at and what numbers you want to avoid eating at. Here’s an example:
1- I just ate, I’m satisfied and not hungry
3- I could have a small snack but I probably don’t need it
5-I’m getting hungry, I could use a small snack or eat a meal in an hour
7-I hungry and really need to eat within the next 30 minutes
10- I’m hangry, I waited too long to eat.