On a fairly regular basis, my job affords me the opportunity to travel internationally. Often during these trips, I have struggled to ‘stay on plan’ with my Fantasy Healthball goals. A two-week trip out of the country turns into a half-month detour away from my health goals. Certainly, there are steps I could have taken to better plan my trips, such as planning to stay in accommodations that offer workout facilities. But, sometimes its just not that simple.
Recently, I have been traveling to Brazil on business. These trips have been my first to South America. As with traveling to any new region, I have had a lot to learn about local culture. One of the observations I have made is that nearly every restaurant my hosts take me to includes some sort of buffet. On our various customer visits, we ate at university cafeterias, shopping malls, downtown city restaurants, and roadside diners -all offering some sort of buffet.
Now this can be beneficial, in that you can select what foods you want to eat, and try to keep portions reasonable. However, there are cultural expectations that are hard to overcome, at least for me. For example, the first lunch buffet that I decided to eat salad…just salad, led to my foreign hosts arguing in Portuguese about bringing me to an unsuitable lunch-place. No amount of English explanation would change their mind, determining that I was just being polite. So of course, this leads to the dinner-place selection being one which will provide me enough food on one plate to feed an entire family. It’s hard to control your portions and maintain relationship with your hosts, especially if this is the first time you have met, and your job depends upon this relationship being secure.
Then, figuring out how much nutrition you are receiving in foods you are unfamiliar with can be challenging. The national food of Brazil is feijoada.
It is a bean stew, with various meats and rice mixed in. It is easy to find in restaurants each week on Wednesday and Saturday. In the weeks I have spent in Brazil, I have had numerous opportunities to sample it in various forms. It is a fairly heavy dish, easily filling you, and is invariably served in large portions. As a regular part of my Brazilian diet, trying to figure out whether to give myself the daily Healthball points was sometimes problematic.
Over time, certainly these incidents can be overcome. But the point is, no matter where your life takes you, by keeping your good Fantasy Healthball goals at the forefront of your thoughts, and by looking for opportunities to stick to the plan. Travel and work responsibilities can impact your weekly score. But with a little planning and determination, you can turn these health detours into just minor speed-bumps, and get back on track to better health. — Jeff Hagen