Today we’re discussing the 2nd Energy Habit – FUEL
When I survey business travelers to ask them what their biggest challenge as a road warrior is, 9 out of 10 will answer: eating healthy on the road. I have the handful of stories of some incredible food I’ve eaten and wine I’ve drank during my many years on the road and the 40 extra pounds to prove it!
There are many reasons why eating healthy on the road was their biggest challenge, such as no self-control, lack of control over your own meals, FOMO (fear of missing out), peer pressure, etc. All understandable but in the end, we’re left with the weight, the guilt, and the lack of energy.
Here’s a Question For You…
Have you ever wondered if food really affects your energy? How often have you missed breakfast and start dragging in the mid to late morning or because you’re hungry and your stomach is growling. Or how often have you made a poor lunch choice and it’s haunting you (and others) mid to late afternoon on the road? You become THAT guy or girl.
You’re either tired, bloated, or struggle digesting whatever you ate that seemed like a good idea at the time. This proves how much our food can directly affect our energy.
Early on, sadly, my criteria for food most of my road life was as follows:
- I want it quick
- I want it easy
- I want it large
- I want it tasty
When I first started out, I had the budget of a small child who hated food, which meant I had to get very creative on the use of my daily food allotment. I made so many bad choices early on and also created many bad habits that took years to unlearn.
Here’s a stat: 75% of adults are overweight and 36% are considered obese.
Think about that.
And this statistic doesn’t address the Road Warrior who eats many of those meals on the road with many more tempting and fattening foods literally at their fingertips.
Now, there’s overweight statistically then there’s overweight for you. And here’s the problem:
We don’t see the correlation between nutrition and energy.
If we don’t watch what we eat and continue down this path, we’re always going to feel:
- Embarrassed about how we look
- Out of control
- Lack self-discipline
- Little to no energy
Is that the life you want? And if we’re REALLY honest with ourselves, will my health affect the quality and length of my life?
And THAT is the real issue: Not having energy as a result of not eating properly to do my VERY BEST every single day.
Is that your story? Do you feel unhealthy? Overweight?
I can relate.
I used to eat whatever I wanted and whenever I wanted and often times, the later the better. Can’t go to bed hungry, right? I never looked at the label to read the calories, fat, or sugar – and definitely not the ingredients.
Looking back, I’m a little horrified at what I consumed a majority of my life.
I justified my eating because I worked out and once I started traveling, I couldn’t hide the weight anymore. I felt horrible, far from my best, and detested how I looked in the hotel mirror.
For me, this was not acceptable and I hated how I felt and looked. But I chose to change the way I ate on the road which became a catalyst to change my eating behaviors at home as well.
I feel in control again and in really good shape for my age. I prefer to curl the 40 lb. dumbbell not carry it in my gut.
Food is a personal issue especially on the road. It’s easy to feel justified by what we eat on the road. I hear consistently from women that too often food becomes emotional on the road and reactive due to the stress. Understandable, but there’s still a cost.
Men often turn to alcohol and we know where that could lead.
Energy Habit Two is FUEL. It’s challenging how we look at food when we travel.
Here’s The Problem
I was eating on the road because I was hungry or because it was time to eat and it was just there in front of me. I did NOT look at food in the way that is critical for a Road Warrior:
I had to change my mindset to the following…
FOOD is FUEL.
It’s the fuel your body needs to have the energy you need on the road to be an Elite Road Warrior
FUEL is ENERGY.
Food is Fuel and Fuel is Energy.
And when you begin to think this way, Energy Habit Two will start to make a difference in your Road Life
There are four words that will become your fuel mantra. These four words simply and literally changed my food choices.
Four Words That Will Change Your Nutritional Regrets on the Road
Make The Healthiest Choice
What if you said those specific four words absolutely every time you were about to eat? How much different would the results be AFTER you chose the healthier option?
These four words, Make the Healthiest Choice became my personal mantra. I got serious and I mean serious with these four words.
I put it on my mirror so I would see the phrases and the overweight person staring back at me in the mirror every stinking time. (That guy was consistent!)
I even put it on my door so I would see it walking out of the room. I put a sticky note on my fridge in my hotel room if one was available to me.
I repeated those four words staring at a menu especially when my natural reaction at a restaurant is the tastiest choice or the largest choice.
And here’s a challenging question for you to think about: What could begin to change in your nutrition if you followed these four words, Make the Healthiest Choice? This could be a game changer for you.
My wife and I ask this question of our kids now: What would be the healthiest choice? When we go out to eat and they choose from the kid’s menu: What would be the healthiest choice? When they get a snack: What would be the healthiest choice? We want them to recognize this now at an early age. So, if a 7-year-old can do it, I know you can too!
Here’s the point: We want to feel healthy so we can accomplish and enjoy what we want out of our work and life. Your nutrition can and should be a source of energy for you to do your best work.
In this 2nd energy habit of FUEL, you’ll learn three actions that will change how you view nutrition on the road.
Wait, hydration is not food! But just as a high performing car needs gas (food to the body), it also needs oil to run smoothly. And that’s exactly why we need to hydrate.
2. Clean & Green
This is where our four key words: Make the Healthiest Choice begin changing our decisions on the road. Don’t worry, you’re not going to starve yourself or have to eat only things you hate. This is a process.
At first, it will be Make the Healthier Choice. But it simply gets down to Eating Clean and Eating Green.
3. Carry a Controlled Substance
Two things I don’t care for: being hungry and limited options when I am hungry. This is why it’s critical you learn how to leverage the power of snacks or your own meal to subsidize in a way that continually fuels you and doesn’t put you in a spot to Make the Quickest Choice, or the Easiest Choice, or even the Largest Choice.
Once you learn how to carry a controlled substance and make it part of your road routine, you’ll be able to have complete control of your fuel on the road.
This is a process.
It takes determination and dedication to have these four words become natural before you eat each meal or even snack. Chances are there will be times you will choose a different key word in the four words (easiest / quickest / largest / tastiest). But the key is what you do the next meal.
I’ve found that not continuing the pattern and making the 2nd mistake is absolutely critical to getting back on the nutritional wagon. You need to stop the bleeding immediately. Engrave “Make the Healthiest Choice” in your mind. Remember, only YOU control your nutrition, so take responsibility now. Implement these four words with your very next meal on the road. Then at the next meal. Then the next…
You’ve got this!