Weight loss challenges when travelling

Weight loss challenges when travelling

Weight loss and travel don’t always go well together, especially when the itinerary and program is out of your control. This week saw me chairing an all-day meeting on Tuesday in Canberra, speaking at a scientific conference on Wednesday in Hobart, and attending a stakeholder community committee meeting on Thursday in Melbourne. Each event had catered food and beverages. Most of the time the food at these things will consist of sandwiches or wraps and occasionally there might be a hot treat like a party pie or sausage roll or even a deep fried spring roll. Morning tea, if it’s available is often a muffin or if you’re lucky scones with cream and jam. The beverages that are usually on offer are black tea and coffee with the ready availability of milk. Sometimes fruit juice or a carbonated soft drink will be available too. More often than not the ‘juice’ is high in sugar, low in fibre and contains only about 35% juice. The carbonated soft drinks tend to be full of sugar too.

People with dietary needs like a vegetarian or vegan can usually be accommodated and these days gluten-free and dairy-free options are more readily available. What isn’t as obvious are options for people who are reducing the amount of bread, pasta and rice in their diet who also eschew added sucrose as well as complex carbohydrates.

On Tuesday, the meeting was in Canberra so I was able to bring in a cold piece of chicken. I roasted some chicken thighs the night before and brought one in. I ignored the scones for morning tea because the scrambled eggs I ate for breakfast had me happily sated. On the flights that evening to Hobart via Melbourne I was able to pick out leafy salad greens and eat some small chunks of chicken from the meal.

On Wednesday, I enjoyed a hotel breakfast of eggs and bacon with no toast so that worked well. I had to eat something at the airport for lunch and bought some ham and cheese. I got home in time to make a light supper of leftover minced beef and eggs.

Bacon and eggs with Hollandaise sauce, Wrest Point, Hobart Gary Lum weight loss
Bacon and eggs with Hollandaise sauce, Wrest Point, Hobart
View from dining room, Wrest Point, Hobart Gary Lum
View from dining room, Wrest Point, Hobart

On Thursday, I was awake at 4.30 and had a 6.30 flight to Melbourne so I chose to buy some bacon and eggs at the airport. The meeting I attended had a catered lunch and this was my ‘cheat’ meal. I had a mini-bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese along with one deep fried spring roll with a little sweet chilli sauce.

Canberra Airport bacon and scrambled eggs Gary Lum weight loss
Canberra Airport bacon and scrambled eggs

A food competition to beat all food competitions

I was recently invited to join a Facebook group whose members include quite a few podcasting friends who are all USA-based. They were all engaged in this really compelling food competition. Everyone picks one food. During the first week of competition, everyone must eat one serving of that food once a day. In the second week of competition, everyone must eat two servings each day. The third week of competition, everyone must eat three servings each day. By this time people may start to drop out especially if inappropriate choices were made like bowls of ice cream. In the fourth week, it’s four servings each day. When the contest stretches beyond that, it escalates so the changes occur daily. Five servings, then the next day six servings, then the next day seven servings and on and on it goes. People have chosen foods like pineapple (1 cup), salad (1 cup), scones (or what American friends call biscuits) (1 normal size scone), eggs (eaten any way) (1 egg), chicken, rolled oats (1 cup), strawberries (1 cup) and even broccoli (1 cup). This year there were three people left at about day 38 (L had strawberries, A had salad and F had eggs). That’s when A stopped because she couldn’t be bothered buying salad anymore. At day 40, L conceded to F when she realised she had spent $USD60 on strawberries that week (that’s nearly $AUD100)! On day 40 L needed to eat 17 cups of strawberries and F had to eat 17 eggs. At one stage, L had a hiccough and to let her back in she had to complete the JT Challenge with JT being the initials of a challenger who last year ate eggs but because he wanted to go on a date with his girlfriend stopped one day. To let him back in, he had to eat 12 eggs in an hour. So this year L had to complete the JTC and she had to eat 12 cups of strawberries in one go. She live-streamed the event and she was absolutely amazing.

There are obviously some drawbacks to this competitions. One competitor this year who chose rolled oats quickly found how effective oats are for bowel regularity and was spending significant time in the toilet. Last year, L chose pineapple and fully appreciated the action of the natural digestive enzymes in a pineapple when she developed what is affectionately known as pineapple herpes.

I’m not sure who will manage next year’s competition, but I’m tempted to join in the fun. The question is, what food should I choose? It has to be a regular serving so it can’t be something silly like a handful of sultanas. It would need to be something like a ½ cup of sultanas or dried apricots or something like that. This year, L and F got to day 40, 17 serves in a day. I don’t know what I could eat 17 of in one day.

What food would you choose?

How can I focus on weight loss during such a competition? I’d have to choose a protein, but eating so much protein would be really filling.

What other fun stuff happened this week?

I had my performance review at the hospital for my honorary position and I completed compulsory training in fire, emergency and security plus working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Weekend fun

So, after the usual washing, ironing, cleaning and grocery shopping plus a walk around Lake Ginninderra, I had a bit of fun cooking this weekend. You can see my efforts at making nude wonton and hairy melon at my food blog. I had enough leftover to put in the pressure cooker for dinner tonight which I will eat with lettuce leaves. These meals are low in sugar and hopefully help with weight loss as I have some for lunches this week too.

Lake Ginninderra in HDR Gary Lum
Lake Ginninderra in HDR
Nude wonton ready for mixing Gary Lum weight loss
Nude wonton ready for mixing

Click on this photograph and check out the recipe

Nude wonton and hairy melon Gary Lum weight loss
Nude wonton and hairy melon

This morning I had breakfast at Ricardo’s cafe and patisserie and enjoyed a nice smoked salmon and poached eggs dish. On my walk there I came across some interesting street art on the road nearby.

Wood fungus on the way to breakfast Gary Lum
Wood fungus on the way to breakfast
Street art while out walking Gary Lum
Street art while out walking

My smoked salmon and poached eggs breakfast. Not really weight loss friendly

Ricardo’s smoked salmon and poached eggs Gary Lum weight loss
Ricardo’s smoked salmon and poached eggs
Owl statue, Belconnen Gary Lum
Owl statue, Belconnen



So how is the weight loss going?

This week’s chart shows steady loss

Leftover prawns, pork and water chestnuts

Photographs of pressure cooker ‘steamed’ pork, prawns and water chestnut loaf

Pressure cooker steamed pork, prawns and water chestnut loaf Gary Lum weight loss
Pressure cooker steamed pork, prawns and water chestnut loaf
Close up of pressure cooker steamed pork, prawns and water chestnut loaf Gary Lum weight loss
Close up of pressure cooker steamed pork, prawns and water chestnut loaf

Other posts you may like to read

An interesting observation after reducing my sugar intake

Getting back into diet coke


20 Replies to “Weight loss challenges when travelling”

  1. Great post Gary. Traveling can be a tough hurdle like you mentioned with the hotel breakfasts and provided meals. Glad to hear that you have been able to navigate it! Have you looked into developing a travel exercise plan while you are away?

    If you are interested in joining a free Facebook wellness group to promote healthy living that I just created follow this link! https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheDailyMotion/

    Have a nice day!

  2. We travel 5 months out of the year…We live in the North Country but due to my husband’s heart issue we go to warmer places in the winter…

    I know how hard it is to lose weight…Have been doing it myself lately…Here is how I have been losing weight successfully…No pills, no gym membership, just simple strategies…



    1. I think I’d have to ‘borrow’ a new urodome from the hospital and wear a bag on my leg 😂

  3. I thought about this post often today. Mostly the food challenge. I could not imagine doing something like this-how sick you could get of a tasty treat! I was trying to imagine what would be easiest to eat a lot of. Not even shredded iceberg lettuce!
    Your ‘loaf’ is not as pretty as I imagine it tastes. Sometimes food is like that, though. The owl is incredible!!!! Do birds roost on it????
    The traveling and weight sucks. When I got to AK a year ago, I lived in a hospital. It was not cheap and the healthy choices were the more expensive ones. (they did have tasty giant blueberry scones once a week!) Even now, I don’t eat the way I would if I was in my own kitchen. I’d probably cut out the soda, too.
    Good Luck!!!

    1. Thanks Kris, Yea, I’m struggling to think of my perfect food for a challenge like that.
      The Owl Statue created controversy when it was erected, from behind it looks like an erect penis! It also cost the taxpayers >$100,000. I’ve never seen birds on it. Odd I know.
      The loaf certainly tasted good. It transported me back to being a little boy at the kitchen table eating dinner with my parents and brothers.

  4. Good on you for watching the diet on such a busy wieght. Looks like its starting to payoff handsomely 😀 That pressure cooker dinner tonight looks amazing – like a slice of savoury pie. So easy to cook with a pressure cooker 😀

    Hehe. Maybe give the food challenge a go next year. It baffles me why someone would choose something like a bowl of ice-cream. Just for laughs, but not for the long haul 😀

    1. Thanks Mabel
      Hopefully I’ll soon have a microwave pressure cooker which will be quicker 😃

      The good thing about something like fruit is that it can be blended and enjoyed as a drink.

    2. I am all up for you getting another cooking toy to join your mince machine 😀 Fruit comes with natural sugars. As summer approaches, have more fruit drinks. Or rather, make more 😃

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