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A Secret to Healthy Eating for Business Travelers

Posted by Cory Annis | June 23, 2012
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/blog/223855

A Secret to Healthy Eating on the Road

As an entrepreneur, you have to make every moment of your hectic day count. That often leaves little time left to focus on a healthy lifestyle, especially when you're travelling to drum up business.

The typical calorie-laden business meal can lay you flat and turn colleagues or potential customers into the unwitting saboteurs of your best health intentions. Even if breaking bread results in sealing that big deal, overindulging leaves you feeling sluggish and makes your subsequent 24 hours less productive.

To be sure, connecting over meals is a way to meet people, woo clients, and fight loneliness on the road. But if you don't prepare for "temptation" ahead of time, you're far more likely to succumb.

No matter how rational you think you are, most people are wired to overthrow those reasonable decisions in the heat of the moment, according to behavioral economist Dan Ariely.

Here are two quick steps to avoid that next dietary disaster and keep you on a healthy track:

 1. Set a fun active goal. Long before you sit down at the table, performance psychologist Peter Shallard recommends planning an activity with enough fun to diminish the "work" aspect of exercise. It should also be modestly more challenging than your current level, whether it's participating in an adult softball league or a salsa competition.

2. Rehearse your response. Imagine someone saying, "Try the four cheese pasta!" and you respond, "No thanks. I'm in training for…" How you finish the statement is up to you -- and depends on the activity you have chosen in advance. Then, go on to order whatever supports your best intentions.

Related: Is Your Small Business Making You Fat?

Why it works:

"I'm in training," sounds more powerful to others than "I'm on a diet." But more importantly, note how you feel when you say them to yourself.

Who would try to sway you after such an announcement? Nothing firms personal resolve like committing to something noble in public. You can also strengthen business connections by starting new conversations around potentially mutual interests.

Committing to an invigorating activity is more than a Jedi mind trick. It's a smart maneuver that attracts everyone's cooperation, even yours.

Related: How Google's Marissa Mayer Prevents Burnout