The only predictable thing about travel,” says Samantha Cicotello, “is that it’s unpredictable.” A year ago, this 40-year-old mom of two from Washington, D.C., started traveling a couple of days a week for her HR job at a Fortune 500 company, and her new normal involved airport food, airport lines, and a lot of waiting around at departure gates. “There were so many opportunities to make unhealthy choices,” she says. “I found I was eating things that weren’t good for me and that I didn’t really enjoy, like bagels with cream cheese.”
Trial and error helped Samantha come up with the following strategies for staying on plan when traveling—for work or pleasure.
Find tools that can be flexible
After her second child was born, Samantha quickly realized she wasn’t going to be able to make her regular WW Workshop. Once her travel schedule ramped up, things got even busier. She turned to one-on-one coaching, which lets her work the program on her schedule. “It’s great for me,” she says. “I talk to my WW Coach once a week, sometimes more if I’m having a tough time.” She’s not shy about doubling up on sessions when she needs the extra push, and loves that her Coach will help her think through exactly how she can fit in exercise during a busy travel week. “She helps me stay on track,” Samantha says.
When Samantha is running for a plane and needs to grab some food for the flight, she opens her WW app. “The barcode scanner has been life changing,” she says. “It usually takes about a millionth of a second to give me the SmartPoints value. If I’m late for my flight and can’t stop to grab dinner but don’t want to get on the plane hungry, I can go to a shop, scan some protein bars, and pick my best option.”
If she does have extra time before boarding, Samantha studies the menus posted outside the restaurants near her gate before grabbing a table. “So many chain restaurants are included in the app,” she explains. “If I have 7 SmartPoints left, I can pick the best place to spend them.”
Walk whenever you can
“There’s no mode of travel that doesn’t have you sitting on your butt,” Samantha points out, whether it’s a plane, train, car, or camel. So instead of taking a seat near the departure gate, Samantha puts on her headphones, pulls up a podcast, and starts walking the concourse. “Even if I walk back and forth a hundred times, no one notices.” Once at her destination, Samantha keeps it up. “All hotels have gyms, but I’d rather explore the neighborhood,” she says. “I pick safe areas. Interesting areas. I learn something. I see people. My mantra: Let your sense of curiosity drive your activity.”
Eat like a local
Since WW Freestyle, Samantha says, eating out has become much simpler. “I don’t have to sit there and mentally calculate everything,” she says. She finds she has the most choices when she visits restaurants that offer local cuisine and ambience. “When I’m in Texas, I love to eat Tex-Mex, preferably someplace not too fancy, with a live band,” she says. “When I’m in New York City, I like to find someplace with a view, where I can get a glass of wine and some nice shrimp and ceviche.”
When she’s alone in her hotel room at night, Samantha turns to her Connect family for comfort and inspiration. “The amount of strength there!” she marvels. “I can post that I’m tired, I’m grumpy, but I’ve just had vegetables—and someone will be there to clap for me.”