Nationals or Bust Week 13: Eating on the Road

Our special guest blogger today is Linda Winstead Jones! As y’all know from her posts, she travels quite a bit, personally and for her writing career. She’s sharing her tips for managing food while on the road. Thanks, LJ!

Nationals or Bust, healthy writers, diet, Dani Wade, RWA National Conference, eating healthy, exercise


As a writer, I get to live vicariously through my characters. They can have adventure after adventure, and I’m along for the ride. I experience their ups and downs, I feel their pain and their joy. Best of all, all my heroines can have the fabulous metabolism with which I was not blessed.

A shallow thought, I know, but there you go.

Even though I work at home, I end up traveling quite a bit. Conferences, luncheons, the occasional signing, working vacations… It seems there’s always a trip around the corner. Coming up next month, we have the RWA National conference. It’s always so much fun, but dieting on the road is not just a challenge, it’s darn near impossible.

Linda Winstead Jones, romance author, Nationals or Bust, Travel Diet Tips

So, what’s a girl who struggles constantly with weight issues to do? How can I enjoy myself without needing to pack pants in two sizes? Here are a few of the travel/diet tips I’ve relied on over the years.

One: Take complete control of one meal a day. For me, it’s breakfast. A protein bar and a couple of cups of black coffee will fill me up, provide some protein to start the day, and comes in at around 200 calories. I might throw in a piece of fruit, depending on the bar and the circumstances. Compare that to a medium latte and a blueberry scone from Starbucks, which will give you around 650 calories and little to no protein. Buying a smoothie? Go in knowing what you’re getting. They can run anywhere from 200 to over 900 calories. Love Cracker Barrel? I do. Their breakfasts come in between 500 and 1200 calories, depending on your choices.

Not only do I save myself calories at the start of the day, getting that good start reminds me all day to be careful about what I choose to eat. And protein bars are easy. Stick a box in your carry-on and you’re set. Have a couple of extras on hand to eat in the airport or on the plane.

Two: Share. When Lori Handeland and I are in NY, we always go to Junior’s. And we always share. We split a meal and a piece of cheesecake. It’s still not what anyone would call a healthy meal, but half an unhealthy meal is better than eating the whole thing. If you don’t have a friend along you can share with, cut the meal in half anyway. I used to feel terrible about “wasting” food, until one day I convinced myself that my stomach is not a garbage can. That’s the alternative, after all. My stomach, or the restaurant garbage can. Cleaning my plate does not affect a single hungry person anywhere in the world in any positive way. If you feel guilty about wasting food, pledge to donate to a local food bank when you get home. It’ll do a lot more good than eating twice as much as you want or need.

Three: Water. I can’t emphasize this one enough. Drink water. Lots of it. Not only will you be well hydrated (a must for flying and staying in a hotel) your body will function better and you won’t mistake thirst for hunger. Going to a party? Alternate cocktails or wine with water. Not only do you save calories, you might save yourself from that embarrassing “I don’t remember dancing on the table” Facebook photo. 🙂

Four: Remember the three bite rule. Recently I’ve read that after three bites we’re no longer tasting the food, we’re eating out of habit. A rich dessert? A fabulous appetizer? Take three small bites. Eat slowly. Savor. Enjoy. Then stop.

Five: Ask. While I would never go into a restaurant and make an outrageous special request, asking for salad dressing on the side or steamed vegetables instead of fries is not demanding, and you could easily save yourself hundreds of calories.

It all comes down to taking control. Plan ahead, be prepared, and have a good time.

Share with us some of your favorite tips for eating on the go, and your progress for this week!

Linda’s first historical romance was released in 1994, and in the years since she’s written in several romance sub-genres under several names. In order of appearance, Linda Winstead; Linda Jones; Linda Winstead Jones; Linda Devlin; and Linda Fallon. She’s a six time finalist for the RITA Award and a winner (for Shades of Midnight) in the paranormal category. Most recently she’s been writing as Linda Jones in joint projects with Linda Howard, and rereleasing her backlist in ebook format. She can be found at any one of a variety of Facebook pages (search for Linda Winstead Jones and Linda Howard/Linda Jones) and at .


8 thoughts on “Nationals or Bust Week 13: Eating on the Road

  1. My progress — I lost the pound I gained the week before. {{sigh}} But — I rejoined weight watchers to make me accountable, and we’ll see how that goes. Also upped my exercise a bit. I would love to lose five more pounds before I head to Atlanta! — LJ

  2. I’m with you, LJ. I would love to get down five more pounds. The past month has seen a real struggle for me on the diet front. I haven’t yet weighed today, but I’m pretty sure I’m in the same spot I was last week, down 11.5 pounds total. Which is great, but… 🙂 Yes, I need to redouble my efforts as well.

    These are great tips for travel. The one I struggle with the most is water. Knowing where every bathroom in Atlanta is will be difficult, but water keeps me from swelling up, especially my hands, so water it is!

  3. Is anyone else getting excited about July? But I’m right there with y’all. I’d love to lose 5 more pounds, but I don’t think 20 days will be enough.

    But the scale finally moved this week! I’m Down another pound. 8 total! It’s the exercise. Sparse the last 2 weeks. Get back on the horse and boom! Off it comes!

    Thanks for sharing, LJ!

  4. I am hoping that I’m burning extra calories by being SUPER EXCITED about Atlanta! I’m still at a 7-pound loss, which is fine, but I was hoping to have abs of steel by now. LOL

    Thanks so much for all those tips, Linda! I’m a big believer in breakfast-bar breakfasts too.

  5. Yeah, I love breakfast bars, and am currently hooked on the large array of protein bars being offered in the breakfast aisle. True protein bars taste nasty, but these are made from nuts. 150 calories (for most) and over 10 grams of protein. I can grab them on the go (not every morning, of course), or eat them on my trips and still get a balance that keeps my blood sugar level. Win, win!

    Bonnie, can’t wait to meet you in Atlanta!!! Hey, the fact that you’re maintaining that 7 pounds is great! Just keep working on those abs (I say my abs of steel are there, just hidden beneath all the fluff). 🙂


  6. Great tips, Linda! When traveling, I order a bowl of soup in place of a whole meal…..only a cup if it’s a creamy soup. Wish I could join you all in Atlanta. Have fun….of course you will! 🙂

  7. Hello! I’ve been following your website for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Houston Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up the fantastic job!

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