Food/diet & full-time travel

Does anyone else who sits full-time have trouble keeping a reasonably healthy diet while traveling all the time? I have been sitting full-time for the past two years, keeping to the continental United States so far. And I fully admit I have food-based issues, like turning to food when I’m stressed or tired. And as a solo sitter, I find I really absorb the energy of the home that I’m in - e.g. if they have more of a couch-potato setup or are more active and the dog expects several long walks, etc. I tend to drop into their routine, however healthy, or not, it is.

I find it very hard to keep to a good diet when I don’t have much control over my environment. For instance, my current sit usually has a clear container of cookies right in the middle of the pantry, so whenever I open the door, it’s front and center. I have another regular sit that always seems to have a box of Oreos, which I always seem to polish off and replace before the end of my sit. One sit in the distant past had clear jars of candy (like, 10 of them) lining one whole countertop. To me, that’s like an open bar to an alcoholic. I try not to eat their food, but it’s hard to resist when it’s so out in the open like that! Or, it’s clearly candy from some distant holiday, and I feel like I need to “help” them eat it up.

And as for the time between sits, I’m usually on the road (and sometimes resorting to fast food - depending on how quickly I need to be somewhere) or in a hotel and getting restaurant meals. Or sometimes I stay with friends and they cook for me, which isn’t always the healthiest food. I generally find it hard to turn away food or waste food that’s been left, like the rest of a welcome pizza. I’m definitely not going to refuse hospitality wherever I find it, but after two years of full-on traveling, I find it has been a bit hard on my waistline. Especially during seasons like this last summer, when I was at a new place almost every week. And that’s not even touching on the feeling of wanting to try whatever the local specialty is while I’m in town.

Does anyone else struggle with this? I can’t be the only person for whom constant travel is a liability to my weight. I have developed some workarounds - hiding the cookies so they aren’t so front-and-center (though, tbh, I always know where they are.) I can pack food for the car trips or stop at a grocery for meals for some non-fast-food options at least. I’m just curious to know how other full-timers handle trying to eat reasonably when we’re constantly on the road.

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@sbwade I struggle even when not sitting…lol! Food is so pleasurable and is both a way people celebrate together (meeting up at restaurants, bars, wineries, etc.) as well as a way to pass time when alone. Try to find fast food restaurants that offer salads or grilled chicken (like Zaxby’s) or even try grocery stores that have salad bars. So much easier to just make up a salad and take it home. Not as much fun as a big greasy burger and fries, but definitely healthier (gee, I should take my own advice). Good luck and just remember…be happy with yourself, no matter what the situation. Life is too short to worry about your waistline all the time!

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I know eating healthy can be difficult while traveling so much. I’m in my car a lot. I don’t do fast food and shopping can be difficult in a strange area. I always bring easy to prepare recipes that are portion controlled into a sit and do my best. I keep healthy versions of numnums in my car for a fix but recently I was in bear country and we’ve all seen those videos of bears getting into cars. I found applesauce is a great go to for a sweet. I have to tell the HO thank you but I have dietary issues (gluten, dairy and others) so don’t do anything for me. That said, if I go on a raid I usually replace it. But now I talk myself out of hunting thru the pantry by thinking of the cost because of delivery fees and tips or the time of going to three stores trying to find those same yummy potato chips. If there’s a dog, we take another walk or I turn my attention to brushing the cat. And there’s always Midsomer Murders on 24 hours a day as a distraction if you need it. Lol

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:laughing: good point!

We are vegan and most of our HOs are not, so most unhealthy / ultra-processed food items in the pantry will not be suitable for us. But we find that our diet is often dictated by what random perishable items our HOs leave in the fridge. We hate food waste and the first few days we eat whatever we can so we don’t need to throw things away. Very often it’s salad. Dog sits definitely keep us more active, though, especially if the weather is uninviting and we feel more like staying at home but the dog still needs 1-3 hours of walking. We don’t restrict the amount we’re eating, so that can be large amount of potatoes, rice, legumes, olive oil, veggies, fruit, nuts, chocolate (100%), but we both have BMIs of around 20. There is just less space in our stomachs for too many unhealthy snacks. Since we change the sit every 10-15 days and there are so many left overs we don’t even go to the grocery store too often (I usually get one 100% fruit juice every time we shop, when I used to shop more often I was 8 kilos heavier because of my fruit juice addiction).

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The problems you describe @sbwade are indeed whole lifestyle problems for me too, like @Debbie-Moderator, more than just travelling sitter problems.
I have such a strong will to eat healthily but no background skills to assist. I’m not just a poor cook, in the sense I can’t follow a recipe but I have no grounding in the basics.
I wonder if @MissChef has any advice please?

I too am vegan, and find that this helps when it comes to restricting what I can eat at a sit (there was a very delicious box of biscuits sitting out when I first arrived but not vegan, so they haven’t been touched in the month I’ve been at my current sit). I also find what works for me is having a simple diet that doesn’t vary much from day to day. However, I have been struggling lately not to indulge. I’m not sure if it’s the colder weather or a bit more stress than normal, but my usual routine has fallen by the wayside and it is difficult to get back on track, especially travelling around so much.

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I’ve been a full-time sitter for 2 years. Before starting I thought I’m going to be so healthy, excercise, do yoga every day.
Instead I have developed an addiction for strong coffee & red wine :grinning:

But I get what you say about the vibe of a place. For me it’s keeping away from biscuits, choc, … when for example in a small apartment on the countryside with not much to do.

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We are a family of 4 who up until lockdown were full time, leave one sit and go straight to the next sit, we were geared up ready to go full time for Spring (UK) then I got sick with sepsis from a gall bladder infection, anyway after 7/9 weeks in and out of Hospital (I hit the jackpot on “in rare cases” prior to surgery, during surgery and post surgery, ahhhh if only it was the Lottery instead, lol) we started some last minute HS over the Summer, not the ones we had booked and then our plans changed, anyways, we did go from one sit to another sit with a week or so back at base, we are Vegan (if really struggling Vegetarian, eg if something has egg in it or dairy) as most of the HS we choose are in the middle of no where, no car, you go no where, it’s too far to even walk to a small basic shop. I usually make all our Vegan Cheese, Meat subs etc, however we have found that people live different, we went to a HS that was 5 star except there was no food, most of the gear, so not a cooks delight kitchen as far as appliances, however all the cookwear etc, stunning kitchen and home again in the middle of no where, so planning was extra level, I didn’t know until we arrived and looked and they admitted they mostly dine out at a Pub or Restaurant, they eat breakfast “toast and coffee” so every coffee pod you can think of ( we don’t do coffee) lol. so I know now next time what to take and plan for, that’s only a 1hr drive so not far, the regular HS’s we have, I now know roughly what sort of food fruit and veg will be left behind and how what appliances they have.
It’s hard when there’s lots of sweeties, crisps, cookies etc around to not eat them, when we are Dog HS you get out everyday as they need to go out. Cat’s I try and make sure we go out somewhere every other day, just for an hour or two to make sure we are checking out the local area and seeing places of interest, even Churches and Graveyards (that’s my kind of thing, you find out so much about the local area from the Gravestones)
It’s easy when leaving one sit to not have to mess anything up and stop and get a drive thru (especially with two Teens who would happily have it several times a week if allowed) if we are leaving early, we will, if not we have brunch run the dishwasher so it’s empty when leaving and usually have Bean/Spaghetti or canned Soup for Dinner that night at the next sit, for us it also depends on if we know the sit and how far away it is as we might take left overs to heat up on arrival.
We did find over the Summer when we had not been to any of the HS and we were 4-7hours drive away from base, not knowing the Houses etc, it was a bigger challenge, meal prepping/planning, even down to fridge/freezer space, some sits, just don’t think about it and leave with a freezer and fridge full of foods that we don’t eat, however no room for us to put anything in.
It’s hard, it’s a discipline thing and we all have days where it’s all too hard and unhealthy is our go to.
Great job everyone, this HS gig, especially full time is not as easy as people think.

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@sbwade I really feel for you, when I was working I was constantly under stress and made poor food choices, especially during Covid, which lead to unhealthy weight gain. I am a full time sitter in my second year, and I have to say that since joining THS, I’ve made so many healthy changes, but the most important thing was the lifestyle change that I desperately needed. I started a Keto diet with intermittent fasting and lost 50lbs in 6 months, and have kept it off.
I think the key for me was making up my mind that I was going to prioritize my health, and then walking every day. I’m not a fitness buff at all, so walking became my “workout”. If I am watching dogs, I walk them every day, but even if they’re the non walking type or I have cats in my care, I make sure to walk for at least an hour by myself every day, I build it into my routine.
To eat healthy while traveling, I always bring low carb Keto wraps with me wherever I go, so I can make a quick sandwich. Doing this also saves me money, since I travel solo, I never go out to eat, not even takeout. If I have a gap in between pet sits, I always make sure the hotel has a refrigerator where I can store my perishables and a microwave, I make my own coffee and tea, saving money by not buying it from the shops.
As for less than healthy homes, that’s been a struggle for me at times as well. If there’s candy or cookies, I’ll either stash them in a cupboard for the duration of my sit, or cover them with a towel or blanket. It might sound odd, but it really does work, for me anyway.
I’m happy to help you with more healthy tips if you need support. I wish you lots of luck and strength in your journey, I know how hard it is!

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I was on lock down while living in a van in Hawaii and they were extremely strict so I got fat. I’m 58. It’s not coming off, just migrating. I thought walking doggos would be great exercise but they like to lie around more than I do. I just subscribed to a Keto info site. I hope it works as well for me. I’m getting back into Tai Chi as well. It entertains the animals too. Lol.

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I get it! That’s why I started walking on my own, a lot of the dogs I watch can’t keep up with my pace, at least now anyway. I’m happy to be a resource if you need support, best of luck to you!

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Sure! I’m so flattered to be remembered! :heart_eyes:

So far I’ve only stayed locally (less than 2.5 hrs drive), and I always have my car, but I find that once I “land” at a new housesit, I tend to grow roots not venture out… But like I said, I know the area well already.

I never order out, do uber eats, get pizza delivery or other fast food (I really don’t!) The closest thing is I might buy a rotisserie chicken and eat it for 3-4 days, and if I’m in the mood, I’ll make soup from the bones. I fully realize that is not how normal people cook… So ignore that, and keep reading:

I can’t take food from the fridge at home or my husband would starve :pleading_face:

I’ve learned to plan ahead and stop at a store on the way for fresh food. I get eggs, fruit and veggies, sometimes some “plain” meat.

I also pack a box of non-perishable foods that I like, that are flexible, and that can live in the box for months if not used. And I only keep ONE of each item so I change it up all the time. Canned veggies, instant potatoes, dry pasta, things like that. A tiny (and a very well wrapped!) jar of coconut oil and I’m good to go!

It’s all in a $8 plastic file box with an integrated lid from Target, which dictates that there’s only ONE of each item. That’s how I mix it up. Add whatever individually packaged condiments I can get from the grocery store deli. Plus an assortment of spice blends that I like, like Italian seasoning, garam masala, fajita seasoning… Etc.

As a rule, I avoid using the homeowners’ food & ingredients, unless I have been “gifted” something, invited to use something up, or something fresh will spoil before they come back. I might use 1 TBS or so of something in a pinch.

I hope that’s useful!

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It’s rough out there






Decisions decisions…

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Just stick to the last two photos worth of food and you’ll be fine.

But I am going to single-handedly destroy that pastry case, so step aside lady! :joy:

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Girl there was so much more…
I’m still in recovery from the dulce de leche.



Almost forgot the most important one!

Have to find a happy balance

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Thank you @MissChef, very enlightening. Now if only you could somehow impart the skill to actually cook all the things you mention I would be completely sorted :laughing:
Seriously, thank you for assisting with my cheeky tagging!

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Seriously, @Amparo? What the *** is this? It looks like they put a Muppet in a food mixer!

image

Oh be very afraid…something bad, very bad.
I didn’t want to get any closer as I could feel my fat cells and arteries begin to expand and contract respectively just in passing.

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@ampara…I’m drooling!

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