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The Traveling Man's Eating Plan

Frequent business trips don't have to result in excess belly baggage. Here's how to send your gut packing for good

Bret Baier's job was weighing him down. As the chief White House correspondent for Fox News Channel, he shared an itinerary with our commander-in-chief, traveling for up to 2 weeks every month. And when he stepped on the scale last Christmas, he found his weight had ballooned to 227 pounds, 32 pounds higher than his "fighting" weight of 195. "That's when I realized what the traveling was doing to me," he says.

Like most road warriors, when Baier is deployed, diet is his last concern. "I'm entering different time zones and dealing with job pressures. Once I meet my deadlines, I just want to blow off steam and forget about the stress." Then he sighs and shakes his head. "And the food on Air Force One is tremendous."

So Baier attacked. He flushed excuses like stress and time. Then he took our advice, revamped his diet, wedged tough workouts into his overstuffed schedule, and lost 20 pounds in 8 weeks.

Now it's your turn. You may not be jet-setting with the president, but every man is busy, every man is stressed, and as a result, every man crashes into the same diet roadblocks. Simply put, traveling doesn't make you fat. Crappy food and crappier habits do. So here's your chance. Follow these weight-loss rules of the road next time out and you'll immediately be bumped up to a better class: a leaner, healthier life.

Rules of the Road

Any man who travels regularly needs a flexible, no-thought eating strategy. So we asked Jeff Volek, Ph.D., R.D., a nutrition researcher at the University of Connecticut, to create an effective diet that allows for indulgence without the need for calorie counting. His solution: a low-carb diet with benefits.

A quick explanation: Every time you eat high-carb foods -- bread, pasta, rice, any product made with sugar or flour -- the level of insulin in your blood rises. Insulin is a powerful hormone that signals your body to stop burning and start storing fat. How powerful? Volek and his colleagues asked 20 men to follow a strict low-carb diet for 6 weeks. But instead of telling them to downsize their portions, the scientists encouraged the study participants to eat all they wanted. When the results were tallied, the men had still dropped an average of 7 pounds of fat and had significantly lowered their risk of heart disease. "We calculated that 70 percent of the variability in fat loss was explained by the reduction in insulin levels," says Volek. "That's a powerful effect."

Now think about that in reverse. If you're constantly downing carbs, as most Americans do, you'll be in fat-storing mode all day long. And you don't need a study to tell you what that's done to our collective waistline.

So Volek counseled Baier to adopt low-carb eating as his default diet and to make high-carb meals an exception. Try it yourself and you'll limit your number of daily insulin spikes, keeping your body in fat-burning mode most of the time. After all, when it comes to your gut, "most of the time" is what matters.

Here's what to do: Using the guidelines in "How to Eat on the Road", choose from the lower-carb group as often as you can -- most of the time, in fact. But when those foods aren't available, go ahead and enjoy selections from the higher-carb group. To keep yourself honest, use this rule of thumb: Each time you choose a higher-carb food, try to have at least three lower-carb meals or snacks before dipping into that well again. What about alcohol? You can down up to two glasses of wine (10 ounces) or light beer (24 ounces) a night.
Source: By: David Schipper,

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