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Travel Tips from Eli Sapharti, Author of “From Fat Boy to Fit Man”

eli sapharti

After conquering obesity, losing over 100 lbs, and getting in the best shape of my life, I have learned that when I am taken out of my regular daily routine and environment I can easily fall prey to old eating habits. One of the most challenging situations for me has been while traveling.

This reminds me of a particular airplane trip that I took a few years ago. One that I would soon like to forget if it weren’t for the lessons that I learned.

As I prepared to leave on a three-day business trip, I made sure I had everything I needed. Or so I thought. I had the right clothing, toothbrush, shaving blades, deodorant, and all the necessary toiletries. (I even packed extra undies.) What I didn’t prepare for were my meals that I was so used to  having ready during my regular weekly routine at home.

My first challenge was when my flight was delayed and I found myself at the airport for an unexpected extra 2 hours. I was starving. (Well, not literally, but I WAS very hungry.) Since I didn’t want to sit at a restaurant and order grilled chicken and veggies (which would have been the best choice), I grabbed what I THOUGHT was the next best choice. A prepackaged turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread. Healthy, right? WRONG! I later learned that this sandwich had more fat, more sugar and more carbs than if I had ordered a burger a a sit down restaurant. Big oops.

My next challenge was while in the air.  I don’t know about you, but I get especially hungry while traveling. Perhaps its not “real” hunger, but it seems these instances awakens my inner “snack monster”. So, I snacked. The problem was that the only snacks available were potato chips, cookies, or honey roasted peanuts. So of course I chose the peanuts—they were obviously the best option, right? Probably, but the issue was that one little bag (ok FOUR little bags) of peanuts didn’t satisfy me. So since eating FIVE bags of peanuts would have been excessive, I had a bag of chips instead. After all that saltiness I got a major sweet craving, which made me reach for a bag of chocolate chip cookies! Talk about a binge!

Luckily, after this binge I fell asleep and when I woke up, we were ready to land. Thank goodness for that or I may have been charged an extra fee for excessive snacking on-board!

The good thing about this trip was that it forced me to think and prepare before embarking on any trip, whether on a plane, a road trip with the kids, or even my honeymoon cruise which I cannot wait to go on!

Here are some rules I learned from this experience, which you too can use to avoid a travel binge:

1) Calculate how many hours you will be traveling and pack adequate meals for that time frame. For instance, pack a healthy sandwich or two that you can take with you on a plane, train, or automobile. By eating real meals you’ll reduce your in-between meal cravings.
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Jessica Rogers Lost 110 Pounds – “I Was Eating Myself to Death”

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“I’m in tears knowing that I will get a chance to encourage more people. It is my heart’s desire to help make people realize their potential, overcome fear and reach their goals.” This is the reply we received from Jessica Rogers when we told her she would be featured on our True Weight Loss segment. After losing 110 pounds, Jessica is on a mission to tell others, “It’s all about your mindset.”

One night realized I was literally eating myself to death

When Jessica was a teenager, a lack of exercise, eating a poor diet and yo-yo dieting all contributed to her weight gain. But in times of clarity, she knew that it was the way she ate, that was often the biggest problem. Even in her adult years, Jessica admits that she would often eat until she became physically ill. One day, she had a startling thought, “If I don’t make a change for the better I won’t live long enough to see my children grow.”

How she lost 35 pounds in two months
Once Jessica got herself in the right mindset, she started a two-fold approach to losing weight. She joined a commercial weight loss program to help track calories, then she bought the DVD, Walk Away the Pounds and committed to it faithfully. After losing 35 pounds in two months by utilizing these two methods, she knew she was on the right track.


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Mike Kenney Lost Almost 100 Pounds by Living the Mantra: “Eat Clean and Train Dirty.”

Michael Kenney is a father of two, and Daddy Mike is cut! It’s hard to believe that 90 pounds ago, he was pre-diabetic and experiencing crippling migraines. With hard work, miles of spinning under his smaller belt, and tracking portion sizes, Mike says he feels better than he has in years. This Father’s Day, he’ll celebrate with daughters Jamie and Jordan, and continue to set a healthy example for his girls.

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We love his mantra: Eat clean and train dirty.

More from Mike in his own words -

When did your weight struggles begin? I have always struggled with my weight. I played sports in high school, and this kept it under control but after I stopped playing sports, over the years my weight just kept increasing.

What habits specifically led you to gain weight? Definitely overeating. Portion sizes played a huge factor. It was not unusual for me to eat a whole pizza by myself. I really didn’t know how many calories I was consuming, or how many I was burning.

What caused you to realize you needed to change? Health issues. I had a routine checkup with my doctor and when my blood work came back, I was pre-diabetic. I was also suffering from frequent ocular migraines.


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Jennifer Sierra Lost 63 Pounds When She Stopped Looking for the ‘Magic Trick’

Jennifer Sierra admits to a lifelong struggle with her weight. “I have no recollection of being a thin child or person for that matter.”

At the age of 13, she began an exhausting weight loss journey that was mostly futile because she acknowledges she was looking for the, “magic trick” instead of a new way of life. After fourteen years and countless diet plans, Jennifer finally learned how to eat for life, instead of just, for now.

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When you’re uncomfortable in your own skin and desperate for an immediate solution, you don’t always think about the long term benefits and risks of a diet, you just want the extra pounds – gone! As a teenager, Jennifer tried a host of different plans including Herbal Life, Slim Fast, phentermine pills, Atkins Diet, Quick Weight Loss Center, calorie counting, short term diets, and cardio overload to name a few.

Yo-yo dieting was the norm, but long lasting results were not.

I use to focus so much on counting calories without realizing I was eating such an unbalanced diet.

After seeing an unflattering photo on a Facebook page, Jennifer decided it was time to, “fix the problem forever.” After consulting with personal trainer, Eric Lee Salazar with Flex Level Fitness, she started eating “clean” and using a macronutrient based diet. Instead of calories, she counts grams of fat, protein and carbohydrates to make sure each meal and snack has the balance her body needs. For exercise, she combines cardio with muscle-specific strength training.


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Alan Ali lost 140 Pounds, “My Weight Doesn’t Define Me or My Abilities”

At Diets In Review we meet some truly inspirational people, Alan Ali is one of them. His brave admission about his struggle with binge eating, and his encouraging attitude make him one of our favorites. We even named him best “selfie of the year.” Though he’s already lost an astonishing 140 pounds, he’s determined to lose more. Along the way, he’s also learning that his weight doesn’t define him, or his abilities.

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At 480 pounds, Alan was miserable. In 2009, he knew he’d hit rock bottom. “I found myself recently laid off from a job that I loved, I had just been diagnosed with sleep apnea, I was borderline diabetic, and my feet and legs always felt numb,” he said.

“I hated my life and I decided I wanted better for myself, I deserved better.” Overweight most of his life, Alan knew he needed to get help, not only with losing weight, but also fighting the demon that would be his biggest challenge, binge eating.

Food was my solution to all my problems and stressors in life.

Alan knew he needed a guide so he met with a registered dietitian. “I was lucky to find one that I really connected with,” he explained. “I ended up working with her for about a year. She taught me a lot about food and how to eat with balance in my life.”

When Alan admitted to himself that he suffered from a binge eating disorder, it was time to admit it to someone else. “I remember the first time I told my Mama about my binge eating, it was one of the best things I ever did,” Alan admitted. “It felt great to just get it off my chest and tell someone. I just needed to say it out loud; I needed to hear myself say it.”


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