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Two years ago, on a Wednesday night, I am working on the road. My colleagues made reservation for a dinner meeting and guess where they pick to eat –your typical expensive steakhouse, a Flemings type. Better yet, let me describe few courses and items we went through:

  • Pre First course – Alcohol
    • Two bottles of Wine                                                   $120.00
  • First course – Appetizers
    • Sweet Chili Calmari                                                    $13.50
    • Lobster Tempura                                                        $20.95
    • Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes                                          $13.50
  • Second course – Soup & Salad
    • French Onion soup                                                     $9.95
    • The Wedge salad                                                       $9.50
    • Another Bottle of  Wine                                              $45.00
  • Third course – The Actual Meal
    • Filet Mignon                                                                $38.95
    • Double Thick Pork Rib Chop                                      $27.95
    • Portobello Mushroom & Risotto                                  $23.95
  • Fourth course – Dessert
    • Chocolate Lava Cake                                                  $10.95
  • Fifth course – After party
    • More Wine                                                                    $45.00
    • Crème Brulee                                                               $8.50
    • Coffee                                                                           $5.00
  • Final Bill…Covered by Work                                        $Priceless

♫“There’s some things that I can never buy, but when comes to dinners on the road, Waiter, please put that on my Corporate MasterCard.”♫

Like the jingle says, the best part of night described above is that my company pays for all courses that I would never dare to order ever in my life. And, trust me, the portions were huge enough to feed three NFL football players, so the bill to me was definitively a priceless MasterCard moment.

Don’t be impressed by me, as this is pennies for my company compared to the $54,896 dinner bill that Dez Bryant picked up for his Dallas Cowboys teammates and staff.  I would definitively opt to carry pads next time if I was him.

BTW, yes, I am a vegetarian but I still went to the steakhouse for that delicious Portobello mushroom & risotto plate – albeit that is healthy but that’s not counting the other courses that I devoured.

Anyway, you get my point. This type of eating freedom is disastrous to my regular eating habits. Though, I can say that I am quite reformed now from the incident described above but every once in a while, my evil side lurks out when traveling for business. Somehow, that chocolate dessert cake always ends up on my plate. Like white on rice or is it brown on rice – you know what analogy I am looking for… that chocolate dessert cake sticks to me.

What I described above may sound extravagant, but I know many professionals in the business world who travel quite frequently like me that this occurs to them frequently. These professionals ask me (typically after noticing my modified entrée order at group dinners)  how I changed my eating habits from two years ago.  Now I know it is difficult to say anything in a group since it is the norm to go to these fancy places for dinner – but have you ever wondered if others would rather eat healthier vs. expensive?  (more about this in part 2 of this blog series).

In order to change, I first had to understand this “Jekyll & Hyde Syndrome” as I call it. Note: this is not the APA version but my MBA approved version. Plus, I know I just made it up.  So what. As MC Hammer use to say “It’s too legit to quit” and “break it down.” And that’s exactly what I’ll do with your typically Pro’s and Con’s list on the thought process when dining on the road (I’ll spare you the SWOT analysis for another time, but just be warned that the option was there):

[table id=2 /]

I hate to say I fell a victim of this syndrome but it was the norm for the job and the company when I travel.  I know that is no excuse.  I guess I did not see anyone else in my business world modeling anything different or even just trying to modify the entrees to make it less unhealthy was a taboo two years ago.

Now presently, I work over 40 hours on some weeks for my current company and I like to consider myself in the category of “a busy person who still tries to make a conscious and daily effort to eat healthy foods.” Maybe a few years ago, I couldn’t honestly say that. Well, I was “busy establishing my career.” I should have then been honest to myself that “busy” is only an excuse and that Mr Hyde and his magic potion was just preying on me, the victim, Dr Jekyll himself.  If I only knew how great I feel and how easy this current lifestyle was to achieve, I would have never fell victim to this “Jekyll & Hyde Syndrome” especially when I travel for work or business related meetings.

Moral of the story: Be Dr. Jekyll and leave Mr. Hyde in the past with MC Hammer’s baggy pants.

Till next time – You can’t touch this…or King Hammer’s new song