Travel Days Always Cause Me To Eat Like a 300lb Man, And I Couldn’t Be Happier About It

I’m a fat, junk food-eating kid at heart. If there were no repercussions, I would probably consume somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,500 calories each day. I’m talking a gigantic breakfast burrito in the morning, pizza & soda for lunch, burger & fries from Five Guys for dinner, and most likely some snacks in between. Oh, and the Peanut Butter Cup Perfection from Cold Stone Creamery would be a nightly post-dinner occurrence.

You can have your grilled tilapia over quinoa and cranberry & walnut salad. I’ll take the junk food.

Unfortunately my life expectancy would probably plummet from its current range of 52-55 years old to the “dead at 35” range if I ate like this every day.

As a matter of fact, I eat this type of junk food almost none of the time anymore. Something about being 30 years old means there’s a 93% chance that every time I eat like this I feel like shit the next day. The number of Tums I consume to combat heartburn has gone from “never took a single Tums in my life up until age 28” to “if I’m eating a heavy meal I might as well just mix a handful of Tums into the main course and get a jump on that awful feeling.” It also seems like my girlfriend wants me to live long enough for us to own an entire herd of gigantic dogs…so she’s pretty motivated to help me eat healthy.

And this is exactly why I now look forward to “travel days” more than anything else in my life. It’s the only time I feel completely justified eating garbage. I’ve convinced myself that a day in which I travel far (longer than a two-hour drive or any length of plane ride) provides enough inconveniences to my normal routine that eating junk food is the only option I have.

And before you say “Yeah, but there are so many ways to avoid this behavior…you can pack a healthy lunch for a car ride or even a flight…or you can be selective and eat the healthiest options on the airport restaurant menus”…save it. The point isn’t that I act this way out of necessity. It’s that I want to have a built-in situation where I allow myself to binge on my favorite greasy and/or sugary foods.

OK, confession time. It’s not just on the days that I’m actually traveling. If I travel to San Francisco or Boston, which happens often, I eat every day I’m there like saturated fats and high fructose corn syrup are going away for good. Since I’ve lived in these two cities and have tried most of the good restaurants, I don’t feel compelled to seek out high-quality healthy meals from new places. So I eat bacon cheeseburgers from Wendy’s, steak & cheese subs from D’Angelo’s, carnitas burritos from Anna’s Taqueria, and just about anything else that makes a paper bag see-through if you rub that food on it for five seconds.

It’s a pretty amazing cycle actually. I spend every day at home eating healthy and exercising. So when I travel, I feel that it’s fine to have a few days of bad eating because I’ve earned it. And then when I get home from the vacation, I feel terrible about myself and work my ass off for a few days trying to lose the 13lbs I gained over that weekend. The net result will probably leave me at a soft, doughy 190lbs for the rest of my life, and that’s fine…because the fast food is just so damn good.

Now just so you know, I’m not completely disgusting. If I’m doing a long drive late at night (after dinner), I’m not going to be stopping five times for burgers & fries. In those situations I ease off the heavy meats and go for a lighter mix like this:

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That picture’s from a road trip to San Francisco from January. And that haul of snacks didn’t even get me through the first 150 miles.

So this week I head back to Boston for six days. I already have lunch plans on Thursday with a friend to devour a burrito (at least a burrito, perhaps a quesadilla as a second course) from Anna’s. I know I’ll have Wendy’s at least once and D’Angelo’s at least twice back in Fitchburg. On Thursday night I’m sure I’ll have a burger and several appetizers of the fried food variety at whatever bar I end up at while watching the Bruins game.

Since this is shaping up to be a particularly unhealthy trip, I actually made a grilled chicken sandwich to take to the airport with me in the morning. Maybe eating it on the plane can be my only meal while I travel on Wednesday. But knowing me, I’ll eat the chicken sandwich at 6AM on the way to the airport, grab a croissan’wich & hash browns from Burger King while I wait for my flight, and then get a giant bag of Peanut M&M’s for the plane. I also hear it’s supposed to be 80 degrees in Boston when I land…perfect chocolate milkshake weather.

And let’s be honest…am I really going to wait for my friend to get to Boston on Thursday for my first Anna’s Burrito? No, I’ll be going directly from Logan Airport to their closest location for that sweet, sweet carnitas.

And when I return to LA next week, I’ll feel terrible. I’ll be lethargic for a few days, and I’ll spend extra time in the bathroom. I’ll try to go for a simple two-mile run and wonder why it seems like I’m running with lead shoes on. I’ll be miserable.

But then I’ll cheer up when I realize I’m only two weeks away from my next road trip.

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Life Lessons in San Francisco: Pie Shakes are Good, Babies are Difficult, Humping Can be Effective

Here’s a random list of things I learned over my 53 hours in San Francisco last weekend:

1). You can always count on your friends to give great advice when you’re having a major dilemma. Here’s the problem I approached my friends with on Friday night as we were crushing beers: Recently at the local dog park, our female dog has been approached and mounted by some male dogs. It gets to the point where the male dog’s red rocket is definitely alert and ready to go, but there hasn’t been any penetration yet. Sometimes the male dog’s owner has been quick to correct his dog, and sometimes the owner isn’t paying much attention so no action is taken. When I ran this scenario by my friends, there was an immediate consensus: next time a male dog is trying to hump Molly and the owner just sits by watching, I should slowly inch closer and closer to the owner until I’m close enough to hump his leg. And then, if the person still doesn’t get uncomfortable and start to pay attention to the situation, I’m supposed to start humping his leg and asking him “if he likes that” as I hump over and over until he gets it. I’m sure this won’t get me and my dog ostracized from the park.

2). Pies taste good, milkshakes taste great. Pie Shakes may be the world’s greatest food combination invention. A place called Chile Pies (& Ice Cream) in San Francisco makes homemade pies, and one of the menu options is for them to put a slice of pie into a blender with milkshake ingredients and make a pie shake. Just like it sounds. And because this is the smartest food operation going, they give you a straw that’s thick enough to allow you to suck up chunks of pie crust. Priority one for me when I returned to LA on Monday was doing a google search for “Pie Shakes in Los Angeles.”

3). In THIS POST a while back I discussed how raising a puppy is harder than raising a baby. I’m now willing to admit in some instances I may be wrong. For example, when I want to watch 10 straight hours of football on Sunday, I simply leave the dog in her crate for a few hours at a time, then take her for a super-quick walk so she can go to the bathroom, and then I feed her a couple times by putting food into a bowl and leaving it for her. As I got to experience this past Sunday, a baby can be a bit more complicated: During that 10-hour football-watching period, you may have to change a baby’s diaper four or five times; you probably have to put more effort into feeding it than just leaving food on the ground and letting it eat when it’s hungry. And you probably have to deal with a nap gone poorly where the baby is screaming bloody murder in its crib for 45 minutes. If I need Molly to sleep, I toss her in the crate and she sleeps purely out of boredom. Easy peasy.

4). Drinking heavily two days in a row used to be as easy as this: Drink heavily until I pass out on night one, then wake up and drink heavily until I pass out on night two. Now if I wanna binge, I have to make sure I’m equipped with Advil, Tums, a toilet to puke in and an updated will. Life’s so complicated these days.

5). When you’re at an airport bar watching football & baseball, and you’re surrounded by all guys except for one woman, do NOT be the guy to acknowledge that woman when she awkwardly says to no one in particular, “This is so weird that we’re all sitting here in silence not talking to one another.” I should have been as much of a dick as the guy to her left and turned my chair to face away from her. Unfortunately I took the bait and got stuck in a very strange conversation. It’s a learning experience that taught me to always have headphones in my ears even if I’m not listening to anything.

6). I’m mature enough at this point to consider washing my friend’s bedsheets after I stay in his bed for two nights without his knowledge. But only mature enough to consider it, not actually do it.

7). Now that I’m a writer-in-training, there are plenty of people who want to help me generate story ideas. Over the weekend, these ideas ranged from a blatant rip off of Inception called Perception to a story about me staging my own disappearance on an Alaskan cruise and then blogging from a mystery location. With helpful ideas like that, I can’t believe I’m not already a famous writer.