Been eating too much on your last business trip? I definitely did!

Globally, there are now more than 1 billion overweight adults, and at least 300 million of these obese.

Current obesity levels range from below 5% in China, Japan and certain African nations, to over 75% in urban Samoa. But even in relatively low prevalence countries like China, obesity rates are almost 20% in some cities.

In the USA, one-third of all children born in the current decade will be diabetic.


The typical hamburger is now four times the size it was in the early 1980s. You can get an order of french fries/chips that is nearly three times as large as an order from 20 years ago. At the movies, you used to get five cups of popcorn, now you can get a tub that holds a whopping 11 cups.

Even our plates are bigger! The typical plate from the 1970s was nine inches across, now they’re on average 13 inches across.

But being on a diet is not always cheap… the average person spends USD$55 a week on food, but these diets cost a lot more than that:

Jenny Craig $138 per week; Nutrisystem – $113 pw; Atkins $100 pw; Weight Watchers $96 pw; Zone $92 per week

The answer… burn more calories than you consume!


Being in the USA this week (so please expect my posts to be sporadic), pleasantly reminds me of how polite everyone is here. I always enjoy people saying “excuse me” and holding an elevator for you, rather than trying to shut it on you while you have one arm in the door.

So where are the rudest people to be found while you are travelling? Take a look below and when you next travel there see if you agree.

In first place… France. Outside of Paris people are generally nicer, and to be fair, Parisians can be just as rude to each other as they are to tourists.
Russia takes second place.
UK is third and actually voted themselves “world’s worst tourists” too.
Fourth is Germany.

The countries rated as having the least rude locals were Brazil, the Caribbean and the Philippines. And my nicest nations would have to be Japan, Thailand and New Zealand.

Ranking of rudeness

Source: Skyscanner survey


Does this sound familiar… another long morning of meetings, need to blow off some steam and feel exhausted by lunch time? It’s time you hit the gym or went outside for a run (or even a walk)

It has been scientifically proven that people who exercise on work days are more productive, happier and suffer less stress than on non-gym days, in addition to being better equipped to handle whatever the day threw at them.

Companies have been encouraging employees to exercise more for years (to improve health insurance premiums, some corporations offer reimbursements for gym memberships, while others have resorted to paying employees by the km to run or swim). But, most employees still exercise before or after the business day as they are made to feel too guilty to ditch work in the middle of the day to work up a sweat. It seems it’s ok to go out and eat or shop at lunch, but not so accepted to go to the gym.

It is possible to exercise at lunchtime and be back at your desk on time, it just takes some planning (especially for us gals)
1. Try and pick an earlier or later time (11am or 2pm) as the gym isn’t as busy so you won’t have to wait for any machines (and the change rooms aren’t as hectic too)
2. Bring your lunch to eat at your desk so you don’t use valuable time lining up to buy a sandwich
3. Ladies – don’t plan on washing your hair post-gym workout. Tie it back that day and go with minimal, easy make up
4. Join a gym close to the office – or just go for a run/walk to save time

If all else fails we could go and work for PepsiCo, HBO, or Google who have their own on-site fitness centers (Google offers 230 exercise classes a week). Or even move to Denmark where each day at 10.45 am the factory door at AXA Power closes for 1 ½ hours and all staff members gather outside to walk, run, bike, swim or row.


Knowing I have a very long flight in front of me this weekend I was looking for a new book to pack and was hopeful to snare one that had won the Pulitzer Prize (a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition).

But alas, this was not be. For the first time in 35 years the prize in the area of fiction was not awarded. No one, except for the board who reserves the right to have the final decision, knows why. Even the jury who read through the 300+ books and recommend the winner, have no idea what happened. I guess one for the history books (excuse the pun!)

However, the top three novels the jury did recommend were –
David Foster Wallace’s “The Pale King”
Denis Johnson’s “Train Dreams”
Karen Russell’s “Swamplandia!”

And don’t despair as the non-fiction prizes were still given out, and may provide you with some good reading –
“The Swerve: How the World Became Modern” by Stephen Greenblatt
“George F. Kennan: An American Life” by John Lewis Gaddis
“Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention” by the late Manning Marable

Happy reading!


In a global working life of always being “accessible” and non-stop conference calls, it may be worth considering fighting for your right (my APAC colleagues!) not to have to get up at 2am to do a call, based on the below.

The most populated time zone in the world… GMT 8 where almost a quarter of the world’s population live! It includes areas such as Taiwan, China and Malaysia.

Conference calls have been replacing in person meetings for years now. In fact estimates say that over the next 10 years remote meetings could constitute up to 70 percent of total meetings.

But before you schedule your next one, you may want to make it a web conference. 55% of what an audience learns comes directly from the visual messages seen during a presentation (UCLA study) And that, when you combine visual messages with verbal communication, you increase retention rates from 10% (verbal only) to 50%. Which is a 400% increase (Wharton Research).


After travelling last week on holiday it was a welcome experience at an airport (Queenstown and Christchurch, NZ) not to have to take off my shoes, belt, watch and everything else, then go through a scanner. The old fashioned joy of actually being able to say goodbye (or welcome) to someone on a flight at the boarding gate was such a nice experience, and sadly is almost a thing of the past.

This got me to thinking to the other extreme, what are the worst airports out there? Here is a list of the ones to avoid (major airports only).

1. JFK Airport Terminal 3, New York City
In 1960, Pan American Airlines built the Worldport, fifty two years later this is still used by Delta as an international hub. Terminal 3 is the worst single airport terminal in America, and probably in the Western world. It is known for endless immigration lines in a dank basement, for an utter lack of food and shopping options. It seems the cleaning crew gave up in despair a while ago too.
2. Manila Airport Terminal 1, Philippines
The terminal has been a frequent target of criticism with travellers and the business community complaining it is congested, run-down and filthy, and bad toilets. Bribery and theft are also rampant in the terminal. Thanks heavens they are re-building this.
3. Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport Terminal B/C, Russia
Rated terrible for anything where you have to interact with airport staff: their attitude, their language skills, and the speed with which they process passengers. It can take 2 hours to transfer to a connecting flight.
4. Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi
Nairobi’s airport was built to support about 2.5 million passengers and now averages about double that.
It’s hot, ugly, dirty and confusing, full of touts and scam artists and perpetually overcrowded. This Third World construction site (a new terminal was meant to be built in 2005) remains a place for travelers to avoid.
5. Paris — Charles de Gaulle Airport, Terminal 3
CDG got the “worst airport” award two years running due to the amount of homeless people there. It is one of the worst terminals to transit in across scattered terminal making changing planes here is tiring, irritating, and sometimes a little terrifying. This being Paris, there is also usually a strike on too.
6. Amman Queen Alia Airport
Amman is just plain bad in bathroom cleanliness, places to sit and service of any kind. Reviews on the Skytrax website make it clear that you may just want to “hold it in” at this airport, as the bathrooms are so disgusting!
7. LaGuardia Airport US Airways Terminal, New York City
LaGuardia was recently rated the worst major airport in America (by both JD Power and Associates and Zagat Survey). It has no rail link and is overcrowded and experiences constant delays. Scary service from an airport at one of the top tourist destinations in the world.
8. Newark Airport Terminal B
America’s worst airport for on-time arrivals , and possibly the most dull airport in the country. Once you pass security there is no food and shopping to entertain you. Seems they didn’t get the memo on the right way to do this!
9. “Paris” Beauvais Airport, France
Fifty miles north of Paris this airport lacks seating, services, and feels like a warehouse. Closing at midnight and with no rail link to Paris if your flight gets delayed you may be sleeping on the floor.
10. Chicago Midway Airport
Chicago’s Midway airport ranked as the nation’s worst for on-time departures