Time away from home, whether for a vacation or a business trip, can be the kiss of death to a healthy lifestyle. In my experience helping people with their weight, one of the BIGGEST set backs to progress is the weight that is gained while on a trip. If it is a vacation, caution is thrown to the wind. If it is a business trip, the stress and crazy schedule throw everything into a tailspin. If every trip means a 5 pound weight gain, imagine how many pounds this means over the year! Even if you manage to lose it afterwards, it slows your progress to constantly be making up for lost time. Vacations and/or business trips cannot be synonymous with weight gain. Achieving a healthy lifestyle means learning to live healthy under almost all circumstances. Travel is one circumstance that is worth investing some time and energy into accomplishing without a weight gain. Here are 10 tips!
1. Reset Your Travel Mindset. What does a vacation mean to you? Vacation often means relaxation, and it should, but relaxation doesn’t have to mean sedentary. Choose “active” versus “passive” vacations. An active vacation is one in which a physical activity is built in, such as hiking, swimming, biking, walking, etc. Make sure your trip has at least one fun physical activity on each day.
2. Diners, Drive-ins and Dives Vacation also often means indulgence. We overeat when away from home because we feel the need to sample all the regional foods. I have heard people say time and time again, “Well I couldn’t go to INSERT PLACE without eating INSERT FOOD!” Why not? Yes, you can go there without eating that. Just because you are in Chicago doesn’t mean you have to eat deep dish pizza. Just because you are in Philly doesn’t mean you have to eat steak and cheese. It is really important to break free of high calorie travel traditions. The American vacation has become a food tour. We hop from one restaurant to another as if that is why we came. Food TV has done a great job of promoting regional cuisine traditions, but keep in mind, this is the work of the tourism industry roping us in to spend our money. The truth is Chicago is about architecture, theater, lakeshore park, Midwest charm, and urban splendor, not pizza. Experience your destination with a comfortable pair of shoes and explore the sights, history, and people.
3. Hey Boy Scout, Be Prepared When traveling, normal meal times are thrown off, leaving us vulnerable to meal skipping, extreme hunger, and restaurants. This is a deadly combination. Pack healthy snacks in suitcase that travel easily (Kashi bar, nuts, fruit, etc) so that you can curb hunger. Make this part of your regular travel routine even if you aren’t sure you’ll need them. You probably will.
4. Get the Map Out. In the event you have a lot of road time, consider mapping out parks and recreation areas along the way to stop for a walk or light jog. Don’t be in a big hurry, allot yourself the extra time to stop for some light exercise and a chance to see some new sights in a place you might normally pass on by.
5. Fast Food Strategic Planning. A lot of road time can mean you are limited to fast food for meals. There are many decent fast food meals, be sure to look up nutrition information ahead of time so you have 2-3 meals already planned out. Pick restaurants you know will be on the way. My favorites are the Wendys Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Sliced Apples, Taco Bell Bean Burrito, and the McDonald’s Egg McMuffin.
6. Put some exercise in the bank. On some trips (especially business trips), you may have very limited or no time for exercise. Prepare before you go by getting in an extra workout or two. For example, if you workout 4 times a week, then get in an extra 2 the week before you go and an extra 2 the week you get back.
7. It’s Got a Pool and Everything! Make sure to get a hotel with a pool and/or gym. Some hotels might have deals with nearby gyms, look into it. Then, USE the gym or pool. Carve out time in your day to go. It will take the edge off of the stress of your trip!
8. Eat In: If you have a long stay, spring for a hotel with a kitchenette, or rent a house or apartment. Although sometimes more expensive, you will make up the difference by eating in rather than out.
9. Shake It Up If your schedule is really upside down while away, stop at nearest grocery store on the first day of your trip and grab Slim Fast or Carnation Instant Breakfast shakes and have those in place of breakfast and/or lunch. This takes the guesswork out of figuring out what to eat and saves time, calories, and money.
10. See Into Your Future Close your eyes and picture yourself on the scale the morning after your trip. What do you want to see? Don’t lose sight of that. Vacation is not relaxing if it means digging yourself a hole that requires several weeks to dig yourself out. Make your vacation a healthy treat to yourself, complete with exercise, healthy meals, good sleep, massage, and no stress.
Have a nice trip!
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