It is inevitable that you will eventually stray from the comfort of home after having bariatric surgery. In doing so, this will present a unique set of challenges for you to stay committed to maintaining your health goals. You may start questioning; “Will I have access to healthy foods?,” “How will I move on a regular basis?,” and; “Will others I’m traveling with give me a hard time for staying healthy?” In this blog post, we’ll offer insights on healthy travel tips for bariatric patients. From mindful food choices to incorporating physical activity and stress management strategies, this guide aims to equip you with the knowledge and motivation to not only avoid weight gain but to thrive during your travels.
What To Eat On Vacation
As you prepare for your vacation, it is equally important to have a plan and strategy around how you’ll navigate food, exercise, and mindfulness on your vacation. This is pivotal to ensure your bariatric goals remain intact.
Smart Snacking Strategies:
Once you arrive at your hotel, take inventory of your room. Stow away unhealthy snacks from your hotel minibar so they are completely out of sight and out of mind. Go for a walk outside and venture to a local grocery store to explore culturally wholesome snacks such as pre-cut vegetables, plain nuts, protein packs, deli slices, and cheese sticks, which can be conveniently stored in your hotel room mini-fridge.
When dining out, search the display cases or menus for protein-rich options. Breakfast, often laden with tempting carbohydrates, can be approached strategically by opting for a savory start to the day. Prioritize protein-packed choices like eggs with ham, bacon, or prosciutto, or indulge in Greek yogurt. For an extra protein boost, consider carrying travel packets of unflavored dissolvable protein powder to mix into your morning coffee.
Be Wary of Sugary Drinks:
While juices and smoothies may call your name with their vibrant hues, it’s crucial to be mindful of their sugar content, a leading contributor to weight gain. If you choose to indulge, opt for options that incorporate vegetables, add a serving of protein, and, if the size is substantial, consider sharing it with a friend. Take your drink to-go, utilizing the carbohydrates for energy during a leisurely stroll.
How To Exercise While Traveling
Maintaining an active lifestyle on the road requires creativity and a commitment to incorporating movement into your daily routine.
Explore on Foot:
One of my favorite healthy travel tips for bariatric patients is to prioritize walking over take motorized transportation. Nothing gets your feet on the pavement faster than the alternative of expensive Uber and Taxi rides! Embrace the opportunity to save on transportation costs by immersing yourself in the sights, sounds, and conversations that come with exploring your vacation spot on foot. Discover the hidden gems that may be missed when relying on taxis or ride-sharing services. You’ll likely surprise yourself by how far- and for how long you’re capable of walking in a day. If at any point you get tired, or it starts to rain, or your kid starts having a meltdown… then hail an Uber to get you to your final destination.
Sneak in Exercise:
Consider allocating space in your suitcase for a pair of sneakers, just in case your accommodation offers fitness facilities. Explore the gym, engaging in both cardio and strength training to ensure a well-rounded workout. After a well-earned workout, take advantage of the hotel pool to cool off, relieve tired joints, and spend quality time with your family. By making daily movement a priority, you not only prevent weight gain but also contribute to your overall well-being.
How To Reduce Stress On Vacation
Travel, whether for work or leisure, can introduce stressors that may impact your well-being. Implementing effective stress management techniques is essential for a balanced and enjoyable journey.
Quick Stress Relief Techniques:
Arm yourself with quick and effective stress relief techniques to navigate challenging moments. A controlled breathing technique can serve as a powerful tool to maintain composure. Additionally, ask yourself a simple question during heightened moments of stress: “In the scheme of life, is this that serious?” More often than not, the answer is a resounding “no,” providing perspective and aiding in the swift resolution of stress-inducing situations.
Finding Peaceful Moments:
Escape the confines of a dark and cluttered hotel room by immersing yourself in the revitalizing effects of sunshine. A leisurely walk through city sidewalks or a few moments spent in a local park, surrounded by greenery, can work wonders for your mental state. If exhaustion sets in but you’re unable to take a nap, opt for a quiet corner in the hotel lobby with a good book or immerse yourself into audiobooks, podcasts, or calming music. Prioritize sleep whenever possible. Sleep has such a profound impact on mental health, motivation, and the ability to seamlessly transition back into the demands of everyday life once you return back from vacation.
While the landscape of travel may differ from the familiar routines of home, maintaining consistency with health goals is not only achievable but can lead to a more enriching and fulfilling life after surgery. By approaching food choices with intention, incorporating physical activity into your daily routine, and implementing effective stress management strategies, you not only sidestep weight gain but unlock the potential to thrive during your travels.
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