How To Not Gain Weight While Traveling

how to not gain weight while traveling

When you’re out of your house and your normal routine, it can be challenging to maintain your bariatric goals of eating well, moving regularly, staying hydrated, and taking your vitamins. Traveling may bring up a slew of mini-challenges such as; “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 week’s blog post, here are some pointers on how to not gain weight while traveling, and tips for staying on track with your goals.

What To Eat On Vacation

When you arrive to your hotel, first start by putting away (or hiding) the unhealthy foods on top of your minibar. If you have some time, go for a walk or swing by a local grocery store to buy some healthy vegetables (pre-cut), plain nuts, protein packs, meat and deli slices, cheese sticks etc. that you can stock in the hotel room mini-fridge instead if there’s room.

Regarding restaurants, scroll the display cases or menus for protein items whenever possible. At breakfast time, you will likely be tempted by all of the carbs (ie: café croissants, bagels, pastries, etc.) However, try to start with a savory breakfast instead of a sweet breakfast to better control carb cravings later in the day. If there is a protein option for breakfast, load up on that first such as eggs with protein (ie: ham, bacon, prosciutto, etc.) and/or greek yogurt. If you have any travel packets of unflavored dissolvable protein powder, you could bring it along with you and mix it into your morning coffee as well for a protein boost.

Juices and smoothies may be available and tempting to have on vacation, but sugar-sweetened beverages are the number one source of weight gain. These drinks carry a heavy sugar and carb load. If you do decide to order one, prioritize one that has vegetables in it, add a serving of protein, and if it’s a large size- share it with a friend. Talk your drink to-go so you can immediately use up those carbohydrates in your muscles with a nice long walk.

How To Exercise While Traveling

Nothing gets your feet on the pavement faster than the alternative of expensive Uber and Taxi rides! Save some cash and explore your vacation spot by foot. The sights, sounds, and conversations with loved-ones will help the time pass by. 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 kids start having a meltdown… then hail an Uber to get you to your final destination.

If you have room in your suitcase for sneakers, I would try fitting them in. Most hotels are gyms that you can utilize with cardio and strength training pieces of equipment. Make sure you tour it once you arrive in your hotel! When everyone is back at the hotel room and you need some time to decompress and to relax, consider going down to the gym to bike for 15 minutes. Better yet- throw your bathing suit on and check out the hotel pool if they have one! There’s no better way to cool off, relieve your tired joints and feet from walking all day, than by splashing around in the pool with your family.

Ensuring you move your body on a daily basis is one of the best ways to not gain weight while traveling.

How To Reduce Stress On Vacation

Traveling for work or with family/ friends can sometimes be….well, stressful! However, having a quick breathing technique on the back-burner is the quickest and easiest way to keep myself grounded, cool, and collected. You can also coach your anxiety and stress down from a heated moment by asking yourself; “In the scheme of life… is this that serious?” Usually the answer is always “no” which can help you move on from it.

Getting yourself out in the sunshine and away from a dark and clustered hotel room does wonders for your mind. There’s nothing more refreshing than walking the sidewalks with others as you explore a city, and spending a few minutes in a local park to just sit on the grass and take everything in.

If you’re completely wiped from the day, but don’t have a chance to take a nap in a quiet hotel room, grab a book instead and find a cozy spot in the main lobby of the hotel to read it in peace and quiet. Or, put your headphones in and load up an audiobook, Podcast, or calming music and sit outside on your patio for a few minutes to mentally “reset.”

Whenever you can, prioritize catching up on sleep while on vacation. Coming home from vacation rested and restored can do wonders on your mental health, motivation to “get back into the swing of things again,” and to dive back into family or work duties.

In Summary

When it comes to traveling, it may not look exactly like what you’re used to with your home routine, but you can still stay consistent on your health goal(s) by being intentional with what you’re eating, how you’re moving, and how you’re managing your mindset.

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  1. I am a bit nervous about my upcoming 2 week trip to Africa. I don’t think movement will be an issue and if I don’t allow myself to get too tired, I think I can manage my mindset. I am concerned about eating. I will not have much control over the food options. Our meals, for the most part, will be prepared for us. Sudza/pap is the staple there. It is a very heavy dish made with “mealie meal” or white corn meal. There is no way I can eat that. I couldn’t tolerate it very well prior to surgery. It sits in your stomach like a rock! I pray I don’t offend the cook by not eating pap. We may have some control in packing lunches but I won’t have control over what is offered to pack in those lunches. I am trying to think of protein snack items I can take in my luggage. I plan to take individual packets of my collagen protein powder to mix with my sugar free chai tea mix. It will be winter there. I can drink that in the mornings to warm up or during “tea time”. I thought about packing some beef sticks and almonds. Any other suggestions that would be easy to pack?

    1. That’s definitely tricky, but you may be surprised by the protein they may offer you there. I did a trip to Kenya myself, and they served eggs and chicken sausages for breakfast (in addition to the starchy options). But to answer your question about what to bring – you’re definitely on the right track. Raw nuts and little snack-sized baggies of protein and collagen powder are probably your best bet from the non-perishable side of things. Maybe little single servings of peanut butter (without added sugar) can be useful too.

      1. Thanks Kate! Nuts and nut butters were one of the last items suggested by my team to add back into my diet. I am going to try almond butter this week and see how it goes. I tried almonds and pistachios this week and had a little discomfort.
        My sister gave me a recipe for energy bites… little balls of nut butter, flax seeds, oats, mini chocolate chips and honey. I’m need to plug the recipe into my app and check the nutritional info.

        1. Ah, ok. Maybe start with the nut butter and then work up to the whole nuts themselves.

          With the nut butters- read your labels. Avoid anything that has cheap / processed vegetable oils in it. The only ingredient(s) on the label should be the nut itself and/or salt. And be really careful with serving sizes. If you can keep it to a Tsp a serving, that’s great! A little goes a long way.

          If you’re ready for the whole nuts, make sure they’re not coated in anything and that they’re also just the plain version. Chew them thoroughly (to the consistency of applesauce) as well. Also, be mindful of how many you’re grabbing. If you take a closed fist’s worth (1/4 cup), that will count as a serving. I like to do that and then put them into pre-portioned snack sized ziploc bags so that I don’t graze in an open bag of nuts. Nuts are very caloric and are easy to snack on, so just be careful with it as a snack.

          But that energy bite recipe sounds delicious!! Let me know how they turn out!

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