Whether you’re traveling for work or vacation, embracing your new healthy habits on the road may initially require some adjustment. Despite potential challenges like delayed flights, long car rides, different cuisines, and disrupted schedules, staying committed to your weight management goals can be an empowering journey. Follow these tips to help you stay on track while enjoying yourself along the way.
Pack portable, high-protein snacks
Imagine this: You just arrived at your destination. You’re hungry, probably a little jet-lagged, and you’re waiting to check into your hotel. There aren’t many healthy food options around, if any. In situations like these, it’s helpful to have a plan to help you stick with your goals.
Before your trip, pick up a few portable high-protein items like protein bars, protein shakes, or a whole grain granola or cereal. Having options like these can tide you over until you’ve had time to settle in and choose where you’ll be eating next.
Stock up on staples at the local grocery store
Once you’ve checked into your hotel room, it’s time to do a little research. Find a grocery store that offers healthy options to stock up on essentials like:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables (pre-cut and pre-washed are the most convenient, if available)
- Fresh or hard-boiled eggs (hard-boiled are great if you don’t have a kitchen available)
- Low-sugar Greek yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Cooked meats e.g., deli meats or rotisserie chicken
- Snacking nuts e.g., raw almonds or cashews
These options are great for a variety of situations and can help you stick to your weight management goals, no matter how unpredictable your day is. Whether you’re looking for a snack or you’re in need of a meal after a long day of sightseeing, having foods that you’re already familiar with is a great way to stay on track. Not feeling stressed about eating on your trip can help you enjoy your vacation even more. Click here for some delicious, easy, weight loss counselor approved recipes that are perfect for the road.
Browse restaurant menus beforehand
When you dine out, try to browse the menu beforehand to look for healthy options. Look in advance for items that are grilled, steamed, broiled, or baked rather than fried or sautéed. Menu items such as fresh salads with lean protein options like poultry, tofu, or seafood and a vinaigrette-based dressing can be crucial for staying on track. If there aren’t any healthy options available, consider eating a high-protein meal or snack beforehand and ordering healthier sides or appetizers.
Indulge in moderation
There are plenty of opportunities to try new and exciting foods while on vacation. New foods are important, and they can be a substantial part of what makes your vacation enjoyable. One helpful approach to making mindful food decisions is to take a snapshot of your nutrition and exercise that day, before indulging. Ask yourself: Have I had enough protein so far? What physical activity have I engaged in? Have I had enough water? Will this food upset my stomach? Considering questions like these can be a useful tool when considering options that are outside of your typical dietary guidelines. While you don’t need to check all of these boxes when indulging, these questions are useful in helping you determine what your needs are in that moment, leading to a more mindful approach to eating.
When you encounter something new and exciting, consider “sampling” the food with one or two bites. When you do indulge, always try to pair sugars and carbs with high-protein items and fiber, as well as plenty of water.
Incorporate exercise into your itinerary
Being on vacation can offer the opportunity for new types of exercise and activities. Visiting the hotel gym, taking a walk on the beach, or going for a refreshing swim are just a few of the many great ways to stay active while traveling. Look for opportunities to involve your whole travel group in an activity.
Walking to local restaurants and shops, as well as sightseeing on foot are group activities that can incorporate exercise into your trip. You can even look into local attractions or sports such as hiking or surfing for added fun and excitement, while still staying active. Finding ways to maintain your level of activity is going to drastically help you meet your weight management goals while enjoying your vacation.
Additionally, exercise (either leisurely or high impact) is a great way to reduce jetlag, improve digestion, and keep you feeling your best, making it a worth addition to your itinerary on any vacation.
We’ve all been there! It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and forget to drink enough water throughout the day, especially when traveling. Staying hydrated is a crucial part of your weight management plan and your overall health.
With your increased activity levels, as well as the fatigue from travel, staying hydrated will help your body regulate its temperature, keep your joints lubricated, and support healthy digestion. Should you become dehydrated, it can lead to fatigue, muscle cramps, and even heatstroke, which can put a damper on your vacation plans. If you are having trouble staying hydrated, consider talking to your weight loss coach about different electrolyte options.
According to Johns Hopkins University, the general recommendation for daily water intake is 91 ounces (about 11 cups) for women and 125 ounces (about 15.5 cups) for men (source).
While this may feel like a lot of water, one helpful way to stay on top of your hydration is to pack a reusable water bottle for your trip. This will give you access to water whenever you need it, rather than whenever you can find it. Many places also offer water fountains to refill your bottle for free.
Alcoholic Beverages: Alcoholic beverages tend to contain large amounts of sugar and contribute to dehydration. When consuming alcohol, be mindful to drink extra water to keep your body hydrated which will keep you feeling your best. Work with your weight-loss health coach to find what options are best for your long-term goals.
Get adequate sleep
Lastly, don’t forget to practice good sleep hygiene. Adequate sleep is an essential building block for overall well-being, especially if you are trying to manage your weight or lose weight. Without it, your body’s stress response can become stronger, leading to higher cortisol levels, and eventually weight gain. Additionally, losing sleep can disrupt the hormones that regulate hunger and fullness, leading to increased appetite and cravings for unhealthy foods. According to the National Institute of Health, there is an association between short sleep duration and a higher risk of developing conditions like obesity and type II diabetes (source).
Try to prioritize at least 8 hours of sleep nightly, and don’t hesitate to take breaks or naps throughout the day if you’re feeling tired. Sometimes, one of the best things you can do for your body is (almost) nothing!
Maintaining your weight while traveling (or keeping up with your weight loss goals) doesn’t have to mean following a long list of strict rules or depriving yourself of enjoyment. Finding a balance between nutrition, exercise, and enjoyment is a crucial part of any lasting weight management plan. Our comprehensive care team is committed to helping you reach your weight loss goals and supporting you every step of the way.