3 June 2014 Vacation – Aim to Maintain Not Gain

Vacation is a needed respite from the daily grind but it can cause havoc with one's weight. Read my tips on how to deal with weight control while vacationing.

Traveling to Your Destination

Don't waste your calories on icky airport or highway food. On your outbound trip, consider bringing your meals and snacks with you.

Plane. Take the time to pack a healthy sandwich or meal you can eat on the plane. Although you can't go through TSA security with liquids and gels (e.g. yogurt), solids are allowed. Ideas: sandwiches, salad, cheese, fruit, nuts, seeds, sandwiches, protein bars, or leftovers in a disposable container.

Car. Take a cooler along and pack with a variety of meals and snacks. Aside from saving money, you'll be able to eat more healthfully. Plan stops to coincide with meals and maybe even a short walk. Just remember to bring ice. Ideas: yogurt, cheese, ham, roast chicken, condiment packets, whole grain bread or crackers, fruit, washed/sliced veggies, nuts/seeds, low fat milk, soy milk, or almond milk (septic packs that don't need to be refrigerated until opened are the easiest to travel with). Avoid the usual snacking traps - chips, cookies, pop. Need a little perk up? Bring plain iced tea or coffee from home. Try canned seltzer water with natural flavors instead of pop.

When in Rome, Do As the Romans Do

If you are traveling overseas, consider eating like the locals if they tend to be a healthy weight. You'll enjoy the local cuisine while being exposed to a different approach to eating. I was surprised that I did not gain weight in Paris, despite daily pain chocolate, baguette sandwiches with butter, salmon, and cheese, afternoon treat, and late dinner with wine. But I didn’t snack between meals other than the afternoon treat. Nothing was low in fat but everything but portion controlled. So after one week, I maintained my weight despite a week of delicious French food and no tracking. When on vacation, consider maintaining your weight instead of trying to continue with weight loss.

Be an Active Tourist

If you plan to visit older cities, be aware that many require able bodies to move about the trains, buses, and tourist sites. It is a good idea to prepare for LOTS of walking – especially if you live in the United States and are not used to walking and stair climbing. If you are visiting a city with good public transportation, then buy a weekly pass and use it. You will save money while seeing so much more of the city. I used the Metro trains during my week in Paris and I still walked 5-10 miles a day!

Trip Back Home

I know it is hard to return home after a great trip, but don't drown your sorrows in poor quality, high calories foods that you so wisely avoided on your outbound trip. Consider your trip home the last vestige of your vacation. Instead of spending time eating bad food, make an effort to eat as healthfully as possible as a reward for a great vacation. Focus on non-food activities such as reading books or magazines you never have time to enjoy at home.

Most importantly, enjoy your vacation! Explore new ways of living, eating, and relating to the world during your travels and put the explicit goal of weight loss on hold.

Katherine Isacks, MPS, RD, CDE
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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

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