This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a small commission for any purchases made.
One of the biggest challenges I have faced in terms of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and weight is traveling. I love to travel, and thanks to my husband, I get to do so more often than I ever have. But life on the road presents many challenges. The natural tendency is to adopt a vacation mentality and throw caution to the wind.
From a practical standpoint, I often find myself with less than ideal choices. For example, on a visit to Tampa earlier this year, I spent several days without a car. This is normally not an issue, because I love exploring places on foot. However, our hotel was situated near the beach, in an area removed from many walkable conveniences. Pandemic-induced closures also made my dining options very slim. I was pretty much limited to what I could order, which was not always healthy, and definitely not cheap. Since completing my first year in the Noom program, I have learned to become a bit savvier in my planning and negotiating these challenges. Here are four tips I’ve learned for losing or maintaining weight while on the road.
1. Pack Your Snacks
Eating out at home can get very expensive. Eating out on the road when you don’t have a kitchen at your disposable can get ASTRONOMICALLY expensive to your bank account and your calorie budget. I try to travel with my husband as much as possible, but eating out was killing my waistline and my wallet at first. The pandemic made this even more difficult. I often found my meal choices limited to places I could walk or things I could order. If we got off a plane at 11:30 pm, early closures meant greasy late-night fare or going to bed hungry.
Limited options make it more difficult to control what you eat and give you less room for decision-making. The best way to combat both of these is to pre-empt these scenarios with your own healthy options. Leverage the benefit of bulk and ditch the “convenience” pricing by packing as much food as makes sense.
When I take road trips, I pack for the car and the hotel room. Eating while driving is usually a choice of fast food or gas station junk, but if I pack snacks, I know I at least have options. I like to pack sweet, crunchy fruit, like grapes, as a quick fresh alternative to chips and candy, and water to stay hydrated. Packing snacks also allows me to control portion sizes. I take small cans or bags of my less healthy favorites (Coca-Cola and Chicken ‘N’ Biscuit crackers, anyone?) in smaller portions that I might not find in the gas station.
Flying is a bit trickier, but still doable. I can’t pack my drinks, but I can at least throw a granola bar in my carry-on to help with airport munchies. If the trip is a couple of days or more, I find it beneficial to go to a local Target or Wal-Mart to grab the drinks and snacks I couldn’t fly with. I’m not a huge fan of breakfast in general, so instead of wasting money and calories on food I don’t enjoy, I try to pack or purchase things I will eat.
If you’ve ever stayed in a hotel, you know that the markup on snacks is all the way up! For example, one water may cost the price of a full case. Nothing is more appealing in the middle of the night than a $4.00 water in the hotel lobby. Do yourself a favor, skip the middle man and pack your own stuff!
2. Keep A Schedule
If you’re like me, you like to get the most of whatever place you visit. I tend to pack (and sometimes overpack) my schedule with activities. If I don’t schedule in time to eat, it won’t get done. I’ll either roll out of bed and skip breakfast or look up and realize I haven’t eaten lunch. By the time dinner rolls around, my hunger is raging and I end up eating my entire budget and then some in one sitting.
Feeling hungry is a good cue that you should actually eat something, but getting too hungry can cloud your judgment. Many of us already go into a vacation with the treat and cheat mindset, but skipping meals can really impact your ability to make good decisions about how to go about that. Try to schedule meals around the same time you normally eat at home. Remember those snacks you brought? Keep one or two with you so that if you do miss a meal, you’re able to bridge the gap.
3. Move As Much As Possible
I know, I know, you may want to truly rest while on vacation, but hear me out. Half the motivation to work out is getting in the car and driving to the gym, right? Well, most hotels take that hurdle away. I like to take advantage of having a gym right in the building. For those who may be wary of such facilities during this pandemic, many hotels have instituted reservation policies, which have been awesome. No wait, no unwanted spectators, no sharing equipment, just peace, and free reign.
If you don’t want to do the gym, consider walking. Y’all know I love to walk anyway, but I don’t move my car unless I have to. I try to situate my accommodations in a walkable area whenever possible. I also try to plan my activities in such a way that I can park somewhere and walk to and fro between them. Before you know it, you will have met your step goals or burned calories without thinking about it!
4. Stay Hydrated
This one is given no matter where you are, but it’s seemingly more difficult when traveling. Much of the time when we think we are hungry we are actually thirsty. When at home, water may be more readily available, but if you’re on the road, the tendency is to grab whatever is there. I, for one, love myself an ice-cold Coca-Cola! One of my favorite strategies for longer trips is to pack my Contigo thermos and buy gallons of water. I know that my cup is 16 oz., so if I refill it 4 times, I’ve had 8 glasses of water! Otherwise, I try to keep a few bottles or two with me as I move about. This helps me remain satiated for longer (and prevents dehydration on my warm-weather excursions).
The main takeaway here is that where there is a will, there is a way. Do the very best you can wherever you are. The circumstances may not be ideal, but it is possible make the most of your health and your trip at the same time.
How do you maintain your healthy lifestyle while you travel? Share your tips below!
(Thinking about trying Noom for yourself? Click here for my invitation for a free 14-day trial and 20% off your subscription!)