How often have you heard someone talk about gaining weight on vacation? It seems like the norm is to gain a few vacation pounds before returning back to the real world. I believe that it doesn’t have to be this way. Traveling should be an experience of a culture, which almost always includes food (and lots of it!), but it doesn’t have to mean that you don’t take care of yourself on the road.
I don’t have a hard and firm plan I abide by to keep myself healthy while traveling, but there are a few points I always stick to to ensure that my trip is fun, tasty, and still makes me feel good!
Walk, Walk, Walk
When we travel, we walk absolutely everywhere. Typically, we don’t even take the time or money to learn public transit, because we feel that cities are better seen on foot. On our last trip, our daily average was over 15 miles walked, with some days topping out over 20 and some days closer to 10. I believe there is no better way to stay healthy and in shape on vacation than to walk, plus, it allows you to see parts of cities that you wouldn’t normally see from theses or subway.
When I travel, I never feel the need to eat 3 square meals a day. Typically, we eat one larger meal (usually an early dinner around 3 or 4pm) plus snacks or other local cuisine. Not only is this a great money saver, but it meals you aren’t walking around overly full the entire day. I know that I tend to get sluggish when I am too full, and I hate wasting a minute of a trip not feeling 100%. Eat when you’re hungry, but don’t feel like you need to follow your normal, at home, dining schedule.
Granted, this tip isn’t for everyone for every trip, but sometimes running while on vacation can be a real game changer. I spent many family vacations in high school and college going for a run before everyone else woke up. I was able to see places and sunrises that I wouldn’t have seen had I followed the itinerary and it is a great way to start your day and get amped up for the adventures of the day!
Don’t Be Afraid to Eat
At home, we all have dietary choices that are pretty standard in our day to day lives. Barring medically necessitated (gluten free, dairy free, food allergies) or lifestyle (vegan, vegetarian, etc.) choices, let your idea of a “diet” fall to the wayside when you travel. Eat the food you want to eat, not the diet version. You will eat less and be more content with your choices if you chose the food you actually want to eat. If you are staying active, I promise that the extra calories won’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
Now, this isn’t to say that you should eat past the point of satiation, but you can eat the foods you want to eat and still feel content in moderation.
A Greens Meal
After eating a heavier vacation diet for a few days, it feels absolutely amazing to take one meal and devote it solely to fruits and vegetables. I did this on our last trip in Prague and it brought me back to life. Often, we tend to not eat as nutrient rich a diet while on vacation than we might at home, and trading in one meal for a ton of veggies will get your digestion, mind, and immunity back on track.
Roll With It
Travling is all about enjoying the unexpected. Whether that is a huge hill to hike up, one more beer, or a local dessert, just roll with it! Travel is about experience and it would be a shame to miss something for the sake of a diet.
Enjoy your time and enjoy your experience. Health is mental and physical.