Posted in Food Travels

Maintaining weight on vacation doesn’t have to be an oxymoron

For the first time ever (with the exception getting a stomach bug on my last trip to India), I came back from vacation without gaining weight.  It wasn’t exactly an accident, but didn’t make myself crazy about counting calories either.  Here are a few simple tips that worked for me and hopefully you can use on your next vacation.
  1. Prioritize exercise amenities (and use them!) – What do you look for when you research hotels?  Free wi-fi, a lovely view?  Add whether or not your hotel has an exercise room to your top list of priorities.  They are becoming more common, but you can easily review the hotel amenities on your travel or hotel website to confirm.  This of course means you also have to prioritize packing your workout clothes.  They take up a lot of room, but the results (more energy and less jet lag in addition to weight maintenance) were worth it.  Try to get your workout out of the way in the morning so you can have the rest of the day for fun.  When that doesn’t work, head for a walk or to the gym when travel companions are napping to get your energy boost.  Working out on vacation is a must when you are gone longer than a week (I learned that the hard way).  It helps you maintain your muscle mass, keep your weight in check and restart your workout routine when you get back home since you won’t be starting from scratch.
  2. Hoof it – One of the best ways to explore a new city is on foot.  You stumble upon the best finds and it helps you get oriented with your new surroundings.  You’re going to burn extra calories while getting a first-hand view of your vacation destination.  You can look up walking tours of your destination before you go for a little guidance.  Be sure and pack comfortable walking shoes.  I cannot say enough about my Teva Kayenta Walking Sandals. I have them in Walnut and find I can wear them with shorts, skirts and dresses.  They are comfortable for a long day of hitting the pavement and look stylish as well.
  3. Eat local – This is always a great idea whether you are at home or on vacation.  We visited one of the local markets in Istanbul and found a dazzling array of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Figs were in season so I snacked on those between meals.  We ate local specialities (even when they looked strange) which were made with fresh local ingredients.  Eating local on vacation means that you are going to taste the best your destination has to offer and typically enjoy a high nutrient content meal since your food hasn’t had to travel a long way to your table.  Every location has its specialities, but for those who tend to gravitate to tropical destinations (like me!) you are mostly likely going to get your fill of juicy fruits and vegetables and the freshest seafood.
  4. Go meatless – I didn’t follow this 100% of the trip, but when I had the option, I opted out of meat at most meals.  This was easy to do given our destinations of India and Istabul, but it’s still a choice you make.  The vegetarian dishes were so flavorful, I didn’t feel like I was missing out.  When I did have “meat”, I opted for the fresh seafood that was plentiful and better prepared since they were local specialities.
  5. Indulge in moderation –  One of the reasons I’m a little surprised we didn’t gain weight is that we didn’t really deprive ourselves of indulgences.  I had my champagne cocktails and ate my baklava, but I was careful to do it in moderation.  Dessert was still a special treat, the ice cream was portioned to one scoop and the baklava was bite-size.  Drinks were alternated with water and were limited to prevent hangovers and ruin the following day’s workout and sightseeing.
  6. Give yourself a break and enjoy your vacation – It’s about enjoying your vacation not deprivation.  So if you go a little crazy one day (like I did on my food tour – more to come on that!) don’t beat yourself up over it.  Reset your intentions for the next day to get a little more exercise and listen to your hunger/fullness cues.  If the scale moves a little higher  than it was before you left, that is OK too.  Look back on your wonderful memories and then make a plan to double-down on your workouts and get back on track with healthful eating.
I hope you have enjoyed your summer vacations as much as I have and that you can use these travel tips on your next vacation (or staycation!).
Leave me a comment if you have your own healthy travel tips that you would like to share!
Bon voyage!

2 thoughts on “Maintaining weight on vacation doesn’t have to be an oxymoron

  1. I definately tried to keep my portions to a minimum. At times, though, when visiting family you do not want to cause any upset by avoiding meat or saying that you are not hungry after they have gone to the effort of cooking a meal. Any minimal weight gain is far outweighed by the gain in socialising with loved ones whom you have not seen in a while.

  2. Thanks Colline. Great point. Family time is precious. Not always practical, but sometime I’ll bring a healthy side dish to share and to show that veggies can taste great too!

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