Think about the times that you are most challenged with your health and wellness. For me, it is when I travel, or when I’m stressed. I travel a lot for work and was frustrated to find myself gaining weight and losing progress during these trips.
I had about 5 trips planned during the 3 months before my wedding, and I just wasn’t going to let it happen. I worked with a nutrition and fitness coach to develop a game plan, and committed to healthier habits that wouldn’t be challenging to stick to while I was gone. And I am so happy to say that it worked! I didn’t gain a pound and I still felt great.
Here are some easy tips for maintaining balance while you travel. You can find some of the items mentioned in my shop, as well.
Stay Active. This is easily the hardest one on the list, but I put it first because it is also the most important. If you exercise regularly when you are at home, do it when you travel, too. If you make it a habit, it shouldn’t feel like punishment or a chore. If you’re only traveling for a couple of days, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make it to the gym. Consider walking instead of catching a cab, or take the stairs instead of the elevator. Then hop right back into your exercise routine when you get back in town!
Eat a Balanced Breakfast. I struggled with this one a lot when I first started traveling for work. But now, I make it a priority. Eating a balanced breakfast that’s rich in protein will get your metabolism going and keep you feeling full longer throughout the day. If you miss out on breakfast, you won’t have as much energy and will likely end up making poor food decisions once you do eat. Scope out the locations for breakfast nearby your hotel. If you don’t have time to sit down, request room service the night before so that you don’t have any excuses. You’d be surprised what you can order that isn’t on the menu (i.e. hard boiled eggs, avocado, bacon, a banana, oatmeal, etc.). I personally bring a NutriBullet with me on week-long trips so that I can start my day off with a protein shake, just like I would at home.
Stay Hydrated. First, let’s face the facts. You are going to retain water and “gain weight” when you travel. You will likely be eating at restaurants and consuming more sodium than you usually do. And if you’re flying, the bloating is a normal part of air travel. Just remember to stay hydrated and try to flush this excess sodium out. Not only will this ease the bloating, but it will improve your skin, too, which can take a toll during travel. As much as I love spending $5 on a small Smart Water at the airport (and sometimes I do it for the electrolytes), I carry a large refillable water bottle with me and fill it up at the soda machines.
Carry snacks. You’ve seen the selection at the airport, and let’s just say, it isn’t exactly a Whole Foods. This will require a little bit of preparation at home, but you’ll be thankful you did it. I always load up on low-sugar protein bars, protein-packed trail mix, and nuts before I leave town. I portion them out in baggies (usually 1/4 cup per serving) so that they’re ready when I need them. This helps me on business trips and during long appointments, when I’m in a cab and start to feel queasy, or even when I’m on the airplane.
Take Your Vitamins. I forgot my vitamins once and I literally had to find the nearest GNC and buy new ones. This may just be a mental thing for me, but again, I like to stay as consistent as possible while I travel. If you’re going to be exposed to thousands of people and millions of germs in the airport, subway, cabs, etc. you might as well load up on Vitamin C. A good vitamin will be packed with other important nutrients that will keep you feeling energized, alert, and able to enjoy your trip.
Get Sleep. Again, this can be challenging, but try your best here. You should be targeting 8 hours per night. Getting sufficient sleep and avoiding excess stress will keep your cortisol levels low and prevent weight-gain and sugar cravings. Sometimes the time-change can be challenging, so I carry Lavender Essential Oils with me and place a drop on the bottom of each foot before I go to bed. It helps me feel more relaxed and fall asleep faster.
Have Fun. Most of all, don’t stress about gaining weight and being out of your regular routine. Enjoy your trip and remember that you can hop back into it when you get back. Don’t worry about restriction, and don’t make anything you do feel like a punishment. Just try to adopt healthier habits and incorporate them into your trip without it becoming a burden.
You can find most of my travel essentials in my shop. Reach out if you have any questions!