As I write this I’m actually on the plane from Sydney to New York at the moment and I thought this would be a perfect time to write an article on how to avoid the weight gain that comes with travelling.
So last week we covered about what do to before you get on the plane and while you’re on the plain to avoid pain and stiffness. Today we’re going to be covering the other thing people dread when coming back from a holiday and that’s the extra pounds you’ve brought back with you that isn’t luggage, it’s the blasted belly fat.
As you’re on the plane on the way back from your holiday you begin to think of all of the food you ate and all of the cocktails you indulged in and now you realise you have to lose that holiday weight you gained, get back into exercise and it feels like you’ve lost all of the hard work that you’ve put in.
“Why does it have to be so hard!?”
Fortunately, it actually isn’t that hard to maintain the progress you’ve achieved while travelling and you don’t have to come back with that feeling of guilt.
Prepare ahead of time.
Whenever you plan a holiday you always do your research beforehand right? You check where you’re going to stay, what you’re going to see and how you’re going to get around or maybe you’re like me and you just booked an Airbnb and decide to wing it while you’re there. Whether you like to prepare ahead of time or not this step is crucial for staying healthy while travelling.
Look for local supermarkets. The first thing I did after booking my Airbnb was to look where the nearest whole foods was to where I’m staying and also look for healthy restaurants and takeaway places that are nearby. A quick google search brought up places like chipoltle, a sushi restaurant and a local meat deli.
This doesn’t mean that I’m not going to indulge while I’m over there because I know there’s going to be plenty of New York Pizza slices and cheesecake but it’s not going to be like that every day and it’s not going to be at every meal. Once a day I’m going to treat myself to something new and for the rest of the time I’m going to stick to my usual way of eating which means veggies and lean sources of protein.
Buy those frozen steam bag vegetables and rotisserie chickens for a quick meal so you don’t have to do much kitchen work while travelling. Nobody likes cooking as it is and having to do it on holidays is like sticking a fork into your left knee cap (no one wants to do it).
Once you’ve found out where the supermarkets are and healthy takeaway joints the next thing to do is to look for a local gym. I know you’re probably groaning already after I mentioned this but if you want to reduce your chances of losing progress then just look for a gym OK.
Maybe the place you’re staying at has one or maybe there’s one just around the corner, jump on the website and have a look at prices or deals they do. Who knows you might even get a free weekly pass if you can sweet talk the receptionist with your charming overseas accent 😉
Pro Tip 1
If you don’t have access to a gym because of [insert some excuse here] then take your runners so you can go for a morning jog or a late night walk.
Pro Tip 2
Exercise either early morning or later at night when nothing else is open. No one wants to exercise in the middle of the day or at 9 in the morning when this is prime time to do “touristy stuff”. Instead, get your exercise out of the way when nothing is open, that way you’re not missing out on anything.
Once you arrive at your destination it’s time to figure out what the transport is like. If you’re staying somewhere in Manhattan like I am then most things are within walking distance or a subway ride away. If you’re in a more rural area, then you may have to hire a car or jump in an Uber.
One thing I can’t stress enough is to walk as much as possible and as often as possible. It’s easy to bang up 10 – 20,000 steps when you’re walking everywhere and this also gives you the opportunity to see all of the local sites instead of sitting in an Uber looking at your Facebook feed and getting caught up in what people are doing back home.
This one tip alone can help keep your activity level high and reduce your chances of gaining weight while travelling. Even if you’re in a villa and your plan is to sit on the beach and drink cocktails all day, why not get up and go for a walk down the beach with that cocktail instead of just sitting down all the time.
Fast As Long As Possible
I tend to do longer periods of fasting while I’m travelling because the temptations are everywhere and because I love food so much it would be easy for me to eat my weight in cheesecake, chocolate and all of the other good treats that are out there. Instead, I will try to go without food for as long as possible to avoid overheating. Usually I will fast for about 18 hours a day before eating. This is also great because it allows your body to start burning fat since you haven’t eaten since the night before.
Then once you break your fast make your first meal as nutritious as possible. This means lean meat and fibre.
God I sound boring don’t I?
If you make your first meal full of lean protein and fibre this is going to help you feel full, avoid overeating and allow you to maintain muscle mass because the problem with travelling is that we don’t really have much access to good sources of protein all the time so making sure you have a big serving for your first meal will help knock that out of the way.
That’s not so hard is it?
The important things to take away from this are quite simple and are going to save you the feeling of guilt and disappointment when you get back to real life. So, in summary here’s what to do:
- Look for local supermarkets where you can buy healthy food
- Look for a local gym or take your runners
- Exercise early in the morning or late in the evening so you don’t miss out on your touristy stuff
- Fast for as long as possible
- Walk and be as active as you can
Remember health and fitness aren’t separated from your life, it should be integrated. You can still take a holiday eat some good food, indulge in some tasty wine and stay active you will be much better off in the long run.