How I learned to NOT gain weight traveling:
How to NOT gain weight traveling. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the frustration of gaining weight traveling. Traveling as much as I do, I have found the constant yo-yoing frustrating, but I was hoping to figure out a way to stop. I said I had a trip coming up and I’d let you know if I could travel and NOT gain weight. Well, I did it! I didn’t gain a pound on this trip I just took to Sweden and Denmark. Hallelujah!
Avoiding alcohol on the plane:
When you fly international, airlines offer free wine or beer inflight. In the past I have always had a glass or two on the flight, but this time, I drank water only. Wine on planes is not that great, so why waste calories on a not so tasty wine? Besides, there has been lots of articles written on why drinking on planes is not such a good idea. Not only does alcohol dehydrate you, booze can also make you feel drunk due to the pressurized cabin and that can get you escorted off the plane at the end of your ride. Not good. I also chose to not have a drink every night. Using the same rationale as on the flight, if they didn’t have a really great wine, why have a glass?
Skipping dessert 90% of the time:
I recently wrote about giving up sugar and bread for 30 days. This helped me lose weight before this trip, but I knew I was going to allow myself a little sugar, however, I still wanted to not gain weight traveling. What I did then was to pick carefully when I would have dessert, and I made sure chocolate was involved for the best bang for the bite. (Um, in case you didn’t know, chocolate is one of my favs.) When I impulsively bought a chocolate bar at the grocery, I took one bite and threw the rest in the trash, reverting to my training.
I had hot chocolate at the Hotel Chocolat in Copenhagen, but I chose the 100% chocolate which meant no sugar. However, I did add the chocolate whip cream (whip creams in Scandinavian countries, as well as European, generally have very little sugar) for a hint of sweet. Overall, I had dessert three times and each was delicious and well worth it, but avoiding dessert for the most part, helped me keep the weight off.
Be creative with your choices:
I eat a plant based diet with little to no processed foods when I am at home. When I travel, I’ve always given myself leeway on this, but what I’ve learned is, you just don’t have to do that. Stick to what works for you at home, and make only small concessions when you have to. I popped into grocery stores/markets for whatever berries were on sale and ate a package almost every day. I also found pre-made salads, for lunch in the room when necessary. Again, these steps helped me not gain weight traveling.
Creativity was necessary with my breakfast choices, because fish is a regular in Scandinavian countries. However, they also have cucumbers, tomatoes, and bell pepper slices on every breakfast buffet, so many a day I made my own version of a cucumber sandwich, see the pic above. I also ate the small rolls that were a dark grainy bread with pumpkin seeds on top. They made my cucumber sandwich even better. I chose to eat bread every other day. And for snacks, I looked for nuts. I also skipped a meal here and there just because travel interfered or I had a big meal at lunch. All of these tricks helped.
Choose nutrient rich foods:
Almost every restaurant had vegetable choices. For the most part, I chose the nutrient richest foods for my meals, in other words, veggies. My indulgences on the trip were, the first night and the last night: veggie burgers. The first night my side was green beans, yum. But for my last night, I chose frites, that’s french fries my friends, plain and fat. Loved them, while eating them, but I have to admit, I didn’t feel so great after.
Additionally, our first night in Copenhagen, we had wandered around forever looking for just the right place, or so it seemed to my Hangryness, and we finally stepped into a Turkish restaurant with tons of meat choices, and just asked: can you make us a veggie plate? And did they ever! We had four different veggie dips with lovely pita breads for an appetizer, then they brought us a plate covered in veggies of all kinds. We were very happy. My husband, who travels far more than I do, has learned to just ask for veggies and without fail, restaurants make him beautiful dishes that his colleagues often envy.
Make the time to do some steps:
When I travel, I walk everywhere. I sometimes take public transportation, but only when necessary. With the map on my phone, I can find out the walking route and how far away my destination might be, allowing me to plan. I wore my fitbit every day to remind myself to walk, and made at least five miles happen regularly. If you find yourself stuck in a hotel, walk the halls, use the work out room, but make time for exercise. BUT, don’t look for exercise to help keep the weight down. Yes, exercise helps, but most people overestimate the calories burned and underestimate how many calories they have over eaten. A night we were to meet friends we could have taken a cab. However, why waste the money and miss out on a chance to see the streets up close and personal.
Summing up how to not gain weight traveling:
Mindfulness is the key. Thinking ahead and planning your strategy, all gave me the ability to not gain weight traveling. I’ve been told so many times, ‘don’t worry about it, you’re on vacay,’ but the fact is, this is my health I’m messing with and I don’t want to be over weight. Coming home and seeing the scales tipping upward is not a good feeling. Making smart choices did not make me feel cheated. I felt empowered by taking my health into my own hands. If you have questions, let me know in the comments below. Also, please share any strategies you have found helpful. If you like this article, please share by pushing the little buttons!