This is a guest post by Kristin Weiland, a certified personal trainer. This is the first in a series of articles about staying healthy/keeping in shape while traveling. Have fitness question? Send it over to me, dtravelsround [at] gmail [dot] com, and maybe Kristin can answer it in an upcoming post!

Ahhh, vacations! While they are great and needed, these trips away from the norm can completely sabotage your diet and workout plan –if you are not careful. Time spent away is fun, exciting, and interesting since you get to visit new places and meet new people, but it can quickly turn into havoc for the seams and buttons on your jeans. Vacations typically mean you are spending time consuming more wine (or other refreshing alcoholic beverages while watching the sunset over the beach or mountains or … ) and dining out frequently (how can you say “no” to the local cheese plate?).

It’s easy to fall into the same trap as everyone else when it comes to food — you know how it goes — you tell yourself, “as long as I work out regularly a glass of wine or a hamburger won’t hurt me.”

Right.

Unfortunately, one glass turns into two or three and once you do the math, you find out you actually consumed close to 3/4 of your daily caloric intake in one meal. Each glass of wine is approximately 280 calories and a hamburger, even a plain one, is more than 450 calories. We tend not to keep track of what we are eating and drinking when we are on vacation, and that is a sure fire way to sabotage all the hard work you put in prior to your trip.
It is important to remember that 60-70 percent of your weight-loss results come from managing your diet. I am not saying you should deprive yourself, because if you do you will eventually crack and binge eat – and instead of eating a few bites of that cheesecake, you end up eating three slices of it! It is possible to go out with friends or go out for a nice evening with a special someone without completely blowing your diet.

If you want to have a drink with dinner try to limit it to one or pick a drink that won’t make you feel guilty. There are several low calorie options to alcohol such as the “skinny girl margarita.” If you wish to have a drink with friends, there is a great Web site for concocting your own low-cal cocktails to sip while vacationing.

But, you are on vacation, so going out to eat is only natural. When you go out to eat, follow some simple rules to help keep you from consuming too many calories:
1. Have the waiter bring a to-go box when he or she brings out the meal. After your meal arrives at the table immediately place half of it in the to-go box to eat the following day (assuming you have a place to properly store it, if not, take the remainder to go and give it someone who looks like they could use a good meal). Most meals served in restaurants are entirely too large. If you get half the meal out of your sight immediately you won’t feel like you need to finish it. The old philosophy our parents had of “you have to finish everything on your plate” no longer applies.

2. Choose baked or grilled over fried. You can still have the chicken breast or the shrimp – just have it prepared differently. Skipping the fried foods will help keep you in those skinny jeans or micro mini you were finally brave enough to purchase, let alone wear on your trip.

3. When it comes to sides, skip the fries. Now this is a tough one for me because anyone who knows me, knows that I love fries. Not only do I love them, I salt them before I even try them – which is a terrible habit! Always try the food before adding additional salt – nine times out of 10 you won’t even need to add anything to it. Instead of fries try to get the seasonal vegetables or the sweet potato without the caramel and marshmallows.

4. Just because it is a salad doesn’t mean it is low-calorie. I have seen people load up their plates with salad at the salad bar and then pile on bacon bites, egg, croutons, and dressing. Well congratulations, you are about to consume your entire daily caloric intake in one sitting! Remember proper portions are also important when it comes to salad. Yes, green leafy veggies in general are GREAT for you, but they are no longer healthy if they are drowned in bacon, egg, and ranch dressing. Always get the dressing on the side and dip the tip of your fork in the dressing first, then grab a bite of food — this will keep you from eating all of those empty calories, but still get the taste of the dressing.

Remember these tips next time you pack your bags. Your jeans and your body will thank you! Especially when you return from your holiday.

——-

Kristin Weiland is a personal fitness trainer certified through the International Sports Sciences Association. She has worked in the health and fitness industry for more than five years as a personal trainer. She also served in the United States Air Force as a meteorologist and physical training leader for eight years. She specializes in pre and postnatal training, weight loss, strength training, and speed and agility training. For more information on how to get healthy, visit her site., K.Weiland Fitness.

15 comments

  1. When I began my RTW trip I started off carrying resistance bands which I hoped to use 3 times a week or more. 5 months later I had barely used them 10 times, so I left them in a hotel. So much for the exercise! I guess 8 hours+ of walking per day was enough…

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    1. Ha!! You got further than I did! Kristin was one of my fabulous trainers in Atlanta, and she really helped me to prepare for my RTW trip. I went and purchased resistance bands with every intention of using them during my travels. And, you know what? They didn’t even make the final cut in the packing of my backpack. I tried to reason that I would walk enough to stay fit, and I think I did. But, I didn’t notice any weight loss or anything until the summer came in Eastern Europe and the no air-con, coupled with a lack of appetite due to the heat, finally made clothes looser. But, there were times when I saw backpackers do workouts, go on jobs and the like, so it can be done!! 🙂

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  2. The salad and I have issues!! I love salad but I can’t help drowning it in dressing all the time. Its a good thing I love oil and vinegar-thats what I grew up with. Latins arent really fond of ranch. At least my parents werent. Good tips, but with all the trekking you do while on the road I really don’t try to follow any diet or eat good-you burn so many calories walking with your backpack!!

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    1. I was obsessed with the olive oil towards the end of my trip. I had to have it with everything. Especially the Shopska Salad. Mmmmm. I don’t recall seeing many different dressings, but that could be because the only salad I really ate was the Shopska. I had a special place in my heart for pizza. 🙂

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  3. I agree with most of the these tips. As a rule I don’t eat fried food, but I broke it last weekend for some French fries for the first time in many months…and I felt so sick! It’s funny how your body gets used to not having it. It was a good reminder why I don’t eat it. But the to-go box one is hard, because if you’re staying at a hotel, you have nowhere to put the food or warm it back up, rendering it useless! Though that’s what I love about vacation rentals…you always have a fridge and microwave, so you can actually eat the leftovers later (which ends up saving you money). Hotels with studios are the same way, but in general when traveling and staying at a hotel, I’m not able to take things to-go. Though maybe you can get it to-go and then pass it off to someone who is homeless and do a good deed!

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    1. That’s is a great idea. I did it a few times when I traveled. But, most times I either forced myself to finish my food since I paid for it and was on a tight budget, or dumped it. I know what you mean about the fried food. I try not to eat it, and when I do, I can feel how it doesn’t mesh well anymore. I agree, vacation rentals and hotels with appliances are the best. As are hostels. The more ways to preserve/cook food, the better!

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