Whether you’re road-tripping or flying cross-country or staying at a motel or an all-inclusive resort, keeping your weight down is one of the challenges of traveling. You normally don’t have access to a kitchen, so planning nutritious meals can be near impossible. Instead, the usual travelers’ fare is off-the-highway stops at Arby’s or McDonald’s, with menus that are high in calories and trans fats. Even at deluxe hotels, buffets and drinks galore are at your disposal. The last thing you want after coming back from that bucket-list vacation is to look in the mirror and see that you’ve gained 10 pounds. So here’s some advice on how to stay trim and energetic while you’re out there seeing the world.
Roughly 80 percent of losing weight involves dieting (as opposed to exercise), so it’s imperative to eat healthy, no matter where you are. Unfortunately, even in the high-tech means of traveling that we’re used to, you’re often at the mercy of whatever meals are around you. That’s why a good dieting strategy on the go is to pack snacks that are good for you. These might include nuts, carrots, hummus, snap peas, dried fruit, and Greek yogurt, among others. So fill up a Ziploc bag with nutritious morsels to keep you fueled wherever you venture.
Staying fit may sound like the antithesis of “vacation,” but try to set aside time for exercise each day. Hit the hotel gym first thing. Jumping rope, lifting weights, or running on a treadmill for 15 minutes helps you feel even more vigorous while seeing the world (or makes the trip to the spa afterward all the more soothing). Opt to walk instead of drive, so you can absorb the terrain (rather than let it zip by in your window). Also, to truly see a place, you have to put in some effort to move around in it. Walk the causeway approaching the Taj Mahal. Climb the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio. Get lost in Madrid at night. Wherever you are, get off the tourist bus and immerse yourself.
Although it may sound counter-intuitive, relaxing often yields fitness results. So, strange as it sounds, slow down. To navigate the chaos that comes from being in a new place, let the smells and sounds wash over you without trying to understand it all. Sleep enough to stay fresh. Drink water to keep hydrated. Eat more slowly to savor the cuisine. As your body regulates, your cortisol (the hormone responsible in part for your metabolism) calms down, which can spur weight loss. As fitness experts have said for years: Chill. It’s good for you.
Travels With Your Pup
People often find that traveling with their dogs can be as much fun as hitting the road with their friends or family. Dogs are happy to work out with you in any landscape—hiking mountain trails, running along the seaside, doing yoga by fern-lush waterfalls. On that note, you may even consider “doga”: yoga with dogs. Granted, doga doesn’t always pan out, like when your dog walks away in confusion or falls on the floor as you’re balancing him on your torso. But it’s fun, playful, and a good way to stay fit while also bonding with your pet.
Traveling is a beloved pastime. So for the lucky ones who get a chance to see the world, savor the experience—the healthy, immersive way.