Add the Pounds to Your Suitcase, Not Your Person

Summer is right around the corner and many of us are dusting off our suitcases with visions of vacations dancing in our heads. We’ll travel by trains, planes and automobiles, as well as by boat, bus, cycle and foot. Our vacations will run the gamut from visiting family and friends, exploring our own states and countries to immersing ourselves in cultures foreign to our own. All are wonderful pursuits. And while we will all utilize our time off in different ways, there’s certainly one thing that we’ll all do. We’ll eat. And we may eat too much. The consequence of this is that many of us will end up gaining a pound or two…or more.

Now don’t get me wrong. Vacations are for letting go a bit and having fun. And when we find ourselves in different environments with different cuisines, we should definitely sample the local fare. But, it’s important that we not abandon our health entirely or pack on a lot of unwanted pounds. After all, a vacation is a short-term retreat. Our bodies are with us for life.

So how do we navigate the sometimes dangerous waters of travel with regard to weight gain? By employing a few strategies, it’s not so difficult. Here are some tips:

  • Stay active. If possible, keep up with your exercise regime. Also, while exploring the sites, do it on foot or by bike as much as you can. Wear a pedometer and make sure that you walk at least 10,000 steps per day.
  • Don’t drink your calories. Enjoy water and other calorie-free/low calorie beverages.
  • Aim to not completely abandon healthy eating. Enjoy a few splurges, but monitor portion sizes and frequency. Balance less healthy dishes with more nutritious ones. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat/nonfat dairy and lean proteins abound at most of our travel destinations.
  • Definitely try out the local dishes, but focus more on those that are prepared in a healthy manner.
  • Carry healthy snacks, like fresh fruit and veggies, with you when you’re out and about and when you’re going on airplanes, trains, buses, etc. That way you’ll have nutritious foods when you need them.
  • Wherever you stay, keep healthy snacks and beverages there as well. Instead of reaching into the mini-bar for a candy bar, pick up an apple instead.
  • Try to get enough sleep. Everything is better when we’re rested.
  • Remember that your disease states and conditions don’t take a holiday. If you have a special diet that you have to follow at home, it’s important to do so when you’re not.
  • Don’t forget that you’re on vacation. Enjoy it. Even if you add 500 extra calories a day, you’ll only gain one pound in a week. That’s not too unmanageable and for most not so hard to lose. But if you add an extra 1500 or 2000 calories a day (not as hard to do as you might think), you’re then looking at gaining 3 to 4 pounds in a week. Not so fun.

Happy travels!


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