This month’s topic is incorporating travel into a weight maintainer’s life. How DO you do that? I suspect that for many folks its like it is for me–enjoying good food has been a HUGE part of traveling. I have actually written quite a bit about this on my blog–you can click on “vacation” or “travel” if you’d like to read more of my musings.
From the time I was a little kid and we took family vacations, having “treats” was always a big part of travel. And then, to be truthful, as you get heavier and heavier, some of the other pleasures of travel are too difficult to enjoy, so you are limited ever more to just enjoying the food.
So pleasure eating and travel are still very linked in my mind. I sometimes spend a great deal of time thinking about this (see the large number of posts written about vacation and travel!)
Luckily, actually PLANNING food for travel does not take that much time. I’ve come up with a number of strategies over the years, depending on the destination and the mode of travel.
If I am driving, and my destination is a motel, its pretty easy to pack an ice bag with a few favorite foods. I almost always try to get a motel with a refrigerator and a microwave in the room. If its too hot, or its too far to take an ice bag, I get directions via the internet to a grocery store in the town I’m heading to. Come to think of it, visiting new grocery stores has become a kind of replacement for ‘vacation treats.’ Of course, you can still get in trouble in a grocery store! I like to have breakfast food and dinner or lunch “snacks” available in my room.
If I am flying, I really try to plan foods that I can eat during the travel days. Airport food is generally pretty dismal, and also very expensive. Plus, depending on your layover time, and how far you have to run through the airport, there can sometimes be NO time to get anything. Non-melting protein bars, fruit, baby carrots, and my new love, jerky, work great for this. I have packed protein bars, nuts, and even those little containers of half and half for my coffee when I was traveling to Africa and Haiti!
Another thing I do is to research area restaurants. I have some favorites (Baja Fresh) and am always glad when one is nearby. Most restaurants have their menus and nutritional information online, so its pretty easy to do this too.
But here’s the thing. Food, when we travel, is not going to be exactly the same as when we’re at home. I don’t even want it to be. I want to enjoy a few special flavors that I don’t normally even keep in the house. As time has gone on, I have become more confident that I would return to my healthy eating habits when I return home. In fact, by the end of most trips, I can HARDLY WAIT to get home. Vegetables are always the thing I miss the most. No matter how many salads you eat, its still not the same.
So do I gain weight when I travel? Yep, I usually do. Is it that much weight? No.
I do not weigh myself the minute I get home. That is just useless information. Even with car travel, you tend to retain a little water, because your schedule is just not the same as it was. I weigh myself about a week after I return to see how much I actually gained, and continue to eat my healthy diet. Eventually the weight comes off. For example, on my recent trip to Ohio (12 days total) I gained four pounds. Two and a half pounds have come off in the last two weeks. I’m happy with that.
The one thing I didn’t address was being active on a vacation. Truthfully, that has not been my recent experience. I try to get in some exercise, but the trips I have taken recently have not been planned around activity. I think it would be fun to take trips that were activity oriented, like bike trips, or like my BF is starting to do–scuba diving! But right now I am taking the same relaxed attitude about exercise that I do about the food. I am confident that I am going to return to my very active lifestyle when I return home, so I am not going to agonize over not getting in my quotient of exercise when I travel.
To read more about “Road Maintenance,” be sure to check out my friends and maintaining experts:
AIM: Adventures in Maintenance is Lynn, Lori, Debby, Shelley, and Cammy, former weight-loss bloggers who now write about life in maintenance. We formed AIM to work together to turn up the volume on the issues facing people in weight maintenance. We publish a post on the same topic on the first Monday of each month. Let us know if there is a topic you’d like us to address!