In my practice I have seen many patients who would like to lose weight and who struggle to do this because of the demands that their careers put on them. Working long hours typically leaves them exhausted at the end of the day and less likely to prepare a healthy, home-cooked meal. Instead they may opt for grabbing some fast food on the way home or resorting to something quick and easy like Ramen noodles for dinner. Another big hurdle they face comes in the form of traveling a lot.
If you have been in an airport recently you know that finding healthy options can be difficult, especially when there is a Cinnabon and slice-o-pizza joint in every terminal. In fact, traveling can give most people an excuse to break their diet and splurge on foods they wouldn’t typically eat. For this article I teamed up with Cole Millen, personal trainer and certified weight loss consultant, to provide the chronic travelers out there a few tips on how to eat and stay healthy while on the road.
When you are taking a plane, be sure to scout the airport for fresh foods. Plenty of places offer fruits and salads to choose from. Opt for lean and grilled options whenever possible. A salad with some grilled chicken would be a good example. Avoid foods that are overly salty, fried and covered in cheese. Eating these types of foods will cause you to feel bloated and uncomfortable the entire plane ride. It may also be a good idea to bring your own snacks with you when you travel. If you are unsure of what a good snack is, please email me and I will provide you with a list of healthy options. If you are up for it, do some quick yoga or stretching at the airport to get the blood flowing.
Choose Your Hotel Wisely
Before you embark on a journey, choose your hotel wisely. If you are on business, you may not always have a choice as to where you are staying. If you do have a choice, make sure the hotel is equipped with a fitness center. Check out the surrounding restaurants for healthy choices. Again, staying away from high-fat, high carb meals is a good idea. You may also want to see if there are grocery stores nearby so you can buy some groceries to eat in your hotel room. This saves both money and calories. Cole provides this pro tip: “I took a trip south to Miami and wanted to make sure that I could keep my beach body in tact while there. I began researching online and found a great site that allowed me to read reviews from other travelers on the Miami hotels, as well as the restaurants in the surrounding area and things to do. This made it easier than ever to plan out my vacation to ensure I could maintain my healthy lifestyle while soaking up the sun.”
Make Better Choices Dining Out
The key to preparing to eat at restaurants is research. Increasingly, restaurants are offering low-calorie options for their customers, but this information may be difficult to find. Consider pulling up the restaurant's menu online and looking for healthy meals that contain the words vegetarian, grilled, fresh or low-calorie. Travelers will want to investigate restaurants before heading out, and choosing your meal before arriving can help you avoid temptations. Also, if your dish is in a huge portion, you don’t have to eat the whole thing! Cut it in half and bring some home for later. It takes a few minutes for your body to recognize that it is full so if you scarf your food down quickly you will end up paying for it later.
Exercise When You Can
There's a good chance you will be more active than usual while traveling or on vacation. You will be getting in more movement and steps that count towards your daily activity. This is great for those who count their steps. Move as often as you can. If you are staying in a downtown area, try walking to your destinations instead of taking a taxi. Organized exercise may or may not be necessary. You can hit the fitness center at your hotel. You can also find running trails near your hotel to get in a burst of calorie burning. Carry all of your bags for extra strength training in your day. Make sure that you hydrate throughout it all. Drinking water is extremely important to ensure that your body is nourished and you aren’t getting dehydrated. A good rule of thumb to follow is “half your body weight in ounces.” Basically, take your body weight, divide it in half and the resultant number will be the number of ounces of water you should be drinking per day.
We know it’s not always easy to follow a diet and stay healthy while traveling. When you make a few modifications, you may find that adhering to your healthy lifestyle all of the time can actually be fun and relatively simple. Don’t make it too complicated – you will enjoy the benefits of looking and feeling great that much more.