Vacation Weight Loss 101: Eating Well and Staying Active While Taking a Break

June 5, 2024
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Benefits and Challenges of Vacations

These are some benefits of vacations and taking time off work or other routines.

  • Reduced stress
  • New experiences
  • Great food
  • Clear your head to increase productivity when you return
  • Spend time with family and friends

These are some possible challenges. 

  • Different routine
  • Unfamiliar foods
  • Being tired

These challenges can apply to any change in schedule like changes in work hours or stressful events like moving or taking on new caregiving duties. 

Healthy Lifestyle Guidelines on Vacation

The same guidelines for healthy living still apply while on vacation. Here are some examples of good practices. 

  • Plan ahead
  • Eat according to hunger
  • Stay hydrated
  • Be physically active
  • Prioritize sleep 

You may need to shift your goals to a slower rate of weight loss or to maintenance. It also can help to focus on your actions instead of outcomes like your weight. It’s important to let go of what you can’t control, like flight delays.

Tips for Travel Day

Plan ahead for your travel day(s). Here are some things you can think about.

  • Packing healthy snacks
  • Having a water bottle handy
  • Looking up restaurants and stores at rest stops and airports, and checking menus when you can

On travel day, work out before you go if possible.

Throughout the day, do your best to break up sedentary time.

  • Get out of the car for several minutes at rest stops
  • Do seat exercises and stand when you can on planes and trains
  • Set a timer to remind yourself to stand up or move every 30 minutes

Nutrition Tips

Choose healthy snacks with protein and fiber, and stay aware of calorie counts. Many “travel snacks” are high-calorie even though they’re high-nutrient, too. 

  • Trail mix, protein and energy bars, peanut butter, nuts, granola, and dried fruit can be high in calories
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables, pouch tuna, and string cheese are lower-calorie choices
  • Popcorn, brown rice cakes, and puffed whole-grain cereal can also be good choices

You can make healthier choices each day on vacation!

  • At hotel breakfasts, look for egg whites, fresh fruit, whole-grain cereal, and cottage cheese or yogurt
  • At restaurants, check for vegetables and lean proteins like chicken, seafood, and tofu
  • Consider picnics with ingredients from supermarkets or locally prepared foods from delis, open-air markets, and street vendors

Treats can be an essential part of the travel or vacation experience. Enjoy them! Choose what sounds delicious to you, and have a small amount if it’s a high-calorie food. Stick to lower-calorie, high-nutrient foods for most of your meal. 

Staying Active

Vacations and tips can offer unique opportunities to be active. Try walking everywhere that you can. You get a different view of your location and can learn a lot. You may often find walking tours designed for tourists or locals. You may need to sign up for them.

Consider taking advantage of your vacation to try a new sport or activity. Destinations may be known for classes in surfing, kayaking, rock climbing, snowboarding, or many other options.

Hotels can be a safe spot for activity. If there’s a fitness room, you can try using it. Otherwise, you can work out in your room on your own or using an app. 

Create Your Healthy Vacation Plan!

Step 1: Set your goals

  • Consider choosing 2-3 goals that you can achieve during your vacation.
  • Make them action-oriented
  • Examples include catching up on sleep, drinking more water, and enjoying local treats while maintaining weight

Step 2: What must you plan ahead of time?

  • Do you need to reserve or schedule anything?
  • For example, you may need to download a sleep app, enroll for a hiking tour, research where restrooms may be, and look up local delicacies so you can decide which sound best to you

Step 3: What items do you need to pack or purchase?

  • Can you purchase some items at your destination so you don’t need to pack so much?
  • Examples include an eye mask for sleeping, instant oatmeal for healthy breakfasts, resistance bands for exercise, herbal tea bags for hydration, and comfortable exercise clothes

Step 4: Schedule it

  • You may not know everything about your vacation schedule, but set aside time to achieve goals like working out

Health Coach Q & A

Are we going to receive a handout once the webinar is done?

You can always come to the Lark webinar hub and see recent webinar recordings, summaries, and question and answer sessions. 

Will airlines allow you to bring your own food on board?

Yes, most airlines allow you to bring aboard your own food, but it’s critical to check about the details. Here are some considerations.

  1. Containers with liquids and gels must be 3.4 ounces or less and fit into a single quart-sized zip-top bag
  2. If you’re going into another country, check the specific regulations for the country you’re entering. Certain types of fresh meat, vegetables, fruits and other products may be restricted. If you’re going through customs before your flight, you cannot take those items on board. If you’re going through customs after your flight, you can take those items on board, but must discard any remains before going through customs.
  3. Some airlines may have specific policies, so it’s always best to call ahead and check.

How does one eat healthy in a foreign country when their breakfast consists of coffee, tea, and a pastry?

That can be tricky, but there are often other options. You can choose plain coffee and tea without sugar to keep calories low and stay hydrated. Instead of a pastry, one option is to take packets of instant oatmeal with you and make those using hot water from the hotel restaurant or hotel room’s coffee maker. You may also be able to ask for or order items like eggs or a fritatta, fresh fruit, and whole-grain bread.

I seem to always get constipated

This is a common problem while traveling. It can be due to the change in schedule, mild dehydration, and changes in physical activity and diet. While on vacation, it’s best to stay hydrated, be physically active, and look for plenty of fruits, vegetables, and other high-fiber foods. You can also talk to your healthcare provider before you go for additional suggestions. 

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