How to Stay on Track while Traveling

There are so many different categories and possibilities of circumstances on trips! For example, You could be flying across the country for an event with a set itinerary and god-knows if the hotel room has a mini fridge. You could be driving to a vacation rental home so you have a full kitchen but you know the house will be filled with junk food your body isn’t use to or you could also be having a stay-cation on a boat with limited cooler space.

Whatever it may be, I’m going to try to cover all the bases and all the options. After all, I’ve successfully done it all and have coached my clients through a variety of situations.

Often times my clients fear traveling because they think they won’t make any progress. Truth is, when you’re off of your routine, you most likely won’t – and that’s OK! ⁣Traveling isn’t about losing weight – it’s about enjoying LIFE!

Instead of setting unrealistic expectations for yourself, go into with the mindset of maintaining your weight rather than moving forward. Imagine pressing pause rather than excel!⁣

No matter where you go The recipe for success here is to follow the 4P’s: Plan, Prepare, Portion, Pack!!⁠ Now depending upon your situation, you may have to do more or less of one of those but you should do some of all 4.

So lets start with planning and preparing. Part of planning and preparing is that you have to evaluate what your situation will be like. Will you have access to a fridge? can you bring your own cooler of meals? Or will you be eating on the go?   What ever it is, knowing before you go will help you to be able to plan and prepare. Here are some things to consider for certain situations:

  • Look to see if your hotel has a micro/fridge or if they can provide you with one (call the front desk and ask! the worst they can say is no).
  • See if you bring a cooler with you. If you’re driving you can pack some meals with you. If the ice melts you can always buy more at a gas station! If you’re flying you can absolutely bring a cooler bag on as a carry on. Food has to be solid and The ice packs you use to keep your food cold must be frozen solid (because you can’t have any liquids!). whether driving or flying, If you won’t be eating these meals for 8 hours or more, I suggest freezing the entire meal first so that it definitely stays cool and when you arrive to your destination it will most likely be thawed out by then so you can just store it in the fridge or get more ice.  Another cooler hack is Instead of using tupperware for each individual serving you can save space by putting foods into sealable plastic baggies. When you consume the food you can just toss the bag and you don’t have to worry about cleaning up the tupperware and packing it to go home. Instead of using ice packs, you can Freeze water bottles to use as ice packs. Once they thaw you can either drink or drain the water and toss the bottle (again, this saves space in your luggage and you don’t have to worry about packing it to go home)
  • Check out your surroundings for grocery stores or health food stores. If you’re staying at a family member’s house, a vacation rental or even an extended stay hotel and you have access to a kitchen, you definitely have the best of situations so you can pick up whatever you need.
  • Look up restaurant options in advance! Most restaurants have nutrition facts online now a days so you should look up restaurants in advance and know what to order before you go. I’m probably going to do a whole separate podcast episode about how to go about ordering food at a restaurant so stick around for that. If you’re going with a group of people, ask what they have in mind. There’s nothing wrong with having a planned itinerary so don’t feel like you’re annoying. 
  • You can also research the area for gyms. You can even call ahead to see if they do any free passes or guest rates. See if your hotel has a gym. Most hotels have at least some equipment. If not, consider bringing resistance bands. Just do your best to be active! Get your steps in! This might not mean going to a full gym and getting a workout in like you normally do at home. It means not sitting still when you have the opportunity to move! I understand there are going to be periods of times where we can’t (like on long flights or car rides) but you can definitely and consciously make an effort to move at some point throughout your day. for example, If you’re At the airport: Walk up and down the terminal as you wait.  I wear my Fitbit and I’m always shocked by how little steps I make when I finally reach my gate. (Sometimes, it may feel like you’re on your feet forever because you’re standing in line but realistically, you aren’t moving a whole lot.) So instead of sitting (since all you’ll be doing is sitting on the plane itself) use this opportunity to stretch your legs up and down the terminal. Plus if you’re carry some heavy bags it’s great cardio! If you’re on a Road trip:  instead of trying to get to your destination in the fastest possible time, give yourself and extra hour or two so that you can make a few stops to stretch your legs and get some steps in at a rest stop (not just a gas station because you won’t move that much). My favorite kinds of places to stop at is an outlet mall because who doesn’t love window shopping? oh and also… on a road trip, if you actually do some looking at gas stations, you can make healthy choices. You don’t always have to settle for a bag of chips.

IT might sound crazy at first but break down your trip into sections or days if you need to instead of looking at the whole big picture. So know what you’ll do when you’re on the way to your destination, at your destination, and on the way back. Remember to plan it and don’t just wing it! If you fail to plan then you plan to fail. 

Based on your situation, you have to prepare accordingly.  Whether that’s planning all your meals, cooking them before you go and packing them on a cooler. OR creating a list of foods you’ll need to pick up once you get to your destination OR knowing what you’ll get at restaurants. -That’s all preparation! From there, I even suggest having back up because you never know when things are out of your control. Actually, I can almost guarantee it will happen. A delayed flight or a last minute change of restaurants can easily through your whole plan in the garbage. So have some plan  B’s in place.

I almost always Pack a bag of tricks of non-perishable items – just in case! This can be anything from beef jerky, tuna pouches, nuts/seeds, single serving nut butters, protein powder and protein bars. This is where the 3rd P for portion comes in. Pre-portion these items if they aren’t already. For example don’t put 3 scoops of protein powder in one baggie. Put each serving individually. Of course for things like rice cakes you can keep them in one sleeve because it’s easy to just grab the ones you need and leave the rest. Even if you never use these items and they just sit in your suitcase, that’s fine! I rather have more than enough options then none and end up snacking on empty-calorie foods. 

The hardest thing to get when traveling is protein. always focus on having protein rich foods to take along with you, grab when you’re there, or to order off the menu. Carbs and fats are super easy to get so I wouldn’t worry about packing those nearly as much. Also, veggies are really hard to get as well so you might also want to pack your multivitamins and perhaps a greens supplement. My favorite is Barleans greens because it tastes like sweetened cocoa powder and you can add it to a protein shake.

And last but not least….This is the easiest thing to forget to do when you’re not on your normal routine is drinking water. When you’re dehydrated, you’re likely to want to snack more and when you’re dehydrated, you’re body retains water and that is one of the biggest culprits to the number on the scale going up! So continue to keep your water intake at a normal/constant level to prevent unnecessary bloating. If you’re going on a plane, Pack an empty water bottle in your carry-on, this way you can fill it up after you go through security at the airport. If you’re driving or anything else, bring lots of water or pick up bottled water as you go. you never know when you’ll need for mixing a protein shake or something!

*If you’re traveling internationally, going on a cruise, to all -inclusive or buffet style events……good luck! just kidding. Okay these are hard but not impossible. I actually really like this because I have almost full control over what I put on my plate and I’m going to load my plate exactly how I normally do:  which is 1/4 of my plate is protein, another 1/4 is carbs. I pretty much don’t worry about fat because I’m sure my protein and carb is somehow cooked in fat and then the remaining half is veggies (again, probably cooked or covered in fats). Some people like to bring portable scales but I’ve been doing this for so long i pretty much know my portion sizes. Plus, if I’m at one of these kinds of places, I want to enjoy it because its not something that happens often. On those kinds of trips, I’m usually not trying to stay on track, but to not gorge like an animal who hasn’t been fed in weeks. 

But regardless of where I go, I almost always have at least one meal that I consider a refeed or cheat meal. I believe a big part of traveling is getting to enjoy the food in a new place! So don’t stress yourself out about eating 100% clean the entire time while you’re away. You have to enjoy yourself so Follow the 80/20 rule and you shall be just fine!

Ok I think I covered most of the bases. I know there’s something I probably left out. IF so, please message me on instagram @funsized.nutrition and I’d be happy to answer your questions and tell you how I would handle the situation!

Whether you’re staying at an all-inclusive resort, flying to see your family, or you’re road tripping to a camp site,  you can still utilize these tips for a successful trip! Remember, the recipe for success here is to follow the 4P’s: Plan, Prepare, Portion, Pack!!

Head over to Kierstincifelli.com/shopping to purchase any of the things I talked about in this episode such as resistance bands, travel coolers, protein powder and barleans greens.  Thanks for listening, I’ll catch you in the next episode!

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