Ah, vacation. It’s the break most of us look forward to every year. A time when we can press pause on our busy lives and put our never-ending to-do list on hold. A time when we’re supposed to relax and recharge. However, because vacations take us out of our usual routine, staying healthy while traveling can prove challenging.
So how can you enjoy your break from reality without hindering your weight loss progress? We’ve compiled six healthy travel tips to help you stay on track—from eating healthy on vacation to staying fit while on the road. So that no matter where you are, you can feel good about keeping up your healthy lifestyle—while still enjoying everything vacation has to offer.
1. Be Conscious of What You Eat
If thoughts of vacation bring-to-mind decadent meals, you aren’t alone. While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying yourself in moderate amounts, being conscientious of the food you’re consuming during a trip can help you stay on track. Try to opt for healthy food choices the majority of the time—and load up on extra veggies when you can, so that you’re consuming good nutrients that help support satiety. When it comes to the occasional indulgence, try a couple of mindful eating practices—savor each bite and enjoy the experience with those around you.
It’s also common to eat out frequently while traveling or on vacation. And while you may try to choose the healthiest looking dish on the menu, restaurants typically serve high-calorie dressings and include extra cheese and butter in their meals.1 There are several tips for dining out while trying to lose weight, but a few simple ones include planning ahead, making substitutions and asking for the dressing on the side. Another tip: don’t be afraid to ask about the menu! It’s easier to make smart choices when you know what’s going on your plate.
While there are numerous benefits of eating breakfast, one of the best reasons to fuel up in the morning is to potentially stave off hunger later in the day, furthering your weight loss efforts. By front-loading your calories, you may be less likely to reach for late-night snacks. One study found that those who ate more calories in the morning compared to those who ate more at night experienced almost a two and a half times greater weight loss.2
3. Sleep Well
While it may be tempting to stay up late and sleep until noon during vacation, it may not be doing your body any favors. When your sleep schedule is inconsistent it can affect your natural circadian rhythm, also known as your body’s internal clock.
The National Institute of General Medical Sciences defines circadian rhythms as one’s mental, behavioral and physical changes over a 24-hour cycle.3 The patterns are typically divided into two 12-hour periods, which are dictated by daytime and nighttime. Usually, you’re likely to follow this rhythm by being most active during daylight hours and then allowing your body to rest and recover during sleep. However, when you stay up late or sleep well into the day, you may be throwing off your natural rhythm.
What happens when your rhythm is out of whack? It may impact your health—chronic health conditions such as obesity, diabetes and depression have been linked to irregular circadian rhythm patterns.4 What’s more, your circadian rhythm could affect your metabolism. One study found that people experienced a drop in their metabolism when they reduced their sleep to four hours a night.5
As tempting as it may be to throw caution to the wind when it comes to your sleep schedule on vacation, try to stick to a routine. Your body will thank you!
4. Stay Hydrated
Did you know your body is made up of almost 60% water?6 Staying hydrated not only helps keep your body functioning properly, it could also be beneficial for weight management.7 While it can be easy to forget to sip water when you’re on the road, try making a reusable water bottle your new travel companion. An added bonus: it may help you save money if you’re not spending it on plastic water bottles. Lastly, when thirst calls, try to avoid reaching for juices, blended drinks and regular sodas. These beverages are typically loaded with empty calories and sugar.8
5. Walk When You Can
Opt to walk instead of drive when you’re on vacation. Not only does walking help burn calories,9
but it can also be a great way to experience your destination. If you aren’t pressed for time and you’re in a safe area, skip hailing a cab and explore by foot!
Another way to sneak in exercise while traveling is to take the stairs. As tempting as it may be to hop in the elevator, taking the stairs is a quick and easy form of cardio that gives your heart rate a boost and gets your muscles working.10 It’s a practical way to keep active while you’re on vacation and you can do it almost anywhere!
6. Try Something New That Gets You Moving
Traveling is the perfect opportunity to try new things. If you’re on a tropical getaway, you can try snorkeling or paddle boarding. If you’re enjoying a winter escape, consider skiing or snowboarding. These activities can not only help you stay active, but you could also pick up a new hobby!
No matter what you do, or where you go, vacations are a chance to unwind and rejuvenate. Take the time to focus on you while staying on track with your wellness goals. Use these healthy travel tips for your next vacation or any other trip you may have lined up—they can work all year round.
Learn how Jenny Craig can help you get started on your weight loss goals whether it’s for your next vacation, a big event, or to live a healthier lifestyle. Book a free appointment to get started.
Elisa is a content marketing manager for Jenny Craig with over ten years of experience working in the health and fitness industry. She loves sharing her passion for living a balanced and healthy lifestyle. A San Diego native and an endurance sports enthusiast, you can usually find her swimming, biking along the coast highway or running by the beach in her free time. Elisa holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University Chico.
Favorite healthy snack: mozzarella string cheese with a Pink Lady apple.
This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles and is written by experienced health and lifestyle contributors and reviewed by certified professionals.
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