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Whether you’re going to Disney World or you’re going on a business trip, let’s face it - when you have goals you want to hit, it’s hard to stay on track while you’re away, and even when you try your best, you may still end up feeling bloated with water weight. Is there any way to beat this?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. When I started this blog, I didn’t live next to Disney like I do now - I was living only three hours away and taking short, overnight trips to enjoy the parks and just had to pack a backpack rather than for a few days, where the stakes for my weight loss goals would be higher. But now as I’m trying to shed the last few pounds before my wedding, I had a work trip come up in Colonial Williamsburg for four days. Seeing as I hadn’t been on a plane for a vacation or anything like that since I was in high school, this was new territory for me! Taking my experience into account, let’s dive in to what I did (and didn’t do that I wish I did!) so you can get some ideas for what might work best for you.
Before the trip, establish a goal. What are you looking to do while you’re away for your goals? You know that whatever happens, it’s not a permanent new thing, so that should help alleviate some anxiety. It’s important to set a goal before the trip - whether that be to lose weight, maintain, be okay with a potential small gain, or to use the hotel gym a certain amount of times on your trip - so you can establish and manage expectations before, during, and after your stay. This is more for mental clarity than anything else, but I’ve found that mental clarity is the most important factor of any fitness or weight loss regimen. Your thoughts can steer the course, so make sure you have a set vision for the process.
Flying? Do some research on the free snacks! I say this for two reasons: one is so you can see if they’re any good or not, and the other so you can plan ahead if you plan to eat them. I flew JetBlue for our flight and they had some amazing snacks, but I looked them up in advance so I could know which one I’d not only enjoy the most as far as taste, but doing the least amount of damage. But if you think you may be tempted by free in-flight treats and you’re dead-set on avoiding them, just see what they offer online in advance to see if it’s even worth the temptation. It might not be, or it might be lower in calories than you think!
If you can, meal prep. If you’re going on vacation, hopefully you’ll have some time in your schedule to meal prep in your hotel room - depending on your flight schedule, this could even be after you check in. And when I say meal prep, I don’t mean strictly mean the typical cook a bunch of chicken, rice, and veggies in meal prep containers (though if you’re staying in a villa with a full kitchen, or a suite that has room for you to microwave some chicken up and throw it in a meal prep container, that’s the most ideal scenario!). Meal prepping could be planning a bunch of peanut butter sandwiches in advance for yourself.
But, especially if you are traveling for business with coworkers, you might not have time to meal prep and it may not be practical. If you can’t meal prep, do the best you can. What was a lifesaver for me on my work trip was that I bought myself a box of low point protein bars to have for breakfast every day, plus I had some fruit handy. We were very much on the go and running around all weekend, so it was important to me to have something that was consistent every morning that would fill me up and be within my control. I didn’t want to be eating out for all three meals, so doing damage control where I could really was a lifesaver.
For those lunches and dinners where we’d be eating out, there wasn’t a way for me to do the never-failing Weight Watchers trick of checking the menu in advance since I was with coworkers and we didn’t have set plans for lunch or dinner until it was time to eat them. All you can do in that situation is your best, which is often taking a long look at the menu before you order and trying to stick to something you’ll enjoy, but also will serve you in a way that you want.
Plus, having healthy snacks snacks handy is something I wish I did a better job of. If you keep some healthy snacks on hand, you’ll probably find yourself less tempted to pick at the fries that you didn’t realize were included with your sandwich at a restaurant later.
But, even if you do enjoy those fries because you’re on vacation and you know this isn’t your normal, be sure to take into account how much you’re walking. My Garmin fitness tracker was my best friend the whole four days, and since I was constantly on the go and on my feet even when I wasn’t actively moving around, I easily burned about 700 calories every day without trying. Also, stay hydrated! You’ll want to be drinking plenty of water both for your own health and to help prevent you from feeling super bloated (which you'll probably experience if you're eating out a lot more than usual; don't worry too much about it and just know that it'll flush out of your system in a few days). If you’re on the go as much as I was, a reusable water bottle is great if you’re in an area where you know there will be water fountains or refill stations. This way, you won’t ever be without.
Most importantly, know yourself and your limits - but don’t deprive yourself! Deprivation is never a good thing - everything in moderation will help you from feeling food guilt or like you were missing out on something for your vacation, but it is also important to know your limits. For example, when I was in Colonial Williamsburg, I treated myself to one ginger cake cookie because I knew it was something I wanted to try and was pretty unique to the area. However, I also knew that it was a dessert that would not send me into a spiral of craving more desserts when I got home. Knowing your food triggers is so important, so finding that balance is so important so that way you can not sweat it too much when you’re away without backpedaling on your progress.
Plus, I recommend to continue tracking your food even when you are on vacation or a business trip. This ties back in to my comment about setting goals before you go. Even if you’re just guesstimating most of your Weight Watchers points or calories, it’s important to keep on tracking so you don’t break that habit and can very easily transition back into the swing of things when you get home. If you don’t know where to start with a goal, committing to tracking every single day as honestly as you can is a good one.
How do you define staying on track and being successful while you’re away, whether it’s for business or pleasure? The beauty of it is there’s no right or wrong way to go about it so long as you’re doing what works best for you, so I want to hear your thoughts!
Jessica is a huge Disney, anime, and Star Wars nerd who channeled that love into motivation to lose 75 lbs.