A front seat on the weight loss struggle bus for me, is traveling. I love to blame weight gain on any recent travels because – I mean really, who doesn’t? “Well, I was on vacation!” I LOVE to travel and I LOVE to eat and both together are pure magic, unless it’s in the weight loss department.
Before I leave, I like to bargain with myself, ’ok, if you gain only 5-7 lbs., that’s easy enough to lose because some of it is definitely water weight, but if you gain any more than 10, you’re in trouble’. So I do “try” and I usually do ok – at least until the first rest stop, fast food joint or restaurant stop. But let me throw out some things that may help you.
Because I’m a control freak, I ALWAYS pack a cooler and a cooler tote, even if we’re only going an hour away. It also helps with cleaning out the fridge if we’re going to be gone any real length of time.
The cooler always has bottled water, our Coffeemate that we drink in our coffee every morning, his diet caffeine free Coke, a jar of my Opa Blue Cheese Dressing, cuz that stuff is scarcer than hen’s teeth and a bottle of wine (or 2), cuz ya just never know, you may stop in a dry county.
The cooler tote, (that I found at Costco and now wish that I had purchased more than one of), I fill with a ziplocked bag of ice for use and also to keep things nice and cool. And a few of my go-to travel snacks depending on what we have on hand:
veggies, (sliced carrots, cucumber, mini peppers, cherry tomatoes, broccoli florets, you name it, if it’s in my fridge, it goes in the bag),
mixed nuts and dark chocolate chips,
a dark chocolate bar,
beef or turkey jerky,
popcorn or pretzels,
salami or pepperoni,
salsa and chips for the kids (or goldfish & cheez-its, which is what they prefer).
And sometimes , I’ll pack yogurt or boiled eggs, but we eat those first so there’s no chance of them going bad.
I always keep plastic utensils in the car along with a sharp knife, a corkscrew, a set of 6 cups, napkins, paper towels, wipes – both hand and Clorox, Kleenex and salt & pepper! THIS is just how I roll! All this keeps me from walking into a gas station convenience store and loading the car down with bagged junk food, wizard fingers or day old doughnuts.
When we stop at restaurants I like to have a plan (again, I try). I LOVE the Yelp app and I also like and use TripAdvisor. Looking up restaurants before we stop if we’ve never been ensures that they’ll have more than iceberg lettuce and fried entrees. I also like to see if they cook their meat to order, if not and I want steak or hamburger, I know to keep looking!
Eating healthy at restaurants is tough, but I’ve managed it for almost five years (with a little backsliding here and there). Here are some things that have helped me.
Look up the menu online or before you leave home and plan what you’ll eat when you arrive.
Eat a la carte and piece together a healthy meal.
Always drink water before and during your meal.
When they bring or offer bread, refuse it.
Refuse sides that “come with” your order, like fries and potato chips.
Ask for your salad dressing, butter, mayo or sauces on the side or skip altogether.
No croutons or cheese on a salad.
No bun or cheese on your burger.
Nothing ever deep fried or sautéed in butter.
Skip items with cream or white sauces.
Order simple ingredient foods – baked potato, green beans, fruit bowl, etc.
Traveling is an adventure and it’s about trying new things, eating new foods, seeing new places and I encourage that in my children. But when it comes to food and restaurants and staying on a weight losing course, try to be mindful and refocus on your end goals as you’re making decisions.
Try that conch fritter, but ask for a small order or bag it to go and have only one from the bag. Have that dessert, but share it with everyone. Have that pretty fruity drink, but order only one. Both moderation and activity are key to weight loss, so if you’ve been swimming all day, maybe hiking or biking, have the cheese on your salad or the second drink, but just remember that sometimes less is more!