The silly season is hitting us, and we all know it is this time of year when months of good eating and fitness habits go out the window. Put holiday travel into the mix and your attempt to keep your healthy routines together feel near impossible if not useless. But do not despair; there are still things that you can do to prevent yourself from falling off the wagon these summer holidays with your travel.
Here are some ideas on how to keep improving, whether you’re down the line visiting the aunties and uncles, at one of the many great music festivals or just having a much-needed break.
1. GO TO THE GYM / EXERCISE BEFORE YOU LEAVE
Every bit of movement counts, especially if you are trying to lose weight. And you know that being sedentary all day at work does not help. Find some time to exercise before any long or sustained period of travel so that you can offset some of that sedentary time, whether it’s hitting the gym or going for a run or brisk walk before hopping in the car for a long drive or heading to the airport. And if you plan ahead, the few days before you travel, it does not hurt to increase your intensity when you know you are going to have some extended time sitting down.
2. AIRPORT FOOD IS NOT AN EXCUSE FOR A BUFFET
You know what food options your airport has, and it is never great. Same goes with the service stations on the motorways – they never have anything overly healthy. So you do need to plan snacks and meals ahead of time. This will hopefully stop you from heading straight for the food court. Make sure you pack travel-friendly snacks that can satisfy you during long trips if main meals may not be possible. Aim for foods that are higher in fibre and protein that will keep you more satisfied, so plan to bring along fresh fruit and veggies, pics peanut butter slugs, tuna packets, jerky and trail mix are all good options that travel well. They will get through airport security just remember to throw them out before you get through the otherside.
However, if you do forget to pack something nutritious or just run out of time? Look for some kind of egg or egg white based sandwich, frittata or slice and buy a fruit salad and some raw nuts as well.
3. PACK A MINI CHILLY BAG
On the road, drive through fast food places can become very tempting when you are trying to get to your destination. When you have a long drive ahead, pack a chilly bag or small chilly bin with snacks and meals to keep you fuelled up. For a start it is cheaper and less expensive on your calories too! You can even pack a protein shaker and protein powder to keep you going.
4. THERE WILL ALWAYS BE DELAYS
Holiday traffic in New Zealand is a nightmare, and you know you are likely to hit delays on the road. Prepare for this when planning your snacks, better to prepare for the worse and pack more than you need. You can always eat them later on your holiday if you are driving, and worst case scenario you have to throw them out at immigration if you are flying – but better than ruining your weight loss goals by not having enough and reaching for that vending machine chocolate bar or fast food joint hot chips?
5. DRINK YOUR WATER
The temperature gauge is climbing, so to reduce the likelihood of dehydration we all need to drink more. Water is your best choice. Not to mention that drinking water is linked to reduced calorie intake and a lower risk of overall weight gain. Need any more reasons to drink more water? If you are travelling overseas, make sure you buy your water bottle once you have cleared customs, or take it empty through customs. For those on the road, take a few extra water bottles – you can then use them at the beach, at the pool at the campsite or wherever you may end up this summer.
6. BUDGET YOUR BOOZE
You do not need us to tell you that you need to be mindful of your alcohol consumption if you are trying to lose weight. As you know when you drink you are also more likely to eat more, not to mention that your body has to process the alcohol before it even attempts to process any fat or calories you have consumed. Depending on your holiday destination and who you are with it can be extremely easy to completely derail all your hard earned weight loss efforts with a few creamy laden cocktails every day, or a few sugary mixes. Allocating your alcohol can help you manage how much you are having, set out perhaps one or zero at lunch, one by the pool and two at dinner. Having a limit to stick too, can help.
7. DON’T JUST LIE BY THE POOL OR BEACH
You of course need some downtime and balance, this is what holidays are for. But also use it as an opportunity to try new things, explore different areas. Go for a walk that you have not done before, you never know what you might find or see – not to mention that fact that you are expending more calories than just sitting down all day. Aim to go for at least one walk each day. Or if there are bikes to hire, go for a bike ride. If you are in other cities you could trial some different gyms and classes or if in a hotel or apartment complex often there are small gyms available to use as well. The goal is to get up and move in a new way, challenge your body, burning calories, experiencing new things and perhaps meeting new people too.
8. EXPLORE BY BIKE OR WALKING
Look to walk as much as you can, it is summer and the nights are longer – so set off earlier to dinner and walk. Your digestive system will appreciate the walk home after your meal too. During the day, look to walk to ride a bike to different destinations while there to expend additional calories.
9. GO TO THE SUPERMARKET / MINI MARKET
Whether you are staying at a campground, hotel, with friends or family - making a trip to the local supermarket and stocking up on your favourite healthy snacks will help you stay on track with your weight loss goals while on holiday.
Making your own breakfasts can save you additional calories and money, plus ensure you keep on track with your fail safe breakfasts that you normally have. Try to book accommodation with kitchenettes so you can prep your meals as you need rather than having to eat out constantly, your digestive system and wallet will appreciate you.
I hope these little tips help keep you on your weight loss plan while you have fabulous holidays, keep safe, rest, relax and enjoy the much needed break. And if you do slip up, don't stress about it, just get back on track with your next meal.