How to Travel, Eat Whatever You Want, and Still Lose Weight (Really!)
I just returned from a big convention and I lost two pounds! Did I starve myself? No. Did I bring “diet food” with me? No. Did I count points or calories? No.
So, how did I do it?
First of all, I have to – in the interest of full disclosure – say that whereby some people find it easier to lose weight (or to follow their program) while at home, I’m the opposite. I seem to do better when I’m “on the road.” Whether that’s for vacation, business, or even on a cruise, I seem to have a much easier time losing or maintaining my weight while away from home, rather than in my house.
So, if you’re saying, “Oh, well, that explains it. It’s easier for him while he travels; it’s not that way for me. No need to read on…” that would be the wrong approach too. The reason I do better when I’m on the road is because I have come up with some simple tools that hold me in place. Follow these give tips and you’ll do well.
1) Never bring any food into your hotel room
I have often said that if I went to bed five minutes earlier, I’d be 50 pounds lighter.
The biggest reason I do better when I’m out of town is because my major problem with regards to weight loss is that I tend to eat a lot of my food later in the evening. Whereby it’s “calories in – calories out,” eating late puts the bulk of your calories in you right before you drop your metabolism (sleep). In addition, if I eat a lot late at night, I tend to adopt the philosophy of the practicing perfectionist, “I blew it. Well, as long as I blew it, I might as well really blow it. I’ll start again tomorrow.” From there, I go real crazy and that’s where the real damage comes from. If all that wasn’t enough, eating before sleeping affects how well you sleep and if you don’t get enough rest, you tend to engage in your bad habits (read “eating”) and some studies have shown that too little sleep also tends to make one feel he or she is hungrier than she really is.
Bottom line for me is if I’m traveling. I don’t bring anything into my hotel room. To be honest, once in awhile, I’ll bring something to drink or even a very, very light treat from a vending machine. However, by removing temptation room my hotel, I sleep better and eat less.
2) Walk! Walk! Walk!
If at all possible, I’ll walk wherever I’m going. I fasten a pedometer to my hip because I like to see how far I’ve gone. It becomes a competition with myself – and it works.
While I’m at home, I might put on 5,000 or so steps in an average day. When I’m traveling, it averages as much as 12,000. One day, I walked 12 miles. It wasn’t at once; a little here, a few more there, before you know it, you’ve got some real distance on your feet.
Tied to this, I walk after each meal, and I almost always take the stairs. Granted, in New York, I was on the 35th floor and I’m not THAT dedicated but when I’ve gone on cruises, I make a commitment to take the stairs every time. (If you’re not familiar with cruise ships, they are 10-15 stories tall and if you walk those stairs every day, you burn a whole lot of calories!)
If the hotel (or ship) has a fitness center or a track, I’ll fit in one mile a day. I’m not a jogger. I walk casually. But it still helps.
Find excuses to walk. Even a small amount helps offset the weight gain.
3) Smaller portions and no seconds
If I’m traveling with my wife, we’ll split meals. At first, I was afraid I wouldn’t get enough to eat, but the portions served in restaurants are really quite large and if you split a meal, you’re usually full anyway. (And you save money that you can then spend on the sites or on buying souvenirs!) If you’re not filled, at least you get to feel virtuous when you order dessert or ask for something else. Total caloric intake is still reduced from what it would have been.
However, do not ask for more until you’ve waited at least 15 minutes! It will be the longest quarter hour in your life – or so it will seem – but it will make a tremendous difference in your weight.
(If you’re going a little crazy counting down the minutes, it’s a good time to …