Recently I took a week long trip where I was either in the car, camping, staying with friends or in a hotel. While none of this is unusual for me, especially in the summer, it did give me a chance to “practice what I preach”, so to speak when it comes to sticking with a healthy eating plan, fitness program and wellness practice while out of the comfort of my familiar environment.
While summer is a very common/popular time for people to take vacations, travel and visit family/friends it is not the only time. Holidays fall into this same mode. While I have found that the time of year for the strategies/tools I will outline are different the mind set is the same.
Here are some suggestions that can assist with maintaining weight loss, sticking with a fitness program and maintaining a wellness practice while on the road, at someone’s home or staying in accommodations other than what your used to on a day to day basis. I will start with travel (car,plane,train,bus,boat or even motorcycle.)
- Healthy Eating: Pack as much of your own food/drink as you can. While this takes a little extra work on the front end it will save you money and in some instances time during your travels. I have gotten the habit of filling a small, soft cooler for airline, motorcycle or boat travel with a bigger one for car. This allows you to be more in control of what you put into your mouth and helps with the temptations that are present everywhere when you are not near your own fridg.
- Healthy Eating: Bring extra water bottles and have them handy. Even in airports you can walk through security with empty water bottles and fill them once in. Some airports even have special water bottle filling stations to support this choice.
- Fitness: Have a small bag with specifically with your workout clothes. I use a backpack and also have a swimsuit handy. You would be surprised at how many opportunities you can creatively come up with to walk,run, workout in a gym or swim in a pool that come your way while n the road and your gear in hand you can take advantage of what presents. I have done hikes/runs in parks,dirt roads, tracks while driving (as a break). I have found many airports that have gyms or just outside the airport there are gyms(sometimes hotels will let you use theirs for a fee) and the same with swimming pools. These opportunities have come up during long lay overs, flight delays, long road trips when I need to revive and even on boat trips.
- Wellness: It is not uncommon now to find a quite space to do a 5 minute meditation in an airport, on a train or on a boat/ship. This is one way to maintain meditation if it is part of your daily routine. I also find that in other environments I search for a private, quiet spot to do the same thing. One piece of equipment that I bring with me on my travels (when possible) is my yoga mat. The other thing that is more common now are yoga classes, massage and spa like treatments most any place you travel or in airports and on ships. This is relatively new but is more visible and commonplace all the time.
While all of this might sound complicated or far fetched it is all possible. It does require a change in thinking, more of an “It can be done” attitude and a willingness to let go of what others are doing (drinking in the airport lounge at 11 am as they wait for their 3 pm flight) saying ,(it is so much easier and faster to stop at the Starbucks drive through 20 minute line), or your fear of what others may or may not be thinking, (where did she disappear to 5 minutes ago)? Or why does she need to go for a a 30 minute walk/run? My attitude on this: is it is my health and I will take care of my needs regardless of what others say,think or feel. Making lifestyle change is not easy or for the faint of heart. People will question and even challenge you. As long as you are clear, this is about you and no one else it will be easier. I don’t try to get people to come along with my choices and I am very firm about my choices. You will have to decide what feels right to you and makes the most sense in your situation.
The other area I feel is very important to address is business travel. While many if not all the above tools will work just as well for work related travel there are some additional challenges: handling meals out with co-workers or alone, finding time for fitness and what options make sense, getting away from work long enough to regain a sense of balance in an environment with stress, high expectations and often very long hours. I will give three brief pointers that might help.
- When everyone is headed down to the lounge for a few drinks before dinner head to the onsite fitness gym, through on your running shoes for a walk or run , jump in the hotel pool for 30 minutes of swimming, purchase a dvd workout series or a few dvd’s that you can do in your hotel room or research nearby fitness facilities that may have classes that work for your time frame and interest you(this is the hardest to facilitate but can be the most fun!)
- When you order food, as challenging as it can be, (peer pressure, old habits) keep the options in alignment with your healthy eating plan. That may mean ordering side dishes, special cooking requests, smaller portions, again it is your body and no one else’s business what works best for you in regards to maintaining weight loss and healthy lifestyle habits.
Laurie Bagley Has an MS in Outdoor Adventure Leadership, is a mother, ACE certified health coach and group fitness coach, entrepreneurial business owner, VeraHeart coach and teacher. Her Health Fitness Coaching Business, focuses on assisting people reach their health/wellness/fitness goals. She is also the 6th U.S.
woman to summit Mt. Everest from the North Col route and has written a book called SUMMIT