A lot of my clients will travel from time to time.
Traveling can be GREAT, oh and its fun.
However traveling can make sticking to your fitness/nutrition goals very challenging. but just think of this as an obstacle that can be worked around.
A lot of people just accept that it will be a challenge and decide not to focus on anything because they think that they will still have to track EVERYTHING they eat.
Or they won’t be able to enjoy their trip if they have to worry about their nutrition.
But that isn’t true.
You can still stay on track without having to worry about every little thing you eat.
Our first goal with a client is to stress the importance of enjoying their trip.
As a coach I don’t want them stressing about their diet while they are gone.
In saying that, we do want them to at least have their fitness goals somewhat on their mind.
It’s also important to frame this as a time that they can practice their new habits, this seems to help with them stressing about “screwing up”.
Alright so we know the client is traveling in a few weeks.
If the client decides they don’t want to track (which most don’t and I don’t blame them) our goal now shifts to regulating their calorie intake without much thought.
Tips to regulate calorie intake
Keep your steps up.
One of the best things you can do on a trip to regulate calorie intake is by making sure you stay active.
High step counts simply burn more energy than if you were sedentary and not moving.
Studies also show it helps you regulate your appetite better when you have higher levels of activity compared to being more sedentary. I would assume part of it is the fact that you simply have less time to eat while you are bored. Read this blog on high physical activity levels.
You are killing two birds with one stone here. Not only are you burning more energy while staying active, but you are also regulating your appetite.
Both of these combine can lower your calorie intake without having to even mess with what you eat!
When clients go on trips our number one goal is to make sure they stay active. A good number to shoot for is 8k+ steps per day.
However, if you go too high you could see a slight increase in hunger. For that reason, 8-15k seems like a good range.
The goal here is to save up calories for later meals.
Most people enjoy breakfast the least out of all the meals so it’s an easier meal to just replace with a protein shake or black coffee.
In saying that, by skipping breakfast some people get super hungry and overeat at later meals. The goal here is to simply save calories for later so if you find yourself eating more then this probably isn’t a good strategy for you.
Another time when you want to be careful with this is if you start drinking early in the day. The last thing you want to do is to drink on an empty stomach. If you do this you will probably overeat throughout the day as drinking lowers your inhibition.
The best thing you can do is to NOT drink your calories at all. When you drink your calories your body doesn’t eat less later to compensate like it would if you ate food. Essentially these are just extra calories.
However, not drinking your calories at all on a trip is probably not practical for most.
Our goal is then to save as many calories as possible.
Drinks like liquor and a zero calorie mixer are great. Try to avoid high caloric beverages.
Diet sodas are also great in this situation.
Eat a lean source of protein with each meal.
Protein is very filling. For this reason we want to try to have a lean source of protein at each meal as this can help you eat less in that meal and throughout the day.
Try to also pair it with a veggie and eat these before eating desserts or other tasty sides. Again the thought here is that if you eat these first you will be less likely to overeat the tastier foods and it will basically force moderation.
You can also still enjoy the other tasty foods!
Sources of lean protein:
- Chicken Breast
- Lean Steak Cuts
- Turkey Breast
- Ground Turkey
- Pork Tenderloin
- Low-Fat & Non-Fat Dairy
- Egg Whites
- Protein Powder
Slow down when eating.
It takes our brain a bit of time to realize we are full and a lot of the foods we eat while on vacation are very calorie dense and easy to eat quickly, therefore overeat.
By slowing down it also allows you to savor/enjoy the food you are eating.
If you decide to eat something tasty/calorie dense, you might as well enjoy it.
Again the goal here is that by eating slow you may save 100-200 calories per meal. If you are eating 3-4 times per day and are gone for 4-5 days this could easily be 800 calories per day you saved up and if done everyday for 5 days that’s 4,000 calories!
Drink a big glass of water before each meal.
The goal here is that this water will fill up your stomach so you have less room for food.
Also its probably a good idea to drink a good amount of water while you are on your trip, especially if drinking alcohol is involved.
All of these tips will help you regulate your calories without having to track so now you don’t have to worry about losing all of your progress while you are gone.
We usually have clients really focus on 2 of these, but they can focus on as many as they want.
In my opinion the two most important ones to follow are:
Keeping your steps up and making sure you get a lean source of protein with each meal.
However feel free to do as many as you like.
This is exactly the types of things we work on with clients to improve their nutrition. If you are interested in see how you can improve your nutrition and make it fit your lifestyle fill out the coaching application here.