9 Ways to Watch Your Weight on Vacation

December 26, 2012

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vacationYour bags are packed, and you’re ready to hit the road for a much-needed vacation. For many, vacation is synonymous with high-calorie meals and little exercise. You return home feeling like your weight loss plan took 10 steps backward. But it doesn’t have to be that way! You can still enjoy a fun and relaxing trip without derailing your weight loss plan. Here’s how:

Visualize Success: Before you go, take some time to visualize yourself making healthy choices on the road, and plan ahead for obstacles. Your trip should focus on activities and adventures, not on food. If you go on vacation in the right mindset, your weight loss goals won’t be sidelined.

Eat In: When you get to your destination, make a quick trip to the grocery store for some healthy fare. Aim to prepare your own meal at least once a day. You’ll save money and excess calories.

Skip the Snacks: At restaurants, resist the temptation to dive into the bread or bowl of chips while you wait for your meal. One garlic breadstick at an Italian restaurant weighs in at 150 calories, and a serving of chips and salsa adds around 200 calories. Plus, let’s face it once you start munching, it’s hard to stop.


Grill the Waitress: When you do dine out, ask how the food will be prepared, and request salad dressings and condiments be served on the side. Even seemingly good choices such as saut’eed vegetables or grilled chicken might be prepared with added oil or butter. Don’t be fooled by your food. Speak up and get specifics.

Make Substitutions: Replace high-calorie side dishes like French fries with a broth-based based soup or salad with low-fat dressing. Most restaurants are happy to accommodate special requests if you ask.

Order Ice Water: Resist the temptation to have an alcoholic beverage or soda with your meals, and you’ll effortlessly cut out hundreds of calories. Water is my drink of choice ask for a lemon or lime for a burst of flavor but you can also order iced tea, hot tea, or plain black coffee for a change of pace. Staying hydrated minimizes hunger and wards off cravings.

Get it To Go: It’s no secret: Most restaurant portions are oversized. Save money and calories by splitting a meal with a fellow traveler. If you really want your own dish and have a mini fridge available, ask for a to-go box when you order, and pack up half of your meal before you start eating. Plan to eat the leftovers for lunch the next day.

Hit the Gym: Ask about fitness facilities available when you make your hotel reservations. Many hotels have in-house pools and fitness equipment or an agreement with a local gym that guests can visit for free. Or, bring along your favorite workout video and some exercise bands to work up a sweat in your room. The goal is to make fitness a habit, and consistency is the key to success.

Hit the Street: Take in the sights and burn calories by walking everywhere you go. If your destination is too far away to reach on foot, park your rental car a few blocks away from your point of interest to add in some exercise.

Dr. Michael Kaplan

Founder and Chief Medical Officer

The Center for Medical Weight Loss

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