It isn’t uncommon for road warriors to pack on the pounds. You’re eating out a lot, and the stress of travel tends to lead to heavy, high-calorie meals. That may be exacerbated by the tendency to eat out with clients, as well. Yet these same trends explain why we tend to gain weight rather than lose it while on vacation, especially if the resort has all you can eat buffets. Here are our top tips for keeping fit while away from home or on vacation.

Sign Up for Activities

It can be hard to find the motivation to spend an hour in an unfamiliar hotel gym. That’s especially true when there is work to be done or fun activities looming on the horizon. The solution is to sign up for fun activities. If you’re in Aruba, sign up for water activities like scuba-diving or windsurfing instead of sitting on the beach. Take local dancing lessons instead of hitting local bars.

Plan an Active Vacation

Instead of trying to find activities to do while on vacation, you could plan an active vacation through Vacayou. The active vacation is organized so that you always have something physical to do. It may be swimming at an exotic beach, doing yoga on a hilltop, climbing hills to see the sunrise or taking dance lessons. There may be sedentary activities mixed in like watching local shows or visiting museums, but that isn’t the majority of the itinerary.

Fight the Tendency to Be Sedentary

Travelers often end up sedentary. You spend hours in a plane, bus, car or van. When you get to your hotel, you’re exhausted from the trip though you haven’t gotten much exercise. When you’re traveling around town, you may spend time on a sightseeing bus or be stuck in meetings. The disruptions to your schedule and the tendency to eat heavy meals can leave you eating more and moving less.

The solution is to fight the tendency to be sedentary. Do stretches before and after meetings. Spend 15 minutes working out in the morning and evening in your hotel room. Go for a walk through the city after dinner instead of ordering drinks or dessert and watching the city from a high vantage point. 

Don’t Let Yourself Get Ravenous

Don’t skip breakfast or lunch because you’re too busy for a proper meal. You don’t make up for it at later meals. You tend to over-eat at the next meal. This is why you should always have a healthy breakfast and lunch. If your schedule makes that difficult, pack healthy snacks or meal bars. Staying Fit N Healthy can seem difficult and challenging under these circumstances.

Don’t Mistake Thirst for Hunger

Around a third of the population will feel hungry when they’re really thirsty. Others will respond to a parched throat by ordering ice cream instead of a cool drink. The solution is to drink water any time you feel hungry or thirsty. This has several benefits. The first is that it prevents you from over-eating when you’re really not drinking enough. The second benefit is that it will help to quell your appetite, since drinking water can help you feel full.

Drink Water Instead of All the Alternatives

It is tragic that we order so many non-hydrating “drinks”. Coffee, cola and alcohol are all dehydrating. Yet we may order these beverages when our body needs water. One solution is to order water that you drink before you try any other beverage. The other is to intentionally offset the non-hydrating beverages you’re drinking.

For example, you need two servings of water to make up for a single glass of alcohol. Drink the water along with the alcohol or in between servings of alcohol. This reduces the potential hangover, and it helps to moderate your overall alcohol consumption. If you have to drink a glass of water between every glass of beer, you’re less likely to binge drink.

Know the Healthiest Menu Options Before You Order

If you have food allergies, you make it a point to learn what local dishes contain allergens so that you don’t order them. Consider doing the same research before you travel to a new part of the world. What are the healthiest dishes on the national menu? Which ones are laden in sugar and cream?

Share the Sampler Platter

One of the reasons why we tend to over-eat at a buffet is because we want to sample everything and take enough of each item to feel like it is a fair sample. And if you order a sampler platter, you may feel guilty if it isn’t finished off. The solution is to share the sampler platter with others. Tell others you’ll order it and welcome them to sample it, so that you’ll have help eating it. This approach also gets other to join in who wouldn’t chip in to pay for it. That generates goodwill within the group, too.

Slow Down and Enjoy the Meal

Modern life tends to go at a hurried pace, and meals are no exception. Slow down. Sit down to eat the meal. Enjoy it and any company you have. This has several benefits. First, you get more enjoyment out of the food. Second, you’re less likely to over-eat, rushing from course to course, because you take your time and may recognize you’re full before you order round three.  

Get Enough Sleep

Why do you need to take care to get enough sleep? Because tired people tend to consume more fatty and sugary food to make up for their fatigue. Because someone who is getting by on six hours of sleep probably won’t have the energy to spend an hour working out. Because someone who only slept on the five-hour flight is prone to drinking coffee to stay awake and then drink alcohol to “relax”.

You can avoid all of the negative side effects by ensuring that you get enough sleep. This can be challenging if you’re changing time zones. One solution is taking a nap before your flight, then turning in for the night when evening arrives at the destination. Another option is planning your schedule so that you have enough time to get enough sleep. Don’t stay up late packing for your flight; plan your packing list and pack everything several days before the trip. Schedule your last day so you have enough time to pack for your return trip. Create a schedule so that you aren’t crawling into bed after a late night on the town, especially if you have an early morning commitment.

Resume Your Normal Routine When You Get Home

The average person gains a couple of pounds while they’re on vacation. Part of this is water weight, but part of it is fat. Tragically, the average person gains one to two pounds a year – and that’s roughly the amount they gain while on a 1-to-3-week vacation.

This doesn’t mean that vacations have to make you fat. You could choose an active vacation, control your caloric consumption on vacation, and maintain or increase your activity level while on vacation. But the tendency to gain weight while on vacation is exacerbated by the tendency to take it easy when we get home. That’s understandable, since you’re in relaxing state of mind after a good vacation. And the trip home feels like an endeavor in and of itself. However, you need to get back into your routine, eating healthy meals and keeping up your activity level.