Eat Guilt Free While Traveling

by Christie Stelly

Undoubtedly, one of the best parts about going on vacation or traveling is trying new restaurants and foods. While on a trip to Dallas, Texas last week, I wanted to try restaurants that I had never eaten at before, specifically In-N-Out and Whataburger.

However, I found myself feeling nervous about falling off track and eating things that I knew I “shouldn’t” be.  It can be difficult not to feel guilty for treating yourself while traveling. Here is why you can eat guilt free.

  1. Do not fear the dreaded “vacation weight gain.”

Did you know that an individual would have to eat 3,500 calories (extra… this means on top of your maintenance calories) to gain one pound?

Some people might step on the scale after a vacation and see a number that could be upwards of 5-15 pounds more than they weighed before they left.  This significantly higher number is due to water retention, not weight gain. Especially if you are flying on an airplane.  According to Men’s Health, “the lower pressure causes the gases in your gut to expand, resulting in bloating and gassiness.”

It is important not to weigh yourself until at least a week or more after your vacation, in order to let your body re-stabilize and return to normal.

  1. Having the mindset of “I can’t eat that” can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food.

Let yourself indulge a bit while traveling. Extreme food restrictions may lead to an unhealthy relationship with food. In many cases, this is how body image issues and illnesses such as anorexia and bulimia happen.  It is perfectly fine to take a few days away from your normal schedule of healthy eating, as long as you get back on track when you get home.

  1. You deserve to eat that cheeseburger.

If you have been making an effort to change the habits in your life to healthier ones, then do not feel guilty about eating that cheeseburger. Food is supposed to be enjoyed and is not the enemy.  Unhealthy foods, such as cheeseburgers, only become a problem when you are eating them in excess; multiple times a week.  Going on vacation or traveling is not something most people do very frequently, so it should not be an issue.

Once your trip has ended, making a plan on how to get back on track will benefit you tremendously.  There are things that you can do to make getting back on track easier and to keep weight gain to a minimum.

Instead of saying, “how can I burn off all these calories I ate from this food?” instead say, “how can I utilize this delicious food I am eating?”

One benefit of eating a surplus of calories is that you will perform better in the gym. Using the extra carbohydrates as a source of energy will benefit your body.  Do not use exercise as punishment, but rather as a helpful resource.

4. One of the easiest and most proactive things you can do is drink more water.

Drink plenty of water to keep the vacation weight gain to a minimum. It can be easy to forget to consume enough water. Especially when you have a busy schedule while traveling.  Drinking more water will keep bloating down, keep your metabolism running smoothly and keep you hydrated.

As you become more dehydrated, your body will begin to retain fluid. If you start to feel like you may be retaining water, it’s a hint that you need to start consuming more fluids.

If you find you have trouble drinking all that water during the day, there are small things you can do to help get those ounces in. For example, if you are going out to eat a restaurant, you can simply order water instead of a soda. Add lemon, cucumber or mint for flavor. These small changes add up and do make a significant difference.

Traveling should be fun. Don’t let the fear of breaking your diet keep you from enjoying new foods. Indulge in moderation without feeling guilty. You can eat healthier during certain meals and treat yourself once or twice a day. Eat that juicy cheeseburger you have been craving, stop for frozen yogurt or have a big breakfast out. You won’t regret it and you do deserve it!

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