Staying On Track While Traveling

Travel throw your diet off track? Use these tips to stick to healthy eating while you're away from home

February 22, 2013
Staying On Track While Traveling

I guess I'm getting sentimental lately because my oldest will be leaving for college this summer. I think the older they get, the more I cherish the time spent together. We just arrived home from an amazing weekend in Lake Placid. The place we stayed at on the lake was very remote so there was no cell service or TV, which was really nice for a change. What's better than snuggling by the fire at night talking, playing games and just being together as a family? Come to think of it, there is one thing better. When we arrived home my son said, "Thanks mom, it was a great weekend. I just wish it was longer". If you're a mom of a teenager, you feel me on this one... it literally brought tears to my eyes.

Along with all the fun and great memories, traveling can bring challenges when it comes to staying on track with fitness and nutrition, especially if you're not used to it. As always, I packed most of my food but knew there would be at least one or two restaurant meals during the weekend. I very rarely dine out during contest prep but I'm still far enough out that I’m able to enjoy a dinner or two. One thing I do try to be mindful of is maintaining balance in my life. This trip was about being with my family, so it was important to me to ease up and be a little more adaptable and not so neurotic (without sabotaging my goals of course). So yes, I did eat out once or twice, and honestly it really wasn't difficult to stay on track. There’s no reason why you can’t enjoy dining out once in a while and still make it fit into your lifestyle. Here are a few tips on how I manage to do it:

> Make sure you have a say in restaurant choice. Suggest something where you can get a piece of grilled fish or chicken and some steamed veggies or a salad. Most places can accommodate your dieting needs.

> Don't be afraid to be a little obnoxious. Ha! My kids think I'm the most annoying person when it comes to ordering food, but I don't think it’s annoying or impolite at all to be picky about what you put in your body. Ask for your food to be prepared however you want it. It’s the only way to avoid the sugary, salty, oily, creamy, and saucy menu items.

> Focus on your protein. I usually skip the carb and double up on veggies or order a side salad. I try to skip the fat as well assuming there’s always going to be some hidden in there somewhere anyway. I always carry a stash if almonds in my purse, just in case. (Okay, maybe I am still slightly neurotic but no one has to know! Shhh!)

> Instead of salad dressing, I ask for some fresh lemon juice to squeeze on my salad and veggies.

> If you regularly measure your food at home, you're probably an expert at eyeing portion sizes by now. When my food is brought to the table the first thing I do is portion off my 4-5 oz. serving, and then discard the rest (I usually give it to my husband). Some restaurants give you portion sizes large enough to feed you for the entire day!

> Most importantly, don’t make the food itself your entertainment. (Enjoy the company, the atmosphere, good conversation etc.) The meal is still just food to nourish your body, no different than being at home. And don’t feel sorry for yourself! Instead of thinking about what you might be missing or wishing you could eat something decadent, think about how good you will feel later and the next day. I'll take proud, happy, and energetic over bloated, tired, and guilty any day! The person that I hate to let down the most is myself. Look beyond the instant gratification and focus on the bigger picture. In my opinion, the “decadent treat” is usually never worth it anyway. You’re always going to be tested by temptations and setbacks along the way, but there's no better satisfaction than proving that you're stronger than them!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Patty Zariello
IFBB Figure Pro
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