I'm going to Greece this weekend and I may vomit I am so excited. For a lot of us, vacation usually means all of the food and none of the exercise but it doesn't have to be that way. So I want to share a little about how I stay healthy while traveling.
These are things I will be putting into place pretty often this next month. September and October are going to be a little nuts for me traveling wise. Right after Greece (like literally the day after), I leave for Nashville for a work trip. Then a couple weeks later, I leave for another conference in San Jose.
While I am really looking forward to these experiences, there are some things I want to put in place to ensure I maintain some healthy habits while traveling. I tend to function on extremes and I have been on vacations that were a total free for all. I tell myself it's fine to "treat 'yo self" and I will get back on track as soon as I get home. Then, I usually come back feeling like total ass (and maybe about 10 pounds heavier). I also have such a hard time getting back on track because my body gets used to the gluttony way too fast. On the other hand, I have had vacations where I am so obsessive about what I am eating and doing that I don't let myself enjoy what's around me. That's not healthy either. In order to make sure I have some "hashtag balance" in my life, I have found some ways that work for me to make sure I stay healthy (mentally and physically) while traveling. Let's get started shall we?
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Drink Enough Water
Water intake is one of the first things that falls to the wayside when I travel. When I am in my routine, I am pretty diligent about ensuring I get in at least a gallon each day. I carry my water bottle everywhere. Everywhere. Just the sight of it reminds me it's probably time to drink some water. When I travel, it's like I completely forget water exists and flying sucks the life (and water) right out of you. Missing out on my water intake makes me more tired, dehydrated, irritable, bloated and feeling hungrier. All things that are no bueno. Keeping my water intake up while I'm traveling helps keep those feelings at bay. It's not super practical to bring my S'well bottle or Hydroflask with me since they are pretty heavy and take up precious cargo space in my suitcase but I do have a fold up plastic kind of water bottle that I will be bringing and filling up on the go. I also try to drink at least 2 glasses of water with every meal to keep myself hydrated.
I was never the type of person that would even think about working out on vacation but since making exercise a priority in my life, it's something I now consider when traveling. When planning out hotels for Greece and Nashville, I looked them up online to check out the gym situation. Old Jen couldn't have cared less. I went to Washington DC last year and on top of all the walking we did, we also got in a few jogs. Jogging around the National Mall at night with everything all lit up was such a fun way to workout and see DC in a different way.
Now before you worry that I will be spending all my vacation time trying to get in a workout, I am NOT forgoing an excursion or activity for the sake of getting in some exercise. But if I can wake up 45 minutes early a few times a week to get a little extra activity in then I will be a happy camper. Working out sets the tone for my day and just makes me feel good overall. Simple as that. I know completely skipping all my exercise for the sake of vacation will end up backfiring and make me feel lethargic and grumpy. That doesn't make for the ideal vacay experience either. And I am speaking from experience of vacations past. A lot of my exercise in Greece will be walking around and sight-seeing as well as some hikes to take in the scenery. I also plan on bringing a set of resistance bands with me. They are perfect for travel because they fit easily into my suitcase and you can be use them for so many different exercises. I have lots of ideas on how to use them to get some resistance training in while I am away. Whether it's out on a hiking trail or in the hotel room before heading out for the day, I have some options ready to go.
Not to mention all the body weight workouts I can do (squats, push ups, tricep dips, lunges, planks). No equipment necessary!
Enjoy the Food
This is how I am planning on staying happy and mentally healthy. As someone who used to be significantly overweight, overeating is something I am all too familiar with. I also know what it feels like to be paranoid about giving up some of the control it took to lose weight and let myself indulge every now and then. I've gone on trips before where I was determined to stick to my nutritional plan and in doing so, I made myself and probably anyone who was traveling with me miserable. I thought I had failed if I couldn't stick to my calorie targets or if I ate something unhealthy. Well that type of obsession isn't mentally healthy. My plan in Greece is to enjoy the crap out of everything they have to offer. That doesn't mean I have to go balls to the wall crazy and eat everything in sight just because. It does mean I am going to taste and try everything and enjoy myself. Bring on the wine, feta and olives! I am not going to track macros or calories or worry about the nutritional content of every little thing I eat. I'm not going to restrict myself from eating something simply because it looks like it might not be the best nutritional choice. This is a once in a lifetime trip for me and I refuse to spoil the experience worrying about food. Trying another culture's cuisine is a huge part of the fun of traveling.
In the spirit of being prepared, I do have some protein bars I will be bringing with me for hikes or longer excursions and I will also bring along some travel packets of protein powder to make some post workout shakes as well as my collagen peptides. Those are things I know may not be readily available to me so it will help to have them on hand. My probiotic and digestive enzymes will also be coming along to help with digestion and bloating which can be a problem when eating out of my routine.
So that's that. Just these three simple steps stay healthy while traveling and to keep me feeling good while still enjoying all the experiences during my vacation. I feel like I am in a much better place mentally regarding my health and these steps are things I can reasonably achieve and that I am doing for the sake of FEELING my best while traveling versus out of anxiety about what will happen if I don't. What are some of your favorite healthy traveling habits? Oh and If you've been to Athens, Mykonos or Santorini and have travel suggestions, lay 'em on me!
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