Completely You: Food
By Mikki Kalish for Completely You
Dieting is hard enough to do at home. But when you’re on vacation, it can be darn near impossible. You want to relax, have fun, eat that slice of nine-layer chocolate fudge cake (or maybe two) when you feel like it … who wants to bother with food restrictions?! After all, you’re on vacation!
The truth is, it’s depressing to come home with the unwanted souvenir of extra pounds. The good news: With a little pre-vacation planning, you can have your cake (just not the whole one) and eat it too. Here’s how to enjoy your next trip without gaining weight — and maybe even return a few pounds lighter.
Pack a plan of action.
Think about what you need to do to avoid gaining weight on vacation. If eating yogurt in the afternoon, for example, helps you from overeating at dinner at home, call your hotel to see if they sell it at their snack bar, or if there’s a grocery store nearby. Scope out nearby restaurants to see which serve the most diet-friendly meals (many post their menus online). You can even find out what’s served at eateries at theme parks, museums and other attractions. While you certainly can’t plan every meal — and probably wouldn’t want to — creating a plan of action will start you off with a positive “can do, can diet” attitude.
Keep food on you at all times.
In addition to packing a healthy meal and snacks for the flight or car ride, keep a supply of chewing gum, mints or small hard candies on hand in your bag or backpack for the entire trip. In a pinch, you’ll have something easily accessible to dull your appetite and keep you from cruising around for that slice of pizza or candy bar.
Give the mini-fridge a makeover.
The mini-fridge in your hotel room is a dieter’s nightmare. Don’t even open it. It’s a minefield of everything you shouldn’t be eating (and at astronomical prices too). Your best bet is to ask management to remove the contents. Believe it or not, they’ll do it. Remember, you’re the guest. Then fill the empty fridge with diet-friendly munchies such as yogurt, 100-calorie snack packs of cookies or chips or fresh fruit — even better.
Learn the menu lingo.
Worried about eating right in a foreign country? Most travel books include a menu translation. If the information is not specific enough, visit a website like FreeTranslation.com, type in a phrase, such as, “I’d like the dressing on the side” or “Is that deep fried?” and you’ll get a translation into Italian, Japanese, Norwegian or several other languages at no cost. Then you can create a crib card to carry in your wallet.
Don’t let exhaustion lead to overeating.
All that walking and seeing the sights while making sure you haven’t lost your toddler (or your wallet) can be grueling, and being tired often makes us hungry. So don’t overdo it. Sit down. Lie down. Take a nap.
Stay on track by keeping track.
Keep a daily diary of everything you eat. When on vacation, many of us seem to suffer from memory loss about whether we ate two cherry tarts or a salad for lunch. A diary will help keep you honest. So keep a little notebook and pen handy in your purse or backpack.
Save your calories for the truly special.
Don’t waste calories on ordinary foods you can get at home. You know what cheeseburgers and chocolate ice cream taste like. If you’re going to indulge, make sure it’s for a tasty treat you can’t get anywhere else. Then get right back to your plan. You’ll be glad you did.
What do you do to stay trim and fit while on vacation? Tell us below or @Completely_You
Mikki Kalish is a diet expert and the author of The Dieter’s Bible: 365 Ways to Get Through the Tough Times. This is her first article for Completely You.