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How to Avoid Weight Gain While Traveling

Traveling can disrupt your usual diet and exercise routine, but there are ways you can enjoy your vacation without gaining weight.

When you’re planning a vacation, you probably start by figuring out where you’re going to go, how you’re going to get there, where you’re going to stay, and what you’ll want to do once you get there. If you’re like many of my clients, there may be something else you might plan for when you travel—weight gain. But that doesn’t have to happen.

Many people tell me that they just can’t stay on their diets while they’re on vacation. Admittedly, it’s a challenge. But when people plan to gain weight when they’re traveling, it sounds to me as if they don’t even want to try to stay on track. Vacations can turn your structured world upside down, which is one of the reasons we enjoy taking them. But just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean you have to bring back excess baggage around your waist, hips and thighs.

Tips to Control Weight Gain While Traveling

No matter where you go or how you get there, it really helps if you’re well prepared. Aim to stick to your usual routines as much as you can. Here are some tips to help you avoid weight gain while on vacation.

  • If you’re traveling by car, skip the road food and pack healthy meals and snacks instead. Don’t leave the house until you’ve eaten. If you’re in a rush, take a protein shake with you so you’ll be less tempted to pick up fast food on the way.
  • Easy-to-pack foods, such as protein bars (like an Herbalife Nutrition Vanilla Almond Protein Bar Deluxe), fruit, nuts or soy nuts, string cheese and individual packs of baby carrots are good snacks no matter your method of travel. They’re great for road trips or flights.
  • Finding healthy items at the airport is a challenge. Fruit, yogurt, salads or sandwiches can be found, but packing your own food will save you calories and cash.
  • When flights are delayed, use the time to walk around in the terminal rather than letting the restaurants and watering holes beckon. At some large airports, you can easily log a mile or more by walking back and forth along the concourses.
  • Watch out for liquid calories. Staying hydrated, especially if you’re flying, is important. It’s recommended that you drink a cup of fluid for every hour you’re in the air. But if you’re chugging sodas or cocktails, you’ll rack up a bundle of calories. Stick to water, iced tea or lightly sweetened sports beverages instead.
  • If a stop at a hotel figures into your plans, you’ll likely be suffering from a dangerous combination of fatigue coupled with tempting foods from the happy hour buffets or room service. Travel is tiring, but rather than using food as a pick-me-up, take a walk or hit the hotel gym after you get settled.
  • Many hotel rooms have refrigerators. Pick up some fresh fruits, cut vegetables or yogurt for snacks. And don’t forget some milk or soy milk so you can whip up a protein shake in your room.
  • Ask hotel staff about healthy dining options in the area where you’re likely to find the foods you generally eat.
  • Watch your calories at hotels that offer complimentary breakfast. It’s tempting to overeat when you’re not paying for food items. Most free breakfasts load you up with starchy bagels, cereal and waffles. It’s easy for you to eat more than you should, especially when you’re not paying for it. Instead, be on the lookout for fresh fruit, and maybe some protein in the form of hard-boiled eggs or yogurt.
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Susan Bowerman, M.S., RD, CSSD, CSOWM, FAND – Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training, Herbalife Nutrition

Susan Bowerman is the director of nutrition training at Herbalife Nutrition , where she is responsible for the development of nutrition education and training materials, and is one of the primary authors of the Herbalife sponsored blog, Discover Good Nutrition. She is a registered dietitian, a board certified specialist in sports dietetics and a fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Susan graduated with distinction in biology from the University of Colorado, and received her master’s degree in Food Science and Nutrition from Colorado State University. She then completed her dietetic internship at the University of Kansas. Susan has taught extensively and developed educational programs targeted to individuals, groups and industry in her areas of expertise, including health promotion, weight management and sports nutrition. Prior to her role at Herbalife, she was the assistant director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, and has held appointments as adjunct professor in nutrition at Pepperdine University and as lecturer in nutrition in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Susan was a consultant to the (then) Los Angeles Raiders for six seasons, and was a contributing columnist for the Los Angeles Times Health Section for two years. She is a co-author of 23 research papers, 14 book chapters, and was a co-author of two books for the public: “What Color is Your Diet?” and “The L.A. Shape Diet” by Dr. David Heber, published by Harper Collins in 2001 and 2004, respectively.


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  1. Dental Clinic August 8, 2017

    I am travelling more than 15 hours in a week. Is there any tips to gain weight and stay healthy ?

  2. Cascia Talbert January 13, 2018

    Are you looking for ways to lose weight?