One of the biggest questions that keeps coming up with my private clients right now is how to get back into the world while still maintaining their healthy habits. It's "easy" to control your eating and your workout routine while you have no social or travel plans, but what happens when your weeks start to fill up with dinners with friends, weekend barbeques, and summer vacations?
While there are definitely challenges that come along with these social events, it doesn't have to completely derail your health. Personally, I've been traveling for 7 months now, but I've actually gotten leaner during this time. I've lost 6 pounds and 3 inches around my waist. 🤯 A lot for my petite 5'1" frame.
If you've taken my Fat Loss 101 course, you know my thoughts on the importance of protein. This is my number one tip for you, both when eating out and traveling. Scour the menu for good protein sources and build your meal around that - i.e. steak, salmon, chicken, lamb, pork, etc. You can still have a carb, but the protein should be the biggest part of your meal, and you should eat it first. This will help with your satiety, blood sugar regulation, and ensuring you're meeting your protein needs for the day. I also find this is so helpful in eliminating or reducing the overeating that tends to happen when eating out or traveling.
Before you choose your meal, put anything in your mouth, and also while you're eating, ask yourself how this is going to make you feel. Especially when traveling, don't you want to feel good in your body when you're exploring a new city or prancing around in your bathing suit? Or just feel good in your body while you're out enjoying time with friends? Of course, you do! You also want to feel good when you get home from that dinner or that week of traveling. This is more motivating for most people than just getting leaner or losing a couple of pounds on the scale. And this is the way to make your healthy lifestyle sustainable and long-term.
Most people tend to overeat during social events, so find a way to check in with yourself, eat slowly, chew your food very well (so important for your digestion - I go more into this in my Gut Health 101 training), and be aware of your fullness cues. This will help avoid overeating and you leaving the restaurant feeling like shit! Again, ask yourself how you want to feel.
You're not going to be perfect. You might overeat or eat foods that don't make you feel great. This is true even if you're at home. Let it go. It's okay. Learn from it and move on. That being said, if you start to feel like your dinners out or vacations are a time to go buckwild or time to go "off your diet," then your diet isn't really working for you. Your diet is too restrictive, not balanced, and definitely not sustainable. This is what'll keep you yo-yo-ing your entire life. Find a "diet" you can stick to when you're home, eating out, or traveling. This is the magic in how you get to your goals.
Tracking or writing down your food can be really helpful in keeping yourself accountable and aware of how much or what you're consuming. Personally for me, this has been a really helpful tool in staying "on track" and not going off the deep end with tacos, chips, and ice cream. The calories aren't usually worth it, especially when they don't make me feel great. And I want to feel great all of the time!
If you're trying to lose fat, you don't want to be in a caloric deficit all of the time. You want weeks where you're not losing any weight and eating your maintenance amount of calories. This is really important to not slow down your metabolism and to avoid inevitably reaching a plateau. So, plan your refeed weeks intentionally around your vacations and social dinners. Just a reminder, again, that this shouldn't be an all-out binge. It should be a controlled refeed.
Try to take a 15-20 minute walk after your meal - this'll help your digestion and help to regulate your blood sugar. You can do this anytime after a meal, not just when you're traveling or eating out, although I find it extra helpful when eating out, where you might be indulging in more carbohydrates than normal. If you're traveling, walk as often and as much as you can - it's actually my favorite way to explore a new city. Choose to walk instead of driving or taking a cab.
Fasting is not to be over-used or as a punishment for overindulging. It can be used in a very healthy way and as a way to give you more wiggle room when eating out, as well as a nice tool to give your digestive system a break after a large meal. I personally love to use fasting on my travel days, when I'm not very active and my digestive system slows way down up in the air! Just make sure to get real with yourself and make sure you're not binge eating and intentionally overeating before or after your fasts.
Your workout routine shouldn't stop, especially if you're eating a little more than normal. You want to shuttle those extra calories into building muscle using resistance training. When traveling, look for a gym nearby, a hotel gym, or even use bands or body weight exercises in your hotel room. (Remember when I was using a backpack full of books to work out in a staircase in London when gyms were closed?! 😂) Even if your workout routine looks a little different than normal, that's okay, but still try to keep a structured resistance training program. Keeping your workout routine up while traveling can be so helpful in maintaining momentum and making it easier to get back on track when you get back in town. You're also so much more likely to eat healthier if you start your day with a workout. And after a large dinner the night before, you're sure to be nice and strong in the gym the next day - use that to lift heavier and build some extra muscle to boost your metabolism.
If you enjoyed this and want more tips like this, check out my courses: Fat Loss 101 and Gut Health 101. They are jam-packed with everything you need to know to take action and be in control of your own health!
Are you eating healthy, cutting down on portions, and hitting the gym every day, but still not seeing results?
You'll definitely want this FREE guide detailing the most common mistakes I see people making and what you should do instead!