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Traveling is amazing. It is therapeutic, it relaxes you, you discover new places, you can even make new friends. But if you are trying to live a healthy lifestyle you might find one little drawback. It is very hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle while traveling. You don’t have access to your kitchen, you might find yourself eating out a lot. Plus, hotels usually have large buffets at breakfast, you don’t have access to a gym and so on. If you try to stick to your healthy diet, you might end up feeling deprived, not eating out, spending more time looking for supermarkets and places that sell healthy food instead of enjoying the place.
On the other hand, if you don’t want to feel deprived and let yourself just be on vacation, you might end up screwing all your good progress in just a week long vacation. Obviously, neither scenario is good. We don’t want to make traveling our excuse for being unhealthy but we don’t want to feel deprived and miss out on all the fun either. While balance might feel hard to attain, it is not impossible. I recently travelled to Lyon, France for a week. I came back with the exact same amount of pounds and without feeling out of shape, while also having enjoyed my time there – from food to visiting this amazing city. Here are some of the tips that helped me do it.
It took me a while to get this, but eating local foods, in local restaurants is a great tip for maintaining a healthy lifestyle while traveling. I used to run to the nearest fast food, especially when I was in a city where the local foods were different than what I was used to. Lyon tends to be the same – having two rivers within the city, people in Lyon eat a lot of fish. Now, I’m not a big fan of fish, I can eat it a few times a month and only varieties I’m used to. However, I heard so much about how good fish dishes are in Lyon and how I need to try their unique restaurants that I gave it a try.
Why is this healthier? For once, local restaurants will be a lot healthier than fast-foods. Second, if you spot any ingredients you don’t like, you can ask them to remove them, or give you the dressing on the side and more. If you are in Italy for instance, you’ll see the pizza and pasta they serve there is much healthier than what you find in other countries. Why? Because they go by simplicity most of the time. So next time you’re traveling, do your best to eat at local restaurants, if possible outside of the tourist areas. Not only will it be healthier, but it is a great way to experience the culture of the country you’re visiting.
Walk around the city
If you have the time, walk around the city. Most big cities have touristic buses that allow the hop-on, hop-off game. This is great if you have very little time in a big city. However, if you have a bit more time, I suggest taking the long way and walking. Sometimes I walked up to 20 thousand steps or more during my trips. It’s an amazing workout, burns a lot of calories, it’s healthy and you get to truly see the city you’re in and not just go directly to the touristic spot you wanted to visit. If you are the type that usually gets lost and you don’t know the local language, you can try to find guided walking tours around the city. Same health benefits, plus the chance to meet new people! How that for a healthy lifestyle while traveling?
Workout in your hotel room
You may not have access to the gym, but there’s always the option of working out in your hotel room. Squats, push-ups, ab workouts, pilates, bodyweight HIIT, the list is long. If you don’t have time for walking tours this is a great option. It’s also an option if you are in a small city without a lot of places to walk to.
Don’t eat everything on the menu each morning
One problem with hotels that serve large all you can eat buffets in the morning is the temptation to taste everything each morning. I mean, you’re only there for a few days and everything is included in the price. My suggestion is to divide it so that you eat a bit of everything till you leave. But not everything every day. For example, one day you can go for the sweet items like pancakes and croissants. The next morning, go for the fattier items like omelets, bacon and cheese. You get the idea. Each morning, try to start breakfast with fruit. Most hotels will have them at breakfast. If your doesn’t, you can buy a few from the grocery store in the evening. That way you make sure you get your vitamins and fiber and you’ll see you’ll eat less from the less healthy items on the menu.
However, my main advice is to not stress over breakfast. While eating everything on the menu is definitely not the definition of maintaining a healthy lifestyle while traveling, it will have the smallest impact on your diet. I like to eat till I’m full in those days when I know I’ll walk all day almost non-stop. That’s the perfect day to fuel up at breakfast and lunch. Maybe go a little easier on the dinner – but make sure you listen to your body. Remember food is fuel!
Don’t focus all your energy on maintaining the healthy lifestyle while traveling
I think the saddest thing is when you let your focus on having a healthy lifestyle while traveling take away from the joy of traveling. And trust me, that’s not healthy! Traveling is supposed to recharge you. Maybe it won’t truly recharge your batteries, especially if you’re traveling for work. But it can recharge you mentally, emotionally. There’s something magic about experiencing another culture, seeing new places. Focus on that. Allow the magic to happen. The last thing you want is to be so focused on keeping a healthy lifestyle while traveling, that you find yourself back at home and realize you barely enjoyed your time there. A healthy lifestyle means more than eating healthy and working out. It is about being happy, enjoying life, taking in the beauty of this world, being with friends and relaxing. So remember to do that as well next time you are traveling.
And if you need to learn more about finding what feels good and defining the perfect diet for you, I suggest you check this post. Finally, for more tips focused on eating healthy while traveling, I recommend this post by Coconuts & Kettlebells which has some great tips.