Nutrition when traveling: How to manage expectations vs. reality

The Summertime comes with a lot of travel for many. And because of that, one of the most common things I hear when they come back is; I’ve fallen off, and I need to get back on the wagon, how do I get back on?  If you are somebody who tells yourself this story, then let’s reframe your idea of falling off. Below we’ll go through a few simple steps to begin that mental process and ways to define success next time you’re on vacation or just traveling for work.

Managing Expectations vs. Reality:

You might expect that during your travel you’ll be able to maintain all of the same habits that you had when you were at home, expecting it to be apples to apples. But, since the environment has changed, those small habits or rituals that you have learned and created are slightly uplifted. For example,  your daily routines are all somewhat different now. Instead of walking into your kitchen and making a smoothie, you are now stepping into the hotel lobby to grab your breakfast. Instead of going to your workout class, you’re working out in your hotel or at the gym. I could go on and on. So what can you do to manage this reality? Don’t compare your vacation routine or work-travel routine with your home routine for progress; it’s unrealistic. Instead, compare each travel for growth. Maybe the previous trip you ate out every day,  you got no exercise, and no vegetables in your diet. But the most recent one you were able to map out where you ate so you had more meals that you could control, and you were able to exercise in your hotel room. Then the next one after that you were able to get much more veggies in and even packed a few healthy snacks. That is Progress worth tracking. 

Define what success means to you:

Pick one or two things to work on in your next trip, whether they’re listed below or not. Stay realistic with yourself.

  • If you’re traveling for work:
    • Find out which meals are in your control, and which are out of your control? For example, maybe you can choose what you eat for breakfast and lunch, but your business pays dinners.
    • Observe your meals by writing them in my fitness pal or a notepad.
  • If you’re on vacation:
    • Choose to add meals with some of your favorite veggies and fruits on your plate.
    • Eat slowly and to 70-80% full.
    • Enjoy your vacation!
  • Pack certain types of foods/snacks, so you don’t go for convenient foods: Try fruits/oatmeal/health bars/Trail mix
  • Exercise at least 20 minutes either in your hotel room, outside or at the gym.
  • Make a realistic number of times you can exercise- 2-3 times out of the five days you’re traveling.

As with a lot of things in life, the more you practice, the easier it feels!