Weight Loss & Traveling Part 1
Hello from London! As many of you already know, Kyle and I just returned from Thailand about three weeks ago, and moved into our place in downtown San Diego last week. Even so, this didn’t stop Kyle from looking me in the eye Friday night, and asking the question I have been dreaming about hearing for years…..”Do you want to go to Europe with me on Sunday?”. Of course I said “YES!”. So here I am, writing to you on Sunday afternoon from the Heathrow airport; we’re actually heading to Barcelona first, then stopping in Paris, and last but not least, making our final stop in London. Yes, I am a very lucky girl!! Thank you Kyle
Butt clenches, and water bottles, and eye masks, oh my!
Lately, with all of this travel I have begun to feel like a bit of an expert. I have learned that bringing a water bottle with me on the plane is a must, an eye mask for sleeping is advised, coconut oil can be a packing godsend, and healthy snacks are a no brainier. I have also perfected the art of butt clenching to work my glutes while sitting – Cindy Crawford swears by it.
With all of this traveling I have also noticed a trend that can throw your weight loss/maintenance off like no other.
No, it’s not the obvious:
a) possibly gross, high in sodium and calories, low in nutrients in-flight meals
b) easy access to free alcohol and junk food if you’re spending time in the lounges
c) easy access to drinks and junk food in the airport in general
d) the vacation mentality that we can eat and drink with reckless abandon while traveling
It’s in fact:
e) the frequency in which we are eating, especially on international flights
Don’t get me wrong, eating on a long plane ride is enjoyable; it gives me something to focus on besides having 12 hours to go before landing, a numb butt, and limited mobility for an extended period of time. However, I started paying attention to the frequency in which I was eating and how that affected the way I felt the next day.
This frequency is problematic for two reasons:
- The more we eat, the more calories we consume.
- Eating around the clock does not give our bodies a break from eating (part 2).
Keeping Those Calories in Check
The first point is pretty straight forward: the more calories we consume, the more weight we gain.
Take a late night international flight. I’ve taken a few of these flights, and they can be brutal from a calorie management aspect. For example, on the flight home from Hong Kong we ended up eating two dinners plus snacks and drinks. On this particular flight we didn’t board the plane until 11:30 PM. This gave us plenty of time to eat dinner, hang around the lounge, eat snacks and have drinks BEFORE boarding the plane. Once we boarded the plane we were immediately given more drinks and served our in-flight meal shortly after take off. By the time we finished eating it was probably around 1:00 AM. Then you guessed it, time for bed. I’m not even going to try to guestimate how many calories were consumed followed by being inactive for 12 hours.
This example shows how easy it is to let calories add up when flying. If you aren’t careful, like I was, you can easily set your fitness goals back by a week or two. Let’s just say that after the flight I was most comfortable in stretchy pants, felt the need to do some major exercising, and felt blah from too much food and being bloated.
How To Manage
In the case of over eating the solution is simple, but not always easy: eat fewer calories.
- Before the flight: Try to minimize calorie intake by keeping snacking to a minimum. This can be difficult if you’re hanging out in a lounge before your flight since the food is free, and the mindset around free food is a whole other ball game meant for a different post. I’m no angel when it comes to turning down food, but have been getting better. When we’re presented with the opportunity to snack remember to be choosy. 1) The foods available will probably be available to you again in the future. 2) The food probably isn’t so good that it can’t be turned down. Sample a few snacks and move on. If you’re a bored eater like me, try busing yourself with reading, a movie, work or other distraction. I guarantee that you’ll forget about the food that you’re not even hungry for.
- On the flight: Turning down your in-flight meal can be hard. We think “I paid for my ticket so I’m going to eat my food”. Depending on the time your flight leaves and your food consumption before the flight, it may be a good idea to turn down the in-flight meal. If you become hungry ask the flight attendant for your meal later. Looking back at my late night flight from Hong Kong to LAX, I probably should have requested my meal at a later time rather than eating dinner again and then going to bed. Oh how hindsight is 20/20.
The moral of the calorie intake and traveling story is that we must stay conscience of our eating.
We might be put in a situation that completely throws off our eating patterns, or eat food that we don’t want simply because it is offered to us. Ultimately it’s up to us as individuals to know what is best for our bodies and have the willpower to say “no thanks”.
There you have it, Part 1 of “Travel Hacking: Are The Airlines Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Goals?” or should I say,”Are you allowing the airlines to sabotage your weight loss goals?”. Stay tuned for Part 2 where I focus on how eating around the clock can be detrimental to our fitness goals.
Until next time,
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