It's January, and it's cold in much of the country. For many of us, this means we schedule trips to get away to somewhere warmer for a little rest, rejuvenation and relaxation, especially after a busy holiday season.
This also means you will be challenged to keep up with your fitness-based or weight-loss-focused New Year's resolutions. Your valuable vacation time will be focused on your favorite ways to have fun, of course. Maybe that's a lot of adventurous activities or ample amounts of just chilling out.
Then, there is always the food and drinks.
One of the best -- who am I kidding; these are the best -- ways to enjoy a destination and its cultural aspects is through the great food and tasty beers, wines and cocktails we come across while traveling.
While many people can easily toss aside any discipline and dive into their trips to embrace the full-on food and fun orgy that a vacation offers, many anguish over their choices, especially if they are resolved to make healthy changes in their lives.
So, with all these forces at play, how can you stick to a New Year's resolution when you travel -- and still enjoy your trip?
If something tastes good, it's always easy to eat several servings. Instead, share a food item with your travel partner, and tell yourself before sitting down that you are going to stop eating as soon as you feel full. Go in on a few small plates to share so you don't overdo it and can still enjoy a sampling of several flavors from the places you visit. Also, plan to save calories for a taste of dessert or a couple beers or wines.
If you're out and about on excursions or just traveling by plane or train to get to your destination, you can too easily be tempted by junk food along the way. Or you often go for long periods of time without nutrition and then overeat at your next opportunity. You can stay a step ahead by packing healthy snacks for your travels. Bring along nutritious protein bars, almonds, apples, or other items on your diet to stave of hunger and keep your fuel levels up and on an even keel throughout the day. This also helps you save money because you won't have to splurge at fast-food or fast-casual eateries.
Track Your Macros
When you have a new diet for the new year, it's important to track what you eat. This might be easier to do at home as you cook for yourself in the kitchen. But many great apps make it easy to count your calories and macros (like carbs, protein and fat ratios). We use the MyFitnessPal app on our cellphones to chart what we eat throughout the day. You can set up your goals for daily calories and macronutrients, and the app comes preloaded with many searchable foods and meals from chain restaurants, etc.
We find that a rigorous tracking method can keep you on course and help with your willpower because you have a measure of control in the process. We all know it's easy to go a bit crazy on our diets when we are having a good time while traveling.
Diet and new eating habits are the focus of many New Year's resolutions, but exercise holds equal footing for many people seeking lifestyle changes. It is easy to get in good workout while on the road. You just have to make sure you plan for them and make a commitment. Carve out at least 30 minutes a day for a workout when you are on a trip. If you are staying at a hotel or resort, you are likely to have access to at least a rudimentary gym (and many times the fitness center are on par with your best neighborhood fitness centers).
Even if you don't have access to a gym, pack a pair of running shoes or exercise bands and a jump rope. Simple bodyweight exercises such as air squats, lunges, push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks and burpees are always great options, too. You can also check YouTube to find any type of bodyweight workout or routines using the most basic equipment. Plus, numerous fitness apps offer a nice variety of workouts and help you track your fitness routines. Check out Map My Fitness, Workout Trainer and 8Fit for just a few options. Daily walks, hikes and swims in the ocean or at your resort's pool also qualify as great workouts.
Get Your Sleep
Getting at least seven restful hours of sleep is the ideal complement to a solid diet and exercise regimen. In fact, studies show that poor sleep can sabotage your diet, exercise and most importantly, your mood. So, make sure you get enough quality rest, even as you are trying to maximize your fun while traveling. You probably will be faced with a schedule that is a wild departure from your daily routine while back home. You stay up later, get up earlier and have time-zone changes, unfamiliar beds and noises, plus maybe quirky layovers at airports or train or bus stations to deal with.
Do your best to get your needed sleep, and also ensure that you are staying properly hydrated each day. Carry a water bottle everywhere and sip from it all day. With proper hydration and rest, you always feel fresh and focused enough to have a good time and stick to your goals.
Don't Stress It
All of this might sound like too much to worry about along with all the other logistics involved with travel. Don't worry if slip a little here and there. It's nothing to stress over. You need to have a good time and indulge a bit, too. The main point is that you have made yourself a resolution, a promise to change a habit. You want to be mindful of creating a more healthy lifestyle. It becomes more and more manageable and almost second nature as you build these habits into your daily lifestyle and your travel lifestyle, as well.
What do you think? Do you have any tips for sticking to a New Year's resolution when you travel? Let us know your tips and tricks in the comments.
Thanks for reading, and always travel happy!