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Weight Gain When Traveling - Stacking the Odds in Your Favor

A thinking woman's guide to eating smart on the road

When I travel I eat. Sure, I eat when I'm not traveling, but something about freeing myself from the gravitational pull of everyday life unhinges me from my (almost) religious pursuit of healthy food.

Perfect BuffetPerfect BuffetI toss aside my need for fruit and veggies and shamelessly indulge in my not-so-secret love of bread, cheese and wine. I transform from a pious, healthy eater to a hedonistic, deliriously happy foodie.

Trouble is, that kind of behavior can land me into a hell of my own making. And the first trip to the gym can feel like a slap upside the head from the universe.

If you're like me, a few simple steps can help you sin without ever having to pay the price. I recently returned from a 2-week cruise where I ate and drank more than I ever have in my life - I came back 2 pounds lighter.

Take these tips for a test drive the next time you travel and let me know if they work:

Move it, Baby: You don't have to hit the gym, but physical activity 30 minutes a day will burn off that midnight buffet. A couple laps around the ship, a hike, a long walk on the beach, a round of horizontal gymnastics - use your imagination!

Workout ahead of time: Pushing yourself a little harder at the gym the week before you leave means more muscle mass - which burns calories at a faster rate than fat. And revving up your metabolism will help your body with all the splurging you're about to do.

Sin, but sin cautiously: Indulge in local flavors, but balance that with more control at alternate meals. Eat the pasta for lunch, but opt for fresh veggies and fish for your evening meal. Enjoy the red wine, but couple it with lots of water.

Choose your drinks wisely: Cocktails on the beach are a powerful aphrodisiac, but they're also packed with calories - a pina coloda has 800 calories (that's 2,400 if you have 3). Choose libations like wine spritzers or a Bloody Mary so you have more room to splurge on that pasta, the cheese, those deserts.

How do you avoid weight gain when you travel? Share your secrets with us!

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Great article! We are a family on an open ended world tour since 2006, so I have had to learn a lot of this the hard way. I just lost over 50lbs and am learning the mastery of losing while on an extended vacation where every day seems like Saturday and temptations are endless. We are in Europe so do a ton of walking, so that has been a help. We also have moved the whole family to a more vegan way of eating which has been great. I lost most of the weight by doing phase 1 of fat smasher which I find pretty easy to live on. I have never eaten like this before, but it seems to work for all of us. We travel slow and cook a lot of our own food which helps a lot and also keeps costs down. We do indulge and splurge some, but find it fairly easy now to stay conscious with healthy choices. Part of the key is to plan ahead and eat well before you hit that starving point. Yes, I am living proof that one can lose way while traveling and I plan to get all of my excess weight off by next year! Great topic, thanks!

You are so right! It is definitely hard to resist those temptations when you are away from "reality" and "routine". On my recent trip to Italy, I just knew that I would pack on some pounds. Italian food is one of my favorites - the pasta, the cheese, the vino...let's not talk about the gelato and tiramisu! But surprisingly upon my return the scale didn't move. I realized that we actually ate smaller portions and the majority of our meals were fresh with natural ingredients. And tackling Pompeii, the Vatican and the Colosseum proved to be some good cardio! Two JetSet Divas...and a Map. http://www.twojetsetdivas.com http://twojetsetdivas.ning.com

I also know there is a trend of active getaways so that you can travel and be healthy. Where I live in Asheville, we promote active getaways. At the CVB, we launched a web portal devoted to healthy vacations with things like Calorie Burn Itineraries and Step Count Sightseeing at http://www.activegetaway.com . Anyway, just another idea for ways to avoid weight gain on vacation... you can even lose a few. Oh, and as a bonus our healthy food rocks (and it really tastes great)! Loads of farm to table restaurants here, you can find organic, vegetarian and vegan options many places, etc...

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