8 Tips to Maintain Adherence While Traveling

Whether it be professional or personal, travel is a significant part of our culture. And while it’s meant to enrich our human experience, it can come with a lot of intimidation, anxiety, and dare I say, dread, if you’re trying to make changes in your body.

Good news, you can still travel the world, and maintain a certain level of adherence if you set boundaries for yourself, and put together your playbook for success.

Yes, I just used the word “playbook.” You can take the girl out of the ad world, but you can’t take the ad world out of the girl. I wouldn’t want it any other way. WINK!

Here are eight tips to keep yourself in good standing while you travel.

Set Realistic Expectations

When you’re out of your element, you will more than likely not be able to maintain a perfect level of adherence, so holding yourself to that expectation is automatically setting yourself up for a major disappointment. Figure out what success looks like for you, and be honest because this will set the tone for your entire trip. Your KPI’s may not even be food or workout related, and that’s totally okay! I like to pick three goals – it’s just enough to help me feel successful and ambitious, but not SO much where I feel overwhelmed or like said goals are unattainable. Feeling successful is the BEST way to stay motivated, so this is V importante.

Here are a few ways you can put this into practice

  • Event: 4 Day work trip to LA
  • Goals:
    • Work out twice (pack clothes for three workouts JUST IN CASE!)
    • Limit alcohol to two cocktails or glasses of wine per evening
    • Keep dietary consumption to maintenance-level caloric intake*
  • Event: 10-Day honeymoon to Italy
  • Goals:
    • Indulge without obsession. If I notice my food thoughts are becoming rampant, have a lower calorie meal to reset or reflect on the beauty of your indulgent experiences and have a moment of gratitude for your partner, or the means to travel. You can count blessing just like you count macros
    • Stay hydrated to the point where urine that resembles lemonade throughout the day
    • Go for an outdoor run to see the city in a new way two or three times. Remember, all the sightseeing your doing is non-exercise activity thermogenesis and helps maintain your hard work.
  • Event: Monday-Thursday Consultant Life
  • Goals
    • Develop 10-second “schpeal” for those who question dietary choices or “push” meals/snacks/drinks on you
      • Co-worker: What? Are you not going to drink tonight?
      • Me: Ugh, not tonight. Somethings gotta give with this travel schedule and tonight; it’s booze. I’ll drink to yours tho! Raises a glass of club soda with lime.
    • Have a full arsenal or snacks on hand to avoid hunger pangs, hanger, or starvation to the point of a binge or eating whatever you can get your hands on. (See more on that below)
    • Work out twice (pack clothes for three workouts JUST IN CASE!)

*Whenever I travel, I, personally, always keep my caloric balance at MAINTENANCE. I find it’s usually too hard to stay within my deficit. If I can swing it, I do it. If not, I give myself the 300-400 additional calories, enjoy it, and look forward to killin’ it in the gym with all that reserved energy when I’m back in my regular routine.

Establish Controlled Food Variables

You can’t always control food items off a menu, but you can control what you have on hand to stave hunger. Instacart is my best fahking friend when I travel. I always send an order directly to my hotel on my first day on any trip. If your office or hotel room has a fridge, even better! You can order for the week and stock up. If your snacks are covered, you mitigate your risk of being STARVING at meal times and eating whatever you can get your hands on.

My shopping list always looks like this:

  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Nuts
  • Jerky
  • Greek yogurt + individual nut butter serving pouches
  • Apples
  • Deli meat + sliced or string cheese
  • Hummus + pre-cut veggies
  • Oats
  • Bars (Lara or Rx are great options, I like Quest too)

I want to keep everything to individual servings sizes since I don’t travel with my food scale or measuring cups/spoons.

Accept What You Can and Cannot Control

Speaking of controlled food variables, when you’re on the road, often you’re ordering off a menu and have little control over how your food is prepared. Accept that restaurant chefs use oil, butter, and other dietary fats to make food taste great. You can’t control the pat of butter they melt over your steak, but you CAN control the bread basket, second or third helpings, calorically dense beverages, spoonfuls of dessert, etc.

I make a deal with myself before I even arrive for a dinner or event:

  • Bread vs. Dessert
  • Bun vs. Fries
  • Alcohol vs. A more indulgent dish

Those are just examples, but I’ll give myself “permission” to have one while forgoing the other. You don’t feel deprived, and in fact, having some rules to follow takes any guesswork out of ordering.

Define Your Relationship with Alcohol

I like to think of myself as a real good time gal. I LOVE cocktails, I LOVE to dance, and I LOVE to be out having fun with friends, colleagues, my husband, total strangers, you name it. BUT I also know, if I reach a certain point in my play, I am GOING to pay. Usually in the form of late night food, and a debilitating hangover the next day. In my book, hangovers are synonymous with greasy foods so if I’m partying my ass off, I can pretty much bet that’s two days of indulgence that’s not even worth tracking because I know I’ll be so far gone.

I make a conscious choice to stay out or go home, and then I IMMEDIATELY make peace with it.

If you’re planning on tying one on, understand that booze usually leads to more unfortunate choices in the kitchen (and probably the bedroom if you’re single LOLZ!!!) so be mindful of how many events or parties you commit to. If you’re letting your hair down one night, then keep it on the straight and narrow for the next one. The balance will always keep you in check.

Know this, alcohol is its OWN macro, so it’s not as simple as “borrowing” from your carbs or fats if you’re keeping track. Alcohol has seven calories per gram, and those calories can be better spent ANATOMICALLY speaking, so it pays to be mindful.

Sleep

There are two types of people in this world; those who love and those who hate hotel beds. I happen to LOVE them, but it takes me a night or two to “acclimate.” Even if your duration under the covers is cut short, keep your same bedtime routine, or establish a new one for travel purposes.

  • Adjust the cooling/heating settings to your liking the moment you walk in the door
  • Turn the screens off
  • Listen to a podcast, or take a hot shower or meditate to calm your mind
  • Read a book

Hit the hay and don’t waste time on your phone, catching up on emails, etc. Sleep is super important, and you never realize it until you’re deprived.

Move

Whether its a workout in your hotel room, the hotel gym, or a drop-in pass for a class at a boutique studio down the street find a way to exercise if your schedule allows. Just about any gym will allow you to walk-in or drop-in if you call ahead, so plan accordingly. Don’t know what to do? Check out THIS workout for a routine you can do IN your hotel room. Additionally, there’s an entire section in the WORKOUT menu tab dedicated to BODYWEIGHT workouts.

If your travels take you to a scenic location, think outside the box (gym) and go for a hike, surf, beachside run, etc. Ditch your all or nothing mentality because even 10 minutes of exercise will set a positive tone for the day. If you exercise, you WILL make better choices around food, sleep, hydration, and how you allocate the fahks you give to those around you. TRUST ME.

Stay Hydrated

Have a reusable water bottle that you can keep on your person AT ALL TIMES. Your brain is smart, but not so smart that it can’t tell the difference between hunger and dehydration.

  • Drink a full glass of water the moment you wake up
  • Drink another with your morning coffee
  • Continue to consume enough water throughout the day for urine to resemble lemonade
  • If you’re drinking booze, alternate each glass with water

Practicing “Sitting” with Discomfort

It can be uncomfortable to execute the above, so give yourself some patience, forgiveness, and grace, if you feel like you’re “messing up.” You may feel like you have to drink to fit in with your co-workers at a happy hour, and maybe you do. If you’re opting out of having a drink and feel uncomfortable – THAT’S OKAY. You can have that discomfort and do nothing about it, you know? You can be like, “Fahk, this feels weird…” and leave it at that. It’s a similar concept to what was discussed here.  It’s okay to go on a vacation and have a bottle of wine with lunch WITH gelato and think, “Shit, I would never do this at home, this is WAY too indulgent…” and acknowledge that this behavior is out of your norm but APPRECIATE the moment.

Remember that you don’t have to do ANYTHING you don’t want to do. If you’re going to skip a work happy hour to get your workout in – DO IT. If you’re on vacation and don’t want to drink a pina colada by the pool – DON’T. Just because you think you should, doesn’t mean you HAVE TO. Just like at home, understand your needs and wants, and how they impact your decisions and results.

In Conclusion

Like anything else, your mindset plays a huge part in your success. Understand that doing the best you can outside of your “natural” habitat is GOOD ENOUGH and don’t stress the rest.

When you get back to your “real life,” you don’t have to do ANYTHING differently. Get back into your regular workout, fitness, and nutritional routine. So many people struggle with “getting back on track” when it’s literally the easiest thing. Just do everything you’ve always done. Changing your body, getting stronger, or working toward a specific result takes so much time, but it’s a LIFE long process, so relax. Take the pressure off yourself and remember you’re going where you want to go IF you decide.

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