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Travelin’ Light(er)

Travelin' Light(er)

Just got back from a 16-day road trip. Following my usual post-travel routine, the morning after arriving home I pulled out the bathroom scale, stepped on, breathed deeply, and peered through squinted eyes at the numbers. I’d gained two pounds. HURRAY!!

Okay, weight gain is not a reason for me to celebrate, but considering on one trip I’d gained a pound per day, and many of my vacations have set the progress of my health goals back months, two pounds seems very manageable.

So what was different this time? Though I’m not officially an expert on fitness and nutrition, I think I can safely assume the following factors made the difference.

  •  I shifted my perspective. Previously, I ate my way through trips. In the car. In the hotel. At fast food and chain restaurants and friends’ houses. It was as if eating on vacation didn’t count. (It didn’t – until I got home.) This time, I put the purposes of our journey – to see some amazing sights and visit family and friends – as the focus. Once I mentally established we were not on a culinary expedition, it was easier to modify a few unhealthy travel habits.
  •  I made smart eating choices when possible. At home, my first meal is sometimes the only healthy eating of my day. So when faced with the sugar and empty calorie-laden breakfast offerings in hotels, I opted for plain oatmeal, egg, and fruit. At fast food lunch stops, I looked for salads or grilled chicken in small sizes. On-the-road dinners were similar, or, if we both acknowledged not really being hungry, we supped on the cheese, crackers, nuts and fruits we’d brought with us.
  • I brought along a variety of in-transit entertainment. I admit it. Traditionally, much of my in-car and hotel eating is just something to do rather than hunger-based. This time I packed a car-bag like I might for kids, except the “kid” was me. It included audio books (which the G-man and I picked out together from the local library,) my tablet (books and games,) some magazines, and a few simple crochet projects. And, of course, there were some nibbles: fruit, nuts, Kind bars. The crochet kept my hands busy while listening to stories, and I actually completed a couple items.
  • Finally, I took advantage of natural opportunities to move. Fitness rooms in hotels were sometimes an option, but I think the little bits of movement made a bigger difference. Parking at the far end of rest stops and fast food lots allowed for more walking. As the official loader and un-loader of our vehicle, I engaged in daily bouts of bending, stretching, lifting, pushing, and power walking. (We travel like the Beverly Hillbillies!) We walked some tourist stops; I walked with friends while we visited. It all adds up.

I certainly don’t want to mislead anyone into thinking I was extraordinarily virtuous. Au contraire! Some days were flat-out sedentary. At the homes of friends and family, I ate and enjoyed (too much of) whatever was served. Including desserts. I indulged in the specialties of wineries and breweries and regional restaurants we visited. Instead of elevating the mundane (hotel food) and commonplace (chain restaurants) to vacation-worthy status, I contained the splurging to culinary delights I don’t have access to at home.

It was definitely worth the two pounds!

What’s YOUR favorite Travelin’ Light(er) tip?


Natine at Write-Minded WomanGuest blogger Natine Abreu-Shaw  is a recalibrated woman of the Sandwich Generation, who enjoys writing and occasionally  mines her mind, flexes her fingers, and publishes her pith at Write-MindedWoman.com – when she is able to take a break from  some of her other pet (pun intended!) projects – such as writing as the persona of her fur-kids at their Facebook home Corgi Characters!


  1. All good ideas. It’s too easy to overdo it when traveing and out of your normal routine. My last trip to see my family four years ago, I packed oatmeal for breakfast each day I wou’d be gone. At least I’d get one healthy meal a day that way.

    1. I think that’s a great idea, Sunni, and I will bring some along next time. I did remember to bring packets of Truvia and a variety of tea bags! ~Natine

  2. Hi Natine! It sounds like it was a great trip all around. Chewing gum is my favorite, not only to keep from munching, but I clench my teeth during the day and grind at night. Chew gum stops the clenching.

    1. It was a nice trip, Jill (although SD weather left a lot to be desired — like sun and temps above 60!) My husband likes to chew gum, but I can only do it for about 15 minutes before my jaws get tired. Funny that my jaws don’t get tired from talking, though… 🙂

  3. I don’t change my eating habits whether away or at home. And I tend a lose a few when I’m away because I’m moving a lot more than when I’m home writing. 🙂

    1. Hi Debby – I’m a little late responding because I was out of town without a computer. And I wish I could say I ate the same! I aspire to your consistency!

  4. Good job! Two pounds is very manageable and will be on there own vaca real soon! I too have started utilizing the workout facilities at hotels. Even small ones have enough equipment to get the job done.

  5. Great tips, Natine! Through much trial and error, I’ve discovered some of these for myself. My husband and I always do a lot of moving on our vacations, mostly walking. I logged about 9 miles in one day alone in NYC of all places! And I don’t pack a single snack item in the car when we’re traveling. If I were in the car with snacks, I’d eat them whether I was hungry or not. These days, plenty of pit stops ensure I won’t pass out from hunger before I reach my destination.

    1. I don’t eat much in car even with snacks in there, Dee Dee. Probably because I just pack HEALTHY stuff…hahahahahaha. The junky stuffs – which is little – is stuff G likes but I don’t, so no temptation. Also the crochet thing keeps my hands busy. 🙂

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