Whether you on a weekend break, a package holiday or travelling long term, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be rather challenging. For many of us women, traveling means relaxation and indulging in the mouthwatering local food and drink. And while it is natural to want to treat yourself to more than you normally would back home — too much of a good thing can be bad for you.
Trust me I know! I was two months into my work and travel holiday in Spain when I noticed my pants fit more snugly than I was comfortable with. The extra serving of Crema Catalana I consumed at least once a week (ok… maybe twice a week), the habitual bowl of Patatas Bravas that accompanied every social drink AND the abandonment of my usual exercise routine had caught up with me.
I’ve always been pretty active and health conscious, but the break in my daily routine threw that out the window. Besides the extra weight gain, I felt fatigued, moody and just generally shitty so I started to research ways I could maintain the healthy lifestyle I had back home, this is what I found:
Drinking water is essential to your health and functioning of your vital organs! A lack of water can lead to dehydration which essentially drains your bodies’ energy, leaving you feeling tired and unmotivated to climb Nepal’s Island peak or hike up south Africa’ s Table mountain.
There are differing opinions on how many liters water you should drink every day. Studies have produced varying recommendations but what they all agree upon is that your daily water consumption needs depend on factors such as how active you are and the climate/environment you are travelling in.
The most common rule of thumb is 8 glasses of water a day, but if you are engaging in any activity that makes you sweat or traveling in a hot and humid country you need to drink extra water to compensate for the fluid loss. About a cup or 2 will do.
Likewise, altitudes greater than 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) can increase your breathing your need to urinate which means you consume more of your fluid reserves.
I was pleasantly surprised when I read several studies had found a connection between water consumption and weight loss. Water helps us feel full and may therefore prevent us from reaching for those unwanted calories. We often mistake hunger for thirst, so the next time you feel hungry drink a glass of water!
Traveling doesn’t have to result in the complete break in your healthy habits. It is possible to exercise and remain active in between the rest and relaxation, the trick is to think out the box of your normal exercise routine.
Get adventurous and plan awesome physical activities on your trip, go hiking, ski-ing, river rafting, and mountain biking or surfing! Better yet, take a local Salsa or Bachata class!
Or if that’s not your thing you can fit physical activity into your day by making some smart active travel choices. Walk or cycle instead of driving or taking the bus or metro. Not only is it economical it is also better for the environment (for all you conscious travelers out there). Many cities provide locals and visitors with active transportation choices. Cities such as Barcelona are a perfect example, there is no need to own a bike in Barcelona as they have their own public bike rental system.
Walking is great exercise, it’s free and you don’t need any special gear. It’s also a great way to explore the city you are in and discover hidden streets and squares you would have never seen had you taken a bus or metro. It’s also a great way to connect with the locals and get a feel for the vibe of the city.
I’m not saying don’t eat that cake or delicious foreign cuisine, go for it! You are on holiday and you deserve to spoil yourself, but moderation is key! Moderation doesn’t mean eliminating the food you love, it means being conscious of what and how much you eat. If you indulged a bit at lunch time make sure you eat a little less for dinner.
Fill your body with the nutrients and the healthy foods it needs, visit the local market and arm yourself with fresh fruit and vegetables. Not only is it budget friendly and a way to connect to the local culture and community it also helps you keep that waste line in check. Try eat a serving of fruit in the morning with your breakfast and include a serving of veggies with your lunch or supper.
Limit the booze:
We all know alcohol contains plenty of empty calories. To put it in perspective, a glass of wine contains the same amount of calories as a slice of French lemon tart or English pound cake. For the ladies who love their frozen margarita’s I have some very sad news for you, you might as while be stuffing a cheese burger in your mouth. I have one more sobering fact, the average wine drinker consumes 2000 extra calories a month.
So moral of the story, an occasional alcoholic drink is ok but slamming down the fourth shot of tequila with the cute barman is not, don’t do it!
Lover of music festivals, awkward situations and ice cream, Chanelle recently quit her PR and communication job in South Africa to live the intrepid life she had been yearning for. Since the age of 10, she knew the white picket fence and 2.5 children just wasn’t for her! Rather than being barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen she dreamed of being barefoot in the Amazon Jungle. Currently based in Barcelona, Chanelle works as an English teacher, Reiki practitioner and content manager of wowtravelersworld.