Photo by Milena Milani/Stocksy. Design by Lauren DeLuca for Yahoo Travel.
By Charles McCool / McCool Travel
What better way to lose weight than to do so when trying different foods and drinks from around the world?
On almost every trip, I lose weight, even when I think I am eating more than usual. I do love my BBQ and ice cream. So, can you lose weight when you travel? Read on.
1. Try different foods
I had this drink in Casablanca, Morocco. It blended five fruits, was all-natural, cost less than $2, and looked and tasted amazing. (Photo: Charles McCool)
The brain registers satisfaction sooner with new tastes than old familiar ones. In fact, favorite taste sensations actually dull our memory and we must eat more of that food before we are satisfied (I learned that from Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss). Travel is great for losing weight because we are more likely to try new foods and restaurants; just stay away from chains, which serve the same food at every location. You can even visit your favorite restaurants but make sure to try new dishes. Eat fun new foods and lose weight when you travel? Brilliant!
2. Reduce snacking
Fill your head with beautiful views — like this one of the Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon — instead of thinking about snacks (Photo: Charles McCool)
At home and work, the temptation to snack is constant. Or is that just for me? When traveling, though, I am too distracted by awesome new scenery and experiences to mindlessly snack. Besides, space is limited when traveling and it requires special effort to carry snacks between hotel rooms or on flights.
3. Drink more water
Another scientific study shows that drinking more water can reduce or eliminate many major health ailments. Whether traveling or at home, it makes good sense to drink water instead of high-calorie (zero-nutrition) drinks. On the road, I bring a refillable water bottle with a charcoal filter and continually refill it from taps or water fountains.
Please avoid buying water in plastic bottles; it is bad for you and bad for the world. In Rome it is easy to find clean, fresh, cool FREE water from more than 2,500 public water fountains, called nasoni (“big noses”). Nasoni locations are shown on online maps and even a fun iPhone app. (Thank you to Rachel at LivItaly Tours for the nasoni information.)
4. Move more
It is natural to walk more when exploring new places. At least for me it is. I can walk and walk and walk, nearly all day, without getting tired or bored. Try that on a treadmill! In fact, my theory is that when traveling we do unmeasured exercise and measured eating, while at home we do measured exercise (FitBit, laps, miles) and unmeasured eating (snacking, seconds, buffets). I call that the Road Trip Diet.
Walk and explore the sights of Venice…. (Photo: Charles McCool)
… and then share amazing pizza (egg is optional). (Photo: Charles McCool)
5. Eat fresh
Opt for fresh food from local markets (like this one in Corsica), rather than processed snacks. (Photo: Charles McCool)
Did you know that government agencies outside the USA have higher standards for processed foods? Some U.S. foods banned in other countries include farm-raised salmon and dairy products with rBGH (here’s a list of others). Even though there is a better quality of packaged foods abroad, a more sensible approach is to simply avoid packages as much as possible. Buy fresh produce (fruit and vegetables), freshly baked bread, local cheeses, and meats from local farmer markets, bakeries, food stores, or prepared food stands. It is so much fun to create your own picnic lunch, which usually results in an unforgettable experience at a fraction of the cost of a restaurant meal.
Whether your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight, travel, both, or neither, these five ways to slim down when you’re on vacation will make you think differently about food and drink away from home (and at home too).
Do you have any other tips to lose weight when you travel?