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Losing Weight on Vacation

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Throughout my 11 months of weight loss, I've gone on 4 trips--and each trip, I went home a couple of pounds lighter than when I left. Staying on track while on vacation can be very difficult, especially if you're not prepared. But if you plan everything in advance, you never have to stray off of your weight loss plan.

I don't treat vacation as a time to "cheat" or "relax my eating" or a "free-for-all". I count calories (or WW points) just the same as I do at home. At home, I don't eat out very often--so I make it a point not to eat out much while on vacation. The best way of doing this is to BE PREPARED.

First, I know that we will be eating out once or twice... so before we leave, I research local restaurants to where we are going and I print off the nutrition info for that restaurant. I highlight a few things that fit into my plan, and I bring it to the restaurants with me, KNOWING what I'm going to order before I even walk in the door.

If we are staying in a hotel, I call the hotel beforehand to ask if our room has a refrigerator and/or microwave, so that I know what I have to work with as far as food goes.

For the meals we eat at the hotel (or wherever we are staying), I prepare my own "convenience" foods. You know I'm a HUGE fan of oats, and I eat oats every single day in one form or another. Lately, I've been eating them uncooked, mixed with plain, fat free yogurt, and some yummy mix-ins like chocolate chips, coconut, walnuts, muesli, etc). To prep these, I weigh out 40 grams of oats, and weigh out any dry ingredients I want--throw it all in a baggie, and it's ready to go. All I have to do is add 4 oz. of yogurt and it's a meal. I write on the baggie how many WW points or calories are in that baggie, so I don't have to look it up later.

I bought a bunch of little plastic cups with lids (2 Tbsp. size, and 2 oz size) from Gordon's Food Service. In those, I weigh out portions of peanut butter, Nutella, almond butter, PB2, etc. I write the number of WW points or calories on the lid and it's a single serving ready to go. I can make PB&J sandwiches with the PB already measured out, or I can use the PB as a dip for baby carrots (a favorite snack of mine). I can eat the Nutella on a banana, or a english muffin.

I also made some convenient lunch bags--Taco Style Lentils & Brown Rice. In a quart-size ziploc bag, I measure out: 3/4 cup lentils, 3/4 cup Uncle Ben's brown rice, 1 Tbsp. chili powder, 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. onion powder, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, and a couple of beef bouillon cubes. All I have to do with that is add 4 cups of water, bring it to a boil, and let it simmer for 35-40 minutes, and I have lunch for 4.

When we get to our destination, I like to go to a grocery store and buy the parishables that we'll need--fruit like bananas and apples, almond milk, baby carrots, bread or english muffins, etc.

Before we leave for vacation, I'll sometimes make sloppy joe meat or taco meat and freeze it. Then when it's time to leave, I put it in a cooler and we can use the microwave at the hotel to reheat and that's dinner.

As far as drinks... I know that vacation is time for relaxing, so if that includes alcohol, you can prepare yourself in advance for that as well. I used to love margaritas--and I'd always order those huge fish-bowl size ones. Little did I know that a margarita is one of the highest-calorie cocktails you can order! You can drink light beer all day long for the same number of calories in one of those margaritas. I prepare for this by picking a "go-to" drink--in my case, I choose a very light beer like Beck's Light or Bud Select 55, or a 5 oz glass of wine--and I stick with that, counting the calories. If you reeeally want a cocktail, just do your research before you go. Look up the calories in a few favorite cocktails and just make sure you keep track of how many you have! ;)

On Monday, I'm traveling to my brother's house in Minnesota (about 12 hours from my house). I'll have access to a kitchen, so I plan on cooking most of our meals there. I've prepped some of the things I just wrote about...

Peanut butter, Nutella, PB2

"Instant" Oats--just add yogurt!

Taco-Style Lentils & Brown Rice

So the whole point is, if you really prepare, you CAN stay on plan on vacation. You just have to do some research about where you're going, and get a little creative. But think how happy you'll be to come home LIGHTER than when you left!
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