I recently had a trip to Vegas and then New York, and I wanted to write a blog post about how to stay on track with your nutrition when you’re traveling. I wanted to share this because there were some things I did really well and there were some things I didn’t. This is one of the situations that helped to prompt my 21-day challenge, which is going on right now! It started on July 1st, and it’s all about keeping promises to yourself, goal setting, and making a plan for success. 

There were so many times in my life where I got excited and said I was going to do something. Maybe it was a new workout program, maybe it was sticking to a budget, maybe it was doing better in my relationship. I’d get really excited and then fall off the wagon. Because I have struggled with that for years, I’ve spent thousands of dollars on courses and books and mentorship programs and therapists learning basically why I’ve struggled in the past. Now have this very simple, easy to follow, proven system that teaches you how to build confidence and do something when you say you’re going to do it. 

Some Things Went Well, Some Didn’t 

So I went on this trip to New York. I went to Vegas first, and then I came home for three days, and then I left for New York. I don’t like to travel. I really don’t, but I was there for work. I accepted a position a while back to do speaking events for one of my business mentors, Russell Brunson. Part of the reason I went was to learn. I eventually want to do my own conferences and events and I wanted to learn the backend systems of how they do it and what it looks like. In that sense, I did learn a ton. I also recently started training with a new trainer and I knew I needed to stay on track with my nutrition. And that’s tough to do when you’re traveling. So I wanted to share with you some of the things that I did that worked really well, that were really helpful. Then I’ll share the areas that I really sucked at. And then some of the areas that I really sucked.

Making an Exercise and Nutrition Plan

So before I travel, I try to write out a skeleton outline of what my day’s going to look like. I knew I was going to be at the event from about seven in the morning until seven at night. For me, what that meant was I needed to get up around 5:30 a.m., and go to the gym. The first thing I did was to check to see if they had a gym, what kind of equipment they had, and then I modified my workouts based on their equipment. This gym, for instance, only had dumbbells. Really, the thing to remember when you’re traveling is even if you can’t get your workouts in, your nutrition is more important than hitting your workouts. I had to have a good game plan for making sure that I got my food.

What I did was I portioned out my protein powder and packed it in Ziploc baggies. That way, if I couldn’t find anything healthy, I could at least get my protein in. I am also less strict when I’m traveling. I just focused on hitting my calorie goal for the day and getting my protein. If the carbs and fats are not perfect, that’s okay as long as I hit my total calories and tried not to go over.

Sticking With Your Plan

That’s sort of hard when you’re traveling because it’s fun to try new foods and go out to dinner. One of the things I had to remind myself of is that these foods aren’t going to go away forever. Right now I am trying to get back to my maintenance weight, and when you’re at maintenance, it’s a lot easier to go out and eat foods that you wouldn’t normally eat or indulge a little bit more. But when you’re trying to lose, my goal is to get the weight off as quickly as possible to get into the easier maintenance mode. So I had to remind myself that it’s okay to skip on dessert while I’m on this trip because it’s not like I’m never going to be able to have those desserts. It’s just because I have a goal right now that I’m trying to hit.

Bringing Your Own Food and Making Good Choices

Some of the things I did was I brought some oatmeal packets so I could get my healthy carbs in the morning. I would just make a protein shake with my protein powder, and that was my breakfast. The nice thing about being in New York is there’s tons of food vendors everywhere and they actually had grilled kabobs on almost every corner. For lunch it was pretty easy for me to get grilled corn on the cob, or grilled chicken and steak kabobs. I had that for lunch every day. Then the hard part was just dinner. We all went out to dinner as a team and it was so tempting to order a big giant slice of New York pizza. 

Eat Out How You Eat at Home

Typically what I try to do is to order off the menu similar to what I would cook at home. I look for a protein about the size of my open palm, a carb about the size of my closed fist, and healthy fats about the size of my thumb. In restaurants, they usually cook with a lot more oils and stuff than you do at home. I just assume that all the meats were cooked with some olive oil or butter or something like that. So that’s kind of how I try to visualize things when I’m out and about. I did pretty good the first two days. The last day I did terrible. We went out to eat and I was starving. The convention was so busy that I didn’t even have a chance to sit down once all day. I didn’t eat, I just ate a really small lunch, and I was just really hungry from going, going, going. My eyes were bigger than my stomach. I ordered a lobster bisque and I had halibut with Gnocchi and almost certainly went over on my calorie goal for that day. 

Don’t Beat Yourself Up, Keep at it!

The biggest thing is just not to beat yourself up to recognize you screwed up, and that tomorrow’s a new day. If you’re driving your car and you got one flat tire, you wouldn’t take a knife out and slash the other three just because one was flat, you would just fix the tire and keep going. That’s what I had to remind myself. I screwed up yesterday, but that doesn’t mean that I should just give up, keep overindulging, and just get back on track when I get home. The next day when I was back at the airport, I went back to my normal routine. 

Go Grocery Shopping

One of the things that does help me, and it was harder when I was in New York because it was such a big city, but I usually try to hit a grocery store. I just have an Uber take me to a grocery store to pick up some fresh fruits and vegetables, maybe some pre-boiled eggs, and maybe a healthy precooked chicken or rotisserie chicken. My hotel room on my recent travels didn’t have a fridge, and I even called down to the front desk but they couldn’t bring me one, so that was hard. So I knew I really had to stick to my plan of choosing the healthier food trucks and things like that. 

Get Plenty of Water

Water is another big one when you’re traveling. I came home and I woke up in the morning and my fingers were puffy and my ankles were swollen. I knew that I just needed to make sure that I got back on track with my water. I have a routine where I use these 30 ounce water bottles from target and, first thing in the morning when my coffee is brewing, I fill the water bottles up with water and I add lemon juice to it. That way, I make sure to get my water intake. After my travels when I clearly didn’t get enough water, I got home and focused on getting enough water and resetting. 

Make a Plan for Your Week Back Home 

Not only do I make a plan for my workouts when I’m traveling, I also I write out a game plan for the week that I get back. When I went to New York, it was hard because I knew that it was going to be a super busy week. I was launching the challenge, the kids were off from school, Lincoln had football camp, and I had to carpool them to and from everything. I had to really make sure to make time for my workout despite it all. If you just hope you get your workout in instead of planning it, it usually never happens. So, every single day I made a plan to squeeze my 40 minute workout in during certain windows in my busy schedule. I really just try to set myself up for success as much as possible so that way when I got back, I’m back into my normal routine. I used to be a person that didn’t like routine and schedules and calendars, but maybe it’s just because I’m getting older, I find comfort in having a plan.

Choosing What to Indulge in 

I set myself up for success by making a plan, using a whiteboard, and keeping myself accountable for that plan. I just work towards keeping everything easy to follow and realistic to maintain. It’s easy to get off track when your goals aren’t realistic. If you are traveling, or on vacation, remember that you’re supposed to be having fun, and it’s okay to change things up for travel. It’s also okay to stick with it on vacation. Everyone is different.  It just depends on what your goals are. It’s okay to take a little step back and say, okay, this is going to be a week where I indulged a little bit more. At your meals, just decide if you want to indulge in that one or another one. Do you want to have bread that they bring to the table? Do you want to have wine? Maybe pick one or the other. Do you want carbs with your meal, or do you want dessert? That way you can indulge without having it all at once. Just decide which one matters more to you. 

Only Indulge in Things You Love 

Another small trick that I have is that I might order dessert, but if I don’t love it, I don’t have to finish it. I think a lot of times we think since we paid for it, we should eat every single bite. But I learned to trick a couple of years ago that really helped me. And it was to remember that food is either going to be wasted if it goes into my body because it doesn’t need it, or it’s going to be wasted by going into the trash. Either way, that food’s going to be wasted. So I changed my mindset around wasting food. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like to spend money on stuff all the time that I don’t use. But in those moments, if you’re not loving that dessert, then don’t waste those calories on something that you don’t really get a lot of joy out of.

Marie Kondo from the Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo talks about things bringing joy. If it doesn’t bring you joy, don’t eat it. However, if you’re like, “Natalie, I love bread, and wine, and dessert. They all bring me joy.” Then you’ll have to pick and choose sometimes. If you lack willpower (like me sometimes) just ask the waiter not to bring any bread to the table. Sometimes it’s too hard to resist the hot roles staring me in the face without me loading them up with butter and eating them.

I hope those tips help you! If you’re interested in the challenge, this one is already under way, but keep your eyes open for the next one!

If you have any great tips for not blowing your diet when you’re traveling, let me know! I’m always looking for more tips.

xo Natalie

P.S. I also talk about this topic on my podcast! If you’re interested, listen HERE!