Does anyone feel like as soon as the "world started opening up again" they got real busy, real fast? Yes, same here. Lately, I've been on a few more flights than I would have predicted to celebrate a best friend getting married in Alaska, visit family in the Pacific Northwest, and sip wine for a girls trips to Sonoma.
Well, today is another trek across the country to Ocean City, New Jersey to see my husband's family on the east coast. My son is jumping out of his skin excited, and I can't wait to have everyone meet baby Audrey for the first time. And like you, I am looking forward to the trip while also wanting to keep up momentum on my healthy habits.
While traveling, I've picked up some healthy tips and tricks along the way and wanted to share them with you. Being on vacation, traveling for work, or a social engagement does not have to derail progress towards your health goals. It is a pause in normal life, which if thought of in the right context, can be a breath of fresh air.
Here are some ideas to keep you on track and feeling good throughout your whole vacation and after coming home.
1. Never fly or drive hungry. Travel days can cause a release of cortisol (the stress hormone) which can increase your appetite, leaving you "snack-ish" the whole day. The best way to head off these cravings is to consume at least 20-25 grams of quality protein before you jet set. Enter the Airport Shake. Items can be found on Kelley Marie Wellness Travel Essentials Amazon List.
1 serving of your favorite protein powder (aim for 20-25 grams)
1 cold brew coffee w/ extra ice
Order the cold brew iced coffee with extra ice at the airport, then pour into your blender ball shaker and shake your way to satiety.
For snacks on the plane or car ride, you can chop up a bunch of water-based vegetables, like cucumbers, celery, and jicama, and bring a travel size container of avocado ranch, guacamole, or hummus. No sugar beef jerky, beef sticks, roasted nuts and seeds, olive packs, and homemade chia seed puddings (if not flying) are all good options to have on hand.
2. Create a nighttime sanctuary. There is hardly anything as rejuvenating as a good night's sleep, which can sometimes be elusive while on vacation. The late nights, time changes, and happy hour drinks can all contribute to a harder time falling and staying asleep. One way to ensure a more restful sleep is to block any external light. A travel essential is a quality eye mask to wear in bed to shelter your eyes from the old school alarm clock and light from the TV. Another idea is to go Jason Bourne on the light and bring electrical tape with you to your destination. Use the tape throughout your room to eliminate those stimulating light sources (just don't forget to remove before checking out!). If you are able, set your room's thermostat at 68-70 degrees. Your body can get into REM sleep (the restorative kind) easier when in a cool space. Now, once you have gotten your blissful, eight-hours of uninterrupted sleep (err - maybe in your dreams if you have kids...), it's time for a morning tip.
3. Sync with the sun. Upon first waking, try to get some natural sunlight to sync with your circadian rhythm. This is especially important if you are in a different time zone. This is a jet lag hack for sure. Go ahead and enjoy your almond milk latte out on a sunny patio to soak up some Vitamin D and sync your clock. Once you're sufficiently caffeinated and hydrated, it's time to kick-start your day with some movement.
4. Move your body daily. What better way to get your circulation going than to go for a power walk to get your morning coffee or a brief run around your hotel or rental home. Extra credit if you can find a local gym that allows for day passes to do a hot yoga or spin class. Class Pass is another great option if you have a membership, especially for scoping out your options before arriving at your destination. You can also simply download fitness apps, like TMAC20, which just uses your own bodyweight for quick, 20-minute workouts you can do in any small space. Even short bursts of exercise have been shown to increase endorphins and decrease your cravings for all the things. A good practice is to engage in a healthy behavior (i.e. a quick workout or stretch) before going out to dinner to encourage healthier choices. By closely pairing a positive, life-affirming activity with another activity, you are more likely to continue with the momentum.
5. Hydrate like an Olympian. With the Olympics coming up this summer, we can take a few cues from these incredible athletes. Your body loses a lot of fluid while flying, and it’s easy to forget to drink 8-10 cups of water while on-the-go. Replenish your body’s electrolytes and rebalance your cells with an electrolyte supplement like LMNT. Sometimes simple water is only part of the hydration equation. We want to balance our potassium, sodium, and magnesium to their optimal levels to properly hydrate at the cellular level.
6. Keep regular. Also while traveling, your body’s natural rhythm can go awry. Try having magnesium before bed in the form of a capsule, like NOW Foods Magnesium, or in a powder drink form like Calm, to stay regular. Magnesium will also help to calm and relax your body, which is usually much-needed after a long day of travel.
7. Simply enjoy and relax. Vacation and travel is a time for exploration, fun, and adventure. There’s no need to overly restrict or compensate your way through your entire vacation. If you do decide to have some delicious gelato in Italy, a glass of Prosecco in France, or a cold beer on the coast, try to have it earlier in the day (like the afternoon) to allow your body a chance to burn through the excess sugar and alcohol before bed. You’ll be back into your normal routine before you can say “seconds please!” and you want to look back on your vacation with a smile. By engaging in the these seven tips, you’ll be maintaining good health even while sneaking in some fun.