Planning is one of the most crucial components of success after bariatric surgery. Setting expectations, planning meals, and ultimately being deliberate about what you do and when you do, it is often the difference between good and excellent results. However, virtually every bariatric patient will attest to being thrown for a loop when their routine changes. Staying on track is far more complex when removed from a familiar environment. So, what do we do when we are away from home, especially on vacation? With so many of us traveling this summer, we must also apply our routines and good habits to our travels.
That being said, it is easier said than done. The excitement of traveling and the pressure from those traveling with you can make it very difficult to stick to your prescribed diet and exercise program, but there are ways. Let’s take each of the core components of how to be successful after surgery and apply them to your upcoming vacation:
Exercise is one of the most essential parts of the weight loss process after bariatric surgery. Without proper training, no patient can achieve their full potential. When you’re on vacation, exercise can be far more challenging to set aside time for, but it doesn’t always have to be weightlifting at the gym. You may want to visit some sights in a new city or area. This is a great way to get your steps in. In very walkable cities, you can quickly accumulate several miles of walking without even realizing it. You can also hit your exercise goals by choosing your hotel appropriately. Make sure you book a hotel with a gym and a well-outfitted one at that. A nice gym or spa will make you want to go down and work out. Lastly, when you’re on vacation, you’re less likely to work out in the afternoon or evenings, so be sure you hit the gym early in the morning before you’ve done your other activities.
Typically, when you’re in a new city, planning your meals is straightforward. If you have a set itinerary, visit the restaurant’s website, or read some reviews to see their healthy options. Don’t leave it to chance, expecting that you will automatically go for the soups or salads as a) they may have more calories than you think, and b) you may be enticed by a less healthy surprise or options you weren’t expecting. Remember, especially at dinner, you’ve probably spent a day outside in the sun and are tired. Your guard will be lowered, and you may not be as fastidious about what you’re eating. You may also be dehydrated. Taking a minute to plan what you will eat later on will pay dividends.
The world is in the midst of a heatwave, so you’ll get dehydrated very quickly. And dehydration often means eating hundreds or even thousands of more calories weekly. Be sure to fight the head hunger you may experience on your vacation by drinking plenty of water. Sixty-four ounces is likely not going to be enough. If you are exerting yourself and sweating, you’ll have to rely on your body’s cues to decide how much water you need.
Rebound Is Key
We know a bad day is inevitable on your holiday. We’ve all done it. The key here is not to give up or quit or tell yourself that you will get back on track when you get home. Please don’t beat yourself up; pick yourself up and return to it the next day. It will give you the best chance of staying on track and pushing through.
Enjoy the Trip
Many of us are emotional eaters, and feeling stressed or deprived can often lead to bad choices. If you are in a city or country that is known for its food, allow yourself small indulgences. This doesn’t mean you have to blow your daily calories in one meal but instead have a taste of the foods that have been recommended to you. You may not be able to eat a lot, nor should you, but don’t deprive yourself of the enjoyment.
With these four tips in your back pocket, we encourage you to have an enjoyable holiday wherever you are. Remember that while your bariatric procedure restricts you, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your life or even the food you eat on your trip. Instead, be mindful and indulge in only the best places. Don’t waste calories on things you can get at home or mediocre food. And don’t eat the plane food!
We are here if you are concerned about an upcoming or past trip and want to discuss it. We also encourage you to speak to your support group friends who have likely dealt with this before. You know yourself best and must implement the tactics and techniques that have gotten you this far to ensure you get through your holiday without significant missteps.