I’m sure you’ve heard the tales told a million times before: “I spent two weeks in France doing nothing but eating croissants with cheese and drinking wine, and I lost weight!”
For many of us, there can be nothing more frustrating than the fact that when we’re traveling, we can eat exactly how we please and come back from our trip feeling lighter and healthier, and yet when we’re working we struggle to keep the pounds off even if we’re watching what we eat.
There is, of course, a reason for this phenomenon. Several reasons, in fact. Let’s take a look at them:
The food is fresh.
Depending on where you’re traveling, the food you’re eating might be freshly prepared from scratch rather than from highly processed ingredients that came from a freezer aisle. This, of course, depends highly on how you eat at home, where you’re visiting, and how you’re choosing to eat while on the road. However, I find that at home it’s a lot easier to just chomp down some convenience foods because you’re late for work and you have to go, whereas when you’re traveling I tend to gravitate towards real meals made from fresh ingredients.
You got sick.
I hope this one doesn’t happen to you, but sometimes when you’re abroad, especially if you’re in a country with different food safety standards than you might be used to, the odds are that you might get sick. Perhaps the food safety is fine even, but you are introducing your stomach to new foods and ingredients it’s not used to. Sometimes stomachs can get upset while on the road, and if this happens, you’re probably going to lose weight.
You’re more active than usual.
When I’m at home, I go to Crossfit three times a week (well, I try to make it three times a week, anyway). Sometimes I go jogging or hiking or walking around town, and I occasionally even partake in a yoga or Zumba class at the gym. I would consider myself to be reasonably active and fit. However, the kind of work I do requires that I spend the majority of my day sitting at a desk, so even though I’m reasonably active, a large portion of my day, sadly, is sedentary.
When I’m traveling, however, I tromp around from the moment I wake up to the moment I turn in for the night. I’m on my feet all day long exploring, seeing new things, doing new things, and excited to get up again the next day and do it all over again. Not only that, but there’s a lot more things that could be considered exercise worked into my day. In Sydney, I climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I love hiking and kayaking anywhere that hiking and kayaking can take place and often incorporate it into my travels. I also love to snorkel, swim in the ocean, rent a bicycle and explore a new town, etc. Even just getting around in a city with good public transportation means I spend my day running around and darting about to catch trains and buses. When you’re traveling, it’s easy and fun to exercise so you just naturally get more of it. Way more of it.
You’re not actually eating more than usual.
Ok. I’m going to preface this one and say that I’m looking at YOU, fellow Americans. Did you know our restaurant portion sizes are absurdly large compared to basically the rest of the world? I mean, yeah, most of us aren’t eating out for EVERY meal, but I think what is considered a portion in this country is a bit…ummm…larger than others around the world might be used to. When I’ve traveled abroad and ordered in restaurants, I’ve still been served plenty of food, but just not so much food that I could feed an entire family of 4.
One word: Swimwear
If you’re traveling during the summer or to a warm climate, there’s probably a good chance your trip involves slipping into swimwear at one point or another. There’s nothing quite like putting on a swimsuit and looking at your pasty white stomach rolls in the mirror to make you swear off chips and dip for a very, very long time.
You might not like the food.
As a food lover, this one hasn’t really happened to me. I tend to love something about the food wherever I go. However, some people have more limited palettes and for them, travel to a new place where the food is different might mean they just don’t like the food. I sincerely hope this doesn’t happen to you. I find there is no greater joy than landing in a new place and discovering all the culinary delights my destination has to offer, but if you don’t like the food you’re bound to eat less of it, and you’ll most likely lose a few pounds while you’re at it.
If it’s hot in your destination, you’re probably not going to want to eat big, heavy meals. Perhaps I’m wrong about that, but when I’m sweating like crazy I tend to be more interested in a slice of watermelon than a huge plate of fries.
Have you lost weight traveling? What do you think did it?