Article By: Whittany Gibson, RDN
Whittany is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who specializes in bariatric nutrition counseling, providing education and support prior to and following weight loss surgery.
Congrats! You’ve had surgery, you’re feeling great about your weight loss journey, and you’ve come to a point where you're crushing your goals. Success is flowing! Now, maybe you can coast a little and perhaps take some time to travel. Traveling while aiming to stay focused on your goals can be difficult, especially after bariatric surgery. You've worked so hard to create healthy habits to support your health and weight loss, and the last thing you want to do is compromise your success. But you’re not alone, and there are a few go-to strategies you can practice to keep the ball rolling with your weight loss goals.
1) Know before you go. You will likely know where you will be staying prior to traveling. It will be important to know what resources and amenities will be available to you during your stay. Do your research. Look for what restaurants are nearby, what amenities you will have at your disposal such as a mini fridge, and what resources can help you stay active such as a hotel gym or local park.
2) Pack your staple items. Many people who have had bariatric surgery depend on some type of protein supplement daily to help meet minimum needs. This may include protein shakes, protein bars, protein waters, or high protein snacks. Ensure you buy extra and take enough with you. Aim to pack a variety of healthy and protein-rich snacks that do not require refrigeration such as roasted edamame, tuna packets, roasted lentils or beans, nuts, and seeds.
3) Eat local. Try to avoid fast food and eat at local restaurants if possible. Local restaurants will likely offer healthier options and many will have a menu available online, helping you to make better decisions prior to arriving. Just remember, don’t show up too hungry, eat your protein first, remember your eating behaviors, and enjoy yourself!
4) Remember your bariatric multivitamins. Sometimes we get out of routine when we travel, and it’s hard to get back on track when we return. The same can happen with your multivitamin regimen. Pack a travel case for your medications and supplements and set alarms if you find that to be helpful. Remember it is important to choose a multivitamin that will help you be compliant and consistent.
5) Stay active. This is a big one! One routine that tends to get prioritized the least while traveling is exercise. But it’s understandable as it can be a little challenging to find convenient exercise in a place you may not be familiar with. You may think, “I’ll just take a few days off, I deserve it.” But this is where you compromise your routine. An exercise routine may be the hardest habit to pick up again, speaking from both personal and professional experience. Tips to keep the momentum going include using an app that can guide you through a quick workout, going to a local park to walk, using the hotel gym, or just staying active with activities depending on the nature of your travel.
With these strategies, you will be sure to return home and continue all your habits with ease. Always remember, you are the one in control of your success and success starts with healthy habits, even while away.