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.
It’s finally that time — you’ve had weight loss surgery, you're feeling healthier and moving more, and now it’s time to go on that big vacation you’ve been planning abroad! But before you take off, there are some things you should consider to ensure you stay healthy, hydrated, and on track with your lifestyle choices.
1) Diet considerations. When traveling abroad after weight loss surgery, paying attention to what you eat is important for many reasons. Depending on how far post-op you are, you’ll always want to avoid foods that could cause discomfort and potential complications. The farther out post-op you are, the better off you should be. It’s a good idea to research local cuisine and learn about ingredients to make informed choices. Stick to high protein and low carb options and avoid processed or sugary foods. Ask your dietitian about protein powder or supplement recommendations to fill nutritional gaps. Lastly, remember alcohol can affect you differently after weight loss surgery, so pace yourself and hydrate well if you partake.
2) Exercise. While traveling, it’s essential to stay active and continue to practice what’s necessary for your new lifestyle. Walking tours, hikes, and bike rides are fun ways to explore new places and stay on track with fitness goals. If you’re not quite at that level of activity, check to see if on-site fitness facilities are available. If you’re staying in a hotel, check if they have a gym or pool and schedule a time to use those facilities. Pack comfortable shoes and breathable workout clothes so you’re motivated to move!
3) Packing. Pack wisely to make your trip more comfortable. Bring snacks like protein bars, nuts, and seeds for when hunger strikes. Invest in a high-quality, durable water bottle to keep hydrated. Depending on where you’re going, bring a hat or sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun, and wear sunscreen. Pack your medications, bariatric multivitamins, and supplements in your carry-on bag to avoid any issues, and bring backup items in case something gets lost or broken.
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4) Hydration. Traveling abroad can cause dehydration, which can lead to fatigue, headaches, and dizziness. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially when walking around in hot or dry weather conditions. Take sips of water throughout the flight and sip consistently. Set alarms to serve as reminders if needed, and bring electrolyte tablets with you in case you need to rehydrate quickly.
5) Be prepared with a plan for your return home. Traveling can disrupt your everyday routine, which can be challenging. But with some planning, you can get back on track once you return home in no time. While abroad, create a traveling schedule and stick to it. This helps you stay in the routine mindset. You’ll need to ensure you get plenty of nutrition, so having planned meal times might be best. Meet with your bariatric dietitian before traveling if you want assistance making a plan. Get back into your daily routine as soon as you return home to maintain your progress.
Traveling abroad after weight loss surgery is an exciting opportunity to see the world and enjoy your new body. Plan as much as possible, stay hydrated, pack smart, stick to healthy options while eating out, stay active, and create a plan for your return to keep up healthy habits. With a little effort, you can have a safe, enjoyable, and rewarding trip that celebrates your weight loss journey and the new adventurous you!
BariMelts provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor.