Staying Slim: Travelling Light
Travelling can be a nightmare if you're trying to control your weight. The heady mixture of heading to new climes and the cornucopia of treats on display can send me over the edge into serious self indulgent binge-ville.
Holiday starts for me when we leave the house. In the past I did serious holiday eating en route and cakes and bacon roll were the order of the day. Now I try a harder to make healthy choices, but it's not quite as easy as you think.
Increasingly I want a healthy option. But far too often there's nothing healthy on the menu. On the train recently the steward actually laughed at me when I asked about healthy options (East Coast trains since you ask). No apple or banana. Not even a salad in a box. It was cheese toasties, cake or chocolate. The nearest thing to healthy was an oat bar over 500 calories and more than my whole daily allowance of fat. A bacon roll might well be the healthy option on East Coast trains. Planes are just as bad. That biscuit with your cuppa can be up to about 300 calories - more than a Kit Kat.
To make a healthy choice, you need a bit of information. Now I know an apple will almost always beat a burger on the healthy front, but for ready made food and sarnies it's not always that easy. It can be really hard to tell what's in the food you buy. So much of the produce at airports has no indication of calorie or fat content. I know some of the bigger chains now indicate a low fat option but I have to say I'm not convinced by the calorie counts in some of them.
And you can't even work off your indulgences as you hang about. You're immobile most of the time, trapped in an airless box. Why has no one put an exercise bike or treadmill in the airport??? Maybe if Richard Branson had to fly on budget airlines he'd see the business opportunity.
If you want to stay healthy, travelling can be a mega whammy stay slim nightmare. No wonder we eat. Like bored animals in the Zoo, eating breaks up the boredom and passes the time. That and the sight of forbidden fruits everywhere you glance can tax the strongest of wills. It can be easier just to give in.
But it's not all doom and gloom, there are rays of light. These days it's much easier to get healthy food when you're travelling without having to take your own packed lunch (though that is definitely an option and you stay in control). Many major train stations and motorway services have Marks and Spencers, Waitrose, Cafe Nero all of which do healthy options, organic food and good quality fruit to take with you on your trip. One of the biggest areas of improvement has been at airports. No longer do you need to feel you have to eat the 'free' airline meal. EAT and Pret do fantastic healthy options that are fresh and even contain vegetables - yes vegetables. They also tell you how many calories are in things
so you can stay in control and make an informed choice.
Instead of a bacon roll or chips on our trip to Barcelona, I had a large and very yummy chicken soup from EAT (290 calories) which fills you up in a most delightful way. On previous trips I've savoured Pret's magnificent smoked salmon and crayfish salad at 140 calories - less if you leave off the salad dressing which is on the side. A treat that's good for you and only 140 calories? Win-win! Follow it up with a fruit salad and you can be smug and satisfied at the same time.
Travel can be pretty toxic and it's a major red alert zone for my weight maintenance, I need to be on my guard. Caving in on the journey can lead me into a holiday full of indulgence - well I had that toastie, so I might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb eh?
A small bit of will power and decisiveness go a long way as I'm discovering more and more. As I stood in front of the calorie labelled sarnies in EAT on a previous trip, I didn't go for the BLT, I picked a felafel one and saved a shed load of calories. I got my treat and I felt positive and strong - I'd made a healthy choice - I can do this!
Making one good decision doesn't stop me enjoying some naughty treats whilst on my hols (another story!) but it does help to stop me going into my usual cataclysmic decline for the whole holiday and so saves me a pound or two on the scales.
Since I stopped my diet and started learning how to manage my weight, I've learnt a lot about my danger points. Treats and travel hit lots of my over eating buttons and can often trigger a major lapse from my (now) normal healthy eating. Being a bit more picky about what counts as a treat helps. If I am going to indulge then I want the experience to be worth it - why waste a treat on something that's not exactly what I have in mind? Why waste calories on rubbish food that doesn't even taste very good? Save then for that something special and really enjoy it.
Is travelling a problem for you? How do you cope? Tell us how you travel light!
Sue's Blog - Stay Slim Sue