12 Ways to Lose Weight When Traveling

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1. List, in writing, every reason you have for wanting to lose weight. Take this list with you on the trip and read it every morning and whenever you’re tempted to eat something you know you shouldn’t.

2. Develop a travel mindset. If you think, “Here’s my chance to let loose,” ask yourself, “What do I want the scale to say when I get home?”

3. Create a travel eating plan. It’s completely legitimate to say, “I’m
going to eat [300 extra calories] every single day,” knowing that your
weight may go up a little. But definitely have a plan, otherwise you can
end up eating thousands of extra calories.

4. Think ahead about how you’re getting to your destination. Do you want to eat whatever food is available on the way, knowing that you’re probably going to have to eat smaller portions? Or do you want to bring food with you?

5. Write a message on a 3 X 5 card before you go and read it three times a day while you’re away. It might say something like, “It’s worth it to me to stay in control while I’m away. The consequences of losing control are too severe. If I cheat, it will put a damper on the trip. I’ll feel guilty and bad about myself. If I follow my plan, I’ll feel proud and happy, both on the trip and when I get home.”

6. If you stray from your plan, avoid criticizing yourself. Label it as a
mistake. Tell yourself that if you get right back on plan this minute, your mistake just won’t matter. But if you use this mistake as an excuse to eat in an out-of-control way, you will certainly gain weight.

7. If you stay in a hotel, don’t take the key to the mini-bar. If the hotel
has provided food that is out, in plain sight, cover it with a towel, move
it to the closet, or ask that it be taken away.

8. Beware of sabotaging thoughts: “It won’t matter if I have a larger
dessert tonight, even though I hadn’t planned to.” It’s okay to deviate from my plan because the food looks so good/everyone else is eating it/I hardly ever get to have it/I’ll make up for it later.” Forcefully respond to these excuses or chances are, you’ll eat way more than you want.

9. If you start to feel deprived, tell yourself, “I’ll either be deprived of
some (but not all!) food I want on this trip, or I’ll be deprived of feeling
good about myself, of feeling good about staying in control, of being
pleased when I weigh myself, of fitting into my clothes. Which deprivation do I want?”

10. If you feel it’s unfair that you have to restrict yourself when your
traveling companions don’t, recognize that what you are doing is exactly
what all successful dieters and maintainers have to do.

11. Get as much exercise while you’re traveling as you can. Find a hotel
with a gym. Plan your schedule so you can get in as much walking as

12. Prepare yourself for re-entry on the way home. If you allowed yourself to eat several hundred calories more per day, remind yourself why it’s worth it to you to resume your usual way of eating when you get home.

Contributed by Dr. Judith Beck Ph.D author of
The New York Times Bestseller, The Beck Diet Solution and
The Complete Beck Diet For Life (Oxmoor House/January 2009)