It is important to mind your weight when traveling, and we’re not talking about your baggage.

A study done by the University of Georgia showed that adults gained an average of nearly a pound after going on a one- to three-week vacation. Although the number may look low, it is more serious than it may first appear. “If you’re only gaining a pound or two a year and you gained three-quarters of that on a one- to three-week vacation, that’s a pretty substantial weight gain during a short period of time,” said Jamie Cooper, an associate professor of food and nutrition at the university.

When traveling it is best to take steps early on to ensure that you are able to manage your weight without reducing any enjoyment. So, here are a few tips to help you do so.

Have a customized meal plan

A meal plan guides you on what to eat, so you can be prepared ahead of time. The personalized weight loss plans on WeightWatchers demonstrate how they can easily be tailored to your goals, circumstances, and preferences. With a personalized meal plan, you can eliminate the guesswork of choosing food appropriate to your dietary goals.

When traveling, your meal plan should be split between meals where you watch what you eat and meals where you are free to choose whatever you want. A good way to do this is to create a meal plan around any restaurants you want to visit. This way you can stick to your diet and indulge guilt-free at select moments. It is important to have these breaks in order to stay motivated over the vacation.

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Practice Mindful Eating

Eating too fast has also been linked to weight gain, as fast eaters were found to be more likely to suffer from obesity compared to slow eaters.

Even if you plan your meals ahead of time, you could be undoing your progress by eating too fast (especially if you are constantly on the move). As we covered in our post on The Top 10 Travel Wellness Trends slow travel allows you to “sip, savor and revel in the vacation experience”. Not only will this allow you to better enjoy your food, but you will also be more mindful of your food choices and hunger cues.

Walk Everywhere

While a workout at the hotel gym is helpful, a packed travel schedule can often mean no time for long workouts. The good thing about vacations is that they offer a lot of opportunities to walk. And with the CDC recommending at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like walking, to maintain your weight, this can easily be achieved on vacation.

The best way to incorporate walking into your vacation is to walk to your chosen destinations rather than taking public transportation. As with meal planning, if you plan ahead of time you can seamlessly integrate walking into your vacation. A popular option of many holidaymakers is to take a walking tour rather than a bus tour. This will allow you to see the sights while also staying active.

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Cut down on alcohol

Most of the calories gained during a vacation are from an increased intake of alcohol. Alcoholic drinks are high in calories, and when on vacation it is easy to consume more than you usually would.

Limit your alcoholic drinks when traveling by only having a drink in the evenings or, just as with meal planning, setting out days where you won’t drink. Not only will this help prevent weight gain, it will also help with your budget as many tourist traps charge extra for alcoholic beverages. You can also bring your own reusable water bottle so you can easily reach for it anytime.

Make time for rest

Adequate rest and sleep are important for your body to recover. Sleep deprivation has been shown to have an effect on the body’s insulin and cortisol levels, which alter the way sugar and fat are used or stored. Restricted sleep also promotes excessive food intake and the accumulation of fat, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Try to schedule rest breaks. Do the same bedtime routine you usually do at home to condition yourself for sleep. Bring things that can help you sleep such as portable black-out curtains, earplugs, playing white noise, or eye masks. If you are traveling to a different time zone, try to adjust your sleep schedule as soon as possible.

If you are going on vacation soon and are worried about gaining weight we hope the above tips prove useful.