How I stopped gaining weight on vacation

Happy Boxing Day! I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas holiday and is enjoying this day off with family and friends. We’re soaking up as much time as possible with Andrew’s and my family, including all the doggies as we prepare to head out on our backpacking trip.

While I am preparing and packing for our trip to South America, I’m reminded of how stressful travel used to be for me. Even just a couple years ago, heading out on vacation was a huge stressor and always led to gaining weight. Because I couldn’t with my standard exercise and nutrition routine, I had no idea what to do. I’d either restrict my eating to an extreme degree when I couldn’t exercise OR overeat all the delicious things “because I was on vacation.”

It wasn’t until last year when I moved to Texas and began traveling more that I had to figure out this travel thing. I knew if I didn’t, my health, workout routine, and nutrition quality would decline.

With lots of experimentation, I’ve identified four key steps that make a huge difference in stopping weight gain while you’re traveling/vacationing. My super simple MOVE framework is your guide to maintaining your weight while on vacation.

MOVE system to maintain weight while on vacation

gaining-weight-on vacation

Make your workouts short and effective

If I learned one fitness truth in 2016, it has been that workouts don’t need to be long to get the job done. All you need for an awesome sweat session is your body or a set of dumbbells.IMG_3035

Before last year, I would always drag myself to the gym when traveling. I’ve since realized that’s not realistic. Instead, I prioritize bodyweight workouts and stop aiming for that perfect workout.


Whether you’re traveling or on vacation, it’s TOO easy to forget about drinking enough water. However, if we are also trying to maintain our weight, hydration is a key tool to keep you from overeating. We often mistake thirst for hunger, so when you’re jet setting, make sure that your body is hydrated.

Vegetables should fill the majority of your plate

Veggies provide so many vitamins and mineral while also providing bulk/fiber. When you’re traveling, satiety is the name of the game. By filling your plate with veggies, you’ll be eating lots of  nutrient dense and non-calorie dense foods. This will allow you to eat more AND make sure you aren’t missing out on any key nutrients. In layman’s terms, low calorie density = large portion size. Every time you eat, make vegetables your top priority. I have three tips to eat more vegetables here, too.


Please don’t read this as restrict yourself. You should definitely be enjoying yourself!  To to an extent, enjoyment helps you lose fat because you don’t ever fall off the deep end. Instead of white knuckling your way through what you’re “supposed” to do, you’re able to discover a way of eating that is unique to you.

Establish a sleep schedule

When you’re on vacation, it becomes super easy to skimp on sleep. Late nights are so much more fun while traveling, am I right?


However unsexy, the truth is that sleep is imperative to keeping your hunger cues on track. When you’re overtired, your body releases the hormones that give you an appetite and make you feel hungry. There’s also evidence [source] that these hormones also increase your cravings for sugary, fatty, and processed foods.

If you’re also traveling this month, be sure to check out my checklist for fat loss eating. It takes helps automate your eating without counting, tracking, or worrying if you ate too much.

These are the exact steps I take when traveling or when I’m eating out a lot. They’ve helped me maintain my weight and progress, even with lots of meals out!

What’s your tip to stay on track while traveling?

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