We’ve surprised ourselves by a gradual weight loss on our trip thus far. Yes, we wanted to lose weight, but be didn’t think we would. So, we’re more than surprised – maybe shocked is the better word. We weren’t on diets, ate most of our meals at restaurants, and now find our clothes are too big for us. How did that happen?
When we planned a long trip across the U.S. for 8 months and, following that, an around-the-world trip for 14+ months, we thought we’d be very lucky if we could hold our weight down to its then current level. We knew we’d be eating out quite a bit, and, in the past, eating out proved a sure way to see our bathroom scale move upward. On our upcoming trip, we would rarely have a kitchen to make balanced and sensible meals. We worried for good reason: was it possible to eat healthy food on the road and not put on weight?
The first month of the trip was mostly short driving and lots of motels. A really fun road trip – but a potential wellness problem to be sure! We figured we’d do our best at the free motel breakfasts (a huge help for our budget) and rely on foods we’d keep in the car for mid-day: carrots, celery, peanut butter, apples, mixed nuts.
Later in the afternoon our conversation would turn to what we wanted to eat for dinner – the high point of the day food-wise. If possible, we checked in with Tripadvisor for choices of eateries in our budget range. If not, we found a place near the motel that had a full parking lot and the kind of food we wanted that night.
We started a habit the first day and kept it throughout our trip of ordering only one appetizer and one entrée. Then, we shared those. We told ourselves that, if we were still hungry, we could always order a dessert. We never were still hungry. No desserts.
We often made our main restaurant meal a late lunch and had a vegetable snack later in the day. We reasoned that our food would be less expensive and healthier that way. One discovery for a meal at night in the motel room was to microwave a bag of vegetables (we liked the broccoli, cauliflower and carrots) and then dip the veggies into a little packet of salad dressing (purchased at the salad bar in grocery stores for less than a dollar).
Our routine of sharing dishes and lighter meals continued, even when our trip took us to foreign countries. Another surprise came for us when we left the US: large restaurant portions are typical not only in the U.S but also abroad. So far every country we’ve visited served portions that were too large for one person.
We have a traveling companion that helps us, too: a pedometer. We have made a habit of walking 10,000 steps a day or more. Once our trip started, we tried to take longer walks and hikes when we got the chance. We’ve nudged the number of steps upward most days. A more active lifestyle certainly contributed to trimmer bodies.
So, we attribute our weight loss to 1) eating less, 2) making sure the basics were included: vegetables, fruits, a handful of nuts, little or no bread, and, for us, a very small “daily dose” of dark chocolate, and 3) a more active lifestyle.
Will the weight we lost stay off as we continue to travel? We hope so, but the 14-day cruise at the end of our round-the-world trip will certainly challenge us to continue our healthy eating habits!