Me eating some less than healthy food on holiday – it was all about balance

How to Stay Healthy While Travelling.

So we’ve just arrived back from our month long holiday in Italy and as promised, I’m going to share what I did to stay healthy during this holiday.  I thought I’d share the contrast between myself and my partner Iggy who decided against some of the choices that I made along the way.  I returned from my holiday weighing exactly the same as when I left, Iggy in comparison brought an extra 5kg home with him. So if you’re going to be travelling any time soon or even in the future, it’s worth trying to implement some of these things to avoid carrying extra “baggage” on the trip home ;-).

As most of you likely know, Italy is renowned for it’s amazingly delicious cuisine.  I would have to say that over the last month I have had some of the best meals I’ve ever experienced.  Italians REALLY know how to do yummy food.  So any attempts to be healthy were made even harder by the the sheer deliciousness of food around me (not to mention Iggy’s constant devotion to eating everything in sight).  Having said that, I’m so glad that I made a concerted effort to chose wisely because in addition to maintaining my weight I also avoided any bloating or other digestive discomfort and felt generally good for the duration of the holiday, which meant I could enjoy everything else there was to enjoy about being in Europe.  Below are my top recommendations for staying healthy while travelling.

  1. Find/Eat Whole Foods.  Perhaps this seems a little obvious but sometimes this was more challenging that I anticipated.  Italy has a love of processed foods and sugar that I wasn’t expecting.  I don’t typically eat a lot of dairy but found that sometimes ordering the Buffalo Mozzarella with tomatoes was better than a plate of pasta.  Where possible, I choose meat and vegetables often seasonal and even home grown.  Having said that, there is SO much scope for amazing food inside of this rule, I don’t even feel like I missed out.
  2. Drink Moderately.  I drank every single day, sometimes twice a day but always moderately.  Alcohol suppresses metabolic function and adds calories but it’s also delicious and definitely part of European culture.  I tried for the most part to avoid drinking during the day and limit myself to 2 glasses of wine at night.
  3. Move Your Body.  I always wear a Fitbit so I can track my daily movement and aim to get 12500 steps per day.  On holidays this was no different.  In addition to all the walking that we did, I always ensured I got my exercise in first thing in the morning. The bonus was, I did some amazing walks in the Italian and Austrian forests and also along the beach in Sicily.
  4. 80/20. You’ve all heard of the 80/20 rule when it comes to healthy eating and while I’m not sure we can all apply that in our everyday life (for some people 90/10 may be better) I found this was a good way to tackle eating on holiday.  Yes, sometimes I ate gluten, sometimes I ate dessert (I chose a fruit based Gelato over the dairy based ones) 20% of the time I let my hair down and enjoyed some delicious food which I totally enjoyed and relished because mostly I was still eating good healthy whole foods.
  5. Meditate. Whilst I didn’t meditate every day I snuck it in wherever I could.  Travelling provides loads of opportunities to meditate, especially when you are commuting.  Every train, plane, car ride for me was an chance to pop my headphones in and do a cheeky 10 minutes.  This helped keep me calm and happy during my sometimes stressful vacation (we were staying with relatives).