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How to Pack Your Healthy Habits

I used to travel a lot. Like a LOT lot.

There were times I would spend three weekends out of four out of town, and it was more common for friends to ask “are you going to on a plane this weekend?” then actually try and make plans with me, since it was almost assured that I'd be out of the country.

Then COVID hit, and kids came, and suddenly, I went nowhere. Over the past four (!) years, I've gone to Malaysia (the neighbouring country to Singapore) once, Bali once (a two-hour flight), and just this past weekend, a quick 36 hours away in Vietnam.

Point is: I'm rusty on travel. So I wanted to return to some of my tried-and-true healthy travel strategies to help remind myself (and of course, you, my loyal readers!) of best practices. First of all, let me answer the big question I get most from clients: do you work out on vacation? The answer is a resounding YES. Clothes-wise, I pack an all-in-one workout top with a built-in bra, black leggings that can also double as my in-flight wardrobe, and my lightest sneakers - which I wear on the plane, so I don't have to pack 'em. If the hotel or destination doesn't have a gym, I throw in a set of resistance bands so I can get a quick strength workout in - and of course, I would be remiss to NOT mention that my LIFTING WOMEN community coaching programs (including OR without equipment!) are available to you via my app no matter where you are in the world.

One other note on staying fit while traveling - most of us actually walk a lot more on vacay (just the ACT of getting through the airport can be a trek!) so monitoring steps (and aiming to increase them while you're away) can be a great way to maintain good habits as well.

The second most common question I get is: do you log your food / maintain your eating habits while you're traveling? And the answers there are....yes and sort of. I am a huge proponent of consistent and complete datasets not only for my clients but for myself, so I continue my food log (as I have done since 2009, with small breaks for postpartum recoveries) no matter where I am in the world. I bring probiotics, protein powder and protein bars (the 3 Ps!) so I'm never caught without my healthy mainstays when I'm out and about. But--

When it comes to staying perfectly "on track" with food, well, it depends on the duration of travel (a couple nights away, especially in a food paradise like Vietnam, and I will eat whatever I like - but if I'm traveling for two straight weeks - I won't let every day be an indulgence), the intention of the travel (again - a bachelorette party will have a different purpose/energy than a midweek work trip), and the significance of the food climate/environment (going home to eat and enjoy Mom's home cooking is a different vibe than ordering room service alone on a long layover, for example).

Summary point? There are travel occasions where it makes sense to loosen up on my regular eating habits and situations where travel becomes just an excuse to go overboard. Be honest with yourself about how you want to approach healthy eating during your holiday, and then execute what you'd planned - no matter whether that looks like logging your food or NOT logging your food, enjoying alcohol or skipping alcohol, or the myriad other ways you can structure/set boundaries around a sustainable eating pattern that feels nourishing and fulfilling for your given situation.

Regarding other health maintenance habits in general, I wear compression socks on long-haul flights (glam, I know), bring the aforementioned probiotics and charcoal pills to mitigate the effects of any dodgy food, and pack a collapsible water bottle that I can refill on the run - and stash easily when empty. Dehydrated travel is one fast track way to feel low-energy, constipated, and out of sorts while on vacation - so make sure to handle your hydration every step of the way!

Finally, I try to use travel (especially if kid-free!) as an opportunity to treat myself to some long-forgotten self-care - even if that's just happening in the hotel bathtub. I bring the thickest face cream I have and slather it on JUST before takeoff; I use the Sephora sample packets of BB/CC cream to brighten myself up just before landing; and I bring at least one Korean face mask, a LUSH bath bomb, and my exfoliating gloves so I can get glowing (and relax!) upon arrival. I try to structure my day to wake and sleep with the sun in my destination location, and schedule in a massage or relaxation treatment to help work out any transit-related stiffness on arrival. And finally - I make every effort to SLEEP soundly and adequately when possible!

When planning and packing for your healthy holidays this winter, don't forget to take into consideration some version of your habits, structure, nutrition, and exercise program for while you're away - and I assure you that when you get back, hitting the ground with your "usual" routine will be so much easier.

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