After three weeks of traveling through some of the tastiest territory in the world, I really couldn't tell if the changes in routine had taken a toll on my weight. Judging by how my clothes fit, I seemed to have managed OK, but there were times during my vacation when I felt completely sated. The challenges of managing a healthy diet while traveling begin the moment you board the plane and encounter pre-fab meals. To complicate matters, regular meal times fly right out the window as you cross through multiple time zones. On an overnight flight, no sooner do you finish dinner and nod off for a few hours, than breakfast is served. So it's possible to arrive at your destination already feeling bloated!
Then there's the adjustment to cultural differences, for example, landing in Spain where dinner is not served before 10:30 at night. Fortunately, jet lag helped solve that issue by inducing a very long afternoon siesta. We encountered a different problem in France where most restaurants stop serving the midday meal by 2 pm. Lavish breakfast buffets created no urgency for lunch, so by the time we were hungry it was possible to get shut out completely and wind up starving until dinner. You quickly learn to get with the program!
The Mediterranean diet is really so healthy, and this bodes well for staying on track. You can feast on fruits and veggies, seafood and salads to your heart's content. It can be challenging, however, to resist over-indulging in the wonderful array of breads and cheeses, delicious desserts and, naturally, the wines of the region.
To offset potential damage, I found myself moderating a breakfast of a croissant with jam one morning with one of fruit and yogurt the next. A salad was perfect for lunch. The menu at dinner is often three courses, but you can get all the local tastes without going overboard. My personal preferences were to order a gazpacho or interesting vegetable appetizer, followed by a seafood entrée and a lighter fruit-based dessert. And, naturally, only one dessert a day!
I made it a point to drink plenty of water and also made sure to keep a constant level of activity. Since my husband and I enjoy touring by car, there were days when we knew we had to incorporate enough walking or hiking to offset the sitting.
In the final analysis, my strategy worked! The morning after our return, my scale weight was exactly what it was before the trip. It's proof that it's possible to create a balance even when juggling multiple variables. You don't need a degree in nutrition to know that moderation and common sense go a long way in maintaining a healthy weight.