Have you made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight and get in shape? If you are a frequent traveler, this goal is twice as difficult. Why? Let’s face it, when you travel, your diet and exercise routine usually takes a break of its own.
But I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way. I’ve been a professional travel writer for over 30 years and have maintained my size four shape despite hundreds of heavy meals on the road and mountains of demanding work, and I’m 67 years old. People ask me all the time how I do it. These are my strategies – and they definitely work if you want to improve your rear view!
First, I make it a point to exercise anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour a day – no matter where I am in the world. Usually, you’ll find me in a hotel gym, using treadmills and machines, but on the rare occasion that my hotel doesn’t have a fitness center, I settle in my hotel room. I always do at least a 20-minute Jane Fonda routine on the floor of my hotel room, and I’ve done it since 1984. I do a whole mix of planks, squats, abs, to get my circulation going. going. If I want to add aerobics to the mix, I can march in place or jump rope – without a rope – to “go through the motions”. I’m famous for doing this in my overwater bungalow in Bora Bora. And then there’s the time I was in a tree house in Thailand after I got back to my room at 11:00 pm after a big meal. I noticed that my shower had some steps leading down, so I did step aerobics in there. Where there’s a will there’s a way.
I am very careful with my meals – dinner is usually a nice piece of fish, grilled vegetables (no oil) and a baked potato – with butter and salt. I tend to eat the same thing for lunch – a good source of protein, some starch and lots of vegetables. Breakfast is either a bowl of oatmeal and fruit, or two scrambled eggs (no butter) and toast and fruit.
Of course, I allow myself treats. If there’s a Nutella crepe on the menu, you know I’ll fit it into my calorie intake for the day. Ditto for chocolate lava cake, cherry clafoutis or carrot cake.
And speaking of carrot cake – if you’re on cruises, you’re really in luck when it comes to your diet and exercise. You may not realize it, but luxury cruise ships usually have a Special Requests department dedicated entirely to your culinary preferences. Go ahead and order that Lobster Thermidor – but you can actually ask for it to be made with a minimum of butter and oil. They will accommodate all your preferences, for low fat, gluten free, kosher, vegan, you name it.
I have to make an appointment with the chef, first thing after boarding, and ask for all kinds of special meals—say, a low-fat ratatouille made with very little oil. My standard carrot cake request is to ditch the oil and replace it with pumpkin puree, plus lots of raisins and nuts, and sour cream instead of cream cheese. And you know what? It is usually tastier than the full version of the goods.
I also try not to be too picky and enjoy the cuisine on the cruise ships. If there’s a wild mushroom tart on the menu, I’ll definitely eat two bites and forego a piece of bread. The same goes for coconut shrimp.
And here’s something else – I recently met a very sophisticated World Cruiser who always skips lunch. Instead, she brought a Ninja bullet on board, along with protein powder. Room service provides her with berries and she mixes them all together for lunch every day to keep her weight down. This is really clever.
I also eat wisely – a handful of nuts, dried apples, raisins, crackers with smiling cow cheese – are all in my arsenal and in my handbag.
And I always wear a pair of shorts or a skirt to the gym. Reminds me of the body of who’s boss!
So get out there and indulge your wanderlust – you’ll look great rocking anything in your skinny jeans!
For more on my Wanderlust and Wellness travels, please follow me on Instagram at @DebbiKickham.
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