I've flown to Australia and back a number of times (32 hour commute, door-to-door) and have camped in a tent a fair-share and while making a number of mistakes, I have a good sense and protocol for how to pack and prep for travel, keeping my health goals (optimal weight and steady blood sugars) in mind.
Looking After Your Weight-Loss Efforts:
- Use your trip and adventure to observe, learn and break negative habits. Perhaps while traveling you notice you don't need a routine morning snack, or that when you are working something in your environment triggers a need to eat/drink. Observe, learn and apply change.
- Eat the local cuisine and use the tool of observing your hunger to guide you on how much to eat. I say this daily to clients: "Eat when you are hungry and only when you are hungry." When we eat the right amount of food, our body can still thrive and in fact, can better extract nutrients. Depending where I am, I will ask to box up my leftovers and will pass them onto someone less fortunate living on the streets.
- Seek color and vegetables when and where you can. One thing about the USA, Starbucks is easily accessible and I know I can go there to buy a salad and enjoy that for breakfast (if needed). As well, I will travel with some powders to help increase the nutrients in my food for the day.
- Pack convenient whole real food. I have a snack pack ready to go every time we hit the road. A few of my go-to's that I know I can rely on to turn into a meal, or round out a meal always include: carrots (they are crunchy, filling, and tolerate varying temps), individual pack of olives (shoutout to #TraderJoes), jerky (Epic has a number of flavors and they prove to be the best), nuts/seeds, apples, dark chocolate, canned salmon/tuna, mustard packets, plastic utensils, bars (Larabars, Raw Rev Bars, Collagen Bars, to name a few), and Jilz crackers.
- Have a water bottle on you at all times, and make it a point when at the airport or on the plane to hydrate. In flight and at higher altitudes, we dehydrate more quickly.
- Pack some probiotics to help keep your bowels regular and support your immune system if exposed to new bugs. As well, pack magnesium and potentially melatonin to better adjust to a new bed. I also bring along an eye mask, earplugs and Sleepy Time tea.
- Slow down when you eat and take smaller bites. Use your vacation to recalibrate how quickly you consume your food.
- Sneak in movement early if your plans for the day don't involve any. Pack plenty of dry-fit wear and comfortable shoes, so you have no excuse to not sweat. In the least, strive to do a number of pushups, lunges, and squats in your hotel room. I have a few apps on my phone to guide me for workouts, including yoga.
- Intermittently fast when you know you will be eating out for more than one meal. Or adjust the components of one of your meals by opting for low carb or vegetarian.
- Eat things that are off your plan that are only worth it. Just because something is local fair, it doesn't mean you have to eat it. Eat things that you really want to eat and will enjoy without guilt.
- Laugh, live, explore and enjoy the people you are with and the places your seeing. Don't let your health goal draw in any stress.
Diabetic Prep: This list was constructed in collaborating with my awesome Endo, Dr Wyne, and we hope it can help you in planning your next getaway.
- For overseas travel register with IAMAT - and if you have an AMEX, you can use the concierge service to help you locate a local doctor if you run into a situation where you need one.
- If you are on an insulin pump - call your pump company and ask for a loaner pump for the extent of your trip. As well, make sure you have enough supplies well ahead of time, to ensure you have surplus to take with you on your travels, and if needed request a new Rx from your doctor's office for anything you are running short on.
- Download a country-specific carb counting app to help measure the amount of carbs you are eating.
- Take extra supplies with you and don't leave everything at the hotel when you go for a day trip.
- Split up some of your supplies with a companion, and definitely do not check any bags with supplies in them.
- Change your pump to the new time zone as you arrive. or while in transit.
- I personally use the plastic case that comes with new pillowcase or sheets to hold all of my supplies, and I also have a mini cooler that's intended to keep baby bottles chilled for my insulin. Find something compact and convenient to store your supplies.
- In flight, I know my blood sugars may act up. After flying so much in the last decade, I have learned my blood sugars go up as we take off, and about 30-45 minutes after landing, my blood sugars drop. I adjust my insulin and eating to work with this.
- Wear a medical I.D. and add an ICE (in case of a medical emergency) contact to your phone. Here is a how-to on setting that up