Excellent, you’ve been following a healthy GERD diet and lifestyle plan:
- Watching your portions? Check!
- Avoiding your triggers? Check!
- Exercising regularly? Check!
- Skipping the late-night meals? Check!
You are making progress, and you feel great, right? And then you find out that you need to head out of town on a business trip, it’s time for your annual family reunion in your hometown, or you’re finally making that trip to your dream destination. Whatever the reason, travel can make diet and exercise a challenge for even the biggest fitness and health devotee. So here are ten tips to help you stick with your GERD diet and lifestyle plan when you’re on the road.
- Make a commitment. First and foremost, make a commitment to yourself to stick with your healthy lifestyle plan while you’re away. Know that traveling comes with roadblocks that make diet and exercise a challenge, but also know that it can be done. Make a commitment and then make a plan. Schedule workouts. Search out healthy restaurant options. Pack your running shoes and exercise bands. Your health shouldn’t have to suffer just because you’re on the road.
- Pack smart. Pack healthy snacks like fresh fruit, cut-up vegetables, nuts, and trail mix, so you don’t give in to temptation because you’re hungry or bored at the airport, or in the car. Once at your destination, look for a local grocery store instead of a convenience story to restock your supply of healthy food. Don’t forget to pack your running shoes, exercise bands, or favorite exercise video, so you can keep up with your exercise program while you’re away.
- Drink lots of water. Air travel can dehydrate you because of the low humidity in the cabin. Bring a refillable water bottle, so you can keep up your water intake.
- Schedule your meals. This tip is important no matter where you are, but can be hard to stick with when you’re traveling. Be sure to eat breakfast and plan a snack or meal every 3-4 hours to keep your energy up and hunger pangs at bay, so you’ll be less likely to overeat come meal time. Again, this takes planning, but it can be done.
- Beware of restaurants. Eating out is inevitable when you’re away from home, and it can be challenging to stick with your healthy habits. Super-sized portions, deep-fried everything and buffets – need I say more? Seek out restaurants that offer healthier options, and be on the lookout for your triggers and high fat foods. Save half your meal for lunch the next day, or ask for a lunch size portion to keep your meal sizes in check.
- Ask for a mini-fridge. Having access to a refrigerator makes it easier to have a variety of healthy options available, and it gives you a place to store your leftovers. Many hotels offer mini-fridges, so be sure to ask for one.
- Stay active. Book a hotel that has a fitness center or pool, and find time to use it! Or break out your exercise bands or you favorite workout video, and exercise in your room. If you’re feeling more adventurous, explore the city you’re visiting by taking a walk or run, or look for a nearby State Park for a hike. The key is to make time to move.
- Manage your stress. Stress is a common acid reflux trigger, and let’s face it: travel in stressful. Traffic, missed connections, and lost luggage all threaten to bring on the heartburn. Before you leave, prepare for the inevitable snag: have your airline’s customer service number in your phone in case of flight problems, bring along a book or movie to pass the time during a flight delay, and carry on essentials like a change of clothes, and any medications – just in case your luggage doesn’t arrive with you. And when needed, try deep breathing exercises to help you relax and stay calm.
- Get enough rest. Jet lag and strange environments can make it tough to get enough sleep. And if you’re used to sleeping with your bed elevated, suddenly sleeping in a flat bet can be downright uncomfortable. Try a portable bed wedge. Bring along earplugs and a small pillow or blanket for comfort. If you’re traveling to a different time zone, try to stay awake until an early local bedtime on your first day, and use these tips from the NY Times to minimize jet lag.
- Do the best you can. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Do the best you can and allow yourself room for some indulgence, like sampling the local fare or enjoying a special meal. Plan to be extra careful the day before and the day after you indulge to make up for it. And be sure to pack your favorite acid reducing medication just in case your GERD symptoms do flare up.
With planning and commitment, you can stick with your GERD diet and lifestyle plan while you’re away, so you can have fun AND feel great too. Bon voyage!