Have you made a New Year's resolution to lose some weight and stay in shape? If you are a frequent traveler, that goal is twice as hard. Why? Let's face it, when you travel, usually your diet-and-exercise routine takes a vacation of its own. But I'm here to tell you that it doesn't have to be that way. I've been a professional travel writer for more than 30 years, and I've 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 one hour a day – no matter where I am in the world. Typically, you'll find me in a hotel gym, using the treadmill and machines, but on the rare occasion when my hotel has no fitness center, I make do 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 been doing that since 1984. I do a whole mix of planks, situps, abdominals, you name it, to get my circulation going. If I want to add aerobics to the mix, I might march in place or actually jump rope – without the 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 treehouse in Thailand, having gotten back to my room at 11PM at night, after a big meal. I noticed that my shower had several steps leading down into it, so I did step aerobics there. Where there's a will, there's a way. I am very careful with meals – dinner is typically a beautiful piece of fish, dry-grilled vegetables (with no oil), and a baked potato – with butter and salt. I tend to eat the same type of thing at lunch – a good source of protein, a little starch, and lots of vegetables. Breakfast is either a bowl of oatmeal and fruit, or two scrambled eggs (with no butter) and toast and fruit. Of course, I do allow myself treats. If there's a Nutella crepe on the menu, you know I am going to fit it into that day's calorie intake. Same for chocolate lava cake, cherry clafoutis or carrot cake.
And speaking of carrot cake – if you travel on cruises, you really are in luck where your diet and exercise is concerned. You may not realize this, but luxury cruise ships typically have a Special Requests department that is totally dedicated to your culinary preferences. Go ahead and order that lobster Thermidor – but you can actually ask that it be made with a minimum of butter and oil. They will cater to all your preferences, for lowfat, gluten-free, kosher, vegan, you name it. I make a point to have a meeting with the Executive Chef, first thing after boarding, and request all kinds of special meals – say, a lowfat ratatouille made with very little oil. My standard carrot cake request is to forego the oil and replace it with pumpkin puree, plus lots of raisins and walnuts, and yogurt frosting instead of cream cheese. And you know what? It's usually more delicious than the full-freight version. I also try not to be too picky, and to enjoy the cuisine on cruise ships. If there's a wild-mushroom tart on the menu, I'm definitely going to have two bites of it and forego having 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 that all together for lunch every day, to keep her weight down. That's really smart.
I also snack wisely – a handful of nuts, dried apples, raisins, crackers with Laughing Cow cheese – there are all in my arsenal and in my carry-on bag.
And I always wear a pair of shorts or a skort to the gym. It reminds my body who is boss!
So go out there and fulfill your wanderlust – you're going to look great when you're sightseeing in your skinny jeans!
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