Taking the Sin Out of Sin City: How to Enjoy Travel Without Giving Up On Your Goals

Taking the sin out

I used to be Little Miss No Fun when it came to traveling and taking vacations.

I would order bowls of bland oatmeal for breakfast, and I believe I consumed every possible combination of soup and salad (with light dressing on the side) known to man.

I would never get dessert.

I would always to find the lowest calorie, “cleanest,” healthiest item on the menu.

My meals were barely edible, let alone enjoyable, but HEY – I was eating clean!

I resigned myself to leaving restaurants disappointed and unsatisfied.

There was no way around it, I told myself.

“If you aren’t strict about ‘eating clean’ all the time, you will blow up, and then you won’t enjoy your trip because none of your clothes will fit!

Besides, I’d seen those 20/20 investigations about how much oil and butter restaurant cooks used, and that they were all on a mission to clog American’s arteries with ribeye steaks and fettuccine Alfredo.

 

The worst part of this No Fun Lifestyle was that at some point during every trip, I’d lose my willpower and binge on something stupid that I didn’t even like, and eat until I was sick and miserable.

I’d vow to do better, to start a new, more strict diet plan when I got home, and then try, try, try again.

I started to dread travel or anything that took me out of my predictable, controlled bubble where I had control over what I ate and when I could work out.

It was sucking the fun out of life, even when I was in amazing places like the Virgin Islands or Las Vegas or Charleston.


 

It took me years to figure out that “eating clean” was one of the most meaningless phrases in all of health & fitness.  I was suffering through plate after plate of food I hated and it wasn’t helping me get any leaner or fitter.

It only made my life less fun and made meals less enjoyable.

The answer was not to be more strict.

It was to do less, stress less, enjoy more, and be a little strategic with my food and lifestyle choices based on what I had learned and tested using hormonal fat loss principles.

 

I just came back from 4-days in Las Vegas – aka SIN CITY! – and I’m going to share with you my TOP strategies for enjoying vacations MORE and stressing LESS over calories, carbs, workouts, and weight gain.

Because let’s be honest:

Life is too short, and Vegas is too much fun…

Here’s how I took the SIN out of SIN CITY and made my vacation work FOR my fitness goals:

1. Prioritize Sleep, Relaxation, and Rest

If you’re even remotely Type-A, this seems preposterous to you, and maybe even makes you a little anxious.

“Slow down!?  NEVER!  I’m going to see and do everything!”  – Does that sound like you?

If you wear your busyness like a badge of honor – even on vacations – you are robbing your body of prime opportunities to burn fat, rebuild and repair muscle, and reset hunger hormones.

So many women are chronically sleep-deprived, grinding through the day on caffeine, stress, and 5 hours of sleep.

I cannot emphasize this enough:

Eight hours is MINIMUM amount of sleep you need each night to maintain sustained fat loss, but you may actually need 9 or even 10 hours.  

Take advantage of the hotel’s black-out curtains and try to sleep alarm-free and nightlight-free as much as possible.

Pass on those after-dinner cocktails in the hotel bar and GO TO SLEEP, the earlier the better.

Being well-rested will decrease your urges to seek out sugary, starchy foods.

8-10 hours of sleep gives your body the time it needs to turn fat-storing hormones like leptin, insulin, and cortisol DOWN, and to turn fat-burning hormones like HGH, glucagon, and testosterone UP.

Supplement your nighttime sleeping with naps by the pool, long baths, reading a book, getting a massage, and anything else that resembles doing as little as possible, for as long as possible.

2. Walk Everywhere and Find the Gym STAT

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Post-workout – leaving the fabulous gym at the Signature at the MGM Grand!

I start every trips with 2 non-negotiables:

First, walk everywhere, and second, check out the hotel gym and decide how many (if any) gym workouts I will do during the duration of my stay.

In Las Vegas, we had a fully equipped gym at The Signature at the MGM Grand: rows of cardio equipment, free weights, pin-loaded machines, a cable machine.  It was almost like being back at my home gym!

BUT, if you’re in one of those unfortunate, closet-sized hotel gyms with one old treadmill and a few dusty free weights, consider exploring other options like classes at local studios or gyms.

I like to use the Class Finder on LesMills.com to find my favorite Les Mills classes when I’m on the road.  If you’re an instructor like me, it’s fun to pop in to a BODYPUMP® class in another state or country and just enjoy taking a class!

I’ve also heard great reviews on ClassPass for finding yoga, cycle, or more speciality fitness classes like aerial or barre workouts. This option is best for big cities here in the U.S. like Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and Miami to name a few.

NOTE: There’s nothing wrong with taking a few days off from training and letting your body completely recover and rest. You should do this periodically to prevent burn out and injuries.  Let walking be your only exercise and get back in the gym when you return from your travels.

 

3. Follow a Fat Loss Foodie {tem}Plate

I refuse to waste precious vacation time plugging every meal into My Fitness Pal and tallying up grams of protein and fat and carbs.

That being said, I do NOT track macros on vacation – and really, how can you?!

You’re eating almost every meal out and have very little control over what exactly is in your food.

On vacation, I go back to my go-to strategies that have stood the test of time based on my metabolism and my preferences.

 

Here’s a little Fat Loss Foodie insider tip from me to you:

You will experience more flavor and satisfaction from your meals if you choose meats, non-starchy vegetables, low-sugar fruits, and healthy fats over starchy carbohydrates.

 

  • Choose omelets and scrambles with bacon or sausage at breakfast.
  • At lunch and dinner, choose big salads with fresh fish or grilled steak or chicken
  • Don’t stress over things like full-fat dressing, a few nuts, or some good cheese.
  • If you don’t want salad, choose a 4-6 oz. piece of fish, poultry, or meat that is grilled, baked, pan-seared or roasted without any kind of batter or breading.  (Yes, it’s going to be cooked in butter and/or oil and no, you don’t need to obsess about it as long as you keep the starchy carbs low.)
  • Start with a green salad and ask for double vegetables instead of sides like mashed potatoes, rice, etc.

I call it my “Fat Loss Foodie {tem}Plate and I have yet to eat at the restaurant that won’t accommodate this style of eating!

Skip the dinner rolls, crackers, pancakes, waffles, sandwiches, wraps, gravy-drenched potatoes and battered & fried anything, because THAT stuff is what causes the vacation bloating, bingeing, and weight gain.

 

I tend to eat higher-fat and lower-carb when traveling because it keeps me fuller longer, and my activity level is usually a bit lower, so I don’t need as many carbs.

However, if you’re very active on vacation – for example, you’re hiking, biking, surfing, etc. – you will definitely need more carbs!

As long as you stick to your Fat Loss Foodie (tem)Plate, you should have ZERO problem experiencing local cuisine AND maintaining your weight during your trip.


 

What’s YOUR Fat Loss Foodie (tem)Plate?

A template for every meal that fits YOUR unique metabolism, preferences, and lifestyle,

AND meets YOUR goals.

It’s the best kind of meal plan:

It’s the one you create for yourself.

Want to learn to build YOUR Fat Loss Foodie (tem)Plate?  Click here to learn more about the LAQ Fitness Lifestyle Coaching Club for Women and work with Leslie Ann!


 

4. Strategize Your Splurges

Unless you are preparing for an event (a wedding, photo shoot, fitness competition, etc.), there is no reason you need to be Little Miss No Fun like I was when you travel.

Decide what you want ahead of time that way you don’t fall prey to peer pressure, your moods, or other things that could throw you off course and have you wasting calories on something like a cheap margarita.  (Saw lots of those in Vegas.  SMH.)

For example, over the course of my 4-day Las Vegas trip, I give myself 1 big treat meal to have whatever I wanted, and also thought about the top 2-3 small things I wanted to experience food-wise on this trip.

I knew the Super Bowl party would be a good place to use a treat meal, and also that I would want one cocktail from Bloody Mary Bar when we had Sunday morning brunch at our favorite spot: Mon Ami Gabi at the Paris Hotel.  (It’s just like being in REAL Paris – wink, wink.)

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Smoked Salmon Benedict with Spinach at Mon Ami Gabi

 

No restriction. No bingeing. No obsessing. No post-vacation 5 lb. weight gain.

Eat lots of delicious meat and veggies that fill you up and give you energy for all the fun activities you want to do.

Plan your strategy ahead of time for the 1-2 big treat meals you want to do and follow your Fat Loss Foodie {tem}Plate the rest of the time. Sleep and walk like there’s no tomorrow and you. will. be. FINE!

After you’ve been living a fat loss lifestyle for a while, you may even notice that whereas once you used to gain weight on vacations, you will now LOSE. You will come back lighter, leaner and with a flatter stomach – despite the cocktails and desserts you had here there.

Don’t take this as a sign that cocktails and dessert should become a part of every day life….

BUT…

Once your metabolism is balanced, you will find that periods of increased sleep/rest and decreased stress and relaxed eating actually work in your favor and can help you LOSE fat.

((Le Sigh)) 

I would take this lifestyle over a soup and side salad (with dressing on the side) ANY day.


 

When is your next big trip?  Where are you going?  And are you planning to use some of these strategies to stay lean and fit on vacation?

Now, spread the Fat Loss Foodie love and SHARE this article with your favorite travel buddies on Facebook and Twitter so you can enjoy your adventures AND your meals no matter where life takes you!

1 Comment on Taking the Sin Out of Sin City: How to Enjoy Travel Without Giving Up On Your Goals

  1. My next big trip is New York City with my daughter’s dance class. Hoping I can jump into some dance classes with the kids for exercise! I always find it hard to pick choices other than salad, salad and more salad! Thank you for the tips! Limit my wine intake and TRY to get some sleep (which for me is always hard)!! Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas!

    Melissa

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