Does traveling for work or vacation cause you to sabotage your weight loss efforts?  Are you lugging home extra pounds with your luggage? You’re not alone.  Food and beverage temptations, along with the “let’s live it up, we’re on vacation!”  attitude can easily derail our healthy eating plans.

I had the good fortune to attend two conferences this Spring at beautiful all-inclusive resorts.  The food, amazingly plentiful and delicious, included an abundance of desserts, pasta, bread and other high calorie products.  My exercise routine was way off and I was surrounded by tasty food temptations.  But I came home from both trips 4 pounds lighter and ready for my annual Mexico beach vacation with sister Janice.

Here are the simple rules I follow while traveling:

1. Enjoy breakfast (focus on lean protein) and lunch as your biggest meals of the day.  Keep dinner light by ordering just a healthy appetizer or share an entree with companions.

2. Take a leisurely walk after your biggest meal. Resist the urge to lie or sit down after eating.

3. Get into proper Vacation Eating Mode. Eat mindfully and you will feel fuller on fewer calories. There’s no need to rush your meal and gulp down your food (and beverages). You’re on vacation, so relax and chew your food slowly.

4. Skip the starchy carbs.  Bread, white rice and pasta will not only go to your hips, stomach and thighs for fat accumulation but will also make you sluggish, tired and unmotivated.  Lean protein, vegetables and nuts will keep you mentally focused and physically energized.

5. Enjoy desserts without guilt.  Sharing a dessert will keep your calorie intake manageable.  Savor each bite.

Keep in mind: Going to restaurants is less about the food and more about socializing.  Order fish, chicken or vegetarian fare, substitute extra vegetables for starchy carbs and choose vinegar and olive oil as salad dressings.  Eggs for breakfast and nuts for snacks will keep you satisfied for hours. Drink lots of water and herbal tea. Go to bed on an empty stomach and you’ll awaken in the morning feeling alert, lean and ready for fun!