The only extra baggage you should bring home is from the duty free, not around your waist. 

As I watch the snow falling outside this afternoon, I can't help but get excited knowing that by the time this article hits the paper, I'll be hitting the beach in Maui. We've never done the winter escape vacation before, so this year we decided as a family that rather than buying gifts, we would buy an experience to somewhere warm. We have three kids, ages 22, 26 and 28 who have all travelled extensively so choosing a place where no one had been was key, and Maui fit the bill.

Whether it's the lack of sunlight, the weather, or the need to relax after a stressful holiday season, it seems that January and February are the months people choose for a winter getaway. As this time of year is also the time when people make health, fitness and weight loss resolutions, finding a way to stay on track and come out the other side winning, or at the very least maintaining is critical to achieving your goals.

Regardless where you are in the world, how long your travel days are, or what your schedule is like when you get there, a little planning ahead will make sure you set yourself up to win and the only thing coming home with extra weight will be your suitcase from all the duty free souvenirs. Here are a few things I do and items I take with me when I travel.

Travel with food. And a water/shaker bottle. Nobody likes a “hangry” traveller and having balanced snack on hand means everyone will arrive at your destination with the same sunny disposition they had when you left the house. I always travel with my protein powder, protein bars, nuts or trail mix (unsalted) and sometimes an orange or apple. Scooping protein powder into small ziploc bags and dropping them into a dry shaker bottle with a few balanced protein bars is a quick and easy way to ensure you have what you need to fuel on the go, and burn fat not store it.

And yes, I do travel through security with baggies of white powder (and chocolate), have done so for years without incident. Once through security, I take the bags of protein powder and the bars out of my shaker bottle and fill it up with water. While most people tend to not drink so much on the plane to avoid using the restroom, staying hydrated helps prevent swelling in the lower extremities and getting up a few times during the flight to walk around keeps circulation flowing, helps to avoid stiff, sore muscles and fatigue on long flights. And, choosing to munch on your unsalted nuts and fruit rather than the pretzels and cookies allows you to avoid the carb spike, keeping you in the fat-burning rather than the fat-storing zone. So far so good, right?

Congratulations, you have arrived. Regardless whether you've chosen all-inclusive, Air bnb, hotel, or staying with friends, choosing where and what to eat is going to be a daily thing. Always start your day right with a balanced breakfast. Keeping your body on the PFC 3 wagon as best you can will not only help you burn fat on vacation, you'll be more relaxed, feel less stressed and enjoy those long days out touring, hiking, shopping, surfing, or whatever is on that day's agenda. Just like your travel days, make sure to take a bottle of water with you when you head out for the day and refill it often. Ladies, aim for two to three litres and gentlemen three to four litres per day will not only serve you well in the hot climates, you'll be less likely to impulse eat walking by all those street treats. Fun fact, feeling “hunger” can also mean you're dehydrated. So drink up!

I like to take a small drawstring-type day backpack when I travel. Just big enough to hold my shaker/water bottle, emergency bags of shake, a few bars, maybe some fruit or something from breakfast if where you're staying provides it. You never know when you'll get held up somewhere and trust me, your family will thank you when you're able to bring out snacks and tame the “hangry” crowd.

Restaurants or buffets is typically where you'd be eating most of the time, unless you have a kitchen unit and then of course purchasing some fresh, local fare to cook up is definitely preferred to take out. When sitting down in a restaurant or bellying up to the buffet table, think PFC – Protein, Fat, Carb – and make the best choices available. Considering adding a glass of wine with dinner? Ditching the bread, pasta and potatoes in favour of salad and veggies will keep you balanced avoid storing fat. Restaurants in the US tend to serve very generous portions, so having your server bring you a take out container and saving half for later or lunch the next day not only cuts down on your meal costs, you've already got one made so it's easier to stay on plan.

Desserts, oh how we love chocolate, right? The best way to have your cake and eat it too is to be very discerning. Choosing something that you really love or really want to try rather than sampling a few of all of them just because they are there, will be more satisfying and you'll enjoy it guilt free. That in itself is a win/win! If you brought back a little too much “baggage” from your winter getaway and are looking to get back on track, registration for New Year, New You is on now and we kick off this 8 Weeks program January 29. Why weight? Register here  today! 


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