Weight Loss Support - Suggestions for travel abroad

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08-22-2011, 12:53 AM
I will be traveling to western Europe this Saturday on business, and I was hoping that some of you here might be able to help me come up with a good plan to stay on track (read: at least avoid a gain) while I'm away without feeling completely restricted. I have traveled before during my weight loss journey, but only within the U.S. where I could seek out restaurants with calorie counts available online, etc. I worry that I won't even quite know what I'm getting when I order in a restaurant (I'll be in a German-speaking country, and unfortunately I don't speak any German), and I'm travelling with a large number of colleagues and so may not have control over where we're eating meals. And, there will be a lot of drinking, which (sad to say it) I'm not willing to give up entirely. The best parts of these trips with colleagues are often the nights out, and while I'm not a regular drinker at home I usually have a few nights on these trips when I drink quite a bit, and one of the things I'm looking forward to on this trip is drinking some good wine. Also, the hotel we're staying at does not have any kind of fitness center, and so structured exercise will be in the form of walking around the city.

My plan so far is kind of loosely defined. I have a colleague who is a walker as well, and so I should have someone to exercise with - which will help in getting me to make time for it. I plan to avoid desserts almost entirely, as I'd much rather spend my calories on other things. I usually drink my coffee/lattes with skim milk, but I don't know how often that will be available and so just plan to drink espresso. Other than alcohol and espresso, I won't drink any other calorie-containing drinks (I don't usually anyway). When out at night, I will alternate drinks with club soda/sparkling water. I will bring a bunch of Fiber One bars with me so that if all else fails I have something 'safe' to eat for breakfast and to snack on. I plan to look for somewhere to buy some fruit to keep in my room.

If anyone has any other suggestions or tips, I would love to hear them! Thank you very much for any help. :)

08-22-2011, 07:28 AM
Chickadee - Brining your fiber one bars is a great idea.

the walking around the city will certainly help. I went to Paris a number of years ago and was surprised when I returned that I had not gained weight because I did not really watch what I was eating while there and enjoyed desert every night.

It sounds like there is a good chance of finding a nearby grocery store. While in Paris my husband and I walked to one every morning and bought some type of yogurt/milk and fresh fruit to supplement the bread and butter the hotel offered in the mornings.

Have fun!!!

08-22-2011, 08:07 AM
I also live in a German speaking country (Vienna, Austria) and here are my tips:

1. Weisser Spritzer (or weiss gespritzter, depending on where you are) - like martini said, white wine and soda water, basically all I drink when I go out and at under 100 cals for 1/4l, great!

2. Dark bread for slow releasing carbohydrates. I would avoid semmels because they are literally just white bread and will give your blood sugar a massive boost, followed by the shakes.

3. I normally order Backhendlsalat, which is basically just a massive salad with breaded chicken pieces in it. Here they have it with lovely pumpkin seed oil. If you are feeling good, just pick the batter pieces off.

4. You can find skimmed milk if you go to Starbucks, but everywhere else you'll struggle. However, the coffees here are waaaaayyyyyy smaller than in the US (as is everything else), so I doubt a small amount of full fat will kill you.

5. The cities are geared around walking and cycling, so make the most of it!

I hardly ever eat meat when I go out to eat, so you can get by without partaking in the sausage/cheese fest. There are lots of Asian restaurants and instead of Döner kebab, you can get falafel instead (yum!). Don't forget to try the beer!

I love living here, it is by far the best place I have ever lived and I've never been so healthy as I am now. I have to move back to the UK in less than two weeks, but I'll be back as soon as it is possible, job-wise. Enjoy yourself and don't stress about the weight, when in Rome...

08-22-2011, 08:47 AM
I live overseas and I think it's SO hard to calorie count/watch portions/not miss out on cultural experiences when you are out of your home country and trying to lose weight.

Two things that help me:

1. If you are into the idea of intermittent fasting, I would do it while you're traveling. Not eating breakfast and deferring those calories to lunch or dinner make it much easier to eat out and with colleagues. (Plus all the other health benefits of IF as well of course!)

2. Walking, as others recommend. Get in a walk/run/exercise in the morning and try to move around as much as possible throughout the day. It won't outweigh overeating, but it will help you work towards maintenance or a deficit if your meals are a little too calorie-heavy.

3. Portion-control. That's the one thing you DO have control of. I remember being in Serbia for work a few years ago and being given huge plates of cheese and breads. Eating everything would have been disastrous, eating ONE serving of cheese and ONE serving of bread was very healthy and manageable.

Good luck!! have a great trip :)

08-22-2011, 08:58 AM
Whenever I go on a trip to a place where people walk a lot, I lose weight. I've gone to Europe a few times and even when I went to China where I ate a ton of food, I came back lighter than I went. I always said that traveling out of the country is my weight loss secret.

I'd walk a lot, drink plenty of water and work on some portion control.

Thighs Be Gone
08-22-2011, 05:59 PM
I have lived in Western Europe twice and have traveled there annually for many years. Since I have adapted to this new lifestyle I try sticking to the markets as much as possible for fruits and veggies. There is a bread I like that is popular there called Fitness Bread. It is widely available and super filling--a long, thin slice is about 130 calories. In general fruits and veggies are going to be a bit higher than you pay in the U.S. but the quality is also quite good. Individual yogurts are also available widely. Depending on how long you will be there, you might get by with taking your cans of tuna with you and sticking to the produce. Also, don't forget your translation guide if you don't know Deutsche--read your labels--they are on most products.

08-22-2011, 07:46 PM
Ladies, thank you SO much for your suggestions and tips!!! I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. I feel 10 times more confident now about making it through the trip without overindulging, but without being so restrictive that I don't enjoy myself. I'm even more excited to go now!

martini and Claire: Vienna is actually exactly where I'll be (not sure why I was hesitant to give the city; worried one of my co-workers might find me here? lol), and so your suggestions are extremely helpful. I am sure I will be partaking of the schnapps, and I really love wine spritzers and so am glad to know it's a common thing to order! The kebabs, weinerschnitzel, gebackener Emmentaler, and Backhendlsalat all sound delicious (and I do love falafel as well), and so I will definitely look for those and enjoy them in moderation. I figured that I probably wouldn't find fat free milk most places, and so I think I will probably stick with just espresso (I have digestive issues with dairy fat, so tend to consume it sparingly regardless - though I'm going to have to make an exception for the gebackener Emmentaler!).

indiblue: The idea of IF while I'm there is great! I'm not presently an IFer, but the idea has always appealed to me as when left to my own devices I kind of eat that way naturally - very little in the morning/during the day, with the bulk of my calories in the evening. I will definitely consider it for the trip.

envelope and Thighs Be Gone: Thank you very much for the tips on yogurt and bread from the store; those are excellent suggestions, and I'll definitely look for both.

nelly: I will be fully on-board with the walking (I plan to get in as much as I can), and the reminder from all of you about portion control is a really good one. I totally want to taste and enjoy everything, and I need to remember that it's ok to do that as long as I'm not eating full plates of restaurant food at every meal. I tend to just restrict when I don't know what's safe, but I really want to enjoy all the experiences this trip has to offer.

Thank you so much again, all - I REALLY appreciate your help!!!

08-23-2011, 06:24 AM
Ha well in that case I can give you some restaurant tips:

Weltcafe for breakfast is my favourite place in the world. You can get various types of breakfast and coffee or tea for €5.90. Everything is fair trade and organic.

The restaurants in alten AKH (university buildings) are good for Austrian food (esp Uni Bräu if it is sunny, good beer garden and nice Backhendlsalat)

Zwölfapostelkeller in the first district is a good place for tourists to taste Austrian food and good wine. It is underground (in a cellar)

Figlmüller is supposed to be good for Schnitzel, but i've never been there.

Akakiko is my favourite Asian restaurant (it is a chain), and there is always good old Vapiano (you have those in the US i think).

Don't forget to try the ice cream at either Eissalon am Schwedenplatz or Zanoni in Rotenturmstraße.

Have fun! Vienna is my favourite place in the entire world :)