Want one more excuse to book that flight? Travel is the best weight loss solution ever!
Sure everyone's body reacts differently and it depends on how and where you travel, but my personal experience is that I lose 10-15 pounds during a month of travel. I have actually booked a trip before for the sole purpose of losing weight! Yeah a few trips to the gym might cost less, but a month abroad is way more fun!
I have yet to determine the actual culprit that drops the pounds but I'm not sure I care, either. They are many possible contributing factors that just come naturally with budget travel. And no, I'm not referring to weight loss by Montezuma's Revenge (although that can happen too)! LOL
- Eating Less
Being on a budget, eating becomes much less extravagant. You're not (necessarily) skipping meals to save money, it's more a matter of smaller portions. Serving gigantic portions of food is way more a Western (or even American?) thing. Grabbing some street food, sitting in a local eatery, and even taking advantage of the free breakfast included with your guesthouse, the portions will be enough to satisfy without that gross "OMG I'm so full" feeling.
It's not just portion control. You don't have a fridge full of food where you can just grab something any time of day and big sit-down dinners are not the norm.
- Eating Better
Budget travel = less modern countries. A less modern country means that people are eating fresh, un-processed foods. Locals (and restaurants) are not going to the grocery stores, they are shopping in the fresh markets. The food goes from the farmer to the dinner table. Okay the regulations on pesticides may not be the best, but it's otherwise fresh real food.
You're going to be in some countries where almost everything deep fried which makes it a bit less healthy, but at least the food that's being fried is unprocessed!
The superrmarket food is hit or miss depending on the country. If you read the the ingredients of items in New Zealand, it's only a few ingredients. There's not the never-ending list of additives that you can't even pronounce. In Bali however, the supermarkets are mostly for the toursits and the ingredients are just disgusting. You can't even find real yogurt.
Things like cheese (real cheese) and chocolate are rarely found in 3rd world countries and certainly not at a budget price. So decadent fattening treats are at a minimum.
- Drinking Less
A matter of money? Sure, a bit. Drinking can be the biggest budget-breaker. Don't get me wrong, I definitely enjoy a cold beer on a hot day or a glass of wine in the evening, and a decent portion of my final budget does end up in the "booze" column, but the cost really does effect your decision of just how important that next cold one is.
There is also so much more to keep you entertained. Spending an afternoon drinking (rarely haha) even comes to mind when your other options are checking out the local market, going for a swim in the turquoise sea, or walking to the waterfall.
Also, getting drunk is a definite saftey issue! Being out of control is a big no-no for me. It makes you a big target and open to all sorts of baddies.
- Being More Active
This is just a given. You are walking a lot. Even if you are taking a bus somewhere, you still have to walk to the bus stop. Then you'lll be walking around the markets, the ruins, etc.
You may not partake in all of these, but you are exposed to so many activities such as hiking, swimming, zip-lining, camel riding. It's all extra movement!
Some extra weight lifting? Carrying your backpack around, you have a nice little 20 lb weight as a companion.
I'm going to lump sweating into this category. Sweat suits and saunas are a common way to lose water weight. So really whether you're active or not, if you're in a hot climate, you're going to sweat off a lot of extra water weight!
- Being Happier
Emotional eating is a big problem for a lot of people. Whether you're like the Grinch and are just eating because you're bored, or you sit down with a quart of ice cream to drown your sorrows, it's a quick way to add some pudge. With the freedom and excitement of travelling, that all goes away. You're not bored, you're not dwelling on bad emotions.
The relationship between stress and weight gain is well-known. It not only leads to emotional eating, but the stress hormone alone can cause you to gain weight!
Free and easy travel is the way to go. Yes, I use it to escape the responsibilities of home. ;)
So spend a month keeping occupied with fascinating cultures and nature, being more active, and enjoying different culinary habits and come home with the extra bonus of fitting into your skinny jeans!
The not-so-fine print: This is my personal expereince. Everyone is different with both your habits at home and how traveling will effect you. For me, traveling puts me in better shape. Both mind and body!