Road trips 🚙 can be powerful bonding experiences for families, friends and couples. However, since we end up sitting for days on end and living on fast food, they can also contribute to weight gain, back pain, and more without these 7 simple strategies:

  1. Treat vacation like, well vacation: vacations are a change of pace, not having a super-aggressive schedule and driving all night to stick to your schedule. It’s primarily self-imposed time crunches that keep you from being able to eat better, move and sleep… in other words a stressful and jam-packed vacation is what sets you up for weight gain and back pain. There’s only so many hours you can drive in a day while still taking care of your body. Maybe that’s 8. Maybe that’s 12. Pick your number

2. Bring a cooler: if you have a cooler then you automatically have better options for lunch and snacks. This is a great place to keep veggies, some fruits, turkey slices, water, unsweetened tea, etc. Otherwise you’re stuck getting food at gas stations where good options are hard to come by and temptation is everywhere.

3. Don’t eat and drive: pull over to eat. Since you have a cooler you can save on money and empty calories by having little picnics instead of hitting the drive through. Eating while driving is distracted eating meaning you have no idea when you are full and should stop eating. Additionally, the foods you eat while driving – chips, bars, etc. – are both calorie dense and hyperpalatible. Hyperpalatible means a food is so stimulating to your taste buds that you just keep eating and eating and eating.

4. Sleep: driving all night on vacation has the same consequences as pulling an all nighter at work – it makes you unpleasant, sloppy, prone to gain weight and get sick. In other words, driving all night undermines every positive thing that you hope for on vacation. Did you know that sleeping fewer than 6 hours actually stimulates some the same receptors as marijuana – literally giving you the munchies

5. Make time for movement: you don’t need to hit a gym, but you do need to move – go on a hike, go to a museum and walk around, play Frisbee… whatever, as long as you’re not doing it in traffic. It feels good, and keeps everyone from snapping at each other (especially if you have kids).

6. Loosen up when you fill up: our muscles start to shorten themselves within 20 min of sitting, so hours and/or days of sitting can wreak havoc on your back or knees if you are prone to pain in these areas. A simple way to remember to stretch is to take 5 min to loosen up when you fill up.

7. Do restaurant recon: technology makes it so easy to find out what restaurants are nearby, and what they have on their menu. Look up 3-5 and chose the place that has the healthiest option that looks the most appealing.

🌅 ENJOY THE SUMMER! IT’S GONNA GO BY FAST! 🌅

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