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Keeping the diet during a road trip.
Road trips can be wonderful 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: the tighter your schedule the less you move,  the more you eat (in total calories) and the less fun you’ll have.   Vacations are supposed to be a change of pace not more jamming 25 hours  of urgency into your day.  Set some reasonable limits on hours of  driving per day so you can do other things. 
 
2. Bring a cooler: if you have a cooler then you’ve set yourself up to have better food options for snacks and/or lunch.  This is a great place to keep veggies, some fruits, turkey slices, water, unsweetened tea, etc.  Eating well is more about avoiding temptation than having more willpower… in other words  if you can avoid having to make food choices at a gas station (those  chips say “all natural…”) you’ll probably eat fewer calories. 

 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 or finishing a family sized bag of chips while you drive.  Eating while driving is distracted eating.  When you’re distracted it’s even harder to know when you are full, so you eat more. 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 we all need to move every day – 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.  
   
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