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Simple tips for sticking to your diet while traveling this summer

The official start of summer is right around the corner. And with the warmer weather comes vacations, parties, and cookouts – great for the social calendar, but not so great for that diet you've been working hard to maintain.

That's where a little bit of planning can make a big difference. Sherene Kershner, the owner and founder of Evolve180, a weight loss studio in Bellevue, shared some of her favorite tips and tricks for traveling and dining out while trying to lose weight. Follow these steps, and nothing can stand in your way!

While vacationing:

Even if most of your meals are out of your control, you can make small modifications and plan ahead to keep your body in fat-burning mode. Think of your trip as a chance to practice making healthy choices when the diet is over, and you're in maintenance mode. Kershner recommends packing the following items to help you stay on track:

  • Shaker bottle and protein powder
  • Stevia
  • Food journal
  • Veggie peeler (in your checked bag)
  • Paring knife (in your checked bag)
  • A supply of zip-lock bags and paper towels or napkins
  • Enough healthy, non-perishable snacks for the trip (place cut-up veggies, sliced chicken breast, hard-boiled eggs, oatmeal, or your other favorite snack in your carry-on for the airport or plane ride)

On the airplane, you might be able to order a sugar-free (diabetic) or gluten-free meal ahead of time. Kershner says she did this on her recent trip to Hawaii. "I was very pleasantly surprised," she said. "Everyone else got a big slab of pot roast slathered in BBQ sauce with cornbread. I got a big slab of pot roast with some steamed broccoli! I added sea salt, and it was perfect!"

Once you reach the hotel room, see if you can get a mini fridge to keep healthy options cold. If it's available in the area, order groceries from Instacart or head to the nearest grocery store and buy food for the week (healthy for you and your bank account!). Prepare snacks and meals using the knife, peeler, and baggies you brought in your checked luggage.

Try thinking of your vacation, trip, or event as a chance to practice making food choices that are about the big picture of your life's goals, instead of the small picture of that particular event.

And don't forget, you can find other ways besides food to "treat" yourself during your trip that don't involve food. Get a massage or manicure, see a show, buy a cute outfit, or a nice souvenir to commemorate your self-care during your trip.

While dining out:

Kershner's biggest recommendation for eating out is to modify your meals. "My new strategy at restaurants is to be a high-maintenance princess and be PROUD!" she says. "If I see a dish that totally fits my plan, I order that. If not, and I see components that I can have, I ask to have a dish created with those."

Try your best to steer clear of alcohol and carbs that aren't a part of your plan (yes, unfortunately, that includes the bread basket on the table). When in doubt, stick to protein and non-starchy veggies. Order protein cooked with oil, steamed veggies and a side of butter, and ask for salad dressings you can have; like lemon wedges and olive oil, Caesar, or blue cheese on the side. Most places are very accommodating. A 6-oz filet mignon with steamed broccoli and a salad, baked tilapia with sautéed vegetables and a salad, or a burger without the bun are all good choices.

In lieu of an alcoholic beverage, sip on sparkling water, iced tea sweetened with stevia, or club soda with lime or lemon.

Unfortunately, many people might not understand why you're not splurging on vacation. Here are a few of Kershner's favorite ways to get out of a tight spot when someone is pressuring you to eat or drink something off plan:

1. Remember, you're taking care of you! Picture arriving home at the end of your dinner lighter than when you left. Imagine how good it will feel knowing you can eat out and can support your higher goals for your life, not sabotage yourself and deplete your morale.

2. Tell people in advance. Enlist the help of the people you're eating out with so they can support your efforts. You can do anything with a support system by your side!

3. Think of the big picture. There will always be something coming up that threatens your diet, be it a trip, a convention, a family get-together, a birthday, a wedding, or holiday. Try thinking of eating out as a chance to practice making food choices that are about the big picture of your life's goals, instead of the small picture of that particular event.

Evolve180 is a weight loss studio in Bellevue. Their customized weight loss solutions help you slim down in a way that works with your body and your life. Visit or call 425-442-5626 to learn more.