Given my recent posts have been a little more on the side of traveling than dietetics, I thought I would write this post with my alias in mind (it makes sense for the ‘Travelling Dietitian’ to write a post about weight management whilst travelling I think!). Before leaving Australia 6 months ago, it was amusing as a dietitian to have my mother, and my boyfriend at the time make comment that they would still love me exactly the same even if I gained a bit of weight whilst away (apparently that’s quite standard for Australians who come and live on campus in America). I remember responding to them both by saying “you really don’t need to worry about me, I’m a dietitian, I think I know what I’m putting into my body”.

Gorgeous Australian dieticians (and friends) at my farewell and birthday gathering

I even had a consultant dietitian of mine mention that she had gained around 10kg years and years ago when she was a college student on exchange in the USA because of all the large cakes they had on offer at the buffets every day!

Endless cakes at college

I didn’t actually weigh myself once this trip until a week or so ago, I can happily say it has been very nice not having a scale at my disposal and simply learning to get more in tune with my appetite to judge my hunger levels, and see how my clothes are fitting as a way of keeping note of my weight changes, which to add have not appeared significant. Having lost a few kilograms (some of which must be muscle from no longer going to the gym), I can report that for me, eating good quality healthy food that is rich is fibre, protein and nutrients, and eating based on my appetite rather than a schedule or clock, has proved very successful.

Healthy food whilst travelling

I am a true believer that one diet doesn’t fit all, and that even the word “diet” doesn’t need to be used. I feel the way we eat is a part of our life, and should simply be another aspect of healthy living for the long term.

These conclusions are simply one way of going about healthy living and weight management, both whilst travelling, or when at home, from a dietitians anecdotal personal experience. I hope they are helpful to some, even if stating some quite obvious points:

  1. Re-learn to listen to your appetite- Don’t follow a clock, if you are hungry at 11am, have a bigger meal then rather than a low calorie snack that doesn’t have any protein or fibre to fill you up.
  2. Stay hydrated- So often people grab food when they simply need to rehydrate.
  3. Watch your portion sizes- You can enjoy a bit of anything as long as you don’t over indulge daily on everything.
4. Learn to prioritize and don’t live a sedentary life- The world appears to be one big buffet of temptations, if weight management and health are important to you, remind yourself of that ultimate goal before you go for seconds at a meal. I prioritized exploring new cities, growing professionally, studying, and meeting new people this year, over putting aside the time to exercise.
This by no means is saying that physical activity is not important, but due to this prioritization, I made a deal with myself to at least take the stairs instead of the elevator at all times (even when seen as ridiculous in countries where the stairs are only for people going down to a platform, rather than up), catch public transport rather than cabs and going in cars as much as possible (and getting out a couple of stops earlier than need be so that I could walk a bit extra), and of course, enjoy my music as much as possible (I have been known to move my hands about whilst I listen to my music on the beach, silly or smart, your call, either way, it works for me, and is harmless to others!).

Empty calories constantly on offer at the college dining facilities

5. Watch energy dense foods- You don’t have to be a dietitian to know that a big slice of dense cake or greasy burger is filled with empty calories and a lack of nutrients. I use the term “bang for your buck” – but rather than seeing this as simply based on how large a volume of food you get for the amount of money you spend, I classify this as how full you will feel versus how many calories/kilojoules you are consuming (I usually look for nutrients such as fibre, protein and healthy fats to help make this analysis, as well as glycemic index). This has always been something I teach my clients, and seems to work a treat (no pun intended).

Home made lower calorie cocktails

6. Watch your alcohol- I haven’t been drinking a lot of alcohol this year, I have gone through many periods of my life where I have voluntarily steered clear of alcohol. I am not saying that I never have 1 or 2 drinks, but I can happily say it is not a daily or weekly event. You would be amazed how good you feel, how much more self control you have, and how instantaneously your stomach will flatten down. I know this may seem like an unheard of suggestion to some, but if your game to try, I highly suggest you give it a go.
7. Separate emotions from hunger- I haven’t turned to food for comfort when I have been restless. I have gone for a walk, listened to music, researched something of interest, or reached out to a friend from somewhere around the globe. Either way, separating hunger from emotions is of vital importance to a lot of people and often gets forgotten.

The boys ordering burgers and fries..I ordered chicken salad…this happened more than once!

8. Don’t feel pressured by others- Often in social situations we are pressured to eat or drink things based on other peoples preferences. I have liked living on my own, others find they need others around for support to prompt them to eat healthy. Either way, figure out your style of eating, and then try and set up a plan to work with it (a dietitian can help you with this if you are not confident going at this task alone).


There is one story from my trip that I will never forget and I laugh every time I reminisce on it. One of my dietitian friends reflected on how at the start of the year when she moved homes she kept food in her bedroom. I don’t mean chocolate bars and chips, and other ‘junk’ food one would typically envisage. Rather she kept canned beans and legumes, and other so called ‘healthy’ foods. Slightly amusing if you just envisage this to begin.

She explained that one day she was so bored that she somehow ended up sitting on her bed consuming a can of chickpeas almost unknowingly….she said she suddenly stopped and pretty much said to herself “what on earth are you doing? You’re eating a can of chickpeas by yourself on your bed because you are bored”…please re-read that and try and see the humour in it… maybe envisage yourself doing this!

At that point she put the can down, stopped eating, and decided not to have food in her room any longer! Basically, the moral I got from this story is learn to identify where your lack of will power usually comes in, and set up a system to support healthy (and conscious!) eating patterns.

I hope for those of you in Australia where winter is kicking in you can use some of these tips to prevent the unwanted winter weight gain, to those of you who find yourself travelling around the globe like myself you can implement some of these strategies, and for those in the northern part of the globe who have summer approaching you can utilize the information to keep your mind focused on your ultimate goals for the year ahead.

Another week in Italy is sure to bring about more experiences and enlightening tales, I will be sure to post again soon,

For now,

The Travelling Dietitian x

About The Author

Kara Landau aka "Travelling Dietitian" is an Australian Accredited Practicing Dietitian based in New York City. She is a world explorer, healthy foodie, social butterfly, and barre class lover. When she isn't trying new cuisines, researching new product innovations in the health food space, or speaking to the media on behalf of her food industry clients, she can be found quietly conjuring up her next idea in how to make this world a healthier and better place.

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