Keeping the Weight Down (Down Under)

Starting a piece of writing with a dictionary definition is a carnal sin in journalism, but I’m going to commit it anyways. Here goes.

The dictionary defines “honeymoon” as “a vacation spent together by a newly married couple.”

Honey, I imagine, refers to the sweetness of time passed together.

Moon, I assume, refers to the shape of one’s face after two weeks off a normal routine. Because, holy cow, a honeymoon is a decadent affair.

We’re talking flowing champagne, copious croissants, and more gelato than I’m proud to admit, plus very little incentive to stick to a workout routine, unless that routine involves walking up a hill to the afore referenced gelato store.

OK, fine, or walking up a hill to see this decent view.

And that’s OK. A honeymoon is by definition an indolent escape meant to let the newlyweds relax after the stress and strain of planning a wedding — no small feat, no matter what pinterest leads you to believe. So it’s totally OK to honeymoon and not eat any vegetables for two weeks, or to honeymoon and not do any workouts, or to honeymoon and not drink anything that doesn’t come out of a coconut.

But if your idea of relaxing and feeling good doing it IS maintaining a semblance of health, that’s OK too. I, personally, feel better — and more like me — when I’m at least keeping healthy choices in my peripheral vision, tropical weather and all. Which is why I made some (very modest, I promise you) efforts to be healthier while traveling down under with my husband — efforts that I’m going to share today with you fine folks if you care to read on.

Don’t get me wrong: I didn’t spend my two weeks in Australia training for a marathon or knocking my leafy green consumption out of the park. But I did make a few small, intentional choices aimed at keeping my body feeling strong and healthy while out of my time zone. These travel tricks are easy ones, and ones any traveler — honeymooning or not — could adopt to return home feeling a little less, well, engorged than might have otherwise been the case. Here goes:

Take a mid-vacation yoga class. Running or biking in a hot climate isn’t much fun, but yoga? That’s a workout made for vacationers. Most gyms or resorts offer free or discounted classes, or find a local studio in your host city. Many lend mats and offer a first class or even first week free, which is perfect for the traveler who will never come round for a second visit. I took two yoga classes in Australia — one on the deck of the Hamilton Island Yacht Club on Christmas morning and another at a swanky Surry Hills studio in Sydney — and my stretched out legs thanked me when I re-boarded that 20 hour flight home.

Downward facing dingo, amiright?

Diversify your routine. Laying on a pool deck is one of my all-time favorite past times, but sometimes you want to work up a sweat while soaking up the sun. So why not rent a stand-up paddle board? Take out a kayak? Borrow some snorkeling gear? You’ll have so much fun taking in the sealife that you won’t even realize you’re burning off your breakfast via non-motorized watersport.

Fact: You burn more calories when you’re terrified of being eaten alive at the Great Barrier Reef.

Explore on foot. Taxis and subways have their place, but if you’re exploring a fairly safe city and you have time to kill, why not venture out on your own two legs? Just exploring Sydney, we walked upwards of five miles a day, which allowed me to justify the many, many days I thought about going for a morning run and then rolled over and went back to bed.

Explore and you might stumble across views like this. Or you might get blisters. Both cool though.

Get caught up on sleep. The experts agree: rest is one of the most important components of any training plan. So take it to heart! Sleep in, get a massage, take afternoon naps, and love every second you get to spend in your borrowed Australian hammock. Rest may not qualify as a workout, per se, but it will help you return to the real world ready to tackle those training plans head on in a way your pre-vacation mind couldn’t have even fathomed.

Shhhh, it’s naptime. (It’s always naptime.)

And if you make it all the way through your vacation without remembering to incorporate any of these healthy tips?

You can always stop by Hawaii for a quick walk with your best friend on your journey home.


How do you keep fit — even marginally — while traveling? 


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