Fighting the Battle of the Bulge on the Road

staying-healthy-while-travelingWorking as a travel nurse is exciting and a great opportunity to meet new people and learn new skills. But let’s face it, adjusting to a new city and working long shifts may not leave much time for exercise.

Also, anyone who works in a hospital knows the break room is often filled with candy and cookie trays. Throw in potlucks and trips to new restaurants and it is not always easy to keep the pounds from creeping on while you work as a traveler. But it is not a lost cause. There are several things you can do to maintain a healthy weight while working as a traveler.

  1. Skip the trip to the vending machine. Sure you may be working a long shift, and a little pick me up from the vending machine may help. Except it won’t. Sugar-filled drinks and snacks may give you a little boost, but it is short lived. Plus, snacks like candy, soda, and chips are packed with calories. 
  2. Shop at local farmers markets. A great way to experience your new city, support the local economy and eat healthy is to shop at local produce stands and farmers markets. Stock up on fresh vegetables and fruit, and bring some to work for a quick, healthy snack.
  3. Bring your own food. If you buy cafeteria food each shift, you may not always know how much added oil, butter, and fat was used to cook it. In addition, portions may be larger than you need.
  4. Be aware of emotional eating. Some people eat if they feel stressed, sad, or even lonely. Starting a new travel assignment may make you a little nervous or homesick and can be a trigger for emotional eating.
  5. Find a fitness center near where you work. Don’t slack off on exercise because you moved to a new area. Look for a fitness center, which is near your job and will be convenient.
  6. Recruit a workout buddy. Sometimes working out with a buddy can help you stay on track. Ask one of your new roommates or coworkers if they want to work out together.
  7. Take the long route. Walk when you can. Park a little further from the door, take the stairs at work, and take the longer route when time allows. A little exercise here and there can add up.
  8. Track your steps. Consider wearing a pedometer, which will measure how many steps you take a day. Tracking your steps and setting goals is an extra way to stay motivated.
  9. Download an app.  There are several apps that track calories and exercise. Let’s face it; you are busy with work and a new city. An app is a quick way to track your food intake and exercise output. 
  10. Enjoy eating out sensibly. You’re in a new city and want to enjoy going out with friends and have a drink or maybe dinner. Try to focus on the company and conversation, not the food. Make healthy food choices, such as veggies, lettuce wraps, and grilled chicken.

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