As registered dietitians and personal trainers we find that we get a lot of questions about tips for getting a flat belly when people are heading off for vacation. We completely get it –and relate to not wanting to look bloated when arriving at your destination–whether you’re stepping into a bathing suit, a dress, or any outfit, you want to look and feel your best! So if anything related to your tummy causes you angst before your vacay, believe us, you’re not alone–and we can help!
We think you’ll appreciate our client “Suzi’s” struggle:
Suzi came through our door right before spring break, panicking and telling us, “I bloat on the plane—my entire body swells up– and I’m so constipated when I arrive at my destination that I look six months pregnant! And it puts so much pressure on me because I’m heading off to my vacation when I’ve only partially met my weight loss goals and I know that on top of it all I’ll be fighting this extra bloat! I’m petrified to arrive feeling so lousy and out of shape and like all the hard work I did to prepare for this trip was in vain. What can I do to look and feel better? Help!”
Oh, hang in there Suzy! We can help!
Can you relate to Suzi? We certainly can! Years ago, before getting our nutrition education and before working with so many great clients, we ended up looking and feeling like a mess when we arrived at our beach destination vacation in Florida! What a disaster!
Since so many of you have written to us and asked for help with this, we thought the best way to help you would be to share some of the tips we shared with Suzi and with many of our clients. You may have heard some of this before, but now you’ll know why they are “must-do’s!” So here you go!
Headed on a plane or road trip? Do This (days leading up to the trip and during your travel):
- Water, water and more water. Water not only will keep you hydrated, stave off dehydration headaches, moisturize sullen and dry looking skin and eyes, prevent mistaking hunger for thirst, but it also will help to flush sodium and other bloating culprits out of your body so you can arrive feeling bloat free. It also helps push waste out of your colon for an even flatter belly. Sip water before you leave for your travels and continuously during your travels. Skip sodium packed tomato juice and bloating soda and seltzer (the carbonation puts excess gas and bubbles in your stomach– -and no one wants that! And before you leave, we highly recommend sipping one of these “flushing” drinks between meals (or with them too) to keep your mind and body on the healthy track:
Apple Cider Vinegar & Lime “Detox” Drink
Cucumber Blueberry Water Flush
Lemon Ginger Detox drink
2. Go to town on veggies— fill half your plate with them for the days leading up to when you leave so that you’ll have less room for the heavier stuff (carbs and protein)– this will help you to shed some belly fat. When you travel, do whatever it takes to stock your carry-on with vegetables so you can munch on them on the plane. If you’re unable to stop before the airport to get veggies at a local grocery, deli or bodega (or even drugstore, as many now have veggies!), then load up on salads and veggie crudité at the airport deli or restaurant. Vegetables are packed with water, so they’ll help you to stay hydrated, plus they’re packed with fiber to get your digestive tract moving, pushing out wastes, salt and toxins from your colon along with unsightly belly bulges from all-to-familiar travel constipation. Plus, you’ll automatically feel healthier and immediately get your mind and body back on the healthy track knowing that you’re loading up on antioxidant-rich, super low calorie fare instead of typical fatty fare that is associated with travel.
When you’re home try these veggie recipes
Caramelized Cauliflower with Olive Oil and Lemon Juice
3. Zip up Your Abs– We rely on this and it truly makes a huge flat-belly difference! For the days leading up to your trip before you leave and when you’re sitting on the plane, activate your abs by squeezing them in tight and pulling them back against your spine as you exhale. Think of zipping your abs together by using your muscles to contract your abs by pulling in from the center—think about pulling everything in from a vertical line from your belly button and up to between your breastbone and pulling everything in and back towards your spine. Think zipping together. Hold for a count of 10 as you continue to exhale. Slowly release and repeat for 10 reps at least three times throughout your flight, but ideally as much as possible. Not only will this create good posture, it will also wake up the ab muscles and make it easier to keep your abs in, preventing them from looking bloated. Also, breathing out and pushing air out of the stomach while pulling the muscles in tight helps to flatten your stomach, so you’ll be a step ahead of the game.” Bonus: Your abs will be warmed up for when you’re at your destination and need to keep your abs tight! 😉 You can see the video for an example here in this post.
4. As you’re sitting on the plane do toe taps. It’s easy and painless—you don’t even have to stand up—but it gets the blood circulating in your legs and wakes up your whole body. And it helps to prevent swollen legs and ankles. It interestingly can also prevent blood clots, which surprisingly can happen at any age after sitting too long. Better yet, walk to the back of the plane and do calf raises—this works even better for pumping the blood through the legs and also strengthens the calves. The shapelier the calves are, the better the rest of the legs look! 🙂
Once you arrive at your destination, Do This: