Your eating habits, often times are the first thing to go when traveling. Not by choice, but because of schedule changes, adapting to different time zones, being exhausted from flights, etc.
It can be tough to keep up with your usual routine. It’s much easier to reach for the convenient foods during a busy day or enjoy your nights out indulging in dinner and drinks with friends or coworkers.
Here is my #1 tip to stay in a routine, allowing for flexibility to enjoy those evening nights of wine and delicious food while not stressing over derailing from your goals...
Time Restricted Feeding
What is time restricted feeding?
Research shows that our body runs on a 24-hour internal clock. Daily changes in light and darkness allow our body to anticipate changes in environmental factors like when we need food/energy and when we get to rest. This could explain why we associate lightness with feeding times and darkness with sleep. Aside from your biology and light/dark cycles, time restricted feeding has been shown to improve body composition and blood sugar levels. One way to stay on schedule with your eating habits while optimizing your health is to use time restricted feeding.
How to implement time restricted feeding?
This is where you eat within a certain time frame of 8-12 hours and then fast
for the remainder 12-16 hours of the day. You can move these time frames around to fit your new time zone. Having this window of eating makes you more mindful of food intake.
For example, when you’re going abroad, adjust your eating schedule to the time zone you’re traveling to as soon as possible. This means, if a meal is served on the plane at 1am (in the time zone you are traveling to) - skip that meal. Instead, eat dinner before your flight, fast for at least 12 hours and eat your next meal at an appropriate time at your new location. This will give your gut time to rest before your next meal and may prevent any distress that occurs when you consume food during a time when your body is typically in a fasted state.
So you’ve reached your destination, now what?
Here’s a few practical takeaways:
1) You fast while you sleep. Assuming you get 7-9 hours per night (hopefully) - push those fasted hours a bit longer before you go to bed and after you wake up. Start small – maybe an hour or 2 on each end. By doing this your body will start to get use to not eating right upon waking or right before you go to bed.
2) Extend it an hour again on each end. Pay attention to how you feel – chances are you will find it easier than you thought.
3) Break your fast with a light meal and then a couple hours later have a bigger meal. This helps your digestion get started and prepared for more food to come.
Aim for at least 12 hours of fasting.
Drink plenty of water
View this as a lifestyle change rather than just a diet because remember, you can eat as you please during your feeding window. That being said, always fill your plate with vegetables and fiber rich carbs first then add protein as a topping along with a healthy fat.
Time restricted eating has major health benefits along and supports positive body composition changes. This strategy is not only for when you travel – it can be used daily to help you achieve your health and weight goals.
The exception: there are certain populations such as those dealing with hormonal imbalances who should not follow a TRF pattern.
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below!
Julia is a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) and future registered dietiitan nutritionist. She owns Julia Glanz Lifestyle. She created JGL to empower each unique body to optimize their health through fitness, nutrition and mindset. To learn more about Julia, please visit her website at juliaglanzfitness.com or follow her on Instagram at @juliaglanz.