Vacation Tips

You may be on vacation, but your weight-loss surgery guidelines, don't have to be.

Leaving home means giving up control over meals, but it doesn't mean you can't be successful. In this section, I'll share tips for bariatric friendly eating on vacation. 


Also see: Out and About, Tips for Eating Out, and Holiday Helps  



planning vacations—fun and fitness

Summer is just around the corner. Vacation get-a-ways allow us time to rest, but just because you're on vacation, doesnt' mean life and health have to take a backseat. There are plenty of practical and fun things to explore that will keep you fit and healthy at the same time. It all starts with a little planning.

While on vacation, travel expert and mother, Kendra Thornton recommends starting with accommodations. She says, Most modern hotels have fitness amenities. I always make sure the hotel we stay in has a well-equipped fitness center. I can usually get a quick workout in early before the kids wake up. Some hotels have running trails on the premises. This provides a fun alternative to running on a treadmill. Vacation seldom accommodates a regular workout, but short bursts of activity will help to burn calories and keep your metabolism high. With family coming to visit us in Chicago in a couple weeks, I suggested staying a hotel downtown. Not only do many of the hotels have great gyms, but also it’s close to all the sites!"

Speaking of taking in the sites, getting in exercise while on vacation doesn’t just have to include inside gyms, elliptical and stationary bikes. There are lots of ways to be active that the whole family can enjoy. Hotels and resort may offer tennis courts, golf courses or even my husband’s newest passion—Pickleball.

Hiking doesn’t just include mountains, wilderness, forest, and caves. As Kendra suggests, trails can be a great alternative for running as well as taking a leisurely walk.

One of my favorite places to vacation is Bald Head Island, NC. This quaint little get away, with it’s beaches and swimming pools offers, (along with rest, relaxation and sun) lots of fun and adventure. This island may run on turtle time, but there is plenty of fun to keep you going. There are trails for leisurely hikes through the maritime forest. My favorite is Bald Head Island's Turtle Walks, offered as part of their loggerhead sea turtle conservatory program. From salt marshes to ocean waves, these coastal island waterways lend themselves to sailing, surfing, fishing, boating, canoeing, paddle boarding, and kayaking.

There's more to do on the beach beside lay in the sun. Don’t forget to take along a beach ball, a Frisbee or even a kite. A croquet set, badminton or volleyball will be perfect for making news friends on the sandy white beaches. Building sand castles is an enjoyable venture that can burn a few calories. And of course, one of my favorite pastimes on any beach hike includes hunting for sea shells. If you forgot to pack the fun, there's no excuse, there are always rentals.

Whether you're making a trip to the city or a quaint little town, you can enjoy the great outdoors while exploring new places. Small towns offer bicycle rentals or even horseback riding opportunities. How about visiting a zoo or amusement park. Even on a rainy day the fun doesn’t have to stop. How about strolling through museums or find a bowling alley or take in some rock climbing.

Vacations can be opportunities to explore new places and fun activities—keeping you fit physically, socially, and mentally. Yes, you can. You have many more miles to go!

For more tips on travel follow Kendra on Twitter (@KendraThornton). 

Posted on Monday, May 12, 2014 at 09:00AM by Registered CommenterJulia Holloman | CommentsPost a Comment

one leg up 

Recently, our family spent a week at Disney World, one of two trips since my surgery in 2006. For me, traveling is perhaps one of the hardest things to do after weight-loss surgery because one must leave a controlled environment for one that is not.  

One of the concerns with traveling is making certain the proper food (and water) is available, but this trip was a breeze. There are several options available at the parks. 

Coolers are allowed at Disney's Magic Kingdom, so we took advantage of this option most days. We packed a small cooler that was within the park rules and checked them in at the lockers as we entered the front gate. Then we returned at lunch, retrieved them, and found a suitable spot for eating under the shade tree at the entrance. (The guidelines for coolers and contents allowed can be found online.)

The day we went to two parks, (Animal Kingdom in the morning and Hollywood Studios in the afternoon) we returned to the car for our pre-packed lunch. (Remember, it's November—temperature is in the 70's). 

During our visit, we stayed at a "time share" where we had a full kitchen. One day we had a late lunch and snacked inside the park. My "snack" was a smoked turkey leg—these are available year round at the parks—yum. Although I did share one, I did request one of my own, it lasted through breakfast and snack several days (it's huge). 

Speaking of snacks, I did pack a few small protein bars in my purse, which was allowed. (Food is allowed for medical purposes, but I was never questioned. We also traveled with a baby.) We packed several bottles of water in the bottom of the stroller, as well as our small cooler and stayed well hydrated. 

Food inside the park is expensive, as you may know. But we limited our meals purchased inside the park to one a day and we only purchased meals two days. (once at Universal and once at the Magic Kingdom). With a little diligence, there are healthy options to be found throughout the parks.

Posted on Friday, November 30, 2012 at 06:55AM by Registered CommenterJulia Holloman | CommentsPost a Comment

feeding time at "animal kingdom"...disney style!


This week we've been on vacation at one of the most "magical" places...Disney World, Florida.  

In the weight loss surgery "world" the most common questions that arises soon after the thrill of being able to ride the rides and actually being able to "walk" the park for a day, is the questions of food. 

This is my experience.

One day this week, we ventured out on safari, down the trails of Disney's Animal Kingdom. I was a little concerned that they would confiscate my snacks and water, but upon entrance into the park, they did not.  

I actually found the "food" environment inside the park quite "bariatric" friendly, not to say that there weren't plenty of tempting treats to avoid.

My first stop before lunch was mid-morning or around 11:00.  I knew the rest of the group had eaten breakfast later than I had and would not be ready for lunch quite so early, so I chose to stop at the fruit stand at the intersection between Africa and Asia. I was pleasantly surprised that among the fresh fruits were a selection of apples, both red and green, bananas, and oranges.  I purchased an apple for around $1.35. They also had fruit and cheese which would have been a good choice also, had it not been so close to lunch. I also had a few mixed nuts and was good to go until the rest of the group was ready for lunch. Let's go see the lions, tigers and elephants!

After our African adventure, it was time for lunch. There were several options. Our choice was one of the "stop and go" stands. The place we chose included  three entree choices: burgers (with or without cheese),  tuna salad on a pita, and turkey and cheese. Any of these choices would have been good for me. I choose the cheeseburger, cut it in half, and took off the bread. Condiments were optional and were available on the side. I chose apple slices instead of chips.  Just across the way, we found a little table for four in a sunny spot. In the unseasonably cool air, the Florida sun was a delightful addition to our lunch. Let's go to Asia and ride the forbidden mountain roller coaster of Mt. Everest...yes, I did! 

Water was on the agenda for the in-betweens and available at most every stop along our trail, for $2.50. 

I munched on a few nuts in the afternoon and we left just before the park closed around 4:15 and went to eat dinner outside the park at Red Lobster...seafood here we know I'm happy.  

Just to make sure I got the information correct: I did call Disney Dining to ask about the policy of bringing your own food or coolers inside the is what I was told: 

Snack bags and small coolers are allowed in the park.  Coolers cannot be any larger than 24 x 15 x 18 inches. They cannot be full-size cooler or have wheels. There is no designated storage for food or coolers inside the park. 

Water is allowed to be brought in, but no glass or alcohol can be carried in, however, alcoholic beverage were sold inside the park.

Plastic knives may be confiscated, however plastic ware is available inside the park. 

Overall, I had a pleasant day, I never worried about finding plenty of food or water to suit my needs as a weight loss surgery patient or with hypoglycemia.  

I remember our last trip during hot weather, we froze water bottles, which was a great idea. 

So, I officially report that Disney, in my opinion is very "bariatric friendly". We had a very relaxing, enjoyable and "wonderfully magical" adventure.  Yes, you have many more miles to go!

Posted on Friday, January 14, 2011 at 10:06AM by Registered CommenterJulia Holloman | CommentsPost a Comment