Ten Tips for Traveling After Weight Loss Surgery

Ten Tips for Traveling After Weight Loss Surgery

Alex Brecher

Travel may be in your future after weight loss surgery. That can disrupt your schedule and, whether you are traveling for work or leisure, there are some tips you can use to stay on track while away from home.

Like so many things after weight loss surgery, traveling after weight loss surgery is different than it may have been before. It can be better in so many ways, with improved health and better mobility allowing you to do more with less discomfort. 

Still, traveling after weight loss surgery could make you nervous. What will you eat? Will you be active? What can you do to prepare to travel while staying true to your healthy intentions? Here are 10 tips.

  • Take snacks.
  • A big part of traveling is disrupting your schedule. Even if flights and trains are on time, possible time changes, fatigue, and your body being unused to the routine can mean that you get hungry suddenly and unexpectedly. Protein Bars may be the easiest and lightest-weight snacks to take, and they taste delicious.

    If you go to a convenience store or quick-service or fast food restaurant when you are hungry, you might end up with something sugary, starchy, fatty, or all three of those. And it may not even have much protein! Fries, candy bars, and potato chips are easy to come by, but not on your post-op diet. 

  • Pack medications.
  • Be sure to bring all of your medications with you. Take enough to get through your trip, plus enough extras to get through any reasonable delays. Also, ask your prescribing providers to give you the prescriptions of your medications in case you need to try to find some at your destination. 

    If you are flying, you can pack medications in your checked luggage, but you should carry some with you in your carry-on baggage. The TSA lets you take injectable insulin and glucose testing supplies, as well as any other necessary medications. Check their website for more details.

  • Keep taking your bariatric vitamins.
  • Your body doesn’t stop working when you are on vacation, and it still needs nutrients. Keep taking your bariatric vitamins as recommended by your surgeon or other provider. As with medications, take enough for your trip plus some extra.

  • Plan your food.
  • The more you can plan what you will eat, the easier it may be to stick to your bariatric meal plan. It can take some time, but try to map out where you will be on each day and each meal. If possible, identify where you might eat, and then what you may eat.

    If you realize that there may not be many good options for you at a given meal or snack, pack something to eat at that occasion. Protein Bars and Shakes are good options, and you can also take single-serve packets of Protein Entrees. They are lightweight and need only water to prepare.

  • Check carry-on restrictions.
  • Check the TSA’s website for carry-on restrictions as you plan what to take. For example, large jars of peanut butter are not allowed, but you can plan accordingly. The BariatricPal Store has Powdered Peanut Butter that you can take with you on the plane.

  • Notice new things.
  • You can try new things in your post-op body if you like. Adventurous types may like to kayak, bike, or hike, for example. But if you are not adventurous, you can still enjoy your improved health and fitness by noticing changes, such as fitting into an airplane seat or being able to walk more places than before. 

  • Walk a lot.
  • You may be able to walk more while traveling than you do at home. Instead of automatically driving or taking a bus, think whether you can walk part or the entire way to your destination. It can be fun if you think of the walk as part of your tourist experience instead of just a means to get to a single place.

  • Plan for exercise.
  • This may not be the time to up your exercise program or intensity, but be sure you consider exercise a little bit. It would be unhealthy to go for too long without moving much! These are some options.

    • Walking as a tourist
    • Going to the park if you have traveled to visit friends or family
    • Using the hotel gym at a conference or when you are a tourist.
    • Using exercise videos in your room.

    Remember to take comfortable shoes and clothes, and consider taking resistance bands if you think you’ll be able to use them for a few minutes most days.

  • Make eating decisions as early as possible.
  • This helps you avoid making impulse decisions on the spot that can lead to poor choices and overeating. While traveling, you are likely to have a lot of opportunities to eat foods that can put you over on calories, carbs, or fat, such as the following.

    • At a conference, when you may receive a pre-packed meal with items such as sandwiches, cookies, and pasta salad.
    • At restaurants, where portions can be large, bread can be abundant, and sauces can be heavy. 
    • At family meals, where you may feel obligated to try home-cooked comfort food and desserts.

    Try to find out the available foods beforehand and decide what to choose. Keep in mind that you can always have at least a little bit of control beforehand. Even if you have no idea where you will be eating the next meal or snack, or which foods will be available, you can at least plan on how many calories and how much protein you need. That way, you can try to choose foods that meet those criteria.  

  • Relax.
  • Some things will go wrong. You will make a bad decision, or you might find yourself without a health option when you are hungry. It’s okay. It doesn’t mean you have had a failed weight loss surgery. It means you have the opportunity to make a good decision the next time.

    Traveling after weight loss surgery can be a gratifying and exhilarating experience. Though it can be scary to get out of your daily routine after you have made so many changes to your lifestyle, you can prepare to travel and be healthy as you do. The BariatricPal Store has snacks, entrees, protein, and vitamins that can help you stick to your meal plan and keep on track throughout your trip.

    Post op travel