My husband, Mark, and I just came back from three weeks in New Zealand.

If you will indulge me in a few fave pictures of our adventure travel, I will then walk you through some handy tips for staying healthy and not gaining weight when you travel.  (You can scroll down if you prefer.) I know this is a concern of so many people, as it used to be for me.

In the past, taking a holiday was synonymous with packing on unwanted pounds.

Below, I’ll share with you what I learned, what I practice, and what prompted one of my clients to call me this week to tell me that for the first time, at age 69, she went away for five weeks and did not gain a single pound.

Here’s a quick tour of our mega-adventure in NZ. Not bad for a couple of senior citizens like Mark and me.

Rosie NewZealand

The picture above is of me walking up the steepest residential street in the world.

I met this lovely and friendly hen. She was very happy when I told her that I no longer eat animals. 

Hike, Bike, and Kayak

The main objective for our trip was to hike, bike, and kayak, and to create memories of a lifetime. Here’s a fun pick of us after doing some challenging (and spectacular) technical riding outside of Auckland.

Rosie Biking


Zucchini pie, roasted cauliflower, and a green salad

New Zealand isn’t a foodie capital, like France or Italy. But we managed to feed our vegan souls quite well. We figured we kept to our plant-only standards about 98%. We know to be flexible when we travel. Below is a picture of a zucchini pie, roasted cauliflower, and a green salad. No animals were killed or harmed to produce this lovely meal. We put almond milk in our coffee whenever that was an option.

Rosie Vegetarian Foods NewZealand


Best Falafel in the World

Speaking of plant-based food, here we are, in Rotorua, enjoying a fun dinner sold to us by a street vendor, who had a sign on his veggie-van that read, Best Falafel in the World.

Rosie Falafel New Zealand

Stretching Time

I made time to stretch, always a good thing when sleeping in different beds, driving long distances, and scrunching in airplane seats. This cool beach outside of Hampden, Moeraki Boulders, had huge rocks strewn all over it, and we enjoyed walking around them.

Rosie Stretching New Zealand


Hiking the Franz Glacier

We hiked the Franz Glacier, which now is only accessible via helicopter. It has receded about 1.5 miles since as recently as 2012. At that time, a tourist could step out of her car and walk on to the glacier. Climate change is the culprit for this sad turn of events.

 Franz Glacier


Queenstown, New Zealand

This is Queenstown, at the top of the epic hike. We found the beauty staggering. One of the key suggestions I make below is to hike more than you shop while on holiday. Our style is to pull into a new place, jump online, and look for the best hiking around. 
Queenstown New Zealand

Kayaking in the Franz Glacier

Below is a picture of Mark and me kayaking in the Franz Glacier area. I know, it’s gorgeous. We nourished our souls on the unspoiled beauty. 

Kayaking in Franz Glacier



Here, where we live, I lead the Vitality Club. Picture a bunch of 55+ people, sitting around, talking about anything and everything related to staying healthy, energetic, and full of vitality. This particular discussion was about travel and not gaining weight

Here are my notes from the session.:

  1. Quality and quantity – key factors
    1. Salads, veggies, watch and reduce processed carbs (breads, desserts, ice cream)
    2. Choosing carefully from the menu. Veggies and salads are often quite delicious.
    3. Watching volume of food, especially when massive quantities are served to you (buffets, family style, all-you-can-eat)
    4. Being prepared for what to do when others eat. It might not be time for you to eat.  
    5. “You can’t out-run or out-exercise enough to make up for too much volume or too low quality of food.” Sure, you might be walking more on holiday than when you are at home. But that does not justify (or make sense to your body’s metabolism) if you add huge amounts of food, especially refined carbs as if it does not matter. Your body will tell you that it matters very much.
  2. Self-talk, beliefs, expectations
    1. “It’s just another meal”. You really don’t need to go to yet another restaurant, especially if you are not hungry. I told myself this over and over and it helped me eat the simple lunch we prepared for ourselves before leaving our lodging in the morning.
    2. Vacation/holiday mindset – listen to what you tell yourself. Be careful not to let yourself go and come home to a big challenge (that could be avoided). “Oh, I’m just on vacation. I can lose weight when I get home” is a popular one. Okay, but I’m not sure the means justifies the end. 
    3. Check expectations. Do you really always gain weight on a vacation? Like I wrote above, not according to my 69-year-old client who busted through this myth for herself. What do you picture? What do you expect?
  3. Move more, shop less
    1. Seek adventure
    2. Compare hiking to shopping
    3. Do your own thing (around food too). If the crowd goes for ice cream, maybe you can walk to the top of the clock tower, or some other fabulous attraction.
    4. Be creative. Jumping jacks, push-ups, sun salutation, taking the stairs… these will add up. Especially in the morning. Doing merely fifteen minutes of a good-feeling workout is vastly more than doing nothing at all.
  4. Bring your own
    1. Travel with shakes for a meal replacement (the brand I have used for twenty years is by USANA Health Sciences. if you want to check them out.
    2. Travel with simple ingredients for easy meals. We had multi-grain bread, all natural peanut butter, honey, and an orange for lunch most days. This is energy-dense food, but we were doing fairly intense exercise each day so it worked well for us. Traveling with nuts and dried fruit is popular. 
    3. When possible cook simple meals to avoid feasting. Sometimes simple is what tastes best. Make a habit of running into a grocery store when possible to get a fresh stash of fresh fruit. 
  5. Other people
    1. Discern between role models (inspiration) and others (who are not worth emulating)
    2. Stray from the pack. If everyone is going out for pizza, maybe you can order something different, or even go somewhere else. My husband and I actually did this. I don’t think anyone even cared. 
    3. Focus on yourself, especially if you are traveling with your spouse or family. Remind yourself of your values and your goals to stay healthy and lean, the decisions you are in charge of, and not controlling others. (This will free you up to make even better choices.)
Does that help? Are you a bit more confident when you think about your next holiday? Adventure travel is a sizzling hot rage now. All ages can be accommodated. What a great way to see the world?

Wishing you happy trails,

PS You know you have the power to make my day. Send an email to and let me know which of these ideas sound good to you. I promise to read and get back to you if you have a question.

Rosie Bank is Board Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and the founder of Health Matters Coaching. She is the author of the book, Health Matters. Rosie is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and is certified by The Center for Nutrition Studies (e-Cornell) in Plant Based Nutrition. Rosie is an international speaker, blogger, and the founder of Health Matters podcast. She is certified as a Nutrition and Wellness Consultant through the American Fitness Professional Association and as a Nutrition Advisor through Sanoviv Medical Institute. Rosie founded The Vitality Club in Brentwood, CA in 2018.

To learn how Rosie can help you maximize your health and achieve your goals, schedule here

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