I just returned from my dream vacation in Cape Cod. It was the first vacation my man and I took together in our nearly eight years together. Sure, we’d been on road-trips to see his parents or visit friends, we have even vacationed on my parent’s dime on Sanibel Island, but we had never PLANNED and paid for our own amazing vacation. It felt super empowering to do so and we knew it was sort of a special mile marker in our lives. So special that my man up and proposed to me on Breakwater Beach at sunset surrounded by our dear friends. It’s true. We are getting hitched! So weird and wonderful.
So, you can imagine, on a trip that symbolized SO MUCH in our lives, with so much joy, and so much love, the last thing I was thinking about was whether or not I was eating too much gluten, or if I should have that third glass of champagne (I think I polished off a bottle). It was time to live it up! For so many people, this is what vacation represents; a time to slow down, to appreciate the time with the people you love, to enjoy food, wine, to ditch the heavy work-out routine, to just BE.
This is crucial for sustained health, to de-stress, to break it up and to squeeze the juice out of life. However, oftentimes, vacations can become an excuse to go all out in a way that actually doesn’t feel good, and produces more anxiety and stress upon returning to reality. We may come back feeling heavy, gross, off track and out-of-body from all the over-indulgence and boozing. The more “all or nothing” our approach to food is, the easier it is to go way overboard, and the negativity boomerang starts and hits us right in the face. The more negativity, the more deprivation, the more we rebel, the more the cycle keeps repeating itself. Comprende?
So, how can you continue with your healthy goals while on vacation? How can you keep a healthy relationship with food and body while indulging and enjoying your time away?
These are my tips for a healthy and happy vacation that will keep you on track without the deprivation:
1) Health Anchors.
Use your already established healthy habits to ground you. Choose 2 or 3 to take with you. If you are taking vitamins, bring them on vacation. If you are green smoothying every morning, bring your blender (if you have access to a grocery store and kitchen). If not, try bringing a blender cup, boxed almond milk and Rockin’ Wellness. A few of my clients use this chocolate superfood blend on business trips and love it. They start the day off with something really healthy, which starts them off on the right foot. If you start your morning off with meditation or journaling, bring your meditations and continue to do so. When we BEGIN our day with something healthy, we are much more likely to continue the trend as the day goes. We are setting ourselves up for physiological and mental success. Use your anchors to create your own special vacation routine.
You don’t need to bring your P90X dvd’s on vacation to keep your blood pumping and your metabolism up (although you certainly could). It is okay to take a break from your routine. However, if you sit around all day drinking beer and eating pizza without moving, the pounds will start to pack on. Get creative with your environment. In Cape Cod, I ran for 40 min every couple of days, and in the time between, we walked A TON around the surrounding towns and took long walks on the beach.
You could also work out in the backyard of your place or even in your hotel room by doing a simple 30-minute workout like the one to your right. This will get your heart rate up and get you sweating in no time, and you don’t need a single prop.
3) Choose the treat. Don’t let the treat choose you. Treats are cool, when they are the exception, not the rule. Yes, I just rhymed. Just because you have nachos doesn’t mean you need to follow it up with an ice cream sundae and a six-pack of beer. Treats are actually MORE DELICIOUS in moderation. There is a diminishing return. Start paying attention to when you cross that threshold and you are no longer actually enjoying it. Let yourself have a treat or two a day, but eat high energy whole foods the rest of the time (proteins, good fats, raw nuts, veggies, fruits, slow burning carbs). If you let yourself have a treat, slow down and enjoy the french fries! Don’t rush and barrel through. Only choose it if you are confident you will feel as good AFTER you eat as while you eat it. No self-bashing allowed.
4) Pack healthy non-perishable foods/snacks that align with your goals. “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” I love that quote. Obviously you can’t travel easily with perishable foods but you CAN bring non-perishable snacks with you for “OMG. If I don’t eat now, I will die and I have no plan” moments. This will prevent the inevitable eating at airports (so expensive) or from rest areas that are chock-full of processed foods. I recommend low-sugar Kind Bars to most of my y clients (Madagascar vanilla, cashew and ginger spice, cinnamon dark chocolate and dark chocolate sea salt). They are delicious, have less than four grams of sugar and are mostly nuts, so they will keep you fuller longer than the readily available refined carbs everywhere you turn. The latter will cause your blood sugar to go bananas and can instigate more naughty cravings. Raw nuts (in moderation) are also a home run. Recently I found The Perfect Snaque as well, and I am a big fan of their Skinny Trail Mix (made with dark chocolate covered dried apple bits and dried lentils).
5) Resist falling into other’s patterns. Create positive vacation goals that keep you on track. It can be super easy to fall into other’s patterns while on vacay. They are getting another drink, so why shouldn’t you? They have three servings of gelato today, so why not? Stay clear on what your goals are for vacation. If the goal is to maintain your current weight or even LOSE weight, than that may take some intention setting and consciously making decisions that others aren’t making. To do this, create some daily goals. Phrase them in the positive, so psychologically you are adding in, instead of taking away. Today, I’m going to eat 7 cups of veggies. Today, I’m going to cook a healthy dinner for everyone. Today, I’m going to drink 72 oz of water or I’m going to have three fruits. Today, I’m going to get an hour of exercise. Each day, set a different healthy intention to start your own pattern.
6) When you aren’t indulging, keep it lean and green. Not every meal needs to be lobster, pasta, chowder or french fries. If you are choosing to splurge, awesome. But again, this is the exception. To account for the inevitable splurge (and the added refined carbs and fat), keep your other meals lean and green. What does this mean? Simple. Protein and veggies. Clean proteins like seafood, poultry, beef, turkey, eggs, combined with veggies galore. Have a veggie omelette for your morning meal. Have grilled salmon spinach salad for your evening meal. For lunch, you can have the lobster sliders with fries without the guilt and bloat.
Going on vacation soon? If so, choose three of these strategies to stay in line with your health goals, and who knows, maybe even drop a couple of pounds.
Rock On and Be Well,