There’s no secret to staying on track even when you go on vacation – just smart choices! Here are some things to keep in mind while vacationing so you avoid blowing your diet.
Step 1: Give Yourself a Pass
You’re on vacation! This is a time you’ve set aside for yourself to relax, so allow yourself to have fun and indulge in moderation in the local foods and drinks. Gracefully accept that you might gain a few pounds but commit to resuming your healthy living the minute you get back home.
Remember, this isn’t a license to binge or pig-out or throw all caution to the wind. Yes, by all means, release the rules a bit and have fun. But if it’s not mind-blowingly good, don’t eat it.
Don’t beat yourself up while on vacation. That’s no fun! Margaritas and guilt are a terrible combination, so make a point to enjoy yourself. Leave the Food Police at home, locked in a cell, where they belong.
Step 2: Don’t Eat Just for the Sake of Eating
The rules still apply while on vacation: if you’re full, stop eating. Don’t try to get your “money’s worth” of a midnight dessert buffet – just because food is available doesn’t mean that you have to (or should) eat it. What’s important is that you are living healthy and having a great vacation.
When presented with an opportunity to eat, ask yourself if you’re actually hungry. If you aren’t hungry but the food still looks good, consider having a taste without eating the full meal. Portion control will keep you from blowing your diet.
Make sure that you indulge mindfully. You can take a thoughtful detour, but don’t run your healthy living car off a cliff. Keep the 80/20 rule in mind while you make 80 percent of your selections healthy, while letting the not-so-healthy treats occupy the other 20 percent. If you slide to 70/30 this week, that’s not a big deal. Okay, even 60/40 won’t kill you as long as it’s in moderation. And no, I’m not going to go all the way down to 50/50, but nice try.
Step 3: Bring Healthy Snacks
I always take my protein powder, healthy bars, and individual serving sizes of nuts on vacation. This serves many purposes. First, it means I don’t have to order a stupidly expensive breakfast when I only want or need a few hundred calories.
Second, it’s my built-in safety net which prevents me from becoming ravenous. We all know that will lead to overeating and making bad food choices. Have some pistachios on the beach as a snack so the buffet later doesn’t look like one giant meal just for you. This can be a true lifesaver if you’re on a vacation that doesn’t have regular mealtimes; trust me, I’ve learned!
Third, it gives me a little more spending room to enjoy one of those oh-so-fattening drinks that taste like Heaven on vacation. Cheers! Eating a lighter lunch can keep you from completely blowing your diet even while sipping on an adult beverage.
Finally, it guarantees that I always have a healthy meal on hand so I can save the 20 percent indulgences for a later time when I see something I really want to enjoy.
Step 4: Be Creative and Move Your Body
Take advantage of the local environment. For Heaven’s sake, don’t spend your vacation days on a treadmill – get outside and see the sights while going for a run. Go for a hike. Swim in the ocean. Jog along the beach. Be creative and find ways to incorporate some local fun into the everyday activities while burning a few calories.
Step 5: Make it Right with the Very Next Bite
The minute you arrive home, you must return to your normal healthy eating plan. I don’t care if you get home on a Friday night. You do not have a license to say, “On Monday…” because that’s a slippery slope right back to your before body. If you really want to design, build and live in the body of your dreams, you have to get right back on track.