It can definitely be a challenge to maintain a healthy lifestyle away from home when so much delicious food is available all the time. The best course of action is to give yourself permission to indulge in moderation, celebrate and have fun, and then focus on getting back on track when you get home.
There’s no secret to staying on track when you go on vacation – just smart choices! Here are some things to keep in mind while vacationing so you don’t spend your time away feeling guilty and defeated.
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 probably won’t hit any goals this week, but commit to resuming your healthy living the minute your plane touches down back home.
Remember, this isn’t a license to binge or throw all caution to the wind. But, by all means, release the rules and have fun. But if it’s not amazingly good, don’t eat it.
Don’t beat yourself up while on vacation. Let yourself have fun. Margaritas and guilt are a terrible combination, so make a point to enjoy yourself. Leave the food police at home.
Step 2: Don’t Eat Just for the Sake of Eating
The basic 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 is 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. Focus on portion control and staying connected to your hunger cues.
Make sure that you indulge mindfully. Keep the 80/20 rule in mind – while you make 80 percent of your selections healthy, 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 is in moderation. It’s only 1 week, so try not to stress too much about it.
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 ridiculously expensive breakfast when I’m not even that hungry in the morning.
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 really be a true lifesaver if you’re on a vacation that doesn’t have regular mealtimes.
Finally, it guarantees that I always have a healthy meal on hand so I can save the indulgences for a later time when I see something I really want to enjoy eating.
Step 4: Be Creative and Move Your Body
Take advantage of the local environment. Please 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 keeping your body moving.
Step 5: Make it Right with the Next Bite
The minute you arrive home, you must return to your normal healthy eating plan. It doesn’t matter if you get home on a Friday night. You do not have a license to say, “On Monday…” because that is a slippery slope back into negative habits. If you really want to design, build, and live a healthy lifestyle, you have to get RIGHT back on track.