Vacation Balance and Bounce Back!
School is out! It is time for warm weather, sunshine, outdoor activities, beaches, barbecues, swimming, and of course travel. I’m sure you are looking forward to your upcoming vacation to relax, unplug, spend quality time with your loved ones, have adventures, try new activities, experiment with food, and have fun!
We can all use a vacation to get away from the hustle and bustle of our daily schedules. However, vacations can also be a time where we let ourselves go a bit, neglect our self-care, and overindulge. I am a huge fan of traveling and that, of course, includes trying the local food and beverages; but I take a balanced approach.
Rather than living a life of restriction and deprivation, I follow the 90/10 rule where you maintain a healthy lifestyle 90 percent of the time, but allow yourself that special treat once in a while. Vacation is definitely a part of that 10 percent. Now that doesn’t mean you go crazy and pile up a mountain of food onto your plate in the buffet line, eat a whole pizza pie, or drink a pitcher of margaritas every day. You can, however, try each of the items from the buffet, have a slice or 2 of pizza, order the specialty cocktail, and enjoy the local cuisine.
Now you may be thinking a few things to yourself right now. “This sounds like a great plan, but how do I actually follow this and not go overboard?” “What else can I do while on vacation to maintain a healthy lifestyle?” “If I do happen to overindulge, how do I get back on track after the trip?”
No worries! Below I will provide tips to help you maintain a balanced lifestyle while you still enjoy your vacation and will also add recommendations to get you back on track if you may have gone a little overboard.
Healthy Lifestyle Tips While On Vacation
Stay hydrated - Bring a water bottle with you wherever you go and keep an eye out for local fountains to refill.
Prepare and pack smart – Bring exercise clothes and sneakers so you are properly equipped to go to a gym, get some outdoor cardio, or enjoy a long walk as you take in the local attractions. Bring appropriate footwear, so you are able to walk each day.
Keep moving –Take any opportunity to walk. Skip the public transportation and explore sites by foot. Take a break from sunbathing and stroll on the beach. Use the hotel stairs instead of the elevator for some added cardio.
Bring healthy snacks –Always have a high fiber, healthy snack on hand whether you bring some items from home or you find a local grocery store near your hotel. The snack will keep you full until your next big meal, so you are less likely to overindulge. Great examples are vegetables or fruit with nuts, nut butter, or hummus.
Scope out the menu – Check out restaurant menus in advance to look for some healthier options. Don’t be afraid to ask the server to cook an item differently or swap out a side dish.
Eat slowly – Have a portion of the famous deep fried dish, but chew slowly, be fully present, and enjoy every morsel.
Be mindful of portions – Select a few of your favorite items from the buffet or family style platters, but fill up your plate once. Use a salad plate instead, so it looks full, but in fact you halve the size of the portion.
Enjoy alcohol in moderation – Alcohol is generally a part of socializing while on vacation, and I am a huge wine lover. But rather than a whole bottle of wine, have a couple of glasses.
Save room for the entrée - Be mindful of table appetizers such as breads, muffins, and crackers at restaurants. Have the warm roll, but set the basket aside.
Be mindful of dressings and sauces – Enjoy the toppings, but ask for the dressings and sauces to come on the side, so you can control how much you pour onto your dish.
Guilt Free Dessert – It is a definite must to try the local dessert, so stop for a cup of creamy gelato before heading to the Colosseum or order a Nutella crêpe before visiting the Luvre, and enjoy them fully and without guilt.
Get Back on Track Post Vacation
Go grocery shopping right away – Stock up on fruits vegetables when you get home and plan your menus for the week.
Meal prep –Choose the evenings you are going to cook that week, so you don’t spend hours in the kitchen each night. Prepare your breakfasts, lunches, and snacks the night prior, so you don’t even have to think about making the healthy choice the next day.
Load up on lots of greens –Flood your body with the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it needs to reenergize. Make a green juice or a smoothie in the morning, have a colorful salad with a variety of greens for lunch, and enjoy extra broccoli, asparagus, spinach, or brussels sprouts with your dinner.
Eat at home – Try to eat at home as much as possible that first week you return, so cooking becomes more of a habit again. You also know exactly what’s going into your food, you will avoid sodium-laden meals, and—as an added bonus—you will save money!
Catch up on sleep – Of course when we travel we all want to stay up later to explore the nightlife or to get a head start on the morning adventure, so sleep is often neglected. Therefore, it is so important to make sleep a top priority when you return. Go to bed early and get a deep night sleep to allow your body to heal and rejuvenate.
Drink lots of water and stay hydrated – it’s just as crucial to stay hydrated post vacation to flush out the toxins and mitigate bloating. Start your day with a cup of water and lemon in the morning and bring that handy dandy bottle with you throughout your day.
Fuel up with fiber – Get your digestion back on track after a vacation with fiber. Include beans, oats, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, berries, whole grains, and vegetables.
Use your calendar for exercise accountability – Mark down on the calendar the days and times you plan on working out and include what activity you will do each day.
Don’t weigh yourself- Don’t obsess and worry about a number on the scale. Rather, focus on setting new short-term goals such as getting to those exercise classes and having fun cooking new recipes for the week.
And most important...move forward & no regrets! Don't beat yourself up for any vacation splurges. You had a fabulous time, made your choices, and now you start anew tomorrow!
Enjoy your travels everyone! :)