It can be very tempting (and easy) to convince ourselves that disregarding our health goals is part of enjoying vacation. Peer pressure, lack of control over food preparation, and emphasis on sedentary behavior are common during trips with friends and loved ones. We may even find ourselves struggling with comparison during warm outings where beach and dips in the pool are common. So how do we find the balance of maintaining our health goals without compromising our vacation enjoyment? Here are 10 of the best ways to maintain your health goals on vacation.
If you are staying in a house or rental that is equipped with a fully stocked kitchen, make a trip to the local grocery store or bulk store. Load up on fruits and vegetables with hummus / guacamole or ingredients to make a full meal at home. Not only will this save you money (instead of eating every meal out), but you’ll feel overall healthier and lighter after snacking on clean foods versus out at a restaurant with deep fried appetizers. When it comes to ordering certain foods, drinks, or desserts that trigger over-indulgence, control the serving size. Order the smallest size you can, and stick to one serving.
Finding Personal Time to Move
Are you traveling with a group that enjoys sleeping in and taking it easy on vacation? No problem! Take advantage of an early morning alone by lacing up your sneakers and hitting the pavement. Whether you go for a walk, bike ride, swim, or a work-out at the gym, use this time of solidarity to meet your movement needs without inconveniencing the agenda of the group.
You are always in control of your health and wellness goals. You may not be in control of the box of chocolates left on the kitchen island from the night before, but you ARE in control of what you put into your mouth. Just because something is THERE, doesn’t mean you need to have it! And just because other people in your travel group are indulging in something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD do it as well. You are an adult. It’s okay to say “no” to food/ drink peer pressure.
Avoiding “All or Nothing” Mindset
It’s very tempting on vacation to take all of your hard work at the gym or in the kitchen and throw it in the trash. Vacation tends to bring a sense of entitlement and lenience. Rather than the “All or Nothing” mindset, allow yourself to indulge in a special food or dessert here and there. Don’t let your entire diet be replaced by chocolate lava cake, margaritas, and nachos. Who wants to feel bloated, constipated, and sluggish on their vacation? Rather, allow yourself to intentionally indulge while keeping 80% of your health and lifestyle goals in check.
Being Mindful During Indulgences
Take your time when you do decide to indulge. Enjoy the bread basket at dinner, but stick to one piece of bread, and put it down after each bite. Really enjoy the taste of the bread and the butter or oil and savor the warmth and comfort that it brings to you. Rather than have “all-of-the-things”, pick and choose a few that you enjoy the most and really cherish them as you eat them.
Treating Yourself Like A Friend
Warm weather brings less clothing and more bathing suits. It can be very challenging to not compare yourself to others. Keep in mind, YOU are in control of your thoughts. Make your thoughts loving and encouraging. Tell yourself reassuring and supporting things that you would tell your friends or family. Do what makes you feel the most comfortable. When you feel comfortable, you’ll focus less on your insecurities and more on the enjoyment of your vacation.
Building Movement Into Group Activities
Choose an activity on your vacation that incorporates movement. Try a bike riding tour, give kayaking a go, or explore a city on foot. You’d be surprised how many miles you can clock when you’re distracted by the beauty of nature and history around you. After dinner, walk around the block to let your food settle, or find a spot with live music or a band to break out your dance moves!
Take Leisure By Foot
Start the morning with a To-Go coffee, tea, or water bottle and enjoy a walk around the block. Some of the most heart-warming conversations can be had on long walks with loved ones. Leave the phone and music at home and enjoy the serenity of the sights, smells, and weather that nature has to offer.
Share The Sweets
If you decide to intentionally indulge on vacation, be generous with others around you! Order a dessert and ask for extra spoons, or divvy up your dish into smaller bites and pass the plate around. Not only will others enjoy your treat, but you’ll be less tempted to over-indulge in a potentially calorie dense sugar bomb.
Listen To Your Body
Pay attention to how your body is feeling. Has it been a few days without hunger pains? Perhaps your body is saturated with energy and calories and needs a little break. Build up your water intake and move your body a little more to compensate for the imbalance. Does the sight of sugary sweets or alcohol innately make you hesitate and resist the urge to enjoy them? Pay attention to these instincts and first thoughts. Give your body a break from the sugar and instead emphasize protein, healthy fats, water, and lighter foods like non-starchy vegetables.
Vacation doesn’t have to come at the expense of your long-term health goals. By building in movement, prioritizing clean fresh food, and intentionally indulging in treats here and there, your vacation can still be enjoyable and consistent with longevity and wellness. Treat yourself like a friend, stay comfortable in your own skin, and truly pat attention to what your body needs to help keep your mindset light, forgiving, and loving.
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