My husband and I just got back from an amazing weekend away with long time friends, and came back with memories of nonstop laughter and fun. What we didn’t come back with, though, was the familiar feeling of heaviness that one sometimes gets towards the end of vacations. Lounging in the son, coupled with overindulgences of any kind, can be a recipe for disaster. We work so hard to get our bodies in “vacation ready” shape, yet so easily backslide into habits of eating processed foods, drinking too much and not exercising. Not to mention how hard it can be to get back into a clean eating/exercise routine while also catching up on housework, work…all that “real life” stuff. But vacations are one of the best parts of our year, and can be enjoyed without complete loss of our health goals. Here’s how:
1. Always plan a workout the day before and the day after your vacation. Put it in your calendar and just do it. Even if it’s just 10 minutes. But get it done.
2. Look up restaurants in the area before you go. Or, better yet, choose accomodations with a kitchen of some sort, so you can plan healthy meals (and save some money too).
3. Whether eating out or cooking in, incorporate fruits and/or vegetables, protein and water into every meal. I’m not telling you not to enjoy some ice cream or area specialties, but fill up on healthy stuff first. And water. Always water.
4. Plan some type of active activity for every day of vacation. Hiking, family bike rides, swimming or a walk on the beach. Whatever it is, build it into your day. Trust me, you’ll still have plenty of time to lounge on the beach with a good book and a (low calorie) drink in your hand.
5. I’m the last person to tell you not to enjoy a cocktail or two on vacation. But choose wisely…look up calories of typical drinks before you make your decision or stock up on ingredients. There are plenty of ways to cut calories without missing out on all the fun. And drink water after every drink (alcohol, coffee…).
6. Speaking of drinks…when you’re enjoying before or after dinner drinks with friends, choose healthy snacks. Veggies and hummus, fruit plate, veggies or whole wheat crackers with salsa, grilled shrimp or chicken skewers… If making dessert, make enough for 1 serving per person. Leftover dessert is never a good idea.
When we look back on our most memorable vacations, what we remember is laughing with friends, trying a new adventure, watching beautiful sunsets. When we remember that vacations are enjoyed, whether we do so healthfully or not, it’s easier to make choices that are aligned with the lifestyle we want to embrace.
Wishing everyone in my life an amazing summer filled with laughter, love and beautiful sunsets.