Updated: Aug 11
First, I want to be crystal clear about something: when you go on vacation, it’s important to relax, enjoy yourself and have FUN!
But the truth is most women I coach feel some anxiety when it comes to vacations. They wonder how they can "stay on track" while away on vacation, they worry they'll lose all their great progress, or worse, they're afraid of feeling like they'll have to start all over again once they get back home.
This is where planning comes in! It's important to plan for FUN! Give yourself the space to savor fun foods you may not otherwise have access to when you're at home, to move your body in different ways than your usual structured workouts, and enjoy taking some down time for you. Planning helps you act with intention, practice healthy balance, and reminds you how you want to feel.
For most of us vacations are about the total experience: time with loved ones, new adventures, fun experiences, and rejuvenating mind, body and soul. Food is just one part of it.
Here are five ways to help you enjoy your next vacation, without fear of the wheels falling off.
Step 1: Skip The Ordinary
If you don’t eat Lays Potato Chips and Ben & Jerry's at home, then don’t go hog wild on them while you're on vacation. There’s nothing special about the average fun foods you can get at any old grocery store. Skip the ordinary and go for the extraordinary!
If you’re in Maine enjoy a tasty lobster role, when in Mexico savor the fresh chips, salsa and guacamole, and when in Italy enjoy every bite of authentic homemade pasta and bread! Everyone has a food they associate with a region, place or time, you get to decide what that meaningful food is for you.
Whatever it is, make it a fun, memorable occasion and enjoy it fully!
Step 2: Nourish Your Body
Don't skimp on fruits and vegetables, proteins and complex carbs. Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you stop nourishing your body. The truth is you can enjoy fun foods and nutrient dense ones too! And that's key to helping you feel and function your best! So take advantage of fresh local fruits and vegetables, fish and meats, and tasty grains.
When on vacation, I typically stay pretty active, so I start my day with a nutrient dense breakfast, such as eggs scrambled with vegetables, a side of fruit and whole grain toast. It gives me the energy I need to really enjoy the day! And I drink lots of water and prioritize protein at each meal.
Step 3: Move Your Body
Most people are actually MORE active when they're on vacation, that's because we usually have more free time than we do when we're at home! Simply put, when you’re on vacation, the “I don’t have time” excuse doesn't exist!
Wherever you are, 30-minutes of walking, bike riding, strength training, or swimming will boost your energy and keep you feeling great. Some of my favorite ways to get moving while on vacation are to explore our destination by foot or bike, take advantage of the hotel gym or pool, and pack a yoga mat or towel I can roll out when staying in a airbnb for a quick bodyweight strength or yoga session. When you think about it, 30-minutes is just 1/48th of your day. And that’s a pretty small fraction for the awesome benefit you’ll receive when doing it!
Step 4: Bring (or Buy) Eat Better Staples
If you’re used to eating oatmeal for breakfast or having nuts as your afternoon snack, bring them with you. This empowers you to make the best food choices for you with some simple eat better essentials at the ready!
Single serving packets of hearty oats, a variety of unsalted nuts, protein powders and turkey jerky are some of my favorite travel staples. They're excellent for planes, trains and automobiles and come in handy at your final destination too! When I get to where I'm going, I typically hit a local grocery store to grab some fresh fruit, baby carrots, hummus, whole grain crackers, low-fat cheese and plenty of bottled water. That way I know I've got a few essentials to support me feeling and functioning my best and I won't be solely reliant on ordering in and eating out, which let's face it, can add up pretty quick both in dollars and calories!
Step 5: Make Smart Alcohol Choices
A Piña Colada, Cadillac Margarita or any other colorful drink with an umbrella sounds great – but it could be in excess of 500 calories! Which means, in many cases your fun beverage could actually be more calorically dense than your entire meal! The key is to know what you’re drinking and decide how it works into your plan.
A light beer, glass of wine, vodka soda or skinny version of just about any cocktail is typically a much better choice, saving you loads of added sugars and ultimately calories. If you want to enjoy a fun signature cocktail, go for it, and savor every sip! Then follow it up with plenty of water and remember while a little is good, a lot is not necessarily better.
7 drinks x 500 calories each = 3500 calories = 1 lb. of fat on your body = yikes!
Bottom line: when on vacation, you don't have to go all or nothing. You can enjoy yourself, have fun and experience all the local flavors without sacrificing your goals. The simplest way to stay true to your goals is to take just a few minutes each day to plan, deciding how you want to feel both during vacation and when you get back home. Your plan should include nourishment, fun, and movement. Your body will thank you for it!
Are you tired of starting over every Monday, hopping from diet to diet, wondering if you'll ever get it "right" so that you can lose the weight and become the best version of you? I’ve got you friend! Come join me inside my FREE women’s-only Facebook community: Eat Better with Coach Mindy. It's for busy women like you who are ready to lose weight, gain energy, get healthy and fit -- without restrictive diets or punishing food rules.