Updated: Oct 1, 2021
First, I want to be super clear about something: when you go on vacation, it’s important to relax and enjoy yourself!
It’s even more important to make sure you give yourself space to splurge a little bit and savor your favorite not-so-healthy foods and the fun treats you may not otherwise have access to when at home. The trick is to do it mindfully, practicing healthy balance, so that when you get back home and step on the scale again, you don't feel like you've blown all your hard work.
Use these five steps to help guide you when you go on your next vacation and you'll be all set!
Step 1: Don’t Eat Crap
If you don’t eat Lays Potato Chips at home, then don’t eat them on vacation. There’s nothing special about the average junk food you can get at any grocery store. Forget the giant bag of M&M’s, and don’t even bother hitting the drive thru.
However, if you’re in Maine and they have fresh caught lobster on the menu, get it! And dip it in the butter! If you’re going to Mexico, go ahead and have the chips with salsa or fresh-made guacamole. And don’t you dare leave the Italy without enjoying authentic pastas and fresh-baked bread! OH MY YUM!
Whatever it is, make it a special indulgence, don’t just indulge for the sake of it.
Step 2: Listen to Your Healthy Voice
Let’s not forget about fruits and vegetables. Just because you’re indulging doesn’t mean that you should throw out all the goodness: the indulgences go on top of your healthy eating plan. And friend you want to take advantage of the delicious fresh fruits and veggies if you’re on an exotic vacation. Mango, anyone?
When I’m on vacation, I typically make my healthiest choices for breakfast and lunch, and have a more indulgent dinner. Maybe a fruit platter with scrambled eggs and coffee for breakfast and a great big salad salad full of veggies, fruits and lean protein for lunch, topped with fresh pico de gallo or salsa and a dollop of sour cream. Can you tell I love Mexican food?
Step 3: Move Your Body
Don’t skimp on exercise. You’re on vacation... that means the “I don’t have time” excuse does not apply! Wherever you are, 30 minutes of walking, strength training, or even swimming will boost your energy levels and keep you feeling great. When you think about it, 30 minutes is just 1/48 of your day. And that’s a pretty small fraction for the great benefit you’ll feel when you do it. Morning run on the beach, anyone?
Step 4: Take or Buy Your Healthy Food Staples
If you’re used to making oatmeal for breakfast or eating nuts in the afternoon as a snack, take those with you. This eliminates the possibility of totally going off the deep end at a single meal.
I typically bring single serving packets of hearty oats, a variety of unsalted nuts, and chocolate protein powder with my blender bottle when I travel, so that I know I've got a few simple basics on hand to support me. They're not only great to have once I reach my final destination, but also for planes, trains and automobiles! Then once I get to my destination, I typically hit a nearby store to grab some nut butter, fresh fruit, baby carrots, hummus, and bottled water. That way I know I've got a few of the simple healthy food staples I rely on at home, giving me everything I need to feel and function my best.
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! Know what you’re drinking and work it into your plan.
A light beer, a glass of wine, a vodka soda or a skinny margarita is often a much better choice, calorically speaking. If you decide to enjoy a signature cocktail as one of your indulgences as I sometimes do on vacation, savor every sip! Just don’t have seven of them during the week.
7 drinks x 500 calories each = 3500 calories = 1 lb. of fat on your body = yikes!
When you go on vacation, enjoy yourself, the smart way, and you’ll come back only a couple pounds heavier, rather than five or six pounds heavier. The best way to stay on a healthy track is to recommit to yourself and your healthy living goals as soon as you're home, no self-doubt, judgement or criticism. Just do 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.