How to Plan a Guilt-Free Vacation Without Sacrificing Fun or Fitness
Who doesn’t love vacations? Traveling to exotic places? Leaving day-to-day cares behind? It sounds perfect, but people embracing a healthy lifestyle can feel stressed about going away. Tempting food is everywhere and there are so many cocktails to try. You might think about throwing your lifestyle plan out the window and starting fresh after vacation (even though you know you’ll feel guilty the entire time). However, a recent weight loss study confirmed what trainers have said for years: consistency is the key to good habits. Whether you’ve booked a tropical resort getaway or will be exploring an exciting new city, there are ways to have an enjoyable vacation without derailing your fitness goals. It all boils down to controlling your controllables: food, drinks, and movement.
Moderation is the best mantra. Most people love to eat, and vacations are a time to enjoy food, but that doesn’t mean you have to overindulge at every meal. Striking a healthy balance doesn’t have to be hard if you plan ahead. If you’ll be eating dinner at a fancy restaurant, choose clean eating for the rest of the day. Skip fatty, carb-laden choices for breakfast and lunch. Eat whole foods, drink plenty of water, and indulge without feeling guilty at dinner. If you truly want that rich dessert, share it, or choose a healthier main dish to compensate. Entreés that include plenty of vegetables instead of those where meat and cheese overshadow everything else are your friend.
Cocktails are filled with empty calories and often derail plans for healthy eating. Cocktails made from mixes are chock full of sugar and can pack on pounds. Still, most of us like to kick back and enjoy a drink or two while on vacation, and again, it’s about choosing wisely. Rather than ordering complicated frozen drinks with cute names, have wine, champagne, or simple cocktails like Cosmopolitans, mojitos, gimlets, or a fresh margarita – a mix of tequila, lime juice, and a bit of agave or Cointreau. Ask the bartender to avoid mixers and go with a light hand on simple syrup. Have water the rest of the day instead of juices, sodas, or iced tea. This will balance your caloric intake on drinks so you aren’t completely ignoring the nutrition plan you’ve worked so hard leading up to vacation to maintain. Remember, drinking a full glass of water when you first wake up will hydrate you, make you crave less food, and give you more energy. When you’re hydrated, you’re also setting yourself up to make better decisions throughout the rest of the day.
Although we often think of laying on the beach or by the pool while on vacation, you can easily incorporate exercise while away and have fun doing it. At the beach? Try getting out for a walk before breakfast, and again at sunset. Looking at the scenery will relax and refresh you while you get some steps in, and walking on sand works leg muscles differently than pavement. Swimming is often part of vacation too – embrace it! You can work your whole body treading water for a while or play water games with the kids; no laps necessary.
Hiking or long days sightseeing can be very active. Download the All Trails app and get trail maps, directions, and other information wherever you are. Walking a city lets you slow down and see all it offers. Search out fun activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, horseback riding, and kayaking. Improve your golf or tennis game, take a dance class, or rent bikes for the day. And if you’re on an extended vacation for the winter, don’t forget, we offer virtual personal training sessions if you’re looking for that extra accountability. Getting your body moving every day will energize you to keep living life at your best.
The bottom line is: we don’t want you to stop enjoying your life, we want to better equip you to maintain your healthy lifestyle without feeling guilty about the things you enjoy in moderation.