When you are trying to set up a new healthy routine, vacation can be a real struggle. Especially if you are still at the beginning of your wellness journey. So let me give you some very easy tricks that will help you stay on track while having a blast.
Vacations: what are my options?
The first option, you forget about everything you have been trying to do so far, indulge non-stop: at the buffet, at the bar, at the ice-cream parlor. Of course, you pay the price for it.
The second option, you are super firm and dedicated, you stick to all your rules, you do not enjoy the buffet, you do not allow yourself the luxury of a few drinks or treats, and you sweat on the treadmill rather than relax at the beach. You come back like you haven’t had a vacation at all.
Then there is a 3rd option, and this is the one I’d like to talk to you about: this is the option where you find a compromise. That is, you don’t let go of your healthy principles, but you also focus on enjoying your vacation 100%, and in my opinion, food and drinks are part of that deal.
It’s all in your head!
So how do you compromise? The idea is that you need to stay in that healthy mindset that you have been working on for a while. In your head (and that is VERY IMPORTANT!), you have to stick to the healthy person that you have started to become. Because if you get up every morning, thinking of yourself as someone healthy, you will make healthier choices during the day than if you were waking up thinking of yourself as someone who doesn’t care about wellness, about feeling good and energized, about keeping up with the kids, etc.
5 healthy tips to make a difference
So what can you do to be in that healthy mindset? Small things actually, tiny simple things:
#1 First thing in = water
Every morning, as soon as you set foot on the ground, drink a large glass of water. At least 10 or 12 oz. This makes you feel clean inside, and will make you less inclined to put junk food in your stomach at breakfast. Even better, you can do that regularly during the day. Before every meal or snack, drink a cup of water. It will help you stay hydrated, which is very important when you travel, and it will help you feel better and eat better during the meal that comes right after that glass of water. Try it, you might get addicted to it!
#2 Move BEFORE breakfast
Check out if there is a yoga or a stretching class offered at your hotel (if you stay in a hotel). If there is one, sign up for the early morning class, and take it BEFORE breakfast. If there are no classes or you are camping or in a condo, go for a 20 or 30-minute brisk walk. Again, do that before breakfast. If you start your day with some gentle exercise and go to breakfast afterward, you won’t feel like eating heavy greasy stuff. You will be hungry, but you will feel like eating stuff that is good for your body, because you’ve just done a workout that IS good for your body and you won’t want to spoil that.
Be careful though. I am not advocating a 10-mile run or a boot camp session before breakfast! First, because you need fuel for that kind of exercise and usually shouldn’t do it without eating a bit beforehand. And also because the idea here is to keep the workout gentle, so that you feel like you have done something good for your body, but it doesn’t give you an excuse to eat as if you were recovering from a marathon. You see what I mean, right? Stretching, yoga or a 20-minute brisk walk don’t require you to eat more than usual. They are good activities for your body, but they won’t burn many calories. If you don’t feel comfortable moving around before you have swallowed something, no worries, have a piece of fruit right after your glass of water when you get up and then, head out!
#3 Make it half and half
When you are at a buffet, whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, start by covering half of your plate with fruits, veggies (potatoes and French fries don’t count!) and/or leafy greens. Then only, you can focus on the rest and fill up the other half of your plate with whatever you want. And make sure you enjoy the entire plate! If you go for seconds or thirds, no problem. Just do it all over again. Cover half of your plate with fruits, leafy greens, or veggies and eat them :-). Use the same rule for dessert. You want a Sundae? Have one! But have the equivalent volume of fresh fruit with it. And start by eating the fruits. Chances are you won’t have a second sundae, or you might not even be able to finish the first one!
If you eat at a restaurant, keep in mind that the amount of food on your plate will most likely be two times what your body really needs. Unless you eat in a foreign gourmet restaurant, try to only eat half of what is brought to you Split with someone else or save half or your dish for later if you have a way to keep it cool and reheat. Ideally, you can ask your server to put half or your order in a box before it even reaches your table. You will see, it will still be a very reasonable amount of food. If you feel like it’s not big enough, order a side salad, or a cup of fruit that you can eat as a dessert, to finish on a sweet note.
#4 No elevator in the lobby
Wherever you go, take some stairs! Your room or condo is on the 10th floor? Start with 2 flights and then finish with the elevator. After a couple of days, you might be able to do 3 flights of stairs, or 4. Why not 10 by the end of the vacation? Give me one good reason why you would not take the stairs. You can’t find them? Ask at the front desk! You are too tired? Don’t worry, you will rest in a few minutes. It takes forever? Well, you are on vacation, right? The kids don’t want to take the stairs? Go on your own if you can, and enjoy a few minutes of silence :-). Otherwise, try to challenge the kids, make it a game, who can go the highest!?
It’s always the same idea: if you have been taking the stairs every day, 3 or 4 times a day, you might think twice when the bag of potato chips starts requiring your attention. If you want to get more motivation and ideas around elevators, stay tuned. I am quite passionate about elevators and will not resist the urge to write a full article about them soon!
#5 Walk around
Try to walk as much as you can. It will allow you to see so many amazing things, to meet people, to get to places you could not see if you were driving. Walking is one of the best things you can do for your body, but also for your mind and soul. Once you start walking places, the world is yours to discover and you’ll see, you will feel much healthier. So every time you are about to take the car or a shuttle, think twice about it and see if maybe you could walk instead. And make sure you incorporate some easy hiking into your vacation schedule. Of course, if you can, try to also swim, jump, dance, rent a bike, paddle board, etc… And don’t forget to always bring water with you!
Now have fun and relax
It’s YOUR vacation and you deserve to enjoy it however you see fit! Have fun doing things, eating things, and drinking whatever it is you are drinking. Just use the 5 tips above to remind yourself nonstop that you are a healthy person and that you make the right choices for yourself. If you think like that healthy person you have started to become, it will make a difference in what you end up eating and drinking. And most importantly, it may make a difference in the quantities you will end up eating and drinking. So just relax and give yourself some slack. And I am going to do the same, while staying true to who I am and what I love.
If you are worried about an upcoming vacation or have specific questions about what to do to stay healthy, email me, I’d be happy to hear from you! And don’t forget to share your own tips or remarks in the comments section, because together, we are healthier!
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PLEASE REMEMBER, I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND I DON’T KNOW YOUR PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS INFORMATION CANNOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE TO MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT.
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