Have a summer trip planned? Taking a vacation means days and possibly weeks away from your normal fitness routine. That can spell disaster if you don’t have a plan for success before you depart. Use these 10 simple tips to stay healthy and avoid the after-vacation setback.
1. Commit Before You Go
You might have recently lost 10 pounds, joined a gym, or started a new exercise program. You’ve put in hours of sweat time and battled the urge to eat unhealthy foods. The last thing you want to do is start all over again. Make up your mind to stick with a set of guidelines. Better yet, keep them in a conspicuous place, such as in your phone, as a reminder of your commitment. Visit your guidelines often.
2. Map Out a Food Plan
Will you be doing your own cooking, or will you be frequenting restaurants? Before you leave, search online for local restaurants and grocery stores in the area and become familiar with your choices. Avoid fast-food restaurants and look for places that offer healthy choices on their menus. If eating in, create basic menus to avoid impulse purchases. Stick with grilling and baking your food, eating lots of fresh veggies, and choosing desserts made from fresh fruits whenever possible. Keep temptation on high shelves and out of reach and healthy foods up front and easy to access.
3. Know Your Workout Options
Is there a hotel gym or a fitness center nearby? If your budget is a concern, all you need is your body weight and a bit of space to get in an awesome workout. Decide how much time you will exercise each day, and stick with it. You can also break up longer workouts into shorter increments of 10 minutes to make sure you consistently get a workout in. Make your goal realistic and contextual. Committing to a workout everyday for one hour might set you up for failure if your trip schedule is packed with activities. Thirty minutes three times a week might be more realistic.
4. Pack Healthy
Pack bands, DVD’s, healthy snacks, sneakers, workout clothes, and any other healthy paraphernalia you have, not only to make sure you have all you need at any moment, but also to serve as a reminder of your commitment when you unpack! Keep healthy items in view to spark a quick workout or to stash away as a healthy snack for later when you’re running out the door.
5. Watch Out for Roadblocks
Your family has decided to try a popular Mexican restaurant nearby. But you know once those free chips and salsa show up you’re doomed! You can still enjoy a meal without inhaling a basket of chips. Be mindful when food is placed in front of you: that’s your healthy crossroad. Take action! Move the basket out of reach and look at what healthy choices are on the menu. “No thank you” is a powerful phrase when making healthy decisions. Use it often.
6. Be Mindful When Imbibing
Most of us know that a double cheeseburger is going to be loaded with fat and calories, but what about the beverages you choose? Typically vacation time means a bit of partying, and that just might include some adult beverages. Avoiding alcohol is best since it adds extra calories; but if you do decide to have a few, the alcoholic drinks you choose and what you eat while you drink can make a big difference.
7. Be Aware of Party-Pooper Syndrome
Since you might be spending a lot of time with family and friends, making your goals known creates accountability for you. Vocalizing your goals makes them real and tangible and lets others know your intentions. But there might be those who don’t support your healthy decisions. I like to refer to it as the party-pooper syndrome. None of us like to be the bummer at a get-together, but you have to ask yourself how you will feel if you give into the pressure. Stand your ground and eventually people will get the message that this is your lifestyle choice and not just a phase. In the end they’ll respect your commitment and be inspired by your tenacity.
8. Stay Connected
This is especially important if you’re the only one trying to stick with exercise and eating healthy on a long trip. You can stay connected by reading fitness articles, looking at inspirational workout photos, or participating in a healthy online community. Begin your day with inspiration. Healthy choices are easier to make when we’re reminded why we’re doing them in the first place. Reach out if you’re struggling – we all need help and support.
9. Be Positive
It’s easy to get down on yourself if you skip a workout or devour half a pie, but it’s important to look forward and not back. Move on towards your next healthy meal and workout. A healthy lifestyle is a lifelong journey with obstacles along the way. Let your mistakes refine you – not define you. Emotional eating exists for many people and food is often used to cope with negative emotions . Be mindful of a connection between your emotions and your eating patterns and how they’re triggered.
10. Be Adventurous
New destinations mean new surroundings. That means new views and new terrain to explore. Make the most of the opportunity and look for ways to renew your love of being active. Look for fun activities and make an effort to get out of your comfort zone. Try a new sport and possibly discover a new passion. The change will be not only good for your body but also great for your mind. You’ll return home motivated and inspired!