I have a client who’s been doing so great, eating really clean and healthy for about three weeks now. She’s going on a tropical, family vacation and doesn’t want to undo her past three weeks of amazing progress! Since I’m giving her a list of ‘do’s and don’ts’ for her vaca, I thought I’d share my two cents with all of you, just in case YOU will be suffering the horribleness of a fun in the sun Caribbean vacation. Lucky me, I’ll be enjoying the beautiful, snow (not) here at home.
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So here it is…. Here’s how I get thru my travels while keeping the (nutritional) damage in check. Do all of this or just a few of the tips below, and you’ll feel THAT much better when you return. Good luck!:
- Try to work out first thing in the morning when on vacation. Even if you aren’t someone who would normally hit the gym (yet 😉 ), it’s a great way to start your day when traveling. Whether its visiting the work out facility in your beautiful resort, running on the beach or even just taking a brisk walk, getting out first thing and being active will start your day off with the right mental clarity/attitude you’ll need to aid in making great food choices.
- Meet the family for breakfast in the dining room and don’t worry if you’re late! You know how awesome it is to show up at the dining room sweaty and gross in your work out gear? Everyone is looking at you jealous because they know/think that you’re a “DIE HARD” sweating it out even on vacation! That sets up accountability. When I do this, I often have people at the buffet asking me what I am eating. You better believe that I do not end up getting the French toast! And what an example you’re setting for your kids! H-E-A-L-T-H-Y!
- IF you are not up for heading to the dining room in a sweat, go there with your family IN YOUR WORK OUT CLOTHES and just have a lite bite (and coffee if you need it!). THEN hit the gym or the beach for a work out. Tell the fam to save you an awesome lounge chair in the sun! Obviously do not eat heavily before a work out. Just some veggies and protein are all you need to fuel up.
- Go lite for breakfast so you feel good about yourself while lying around all day in your bikini, or in whatever it is you lay around in on the beach. Before each meal, down a glass of water! Or two if you’re so bold! For breakfast, if you’ve already worked out, have a little fruit and protein, like fish or cottage cheese or yogurt. (Skip the fruit if it’s BEFORE your work out. Save it for AFTER.)I’m vegan so I actually bring my own tempeh and protein powders when I travel since vegan protein options are not always available. If you want toast, make sure it’s whole grain and go MUCH LIGHTER on the fruit (or omit altogether) since toast AND fruit together equal too many carbs. You don’t need that heaviness on vacation, or every really.
- For all of your other meals, whether it’s a resort where everything is buffet-style or there are restaurants (or both), go HEAVY on vegetables! They’ll fill you up, but not make you feel icky or give you that “gross-full” feeling you get from other foods. I always load up (and I mean LOAD UP) on raw salad bar type of veggies first. Be sure to go very light on dressings and ADD A PROTEIN. Then, for round two, take just a little bit of the things that look yummy. I guarantee you’ll eat much less than you would have. If possible, without feeling deprived (just depends on your food preferences), try to really go heavier on the vegetable dishes as opposed to the carb ones.
- Don’t put mashed potatoes, rice dishes or pasta entrees on your plate. If they look too good to pass up, put a little on your dish, enough for a taste or two and note how you feel afterwards. Are you feeling bloated and icky when watching that tacky show that evening or in the cheesy disco? Those carbs are why. Carbs are GREAT in moderation, and when ‘done’ correctly, can really work in your favor!
- If you can, and I know everyone’s different and this is a stretch for SOME yet totally do-able for others, try to be 100% disciplined every OTHER day! Base your meals around healthy veggies and proteins. Add a healthy carb to only one meal per day! By “healthy” carb, I mean brown rice (although, the arsenic thing is freaky, if you read my last BLOG ), whole grain pasta, quinoa, black beans, lentils, even fruit – I’ve been seen these items more and more lately when traveling!
- Take either every OTHER day, or based on how long your trip is, choose ahead of time two days – or 3 or 4 random meals – to just LET GO and enjoy! You don’t want to feel deprived because you WILL eventually fall apart if you try to be 100% perfect all the time. When THAT happens, it’s a slippery slope and a downward spiral to that place where we’ve all been – ‘why try?’, right? Hate that! Planned indulgences are a much-needed luxury! They’ll help you be successful!
- Be active! Go dancing! Swim a lot (I don’t like to get my hair wet or my makeup ruined, so in this case I do NOT follow my own advice 😯 )
- When partying at night, avoid those sugary mixers in your alcohol. Drink your sh** straight, got it? If you’re a wine person, go DRY! Also, remember that if you’ve been eating lite, you’ll need less alcohol, and don’t you LOVE that feeling when it takes just one glass of wine to catch a good buzz?
- Next day, wake up, repeat – do it all again 😆
So that’s it. Keep in mind that if you totally screw up and go nuts on vacation, that it’s not the end of the world. You can recommit when you get back so do not beat yourself up! You are not defined by one or two weeks of bad food choices (even if you put on a few lbs!). I’ll be here to help you get back to your lovely shape when you return.
Safe travels! 😉 😎