Summer vacation is here and whether you're heading to the beach, the lake, or on a long road trip- one thing is certain. You want to enjoy yourself and relax. I'm guessing that you also want to come home still fitting in your pants! Here are my top 5 tips on how to do just that:
1. Move, move, and then move some more! Reading a book by the pool for hours on end sounds like paradise to me, but before and after I read that book I make sure to get in plenty of exercise. Kayak on the lake, bike around town or even just take a nice long walk. If you've been strength training at home and find yourself without equipment or access to a gym on vacation, performing a body weight circuit every other day can be a great way to keep up your fitness routine. Push-ups, planks, dips, body weight squats, lunges and glute bridges can be surprisingly challenging.
2. Make some important decisions before you even leave home. Think about your vacation plans and the food that will be a part of those plans. What are you most looking forward to? What foods or drinks are more in the "take it or leave it" category? Choose ahead of time where you're going to indulge. For example, when I was cruising over spring break I was seriously looking forward to some chocolate treats for dessert (I'm having flashbacks of chocolate lava cake right now!!) and some pasta at dinner. I was totally fine skipping the pancakes and french toast at the breakfast buffet and the fruity drinks served poolside. If you're going to a family reunion maybe it's your grandmother's special dessert you can't wait to enjoy again. Perhaps you are looking forward to trying the regional cuisine that the area where you're visiting is known for. Great. Plan for it. Enjoy it! Pick a few meals or snacks to be times for indulging. And what about the rest of your meals? That brings me to tip number 3...
3. Eat lean protein and vegetables at as many of your meals as possible. Add in a few servings of smart, whole grain carbs and healthy fats each day as well.
4. Make eating out a no-brainer. How? Order lean protein and vegetables. Almost every restaurant, from fast-food to fine dining has lean protein and vegetables on the menu. Chicken, turkey, fish of all kinds, shellfish such as shrimp and scallops, and lean cuts of beef (such as sirloin): there are so many choices to pick from when it comes to lean protein. The same goes for vegetables; so many choices! One quick note, many salads that come with a protein actually contain precious little protein. Ask how many ounces are in the dish you're ordering and request a double sized portion of protein if it's not enough. I like to shoot for 4-5 oz of protein per meal.
5. How can you eat as outlined above and not feel deprived? The answer to that lies in changing our mindset. We can consciously choose to think of our choices as just that, choices we've made because we know that we'll be happier if we are eating in a way that supports our health and fitness goals. If we think of this way of eating as something that is being done to us, that we're forced to do, or as some kind of punishment for overindulging, we are much more likely to feel deprived instead of satisfied.
I'd like to suggest one specific mindset shift. When we're eating on our vacations instead of thinking to ourselves "but it's a special occasion I should treat myself," and then ordering whatever we feel is a treat, what if we chose to look at other things outside of the food itself as the "treat" during our special occasion? Dining in the company of beloved family and friends can be the treat. Dining in a beautiful location with a fabulous view can be the treat. Having someone else prepare, cook, serve and clean up the food can be the treat! And for all you fellow moms out there, having someone else prepare, cook, serve, and clean up after your entire crew is most definitely a treat! Does it make it any less special if I'm eating shrimp on a bed of spinach rather than a bowl of fettucine alfredo while I'm gazing at the ocean surrounded by those I love? I say it doesn't!
So there you have it ladies, 5 tips to help you enjoy your vacation and still keep on track with your health and fitness goals. Let me know how your fabulous vacations go! I'm leaving on a 2 1/2 week family reunion/visit old friends/college tour/ Western States extravaganza in less than a week and I can hardly wait! There's a slice of cake and some Mexican food with my name on it...
I'm a NASM certified personal trainer who is passionate about helping women transform their bodies through strength training and sustainable nutritional habit changes.