How to Stay on Track with Nutrition on Vacation
By Chris Zinn
Finally! Your vacation is next week, and after a few hard months of dieting, you’re ready to look good on the beach, and enjoy yourself! Good thing too, because you were starting to get tired of dieting, and oh, how tired you were beginning to feel...
That means you can eat and drink whatever you want once vacation starts right? Right…?
Summer vacations seem to be in full swing for most people, and even though you start to hear the theme music from jaws as you think about what that means for your precious gains, it doesn't have to mean the end of the progress you've made.
That's why today I thought I'd write about how you can remedy that. The good news is your vacation doesn’t have to make or break your nutrition goals.
Having just gone on vacation myself, some of this stuff is pretty fresh in my mind (things I did well, and not so well). So, today we're going to talk about how you can enjoy yourself AND stay on track during your vacation.
And believe me, it is possible! You can enjoy your vacation, stay on track with your nutrition goals, and even continue making progress... all without stressing!
Care about your eating… a little
I know, I know. You want to eat saltwater taffy until your eyes pop out, or you want to consume a seemingly endless supply of s'mores at the campfire. I get it, I feel the same way.
But hear me out.
You can eat those things. All you have to do is put a cap on how much you are eating. Instead of sitting by the fire and mindlessly eating s’mores, be aware of how many you intend to have and give yourself a limit. This will be extremely helpful in keeping you aware of what you are doing and what you are eating.
The alternative approach usually goes like this:
You kill it for the first few days - limiting your intake of unhealthy foods - but after seeing everyone around you eating burgers and drinking daiquiris, you inevitably give in and make sure you eat and drink enough to make up for the first few days you didn’t.
Now, does that sound enjoyable, or effective to you?
Allowing yourself to have what you want to eat, but in a lesser quantity, is the best of both worlds. If you’ve been working on mindful eating leading up to the vacation, I promise it will be easier than you think to only have a small amount of what you enjoy.
Choose the healthy option
We talk a lot about making healthy switches in our nutrition program at The Med Gym, because of how easy it can be to simply make a healthy switch from a food you already eat to a more healthy alternative.
A healthy switch is swapping out a food you normally consume for something in the same family but less processed. For example, instead of drinking a bottle of apple juice, you have an apple. Or instead of having a side of fries during dinner, you opt for some less processed sweet potato wedges.
Does it always have to be the best switch or the least processed? No. It just needs to be a little healthier than your current choice.
There are plenty of opportunities on vacation to make these healthy switches.
When worst comes to worst, pick the best choice available
What should you do when there isn’t a healthy option available?
Think of healthy eating as a spectrum and stay away from the all-or-nothing, “good or bad” food mindset.
Now, let's say you have a continental breakfast in your hotel, but unfortunately, it's not freshly blended green smoothies with avocado toast like you were hoping. Can you still do well?
Of course! You simply have to judge where the available foods fall on the spectrum of least healthy to most healthy. Then, pick most of your foods from the more healthy side of the spectrum, and maybe only one or two from the less healthy side.
That's it. That's all you have to do. Don’t spend too much time thinking about where the food really falls, just use your best judgment to determine where that food falls on the spectrum and do your best to move towards the “healthier” side of that spectrum.
Don’t stress about your diet
This may be the most important one… don’t stress about whether or not you are eating too much or too little. You’re on vacation to de-stress, not to worry about something else. All you need to ask of yourself is to be aware of what you’re eating, make healthier choices when available, and enjoy your vacation.
What else can you do?
Depending on which type of person you are, you may want nothing to do with exercise on your time away, or you may see it as a time to spend even more time doing what you usually can’t.
If you’re the latter, by all means, get some workouts in! Try a new workout, run at the beach, bike around the mountains if you’re camping, go hiking, meditate, read… alright, I’m not going to tell you how to vacation.
The point is, you can continue to be active if it fits into your schedule. Doing so will not only help you relax (if you’re into that sort of thing), but it will also help you burn some extra calories.
Follow the few tidbits of advice here and you should be able to juggle staying healthy and enjoying yourself no matter where you go or who you’re with. Stick to some of the core principles and you will feel refreshed, while you continue to make progress during your time off!
Right now, we're offering a free Nutrition Success Session with Chris to help you discover the right path to your nutrition goals and if nutrition coaching is the best option for you.
Take advantage of this offer right now by contacting us here! Simply put "Nutrition Success Session" in your message, and we'll get in touch to schedule your free session!