Let’s be honest: part of the reason many people work out and eat well is so that they can look amazing and feel confident on vacation.
While a vacation is supposed to give us a break from our normal routine, our health and fitness should not be one of the routines we need to take a break from. Instead, we should be building a lifestyle that we can stick to no matter where we are or who we are with.
Having said that, if we’re going on vacation, let’s do our best to enjoy it! Believe it or not, we can have a blast on vacation and still do things that support our health. It doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing! Instead, we can learn to incorporate our normal daily habits into our day no matter where we are or what we’re doing.
It’s super common to see people go on vacation, be super restrictive, and miss out on making memories and enjoying themselves. It’s also super common to see people go absolutely wild on vacation and completely throw their nutrition and fitness habits out the window. Then, when they come back to real life, they feel like garbage, they’re stressed about their body, and they’re uncomfortable in their skin.
More often than not, this usually just leads to guilt, regret, and a lot of anxiety. But guess what? It doesn’t have to be that way!
There truly is a middle ground and a happy medium where we can enjoy ourselves, make memories, and still feel great physically and mentally (:
We’re here to provide some easy tips, habits, and behavior shifts we can adopt while on vacation so we can get the best of both worlds. While we say these are “easy” tips, keep in mind that this is one of those areas of life where we have to practice these habits each time we travel. That means trying one or two of these habits each time you travel and slowly building your skills over time. Remember, there’s no way to be “perfect” with our nutrition or fitness – ever. We just do the best we can with what we have. Over time, we’ll find it easier and easier to travel stress-free!
Tip 1: Add, Rather Than Subtract
Meals and food choices don’t have to be all-or-nothing. There’s also really no reason to label foods good or bad, whether or not we are on vacation. Yes, we’re here to tell you that you don’t need to cut out foods unless you simply don’t like them or they make you sick. When we’re on vacation, the best way to balance our food choices is to choose the foods we want to indulge in and ADD foods that support our health like veggies, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins.
– Going wild at dinner? Let’s say we want to get a basket of fried seafood. Yum. How do we balance this option? Get some steamed veggies on the side rather than another fried item like fries or hush puppies. If you prefer a side dish that’s fried or indulgent, maybe you balance that with a piece of grilled fish as your main item.
– What about dessert? Does Key Lime Pie sound good? Top it with some fresh berries!
– Balance. Try balancing your meal by choosing either an alcoholic beverage OR dessert. This way, you can indulge a little without going completely overboard both before and after the meal. You can choose a few nights to have a drink and a few nights to instead have a dessert!
With this technique in mind, we aren’t forcing ourselves to restrict what we’re eating. Instead, we’re choosing to eat the good stuff while balancing that with the habits that help us achieve our goals. This not only helps us stay consistent but also allows us to avoid feeling guilty afterward!
Tip 2: Actually Enjoy The Food & Drinks
Truly enjoy what you’re eating and drinking while on vacation. Slow down, chew your food, and actually taste what you’re consuming! Eat when you feel hungry and stop when you feel satisfied rather than stuffed. Align your food and drink consumption with how you want to feel.
At the end of the night, do you actually like to feel uncomfortably full and bloated? Wouldn’t you rather feel satisfied, fed, and comfortable so you can have an awesome time? Splurging on a big meal during the vacation is always fun. However, it doesn’t have to happen every night. Pick and choose your big meals so that when you do have them, you can actually relax and enjoy them. You don’t want to wake up every morning feeling guilty. Instead, if you plan ahead of time you can be happy with your choices rather than stress about them!
Tip 3: Cook!
If we’re willing to cook, we can totally book a place with a kitchen and go grocery shopping while on vacation. That’s right! We don’t have to eat out every day. Instead, we can choose to buy some low-prep or pre-prepped food options to easily prepare some of our own meals. We can also choose to cook a few meals and go out to eat for others. For example, try buying some easy options for breakfast and lunch, then eat a majority of your dinners at fun restaurants.
Another added benefit of cooking while on vacation? Saving lots of money! It’s no secret that food can be a huuuge cost while on vacation. Instead, think about buying some groceries and putting that money towards some epic adventures!
If cooking isn’t an option for us, we can still stock up on some easy no-prep foods. Pro-tip: protein is usually the hardest macro to come by when we’re on vacation. Stock up on greek yogurt, protein bars, or beef jerky for the room. These snacks can help us supplement protein during the day and keep us more satiated. If we are feeling motivated, we might also bring some single-serve protein powder packets from home. A quick protein shake in the morning will help hit those numbers more easily.
Finally, don’t be afraid to pre-plan and choose restaurants that have options you can feel good about choosing when eating there. It’s never a bad idea to look at the menu ahead of time to pick an item or two that would fit your nutrition goals. This way, when you get to the restaurant, you won’t be as tempted to deviate based on your appetite or what looks good. Having said that, don’t be afraid to try some fun things on the menu! Remember, it’s about balance (:
Tip 4: Move That Body Daily
Move daily and be active because it’s fun rather than thinking you have to burn off last night’s dinner. Go hike or bike some trails, do yoga to relax, swim in the ocean or pool, or walk around to sight-see.
We’re here to remind you that you don’t need to worry about a step or calorie-burn goal. We also don’t need to stress about our workout routine while we’re on vacation. All we really need to do is make sure we’re moving regularly daily. This is only for overall health purposes though. There’s no need to go crazy with this but rather do it because we want to and it’s part of our lifestyle. If we want to sit at the pool all day and drink margaritas, that’s totally fine too. We just might not want to do that every day. The key here = balance (:
If we do have the space and desire to work out, then go for it. But remember, the gym and our workouts will always be there when we get home. We promise your gains aren’t going anywhere (:
Tip 5: Stay Hydrated
Just because we’re on vacation, we don’t have to be a cactus. Especially when we are drinking and eating more than normal, we need to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. We’ll feel better and be less likely to overeat. Plus, if we do decide to drink one too many margaritas at the pool, being hydrated can help reduce hangover symptoms the next day.
Simple Ways to Hydrate While Traveling:
– Keep a reusable water bottle filled and on you at all times. Nowadays, most hotels and resorts have bottle filling stations to make this super easy.
– Pack electrolyte supplements. This is especially important if we’re vacationing in a warmer climate than we’re used to! We might be sweating more than usual and water just isn’t going to cut it on its own. Keeping our electrolyte levels high will give us more energy for the day and activities we have planned.
– Drink water with meals and alcoholic beverages. Try to alternate drinking one alcoholic beverage with one glass of water.
– Eat your water with lots of fruits and veggies. Remember our first tip? Add some fruit and veggies to your plate with each meal to get more water. Extra points for options like watermelon and strawberries which have very high water content (:
Tip 6: Get Your Zzzz’s
Vacation is usually a great time to catch up on sleep because we don’t have anywhere to be or any time to be there! Take time to rest and get sleep. Unlike some of our normal routines, we don’t have to go to bed and wake up super early. With that in mind, staying up all night and sleeping in super late may not serve us either.
Aim for a reasonable bedtime where you can still get around 8 hours and wake up with plenty of daylight to do fun stuff! Vacation is also a great time to take advantage of mid-afternoon naps on the beach. Catching up on our sleep can help us recharge and reset – the ultimate goals of vacation!
The most important part of vacation? Having fun! Enjoy your time, relax, and make memories. Be mindful but not too mindful that you can’t enjoy this time away.
At the end of the day, taking a vacation shouldn’t be stressful. It should be the opposite! If we’re stressed about our vacation because we are afraid of failing at our habits or stalling our progress, we might want to dig deeper and ask ourselves if our current habits and lifestyle are really serving us. While vacations are fun ways to make memories and connect with our loved ones, we shouldn’t always feel like we need a vacation from our normal life either (: