Vacation is wonderful – you earned it and deserve it, so ENJOY it. Most times, people who are “dieting” or watching what they eat often dread vacation, or they are the people at the table saying “oh, I can’t eat that” or “I wish that fit in my diet”.
My husband and I were recently on vacation in California (if you haven’t been, GO, its amazing). As I’m sure you’ve gathered from this blog, I do track my food, and I track every.single.day. So what about vacation? Well, in this post I’ll tell you what I do, and will provide some advice – take it, or leave it.
Here’s my general philosophy; fitness and health are a journey. There is no end – its about progress. I also don’t use the word “diet”. I HATE that word. Diet implies short term, quick fix, won’t last, weight loss attempt. That’s not what a fitness journey is. Yes, I do track my food, and I do count calories, but I also LIVE.
When we go on vacation I don’t look at it with dread thinking “oh I better not eat this, or I can’t eat that”. I also don’t think “I cant eat whatever I want, I’m going to go balls out and gorge”. To be honest, I hardly think about food at all. Its about balance. Vacation is an anomaly in life. It’s one of the few times a year you can get away, unwind and enjoy not working a 9-5 grind. So that’s what you should do, even with food.
When I go on vacation, actually logging into my app and tracking my food is not a thing I do. This doesn’t mean I’m having eggs Benedict with a side of everything for breakfast, a whole pizza for lunch and 2 plates of pasta for dinner. What is means is I’m going to let myself relax a bit and not stress about what food goes into my mouth. Its about moderation.
I make healthy choices when I can, but I also make not so healthy choices because I love food and I want to experience new things and truly FEEL like I’m on vacation.
Typical Vacation Food Day
Typically when we go on vacation we don’t “go out” for breakfast. We tend to plan pretty jam packed days and so we just want to get out and going once we are up. Usually, breakfast is either a pitstop at Starbucks (or Dunkin’ Donuts when we are in the U.S) so we can grab a coffee and either a breakfast sandwich or a bagel. The nice thing (or not so nice thing) is that calories are on EVERYTHING now, so when I’m selecting a breakfast sandwich, I tend to try to pick one with the lowest calories as possible.
As with breakfast, we don’t often stop for lunch. Honestly, most of our trips are based around a sporting event, and when those games are in the afternoon, lunch is at a ball park. Usually a beer and a hot dog (or 6). But if we aren’t at a game, we usually stop for a pretzel or something quick we can walk with, or we don’t stop at all, depending on how busy we are.
This is usually the only meal that we actually sit down for on vacation and its the meal I am least careful with. We often try to find a place with local cuisine or something we can’t get at home, so I’ll order whatever my taste buds want, and I DON’T FEEL BAD ABOUT IT, and you shouldn’t either! Oh, and if I want dessert, you bet I’m going to order it!
Depending on where we go, we typically go to a local store and grab granola bars or protein bars or other individually packaged snack food and I toss some in my purse for days we don’t stop for lunch, or don’t feel like a breakfast sandwich in the morning.
Now I don’t immediately weigh myself when I get home to “see the damage”, but I can tell based on how I feel and what fits what the results are, and usually, it’s not that bad. In fact, its not bad at all. Within a week of returning to my usual workout and food tracking I’m back to where I was before vacation. But that’s the key: BALANCE! You can also take a vacation from your workouts and food tracking, and then come back and keep going. It’s not a write off, you haven’t “ruined all your progress”. You’ve had a damn good vacation. And when I look back at a vacation I NEVER think “Oh my god I gained weight during that vacation”, I look back and think about what an amazing time I had!
Don’t ruin a good vacation by stressing about food. Eat the damn food, and when you get home, go back to doing what you were before. Don’t beat yourself up, don’t knock yourself down, praise yourself for being strong enough to have a healthy balance in your life!