When we go on a vacation, the last thing we want to think about is our fitness and nutrition. We want vacation to be a well-deserved treat to relax, escape and indulge. As it should be! When we get back, however, we often find ourselves wishing we had been more cognizant of our actions. Is there a way to be mindful of our health and still relax our normal habits? Of course! Our bodies can benefit from a little time away from intense activity and planning. It helps us recover and rebuild both mentally and physically. If you go into a vacation with the mentality that you are going to maintain your current weight, you’ll put yourself in a better position for continuing on with your goals when you return.
My family and I love to travel. We tend to gravitate to locations that offer plenty of sightseeing and outdoor activities such as hiking. Every year, however (usually to escape the cold- Thanks guys!), we take a trip to visit my brother and his girlfriend in Austin, Texas. For those of you that don’t know, Austin is known for their AMAZING food and “weird” art scene. Even though we’ve been down to visit a number of times, there is still plenty of exploring to be done and delicious food waiting to be tasted. From BBQ to Mexican, to whole restaurants based on doughnuts; the temptations are everywhere. Don’t even get me started on the carrot cake French toast. Drooling yet? Yeah me too. I think it’s time to book another trip…. Anyway, my point is, when we go visit, we know we aren’t going to be eating like we normally do. So what do we do? We allow ourselves the freedom to indulge while being mindful of the rest of the days eating habits and activities. It’s a guarantee that at least one meal per day is going to be out and probably unhealthy, so we try to make the other two as healthy and “normal” as possible. We’ll hit the grocery store when we get in and stock up on things like breakfast foods and healthy snacks. (fruits, nuts, etc.) Another thing I try to do, both here and any vacation we take, is order a salad appetizer or a vegetable side to go with whatever I choose to eat. I’ll eat those first to fill up a bit, which helps to ensure that I’m not STARVING when my main dish gets to the table. Then I can actually enjoy the flavors of what I’m eating instead of devouring until I’m stuffed.
The other nice thing about Austin (as with most vacation destinations) is the abundance of things to explore. My husband and I love to be outdoors and Austin does not disappoint. From paddle boarding the river, to hiking the Greenbelt, swimming in the springs, taking a walk or bike ride through the many parks; there is plenty to do, to keep you active and moving while exploring this quirky city. Actively exploring and experiencing your destination without hitting the gym is not only fun, but also good for your mind and body. Do a little research on what may be offered in the area and try something you wouldn’t normally do at home!
Most of the time when you are traveling somewhere new, you are looking do dive into the culture, see the sights, and try the local cuisine. All of this can be done while still being mindful of our health and fitness goals. A few weeks ago, we wrote about focusing on the things you CAN do when you’re not in your normal routine. This philosophy applies here as well. What things CAN you do while on vacation that will keep you on track while still enjoying your experience?
Plan for your travels
Pack healthy snacks for the car or plane (Check out "On-the-go Snacks" blog post for ideas)
Drink plenty of water
Throw in workout clothes and shoes for days you might be more active or have a chance to squeeze in a quick workout. (sometimes, a change of scenery for a workout can really motivate you)
Plan Active Sightseeing
Walk to your destinations when possible
Take a bike tour, hike, try a water sport, ski, or snowshoe
Join a group workout:
At the park (many offer Yoga, Pilates, HIIT classes, etc)
At the beach (early morning or paddle board yoga, Bootcamps, etc)
At a brewery or winery (many are offering yoga, or other fitness classes that come with after class tastings)
Take a walk after a larger meal
Plan around your indulging meals
Order a salad to eat before your meal, you’ll get a few vegetable servings and probably eat less of the food that isn’t as good for you.
Make majority of your meals for the day healthy
Stop at a local grocery store and stock up on healthy snacks and foods
Share a tasty treat with a friend