Now that you’ve read all about our amazing and jam-packed trip to California, I bet you’re wondering, ‘Did she workout on vacation?’ or ‘How do you eat well, while eating out so much on vacation?’. Well, I’m going to be answer those very questions in today’s post.
As you know, since the beginning of the year, I’ve stopped dieting and focused on intuitive eating. I’ve focused on listening to my body, enjoying food, and being less stressed about the caloric amount in my diet. However, I still want to eat nutrient-dense foods most of the time and treat my body well since I know I feel better when I do and my workouts are better when I do. So, what do you do when your routine changes and an illness strikes or vacation happens or any of the other 5,000 things that can happen to derail your goals. Here are a few tips I took with me on vacation that helped and can help when anything pops up to take you out of your normal routine.
1.) Listen to your body
This is a big one for me because I used to ignore all body signals when I went on vacation. I’d restrict so much during ‘normal’ life that when I went on vacation, I’d just eat and eat and eat until I felt sick. Then I’d do it all again the next day because I wanted to get as much ‘treat food’ or ‘off limits’ food as I wanted since I couldn’t have it again after vacation. I never listened to my hunger and fullness cues. One thing that helped me this past vacation was really listening to by body’s cues. If we had a delicious dinner that I ate until I was a little past full one night, the next morning I wouldn’t really be hungry for breakfast so I’d skip it and wait until I got hungry around lunchtime. Or if I ate a big lunch and wasn’t feeling hungry at dinner time, I’d either skip dinner or wait until later and see if I got hungry then. When you’re tuning in to what your body is telling you, and listening to those signals, and honoring those signals, you can really trust your body to tell you what it needs and when.
Now, will you enjoy a meal so much that you’ll eat past the point of being full and end up a little overfull, absolutely, especially when it is yummy and unique food that you don’t have local to you. That’s a part of intuitive eating. Knowing when your satisfaction of the food outweighs the ‘rules’ of listening to your body’s fullness cues. Now, intuitive eating also means combining your body/emotional knowledge with your head knowledge. So if you know you ate a super heavy, fried dinner that didn’t have many nutrients in it, maybe for breakfast (or lunch if you’re still full) the next day, you could focus on including some vegetables and lean protein in that meal. This way you still feel good (thank you, nutritious food), but you’re also emotionally satisfied (thank you, fried foods!)
Listening to my body on this trip helped me not overeat on a few meals and helped me, when I did overeat (because, hello, poke bowl!) know how to balance it out the next day to really eat when I was hungry and not just overeat because it was ‘time’. This way, I didn’t feel restrictive in my eating pattern, nor was I uncomfortable the entire trip like during past vacations.
2.) Try to get some fruit or veggies daily
Because delicious foods eaten out are not always the most nutritious foods, it’s important to try and incorporate some nutrient-dense foods at least once a day on a vacation. This could mean, just eating a salad before dinner, or ordering a side of steamed veggies along with your french fries. A piece of fruit with breakfast is the perfect opportunity to incorporate some nutrients into your vacation diet.
Since it may not come naturally to many people to find ways to fit in fruits and veggies, you can always bring or buy your own….which leads me into the next point.
3.) Buy your groceries for a few meals
This was something we did on this trip that was different from all our other trips. We wanted to make sure we only ate out once a day (or twice if we wanted a special snack or something), to save money and to get some higher quality food into our systems. Breakfast was almost always at my parents’ house. This included some eggs, some toast, and a piece of fruit. Simple, easy, nutritious, filling. That’s all you need! You don’t need to go out and buy an entire week’s worth of groceries just to be able to ‘stay on track’. Start the day with something nutritious and you’ll find, it’ll be easier to focus on nutrition throughout the day and still enjoy those treats, since you’ll be feeling good from your awesome breakfast.
We also bought sandwich fixings to make almond butter & jelly sandwiches for lunch as well as some granola bars. Easy peasy.
4.) Take a water bottle with you to stay hydrated
This one is a big one. No matter what you think of diets, diet culture, intuitive eating vs macro tracking, or whatever it is, everyone KNOWS that hydration is important! Usually, on vacation, we’re out and about and walking around a ton. Our bodies are getting so much more dehydrated than in normal, every day life, which means we need to stay on top of hydration even more while on vacation! I fell short of this goal this last vacation. I brought a water bottle with me, but didn’t fill it up as often as I needed to. Also, no offense California, but this Colorado girl is used to Rocky Mountain water, and Cali tap water just doesn’t cut it. #picky When we get dehydrated our energy levels go down, our metabolism slows down, and we actually get more sluggish and less coherent. Less coherence = less inhibitions = more junk food consumed. Not that consuming junk food is bad, but we become less mindful of it and it’s easier to satisfy the dehydration with a cold margarita or frozen slushy or other less nutrient-dense snack. Focusing on hydration can keep us more mindful of the food choices we’re making while on vacation. And you’ll just feel better overall!
5.) Workout in whatever way you can
Move daily, however you can. I think I only did about 4 actual ‘workouts’ while on vacation (we were gone 7 days), which I count as a win. BUT, because we were very active every day, I knew I was getting a ‘workout’ in every day. My fitbit (until I lost it at the beach) was tracking 16-18k steps a day. That’s a lot of walking! You bet I’m counting that as a workout! Daily movement is what’s important on vacation, even if that means you walk for 15 min before laying out on the beach all day (doesn’t that sound lovely??).
Another way, I incorporated workouts, was to do bodyweight workouts. I didn’t have access to a gym and I couldn’t bring my 30lb kettlebell on the plane so I brought a resistance band a got to work. I did the following workout one morning and I was feeling it the next day. You don’t always need heavy weights to get a solid workout in.
Use what you have. My parents have a pool at their house (so jealous!) so that meant Co Phelps was up and at it several mornings in a row. Swimming laps for 30-45 minutes was a great way to start the day and was so refreshing. I haven’t swam laps since before Madeleine was born (used to do it 2-3 times a week during the summer months) so it felt so good to get back in the water. Swimming is a great workout that works your cardiovascular system as well as your musculature. If you have access to a pool, lake, or the ocean, jump in!
If you don’t have access to a gym or weights, or a pool, you can always strap on your running shoes and go for a run. Vacation is a great time to de-load or take a break from your training routine if you’ve been in it for a while. This means you can take a few rest days and lift some lighter weight, or do something a little different like go on a few runs. Wherever there’s a road or a trail, you can run!
6.) Forget the stress.
Biggest tip to take with you on your next vacation…stop stressing about it! Stressing about what you’ll eat or how you’ll get in a workout just causes your cortisol level to rise which actually causes you to not absorb and digest nutrients as well and causes you to retain fat. As my friend Ciara says, ‘Stressing about fat, makes you fat’. So relax, enjoy vacation, and know that you can hop right back on track for whatever your goals are when you get back. Vacation is not the time to concern yourself with those things.
Hope this helps you go into your next vacation with confidence and a stress free approach!