HAPPY MONDAY, FRIENDS!
Today I’m sharing 3 tips to stay healthy on vacation! I’ve been meaning to share this since P and I got back from our Europe vacation because I was pretty happy with the way I balanced enjoying vacay and staying healthy. And I actually lost FIVE pounds on vacation (which I’ve been able to keep off and I’ve lost another five pounds. Though that’s largely motivation from picking out a super tight wedding dress I have to fit into in a few months…)
Obviously the ways to stay healthy on vacation depend on what kind of vacation you’re going on. So these are just general things to keep in mind so you can decide what the best way is to stay healthy on your trip. But my BIGGEST TIP THAT’S NOT INCLUDED BELOW is to do your best to decide ahead of time what your gameplan is. It may need to be adjusted once you’re on your trip, but that’s much easier than creating a plan for the first time while you’re already on your trip.
1. BALANCE ACTIVITY + EATING. Okay, that might sound too general and not helpful at all. But what I mean is: of COURSE you want to eat on your trip. I mean, I assume you like food if you’re reading my blog. 😉 But figure out what kind of activity level you’ll have so you can make smart decisions about how much to indulge in food (more on that below.) If you can be more active than you typically are, then feel free to indulge a little more! If you’re going to have a laze-by-the-pool type of vacation, then you probably want to indulge a little less than typical. (That is, if you want to maintain your weight and health. If you’re down for a few extra vacation pounds, then be a touch more indulgent but don’t go crazy unless you’re fine really packing on extra weight.)
The biggest reason I was able to lose weight on our vacation is because we walked SO FREAKING MUCH. We probably averaged about 10 miles per day. Our highest day was over 15 miles (Fitbit said it was 19 but I think that was a little high.) I wasn’t planning on walking quite that much. BUT I did expect to be more active than I am in my everyday life, so I also expected to indulge more. Although I’m pretty active, I have a desk job and I sit for probably 10 hours a day. Which I knew I wouldn’t do during vacation. But once we were there and wound up walking so much more than I expected, I let myself indulge even more than I had planned.
2. PLAN YOUR SPLURGES. And indulge where it really counts. If you have even a rough idea what type of treats you’ll want to splurge on during your vacation, then pick a top one or two or three to plan on having. That way if you’re met with the opportunity to indulge in something else, you can compare it to the treat you really wanted and decide if it’s worth it for you. Going to Italy? Maybe plan to indulge in gelato but not go crazy on the pasta and pizza. When Preston and I went to Mexico a couple years ago, I knew I’d want my fair share of pina coladas at our all-inclusive resort. But fresh fruit and seafood sounded better to me than indulging in heavy dinners, so most of my treats were drinks. And flan. 😉
For the Germany part of our trip, I knew I’d want pretzels and beer. And I knew I wanted to try spaetzle. But the rest of German cuisine isn’t that tempting to me, so I planned to keep the rest of my meals as healthy as possible. (Again, this is something that I did change once I discovered how active we were. Our highest mileage days were all in Germany — and there were even less healthy food options than I expected — so I ate a couple heavier meals than I was planning to.)
3. DON’T INDULGE IF IT’S NOT SPECIAL. This is the easiest piece of advice to stick to. When you’re on vacation, don’t bother splurging on a bag of potato chips you can get at home. Enjoy the local cuisine. And I recommend sticking mostly to whole foods from restaurants. I like to look through foreign grocery stores and try a couple things for the experience of it all. I mean, you KNOW I did not hold back on my Icelandic candy. 😉 But for the most part, avoid processed foods. Even if you’re splurging at restaurants, that’s almost always healthier than processed foods.
This also applies if something is just not special to you. Going somewhere that’s known for a specialty dish that you’re just not interested in? Skip it. It’s your vacation, your health, your waistline. It makes the vacation treats so much more special if you really cherish them. And of course helps you keep in shape. 😉
A curve-ball from my vacation is that this spoiled little Californian didn’t realize just how hard it would be to find healthy veggie options in Iceland and Germany during the fall. So even when I tried to eat on the healthy side, it was a bit tough. So I’d make one of two choices: I’d either do my best and order the healthiest option. Or I’d go all in and get one of my planned splurges like cheese spaetzle and just enjoy myself. I mean, it is vacation, after all.
That’s all my advice! It’s nothing ground-breaking. But these tips really helped me eat in a way that worked well for me on my vacation. You can see everything I ate on vacation here if you’re curious to see how all this played out. I am going to use these tips again for my honeymoon in a few months! I expect a lot less walking then, but also a lot fewer pretzels… 😉