It’s summer, and for most of us, that means we have a vacation, weekend getaway, or reunion right around the corner.
Many people view vacations as the enemies of a healthy lifestyle, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here we’ll talk a little about strategies to help you stay on track while also getting the most out of your vacation!
1. Set realistic expectations
The first key to successfully sticking with your new, healthier habits during vacation is going into the trip with realistic expectations.
Don’t expect to be just as strict on vacation as you are at home. You’ll be in a different place with different routines, different foods, and likely different companies.
For that reason, lots of times, it’s really hard to keep control of your diet and exercise plans. Part of your success during the trip should be realizing that maintenance is an accomplishment too!
Since so many of us gain weight on vacations (I mean… who wouldn’t with all that yummy, exciting food?), holding your weight steady is an achievement of its own.
So, if you’re only going away for a couple of days or a week, consider aiming to maintain instead of losing weight. Of course, if you’re going on a longer break, you may still want to lose weight during that time.
Ultimately, it’s up to you – just make sure your expectations are in-line with what is likely actually to happen during your trip.
It’s easier to get back to healthy habits if you expected to relax a little instead of feeling like you lost control on vacation.
So, try to plan for the challenges and give yourself a break in advance to avoid being surprised when you get there!
2. Follow your version of an 80:20 rule
Okay, now you have your goal. Let’s talk about achieving it. The concept of an 80:20 diet became popular a couple of years ago.
It basically promotes following a healthy/moderate diet for 80% of your calories while allowing yourself to splurge on “bad” or less healthy foods for the remaining 20% of your calories.
On vacation, we usually eat out much more often than we would at home and hopefully discover some fun, different restaurants along the way!
For that reason, it’s not usually realistic to think you’ll keep eating the exact same foods you eat at home throughout your trip. You’ll want to take part in the fun meals, and that’s a good thing!
Instead of feeling deprived the whole time, aim to eat 80% of your meals similar to those you might make at home (lean proteins, lots of veggies, salads, etc.) and allow yourself to splurge with the other 20%.
If you really want a small piece of pie one night on your week-long trip, that’s probably okay.
3. Splurge on foods that matter
Regarding that 20%, we referenced above, make sure your treats are foods or drinks that really count.
Enjoy the destination’s specialty, dig into your mom’s signature dish, or savor a special dessert. Instead of mindlessly grazing on unhealthy foods because you’re on vacation, consider the options and pick indulgences that are truly special to the situation or place.
You will feel more satisfied and less guilty if you know that treat wasn’t something you could eat on any normal day.
4. Stay active every day
A vacation is a perfect time to work lots of exercise into everyday activities.
With new places, there are lots to see, explore and do. Seize the opportunity to explore a new city on foot, tour the sights, go for a hike, or enjoy the hotel’s pool and gym!
There are so many ways to make your vacation into a constant workout. Even if you can’t squeeze in your regular home workouts, be mindful of the many opportunities to stay active throughout your trip.
If you’re traveling with kids, they’ll probably jump eagerly at the opportunity to run around a little more with you!
5. Carry healthy snacks
Ever been traveling with a group or stranded in a new place with nothing healthy to eat?
Many social events offer high-calorie, high-fat snacks, and convenience stores aren’t much better if you try to stop mid-adventure.
One of the biggest reasons vacations prove so difficult is because we end up in situations where there are no healthy options and then get too hungry, waiting for a healthier choice.
Set yourself up for success by carrying some healthy munchies with you. Fresh fruit (like an apple or orange), baby carrots, healthy snack bars, or a half sandwich make great snacks when you’re on the go.
6: Stay hydrated
Hydration is key for weight loss, and all of the heat and walking around increases your fluid needs.
Staying well-hydrated is also the best way to avoid consuming extra calories from snacking when you’re actually thirsty.
If you’re carrying a purse or backpack, throw a water bottle in your bag in the morning, and be mindful to keep sipping all day long.
When searching for beverages on the go, look for water (plain or infused), unsweetened tea (consider decaf if you’re drinking a lot), or other calorie-free/caffeine-free drinks.
Drinking empty calories is one of the most frustrating ways to go over your calorie goals, so avoid that when possible.
7: Consider a kitchen
Depending on your vacation plans, investigate if you have the option to pick a hotel room or vacation rental with a kitchen.
If your lodging has a kitchen (or you’re staying at someone’s house), take advantage of the opportunity to cook some meals at home!
While you’ll undoubtedly go out for some special meals, enjoy the presence of a kitchen/kitchenette to make breakfast (and maybe even a few dinners) in your temporary home.
Some hotel chains will offer to pick up groceries for you before check-in, so that makes it even easier. If your hotel room doesn’t have a kitchenette, still consider buying some fresh fruit or healthy breakfasts/snacks to keep in the mini-fridge.
8: Rest well
Research shows a strong relationship between sleep and weight loss. Still, one in three Americans doesn’t get enough sleep daily, according to a recent CDC study.
Squeezing in between six and eight hours of shut-eye per night seems to result in the most benefit. This is because sleep deprivation increases levels of ghrelin and leptin – two hormones related to hunger and fat storage.
Lack of sleep also increases appetite and may increase cravings for less healthy foods. So, even if you struggle to get the recommended seven hours per night in your everyday life, aim to rest up on vacation.
9: Don’t be afraid to mix it up
One of the best parts about vacation is that it serves as a break from everyday life. Unfortunately, that can also make it hard if you’re a creature of habit.
At home, you generally control your schedule and routines, whereas, on vacation, you’re often at the mercy of the situation and other people’s plans.
Even though this may be one of your biggest struggles, try to take advantage of the opportunity to mix up your weight loss routine!
Vacation is a great time to explore new places, try new foods, find new fun ways to exercise, and bond with your loved ones.
Enjoy all those benefits, and understand that you’ll return to a routine when you arrive back home. Just because your food and exercise choices differ during the trip doesn’t necessarily make them bad.
10: Have fun!
Last, of all, enjoy your vacation! While healthy habits and weight loss are important, they’re not everything.
Don’t spend your whole vacation so focused on your diet that you miss out on the making of great memories. Enjoy your getaway, and savor your adventure in a new or different place.
If you’re looking for that extra boost to help you get through your vacation, consider trying Phen Caps to help suppress your appetite!
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Have you gone (or are you going) on vacation any time soon? Do you have any good tips or tricks to share? Let us know in the comments section below!