I just got back in Vermont a few days ago after spending a long weekend in Portsmouth, NH. I don’t go on vacation often so when I do, I like to know I’m taking every opportunity to enjoy myself.
But how does someone as conscientious as myself “live it up” without sacrificing my health, performance, and body composition goals?
Well, that’s the topic of today’s post! I’ll use my experiences over the last few days to show how you can enjoy yourself and indulge without suffering ill-effects, in the short or long term.
1 – Skip breakfast
This may not work for everyone, particularly if your body is still dependent upon sugar (whether from candy, juice, or whole grains). But, for me, having 1 to 2 cups of coffee with a little heavy cream, can sustain me until early afternoon.
By skipping breakfast, I’ve eliminated a third of the calories I would have eaten that day, meaning my indulgences later may not push me into a calorie excess.
2 – Bring healthy snacks
If I’m at a hotel or a friend’s home, with access to a fridge and healthy foods, I’ll have a couple hard boiled eggs or full-fat Greek yogurt with berries. I also pack EPIC Bars in case of emergencies – offering a perfect balance of flavor and nutrition.
3 – Walk more
I rented a hotel room that was almost exactly 1 mile from the downtown which means, weather permitting, two trips back and forth resulted in over 20,000 steps a day!
4 – Don’t completely give-up on working out…but don’t overcommit
I made it a goal to find a gym and do two full workouts over the 4 days I was there. Normally I go to the gym everyday (simply because I love it so much), but this was vacation so 2 workouts was more realistic.
5 – Keep meals balanced & Opt for healthy choices
Sure, I would have hot wings as an appetizer and ice cream as a desert, but I would also have a salad instead of the bread and fries.
Also, if I wanted a burger for dinner, I’d pick a restaurant that offered grass-fed beef from a local supplier. And if I wanted seafood, I’d go to a restaurant that had raw oyster shooters or sushi, instead of breaded and fried scallops.
6 – If you choose to drink, mitigate the negatives
This would include: using calorie free mixers (such as club soda); squeeze fresh lime juice as needed for flavoring; consume alcohol away from other foods; have your last meal of the day based around proteins and fats; consume plenty of water all day and night.
Not all these tactics will work for all people. If you have food allergies and health conditions, you may have to be more diligent. If you tend to over-indulge when you haven’t eaten recently, rely more upon healthy snacks. If you love aerobics, start every day with a run outside to burn extra calories.
But, the plan above worked so well for me that after 4 days of burgers, wings, ice cream, and gin & tonics, I actually weighed 1 pound less!
Next time you go on vacation give some of these a try – let me know what works and what doesn’t. And let all of us know if you have some “damage mitigation strategies” of your own!