Getting away from it all often gets conflated with trying to get away with everything. How often is vacation code for over eating, excessive drinking, too little sleep and not enough physical activity? Ironically vacation can also be an incredible time to practice exquisite self care allowing you to return home refreshed and restored without regret.
Required skills include learning how much is enough and how to self regulate. Too many people diet to get ready to vacation, indulge during vacation and come home to face the real world worse for wear. Is it possible to enjoy vacation without feeling deprived?
The short answer is, Yes! However, most of us need to adjust our expectations and mindset. Time off isn’t necessarily a time of no limits. With more time and more flexibility, time off can be a time to reset.
Here’s a few recommendations to help:
- Eat through the day, mostly to avoid getting over hungry. Over-hungry people tend to make more indulgent food choices and over eat.
- Schedules change and plans can get mangled. Keep portable and healthy snacks on hand to keep from grabbing whatever is available. Nuts, seeds, and dried food work especially well. Portable pouches of nut butter also fits the bill. Some accommodations make healthful snacks available.
- Look for opportunities to enjoy local fresh food. Purchase fruit and vegetables at a farmer’s market or green grocer to include enough produce in your day.
- When the next meal is a ways off and you feel a bit hungry and need a break, stop and enjoy a hot or iced latte. A cup of milk can be very satisfying and won’t wreck havoc on your metabolism.
- I like to book accommodations with a kitchen or at least a refrigerator so I don’t have to eat every meal in a restaurant. This allows for simpler and sometimes healthier food choices and saves money, too.
- Walk through the city or grab bikes and explore the environs. Swim in the pool, lake or ocean. Dance all night. Play. Clients are often shocked that they can burn more calories and keep their metabolism humming when they travel even without going to the gym.
- Get enough sleep, even if that means sleeping in and taking naps the next day so you can enjoy the nightlife.
- Pace yourself. It’s not possible to do everything and you’ll probably enjoy what you do experience more if you aren’t tired and cranky.
- Ultimately rethink vacation. This is a time to rest, restore, and revitalize yourself. By honoring your body and food’s rightful place, you can return home refreshed without regret.
Most of us aren’t born with effective self regulation. We get to cultivate this skill over time, usually in the school of hard knocks. If you think you could use some support, contact me or look for effective nutrition counseling in your own community. Find a Dietitian on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic’s website is a good place to start.