Until recently, my family had not been on a real vacation in a long time, though we do visit family in other states and call it a vacation. It's a vacation for us, but I'm sure when our family of 9 descends on their houses, our hosts don't feel like they are on vacation! Can you still eat right, exercise and lose weight while you are on vacation or traveling? I give you a resounding "yes!" If your goal is to lose a bit of weight on a vacation, you can. If your goal is to maintain your weight while on vacation, you can. But, if your goal is to kind of hope that you don't gain any weight while you are gone, you probably will kind of gain some weight.
When we do go on our free family vacations, my goal is usually to maintain my weight, unless I am trying to lose baby weight. After my children were born, my goal was to lose weight on vacation and I always did. For me, much of it was mental. In my previous obese life, I treated vacations as vacations from everything. It was a vacation from laundry, meal planning, school and from even trying to eat healthy.
When I was on my journey to lose weight, I shifted my thinking to only taking a vacation from day to day responsibilities, but not taking a vacation from eating right and exercising every day. That shift in thinking worked for me.
Of course, I planned what I took a vacation very carefully and let everyone know that I would be exercising every morning before we went anywhere for the day. I also knew there would be unexpected occasions that would arise and I tried to be flexible when those came up. If I knew we were going to leave at 9:00 AM for an outing, I got up at 6:00 AM so I could exercise, shower and get the kids ready on time. If we were going out to eat, I ate lightly during the day, knowing that restaurant meals have more calories than I needed.
Flexibility, planning and firmness were the 3 things that helped me lose or maintain my weight while on vacation.
Below are some tips to help you keep control of your weight while on vacation.
- Plan, plan, plan. Write out a daily schedule of your anticipated activities and think about what food will be available and what food you can bring with you in a cooler or your suitcase.
- Bring your exercise clothes and shoes. I always bring my workout clothes, shoes and my music player when we travel. None of that takes up much room. I wear my tennis shoes while traveling if they are too bulky for the suitcase and everything else fits in just fine.
- It's okay to be selfish. I know that sounds bad, but it is okay to take 30 minutes out of your entire day to take a quick walk, do an exercise DVD or work out in the hotel gym. It's okay.
- Call ahead to restaurants. If you don't have internet access on the road, call ahead and ask what kind of food they serve. Ask if meals can be altered for special dietary needs. Most restaurants are very accommodating.
I encourage you to go on your next vacation with a firm goal and plan in mind.