Years ago, I struggled with guilt when I would go on vacation. Being off my normal eating and exercise routine would cause me stress and although I always enjoyed my vacations, I could never quite shake the feeling that I was doing something wrong. “Will I gain weight?” “Will I be able to get back on track?” Well, that was then and this is now. Over the years, I’ve realized a few things about taking time off and how to do it without negating all my hard work.
- Eating healthy and working out consistently throughout the year trumps a few weeks of vacation. One of the biggest ways to avoid a big vacation waistline train wreck is to work out and eat well all year long. Week in, week out. Not a few weeks here and a few weeks there. Not at the beginning of the New Year for a month or two. One reason I don’t stress about lying on a beach for a week or eating my way through Seattle is because I know I’ll be right back on track when I get home which leads me to my second point.
- Get a workout in within two days of returning. Re-entry into the real world can be quite the buzz kill. Laundry, grocery shopping and gads of emails to return can make it easy to justify not getting back into your healthy routine. If you’re not careful, you may find yourself three weeks home from vacay without a workout. I make it a goal to workout within one to two days of getting home. No excuses. It doesn’t have to be a life-altering workout. Just do something to get back into the flow.
- Avoid the “unbutton the pants” fullness. Splurge and have fun, but stop before you’re super full. I hate the feeling of being uncomfortably full, so I stop eating right when I’m satiated. If you don’t go nuts on your portion size, you can enjoy things you don’t normally eat without guilt. That’s all good, but what happens when you do go a little crazy and wind up in a food coma? See point #1. Yes, your pants may be a tad tighter when you get home, but if you return to your healthy living routine, you’ll be back to normal in no time.
- Relax and enjoy! I take full advantage of my time off now. Sometimes I might go for an easy run to check out my new surroundings. Sometimes I don’t. I only exercise if I truly desire to do so. Some vacations, I just need a total break. Either way, I don’t stress. My goal is to relax and enjoy the time with my family.
Getting a break from life is a gift and we should all take advantage. Guilt free. Happy vacationing and I’ll see you at the gym when you get back!