Did you know that the average person who goes on a two week cruise will gain ten pounds? Have you gone through an intense workout and diet regime to get into shape for vacation, but when you come home you've put on all the weight you've lost, and possibly more?
Getting away for a week or two this summer is a great way to relax and spend time with family and friends. Although the news is reporting more people are taking "staycations" (vacationing within the state) because of the economy, I know three separate families who are on their way to the beach right now, along with other friend who is visiting a friend in Florida and another who is in Vegas. Next month a client at Baseline is going to Italy for a couple weeks. For my husband and I, vacationing is the one week a year we really look forward to. It's a week when we can be on our own schedules and slow down a bit. So, how can you maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine without feeling like it's taking away the fun from your getaway?
First, you must realize that if you go out to eat every night you will be faced with all sorts of diet sabotaging situations. Eating out once a week while you are at home can be mitigated by a week of clean eating, but the damage that eating once or twice a day while on vacation can't be undone so quickly. Mentally prepare for the fact that you will be seeing a dessert menu, and decide before you go to the restaurant if you are going to indulge. Be aware of things that are adding tons of extra calories, like the bread the server will put on your table, any mixed drinks, appetizers, etc. If you are renting a space with a kitchen, your best bet is to grocery shop the day to get to your destination for the week. This will put you more in control of the things you eat, and help to alleviate that piece of chocolate cake you want to have at a restaurant. Cooking for yourself during your vacation will also save you money.
If you are thinking that exercise is the last thing you want to do while vacationing, then understand that if you stop your exercise routine and abandon healthy eating habits, it is very likely you will gain fat weight. However a beach vacation can be a great way to burn fat. Walking through sand will burn 20-50% more calories than regular walking. Most beaches have places where you can rent bikes and kayaks. Water sports will eat up lots of calories, as will walking tours of local sights. The client we know who is going to Italy next month is going on a bike tour. She'll be biking most of the day, so she will be able to consume more calories in delicious Italian food without gaining the weight she would if she was sitting on a beach during the vacation. Another option is the hotel gym. Almost all hotels have a gym or a pool near the lobby, and a quick twenty minute run or walk on the treadmill may be more accessible than you think (it's also a great excuse to get away from the family to have some time to yourself. Everyone sleeping and eating together for a week or more can get stressful, especially if you are vacationing with several families).
Deciding on what you want your diet and exercise routine to be like before you reach your destination will help you stay on track. If you want to eat at restaurants while on vacation but are worried about gaining weight, make a mental promise to yourself before you leave to get in extra cardio that week. Research the area you are visiting, and if there are any bike or walking tours sign the family up! Chances are they won't even know they're getting extra exercise because they'll be having so much fun. And that's just what vacationing is about!