THE VACAY PLAN: CAN YOU REALLY STAY ON TRACK WITH DIET AND EXERCISE?

Yes.

As long as your not me.

I don’t think there is one person out there who finds it easy-as-pie to stay on track with their diet and exercise regimen while on vacation. I mean, come on…who really wants to think about over-exerting themselves on a treadmill or eating salads all day while the person sitting next to us is indulging in strawberry daiquiris and BBQ?

And while I think seeking out local gyms in whichever city/hotel/resort you’re staying or packing almonds, cans of tuna and protein bars into your luggage are great ideas I don’t think they’re exactly feasible. Um…reality check people…when was last the time you packed tuna to go anywhere?

I recently went on a week-long vacation with Baby Boy and not only did I overindulge but I think I managed to get all of one session at the gym in during the entire week. And, well, now I’m left feeling flabby, bloated and with the muscle mass of a jellyfish and the energy of my 65 pound Basset Hound on a 30+ degree day.

So being as realistic as possible, here are Buddha Belly’s top Vacay Do’s and Don’t-Do-What-I-Did’s for when you go on vacation.

DO: Be conscious of what you eat.

You don’t have to eat nothing but lettuce the entire time, but do be mindful of what you’re eating and how much. If you know that you’re going to indulge in a savory lobster feast for dinner, opt to have a lighter, more healthy-style lunch such as a bountiful salad, a scrumptious chicken wrap with honey mustard dressing, etc. Opt for frozen yogurt or a strawberry smoothie when the heat calls for something cool. And enjoy that Divine bowl of cheese cappaletti but half it and give half to the husband/boyfriend/friend whose been eying your plate all night or take it to go.

DON’T-DO-WHAT-I-DID:

Don’t hit every station at the buffet…twice. Don’t mindlessly snack on whatever is within arms reach because you’re enjoying horizontal-mode for the day. Don’t tank up on watermelon or other high-fructose fruits thinking that they’re fruit so they must be good for you and so you can have as much as you want. Don’t indulge in gelato just because you think Italians are entitled to it on a hot day. Don’t get an iced-coffee-with-non-fat-milk-and-extra-sweetener from Starbucks every day. (By the way: The non-fat milk does nothing for you if you’re getting one every day…especially if you’re getting extra sweetener).

DO: Be as active as possible.

It’s totally understandable that hitting a gym everyday while on vacation is neither feasible nor necessarily enjoyable, but there’s no reason to not be active at all. Try to plan one activity each day that will get your heart rate moving whether it is a game of beach volleyball, hitting the pool or ocean for a swim, using a bike to go sight-seeing, power walk through the air-conditioned mall,  etc. And, if all else fails, plan a 30 minute walk after dinner when the heat is not as intense. It may not burn off that rack of ribs you just ate but hey, it’s somethin’.

DON’T-DO-WHAT-I-DID:

Don’t look outside, whine “it’s too hoooooooooooot” or “I just want to relaaaaaaaaax” and spend the day on the couch watching soap operas and reruns of Law and Order or, for those of us with kids, Treehouse and episodes of Sesame Street.

DO: Let breaky be your break-free meal of the day.

If there’s one meal in the entire day that you an safely overindulge in, it’s breakfast. That’s because you have an entire day to burn off what you ate. This doesn’t mean that you should let gluttony take over. It means don’t beat yourself up over it if you lingered around the crepe station at the brunch buffet this morning. As long as you’re active throughout the rest of the day it won’t have done as much damage as you think.

DON’T-DO-WHAT-I-DID:

Don’t overeat or have a brunch buffet every morning because you think you’ll burn off the calories later in the day. Calories add up people. Do the math.

DO: Be aware of your beverages.

You don’t have to avoid alcohol altogether but do limit your intake. If you happen to get sloshed one night, skip the alcohol the next. A night without a Pina Colata isn’t going to kill you. (And no, Bud Light doesn’t count dude)  High-calorie beverages like Frappacino’s, Iced Coffees and Milkshakes will only weigh you down.  Try to choose zero calorie beverages throughout the day. Obviously water is the ultimate choice and is so easily transportable  but there are other options that give you the fizz you want without the calories like Diet Coke or Coke Zero (even McDonalds offers Coke Zero as a beverage now…not that you should be going there or anything).

DON’T-DO-WHAT-I-DID:

Don’t order regular Coca-Cola at every restaurant because you’re “on vacation”, don’t get any ideas just because there’s an LCBO two doors down from you and don’t hit Starbucks for a grande-iced coffee with- non-fat-milk-and-extra-sweetener every day (see first Don’t-Do-What-I-Did).  Again, the non-fat milk ain’t gonna help ya dude.

DO: Strategize with your over-indulgences.

If you’re not into the daily good-cop-bad-cop routine with your meals as suggested above or if you have much more willpower than the rest of us but not as much as that toothpick in the fitness magazine, pick TWO or THREE meals (depending on how long your vacation is)  with which you will blow your diet out of the water. Go ahead, eat whatever your lil’ ol’ heart desires at those two or three meals. And eat healthy for the rest of your vacation. You’ll revel in the guilt free freedom.

DON’T-DO-WHAT-I-DID:

Don’t overindulge everyday at every meal and eat everything in sight. ‘Nuff said.

DO: Set up a Reward Plan.

Just like you’ve set up a long-term goal and reward for yourself when you’re at home, doing the same while on vacation will reap huge benefits. Keep your goal realistic and your reward attainable. Even if you’re goal is as basic as “speed walk for 30 minutes every day” and your reward is as simple as a new pair of sandals.

DON’T-DO-WHAT-I-DID:

Don’t beat yourself up every day that you didn’t work out or didn’t eat healthy. Don’t go to extremes because you failed at your plan the day prior. Don’t throw up your hands and give up because you’ve had a few bad days of eating. And most importantly…

Don’t let your vacation habits continue when you get back home.

Unless they’re healthy habits of course.


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