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.


STATS (as of August 6)

BUST: 36

WAIST: 38   (eek! Just what I was afraid of!  Thank God it’s only one inch!)

HIPS: 39 (still no freakin’ change!!!)

WEIGHT: 147.3  (this is nothing short of a miracle given my five-day-blubberfest)

BODY FAT %: 33.3 (yeeeowzah!!!)

KAPOW!

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KAPOW!!!

Yup. That’s the sound of my diet and exercise regimen exploding from four days of overindulgence.

I feel totally ashamed and to be quite honest, I’m feeling really freaked out that I may have undone all the good I had accomplished in the last two weeks. I am seriously dreading my weekly weigh-in tomorrow.

The slipperly slope started on Sunday when I attended a BBQ/Birthday celebration. I started the party off well — I meticulously chose the lighter fare and counted points values like a nun counts the beads on a rosary. But when the desserts were put out…*sigh*…I don’t know. All will power went out the window and I overindulged in creamy tarts and puff pastries and cups upon cups upon cups of fruit salad.

Now, the upside is that I played about an hour of volleyball with my fellow party-goers after this period of indulgence but I’m almost positive that it hasn’t undone the damage I caused. Oh, and I guess I should mention that I had run out of flex points the day before.

Then came Monday’s BBQ at a friends home where I didn’t even bother to count points or even consider what I was shovelling into my mouth. Oh I brought my trusty Weight Watchers Points book to this BBQ alright. And it stayed in Baby Boy’s diaper bag the entire time. Burgers, chips, cheesies, brownies, dip, chocolate fountain…(yup, you read that correctly, CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN)… I ate it all. And I wouldn’t doubt it if I ate them in that order. And this time there was no volleyball game to salvage some of my dignity.  I didn’t even bother trying to tally up everything I ate and how many points I consumed. I’m pretty sure I ate all my fresh set of flex points in one sitting.

Tuesday I participated in Aquafit with Baby Boy (which ROCKED — more on that later) and was doing pretty good with the diet for most of the day. WW meal for lunch, etc. But then the husband, baby boy and I went to Jack Astors for dinner with my out-of-town-and-visiting parental units and I made the horrible mistake of ordering the chopstick chicken salad again. Ugh. 25 POINTS PEOPLE!!! When I think back I distinctly remember trying to choose between a 6 oz steak with cooked vegetables and a baked potato or the chopstick chicken salad. I had forgotten my Points book at home and so I was trying to remember how many points everything was. Eventually I gave up and figured a salad must be better than steak and potatoes.

[insert buzzer noise here] WRONG!!!

6 oz steak with baked potato and cooked veggies: 21 points. Jack Astors Chopstick Chicken Salad: 25 points. Both are horrible dinner options. But one is four points more horrible than the other.

Now, I could have just chocked up the experience to falling off the wagon and made a pact to climb back on. But instead, I decided to let the wagon run me over by further indulging in not one, but TWO Cadbury Thins when I got home. AND I skipped out on karate too. I managed to get my Gi on but made it as far as the front door before I said “F&#@* it” and turned around and took a nice, long, hot shower instead.

But wait, THERE’S MORE!

Today I managed to drag my sorry butt (and baby boy’s) to TurboFit class, determined for a fresh start and to stay on track. I hauled ass during my class and hoofed it all the way to Golden Griddle where I was to meet my out-of-town-and-visiting parental units. Now, the logical part of my brain said “Just order an egg white omelet and be done with it“. But the fat-ass part of my brain said “Dude, I’m starved. Just go with the buffet and eat wisely. Actually, scratch that. Dude, just go with the buffet!

Sadly, the fat-ass part of my brain won.

And the day unravelled from there. 3 more Cadbury Thin bars (that’ll teach me to buy them from Costco!) and battered fish-and-chips for dinner rounded out my gluttony-fest. And now I’m sitting here, feeling completely horrified that I’ve let myself go so unhinged when I’ve only been fighting the battle for a few weeks and wishing there was a way I could open my stomach and just empty all the contents and start over. I can’t believe that rather than hold myself accountable and deal with how over-point I’ve been the past four days, I’d rather just say “screw it” and not record the points (or count them for that matter) at all.

This is a low moment for the Buddha belly I’m afraid.

But this Buddha Belly is not KO’d just yet! Ohhhhhh no! Tomorrow is a new day! And while I’m sure I have gained back the three pounds I had initially lost, I know that I can lose them again and get myself back on track — this time with even more determination! More stamina! More willpower! Yeeeeah baby! I can do this!!!

But first I’m going to spend the rest of the evening throwing a pity party for myself and hiding from the scale.

STATS (as of July 31)

BUST: 36   (yee-haw! The puppies are holdin’ on!)

WAIST: 37   (apparently so is my waistline)

HIPS: 39 (argh.)

WEIGHT: 147.6  (whoo hoo!!!)

BODY FAT %: 30.3

A FEW OF MY FAVOURITE THINGS (right now)

Kellogg’s Special K Fruit and Yogurt

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Omg, healthy, sweet and sooooooo delicious. Best part? It’s only 2 Weight Watchers points baby! (well, for one bowl anyways).

“Tambourine” by Eve

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Gotta love this hard-as-nails-chickita and her quick tongue. This song has a catchy beat and is currently at the top of my IPod list for when I work out…and drive…and walk…and…

Starbucks Stainless Steel Waterbottle

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I know, I know. I could pretty much buy a stainless steel waterbottle anywhere. But this particular design from Starbucks caught my eye everytime I went in there so I just had to have it. Environmentally friendly and with a conviniently looped top so that it’s super easy to carry a-la-finger, I take this bottle practically everywhere.

NIKE DRI-FIT TANK TOP

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When it comes to clothes that I work out in, I’m not really a brand-whore. Seriously. Any stupid tank top that doesn’t show how much sweat is actually leaving the armpit area will do. But I have to say that the Nike Dri-Fit tank top that I bought on impulse one day is now my all-time favourite tank top to work out in. When they say “dri-fit” they aren’t kidding. This tank is totally lightweight, super comfy and wicks away moisture better than the Sham-wow.

MOMS TO BE…AND MORE

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I’m admiting it. I’m a baby-gearhead.  I mean, it’s like an addiction — from buying clothes to cool-looking accessories to the hip new make-your-life-easier baby tools — whether I truly need them or not I’m buying ’em.

Moms To Be and More is the husband’s and my favourite baby store. It’s completely Yuppy and not exactly Toys-R-Us priced by any means but they have some of the coolest gear for babies (and mommies too). Case in point: I just bought a super-cool Pirate pacifier-clip for baby boy. Argh matey! (tee-hee!)

FRESHII

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Ah sweet, crisp, delicious Freshii salad to go. How I love thee.

But I’m no salad-snob. I’m still having a bit of trouble swallowing the fact that for the convenience of having someone put together a custom-built salad with a variety of toppings that I didn’t know existed, I’m dishing out close to ten bucks. Ten bucks for a salad that I can basically make at home but am way to lazy to actually attempt.

And yet, I still purchase my Freshii-mix salad with green apple, sweet corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, roasted peppers, egg whites, sundried tomatoes, cheese and dried cranberries…

…Twice a week…

…at least.

DOVE ‘GO FRESH’ BODYWASH

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Have you tried these body washes yet? If not, you gotta try ’em! The scents are to die for and of course, they leave you Dove-approved silky smooth. The matching-scented deoderants and body sprays are just as lovely. This gal’s fave? Dove ‘Go Fresh’ REFRESH body wash (the blue one). The scent really perks you up in the morning and keeps you feeling energized throughout the day!

TOTALLY McCOOL!

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Ok granted, when you’re on a diet you really shouldn’t be hitting McDonalds. But sometimes you just have to eat and unfortunately the only thing within a five mile radius is the dreaded ‘Mickey D’s’. And if you happen to forget your Weight Watchers points book at home…well, things could go to hell in a handbasket real fast.

BUT there is hope! Recently I stumbled upon a really nifty contraption on the McDonalds web site while looking for the nutritional information for the snackwrap I had eaten earlier that day. It’s a Nutrition Calculator. Simply click on the “Category” under which your meal falls (for example, Lunch/Dinner Sandwiches, Beverages, whatever), then scroll through the picturesque options until you find what you’ve eaten (or want to eat if you’re actually planning a trip to the Mc-Joint) and drag the picture of each item you’ve eaten (or about to eat) to your tray below. Immediately the full nutritional information for each item pops up in the box to the right! And voila! You can calculate your points!

Totally McCool if you ask me.

Oh and by the way, a grilled chicken snack wrap with Mediterranean ‘sauce’ is 5 points.

And it’s PUNY.

BUDDHA BELLY’S GAME PLAN

I figured I should share my overall game plan for those of you who are following along. I find that giving myself a goal, a reward and a way to get there helps me stay on target. So for all you post-pregger-ladies out there (and those gals who just want to lose the belly in general), here is Buddha Belly’s game plan:

THE GOAL:

Obviously my goal is too lose an incredible amount of post-baby weight. But for every weight-loss-seeking gal out there I’m sure there’s that one piece of clothing that you are just dying to wear without having to suck in your stomach, wear a girdle underneath or feel incredibly self-conscious. For me, that one piece of clothing is my beloved new PUMA shirt.

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The Beloved-but-Stupidly-Purchased PUMA Shirt

See, I had bought this shirt about a month or so after having given birth to Baby Boy. I think I was delirious or something. I mean, granted I had bought the shirt in size XL but, seriously?   PUMA seems to think that an XL person has a 27 inch waist and jogs half a mile every day.   In the real world, an XL PUMA shirt is a Medium at best. So when I tried the shirt on and the Buddha belly stretched through the middle of the shirt, as much as I loved the colour and style on me, anyone with half a brain would have accepted the fact that it didn’t fit and put the damn thing back. But oh no, not me. I had to buy the shirt with the delusion that “in a few weeks I’ll be able to wear it, no problem“.

It’s now four months later and I still can’t wear the bloody thing.  It’s tucked into the darkest depths of my drawer, hoping, praying that one day I will wear it again without looking like I’m still nine months pregnant.

So long story short. That’s my goal. To lose 30 pounds and to be able to wear that beautiful Tiffany-blue PUMA shirt with my chin held high (and looking mighty damn good in it too!)

THE REWARD:

The husband will either kill me or divorce me. One or the other. But I’m getting myself this reward anyhow. This is my struggle and my journey and so I get to chose my reward dagnabit!

My reward for losing all 30 pounds (AND being able to fit into my Puma shirt) is to get 2 TATTOOS to go along with my others.

Now, the reason the husband will kill me is that he hates tattoos. I mean he loathes them. He hates the tattoos I already have. Always has. And he thinks that now that I have a child I should grow up and forget all about tattoos and piercings etc etc etc.

Pfffft…yah, OK.

The two tattoos that I will be getting as my reward are:

1. a silhouette of a charging bull on my lower back (I’m a Taurus and I’m stubborn and determined…it’s a perfect fit I think)

and

2. my Baby Boy’s name done in paint brush strokes either across or down the back of my neck.

THE PLAN:

You already pretty much know my plan to lose the weight but here’s a recap with a bit more detail:

DIET: WEIGHT WATCHERS For those of you who aren’t aware of Weight Watchers…if you’ve seen the TV commercials with the fuzzy orange monster running around tempting women with food — that’s it. The basic premise of WW is that based on your height, weight, etc. you have a certain amount of “points” that you are allowed to consume daily, with an extra 35 points for the week for when you overindulge, etc.  And every morsel of food or beverage that you put in your mouth has a points value. So the premise is that you choose not just the right foods and beverages so that you stay within your points range, but that you choose the right AMOUNT of food and beverages also. Now, you can still have that piece of cake. You can still have that glass of wine. You just have to decide if it’s worth the points at that particular point in your day or week. So what WW does is train you to eat the right amount of the right foods and generally make the right choices.

LOVE it.

EXERCISE: A combination of Baby & Me Fitness classes (Stroller Fit (a la stroller), AquaFit (a la water), TurboFit  (aerobics & strenght training) and ‘Booty Hop’ (hip hop dance classes & strength training)) and Karate (I’m going to attempt to hit the Dojo at least twice a week, if not three times a week. But twice a week at minimum)

So there you have it! My buh-by-Buddha-belly-game plan. The plan may change a bit as time goes on (I may add on to my fitness regimen or my daily points range may decrease as my weight decreases) but nevertheless a plan will be in place to get me to my goal, get me my new tattoos and get me into my damn PUMA shirt!!! (not to mention all my other pre-pregnancy clothes that I’m too scared to pull out for fear of launching me into depression).

Wave that checkered flag cause this Buddha belly is rolling on people!!!