Vacation Mode – 10 tips & tricks for a healthy holiday
There’s no doubt that the biggest challenge for our clients and for us too, is when we’re thrown out of our typical routine. Whether that be a long vacation or a short weekend trip away, continuing to make progress or at least avoid undoing progress is no easy feat. Jason and I have both been on vacations in the past where we would do nothing but enjoy indulgence after indulgence. It’s fun when you’re doing it but the guilt and self-loathing when you get back from vacation and discover you’ve gained in excess of 10 lbs., well that’s more than just a little bit miserable!
Staying on task in working towards your goals isn’t easy. Yes, routines and habits become engrained and help to avoid poor decisions, but that doesn’t make it easy to stay dialed in with your nutrition and your fitness. It takes effort to keep caring enough that you track your food and plan your day around getting a work out in, but we do it anyway, because the work is worth the reward of feeling good in our skin.
Save yourself from yourself with these tips and tricks to help keep you on task when you’re on vacation or away from home.
1. Always be tracking
Even if you’re eating out every meal having to guesstimate quantities and find things in My Fitness Pal that are comparable, keeping track will help you stay consistent with your habit of tracking so it’s not so hard to get back into it once you’re home from vacation. It will also serve as a daily reminder to make better decisions and have a general awareness to your macro goals and calorie intake.
Make sure you have access to data on your phone – check with your network provider about access to data if you’re travelling internationally – and pack extra chargers! There’s nothing worse than being stuck in an airport with 5% battery left and realizing your one phone charger is in your checked luggage. I always make sure I have an extra lead and a power pack portable charger in my carry on.
2. Pack a food scale
If you’re going with your significant other, you might even want to pack two! 😉 Whether we’re staying in a hotel or in an apartment/house, we use our travel scale all the time. Being out of your home shouldn’t be an excuse for not weighing and measuring your food. If you’re on vacation with other people and afraid of looking like a lunatic, let them look and see how dedicated you are to reaching your goals! Nobody truly interesting is universally liked anyway and you never know, your actions and dedication might serve as inspiration for those that you’re with.
3. Pack a bathroom scale
Yes I know it might seem a little over the top but if you’re driving somewhere, why not? Maintain your daily habit of stepping on the scale every morning and I guarantee it will keep you focused and lead you to making smarter decisions. Even if you decide not to track your food on your vacation, if you’re stepping on the scale it should give you a good guide as to whether or not you’re maintaining a caloric balance with your intake and energy expenditure.
4. Take Protein
We highly recommend packing protein powder that has minimal other macros in it. We love Paleoethics Super Serum. Make sure you also pack your shaker bottle! We went away recently for just a few days and thought we’d be fine without packing protein powder for once. WRONG! I ended up being under on my protein most days, it was just so challenging to hit my protein without going over on my fat.
In addition you should consider packing jerky and protein bars. Protein bars can serve as perfect fillers if you’re out hiking or just need a snack between lunch and dinner. Cut out the added carbs and fat from chips and salsa and get some protein in!
5. Pack greens & dried fruit
Staying on top of your micronutrients is tough when you’re on vacation. We always like to travel with some Greens and dried fruit to get some good quality carbs in and micronutrients. Dried fruit will help you to fill in those carbs at the end of the day. The greens will keep your body feeling healthy even when your diet isn’t quite so nutritious. You don’t need to take it every day but if you’re noticing that you’re getting in less than 400g of fruit and veggies in a day, then taking a greens supplement is a smart idea.
6. Plan to workout
I don’t care who I’m on vacation with or where I’m going, I always make sure I have at least 3 sets of workout clothes with me, my sneakers and my jump rope. I’ll usually scope the area out where we’re staying ahead of time too. For instance, on our trip to Hawaii, I looked up our address on google maps and saw that the local CrossFit (and Whole Foods) was only a 10 minute drive away. So I already planned ahead of time that it would be reasonable to get to the box most days and committed to 4 sessions a week regardless of other activities.
Depending on the type of vacation you’re on, maybe the outdoor activities available to you will be your “workouts” whilst you’re gone. Research your options, maybe it’s surfing, hiking, biking, climbing, etc. Suss it out and pack appropriately! The gym will be waiting for you when you get home, so enjoy getting outside and putting your fitness to the test.
7. Pack Ear plugs
Whether you’re sharing accommodation or staying in a hotel, you’re bound to encounter some unfamiliar noises that might disturb your sleep. A lack of sleep can effect your hormones and cause cravings, it also tends to lead to poor decision making. Having suffered this fate many times before, I never fail to travel without ear plugs. I have tried many different kinds of ear plugs over the years and have had the most success with silicone ear plugs that you would typically use for swimming. They stay put all night long and do an incredible job at blocking out noise. They were a life saver during our wedding celebrations when Jason and I were sharing a house with paper thin walls, with 13 family and friends!
8. Take a Water Bottle
I don’t know about you guys, but I never leave home without a water bottle – we do live in Florida but this is something I’ve been doing since college back in the UK. So when I’m heading on vacation, leaving my water bottle behind just isn’t an option. It may seem like a small thing but if you’re staying on top of little habits like drinking water, it often has a domino effect in leading to success with you maintaining your other healthy lifestyle habits too.
9. Go to the grocery store
Taking control of what ends up in the fridge and on your counter is a game changer. Sure you would probably rather spend an extra hour on the beach but whoever you’re doing the shopping with will probably appreciate the company and this way you have an influence over what ends up back at the house. Other people who don’t track macros are not as adept at picking macro-friendly foods and they’re probably not operating with the same mindset in respect to staying on track. Hello #vacaymode ! Stay one step ahead of the game and make sure some nutritious snacks (carrot sticks, peppers, cucumbers, fruit) and lean protein find their way into the shopping cart. You may even be able to deter people from buying 3 cheesecakes and 8 bags of family size chips! ?
10. Balance Eating Out
Being on vacation isn’t just about enjoying new adventures and admiring beautiful scenery, it’s also about experiencing new flavors and local cuisine. If anyone understands that it’s me! But that doesn’t mean you should completely lose your mind and eat every single meal out. Depending on how long you’re on vacation think about what’s reasonable for the number of times you eat out. Of course it also depends on who you’re with and where you’re staying & what you’re doing, but I’ve stayed in hotels before and managed to eat all my meals for the day with just items out of the fridge and using the hotel microwave. It wasn’t even hard.
When I’m away, I’ll usually try to eat 2 meals a day at “home base”, have one snack that’s trackable (like a protein bar) and then enjoy one meal out somewhere. I’ll still track that meal but I won’t be overly stressed about inaccuracies from eyeballing. Now that’s fine if I’m gone for a short period, but if I’m gone 2 weeks then it’s unlikely I’ll eat out every day – that just gets expensive! Bottom line, try to minimize the amount of guesswork and inaccuracy in your tracking by enjoying 50-80% of your meals at your home base for your vacation.
How are you successful at maintaining your lifestyle habits when you’re on vacation? Did you think of any great tips that we missed? Comment below to share your knowledge bomb.
Check out our other Blog Post & Podcast all about Staying on track on vacation.