I recently went on a short vacation to Florida with my son, Reid, in order to be in my college roommate’s wedding. We stayed in some Panama City Beach condos right on the beach, and we fell asleep to the sound of waves every night. The Atlantic is substantially colder than the Pacific, so Reid and I spent a lot of time out of the water. To save money, I made all of our food from ingredients I bought at local seafood markets, farmers’ markets, and grocery stores.
The moral to this story is that you can eat like a champ while you are on vacation while still maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If you stay in a condo or kitchenette motel, I advise cooking your own meals whenever possible. This not only helps you save money, but it also makes you keenly aware of what is going into your body. Before leaving, do a little research about the area and locate stores in the area where you will be staying. The Internet is awesome for finding sales and coupons, and finding some of these before you arrive at your destination is a bonus.
As soon as you arrive, head to the stores on your itinerary and load up on groceries. Be sure to buy lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, and experiment a little with local cuisine. If, for example, you are staying on the beach, find out what some of the local favorite seafood dishes are, buy the necessary ingredients, and do it up right for your first evening in a new town. By taking care of your food needs right away, rather than eating out and buying food odds and ends as you go, you will ensure a healthy eating experience for you and your travel companions.
If you decide to eat out, it’s okay to cut yourself a little slack. Rather than obsessively counting every calorie, enjoy your food while being mindful of eating a properly-balanced meal. If you make eating out the exception, rather than the rule, while you are on vacation, it will not only seem like a treat, but it may also provide inspiration for future vacation meals.
Exercising while on vacation is a little more difficult to do both in terms of finding a convenient time and location and because most vacations are full of activities that simply leave little to no time for cardio or weight training. If you have an existing gym membership, you might inquire about the possibility of locations in the town you will be visiting, but if this isn’t an option, just be sure to remain active while you are out. This can be something as simple as taking romantic moonlit walks with your honey, or swimming laps in the hotel pool.
It is easy to go on vacation and forget the priorities you have set for yourself in “real life,” such as weight loss and maintenance, healthy eating habits, proper exercise, and so forth. When you’re on vacation, the last thing you want to do is count calories and find time for cardio. You want to be able to relax and have fun, and darn the consequences! However, there is nothing relaxing or fun about returning to your life and not being able to fit into your favorite black dress, or falling off of the exercise wagon. With a little foresight, you can avoid this common pitfall and return home in better shape than when you left.
Personal Trainer, Nutritionist, & Fitness Advisor