Vacations can cause many disruptions to a normally healthy lifestyle. It can be hard to stay on track when there are so many wonderful temptations in front of you. When it comes to vacations, it is all about balance.
Recently, I took a two week cruise to Alaska on Holland America Line. If you know anything about cruises it’s all the food, all the time. I was pleasantly surprised to find I had not gained ANY weight when I returned home. This is saying a lot when, for two weeks, I ate anything and everything I wanted. How did I do it, you ask? Balance and priorities.
When it came to my meals, I tried to plan accordingly. I knew that most days we wouldn’t be eating a big lunch since we were out and about in port. Because of this, I would eat a big breakfast and plan on eating a snack bar for lunchtime. With each meal, I usually try to get a good balance of protein, carbs, and veggies/fruit. By doing this, I didn’t eat alllll the donuts at breakfast. I knew that if I did, I’d be hungry again much too soon. This makes for a cranky pup later in the day.
Although I carefully track my meals at home, while on vacation I don’t stress myself out with the numbers. I’ve been doing this long enough now that I can estimate calories and know if I’m higher than normal it won’t be the end of the world. If anything, this vacation had me much more active than normal and so I was able to eat more while maintaining the 50 lbs I’ve lost so far. On vacation I don’t say no to dessert, fun drinks, breakfast pastries, or indulgent dinners. It’s all about enjoying myself and trying new things. This can mean trying new foods or adventurous activities I wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to try. When am I going to be back on such a vacation? Probably not for a while and probably not the exact same type. Each vacation brings new challenges and opportunities for adventure. A few days of balanced indulging isn’t going to set back my progress by much, no matter if it’s spaghetti in Rome or clam chowder in Sitka.
In addition to balancing my meals (I still had dessert and fun drinks every night), I made sure to keep up with my exercise. As I am currently training for a marathon, I was extra careful about keeping up with my planned mileage. While I wasn’t able to do my normal road runs, I did take full advantage of the gym on the ship. Most of the time it was completely empty and left me able to make a fool of myself in peace on the treadmill. I ran a total of 31 miles onboard (mostly on the at sea days) but still enjoyed all the relaxation that comes with a good cruise.
Besides my training runs I also participated in many active land excursions. I was able to hike 7 miles to a glacier in Homer, explore the icy plains of the Mendenhall Glacier, summit Flattop Mountain (1400 ft elevation gain over 1.5 miles) in Anchorage, and kayak through the wilderness of Sitka to name a few. There are so many ways to stay active on vacation that are fun and memorable. During our last port of call in Victoria, BC we ended up walking a total of 10.5 miles just by trying to see everything on our list. While there is no need to overexert on vacation, it can be fun to get out there and see the sights while getting some steps in.
Tips for Eating on Vacation:
1) Don’t restrict too much — if you want something, have it!
2) Think about what your eating and don’t indulge on every meal (there has to be balance).
3) Partake in some fun, active excursions — walking tours count!
4) Don’t stress the calories (you’ll probably put on some pounds from retaining water — once you’re back to your usual food, it’ll fall off fast).
5) ENJOY! You don’t go on vacation every day!
Overall, I came back relaxed and ready for my next adventure. While I was constantly on the move I enjoyed every moment and was glad I got my money’s worth out of Alaska. I’m definitely looking forward to a different pace with DISNEYLAND next summer!! Until next time, vacation!
What are your tips and tricks for successfully losing/maintaining weight on vacation?