How do you love your vacation WITHOUT overeating all the things?
Tell me, how many times has this happened to you? You spend weeks, or even months, taking extra care of your body and being extra careful how you eat so you can feel more confident and swimsuit-ready when the big week comes.
You lose a few pounds, feel lighter, better and pretty proud of yourself only to put it all back on and THEN SOME by the time you get back home! Not only that…but after a week of over indulging in rich food, snacks, treats and pina coladas, your cravings are through the roof when you get back!
Now if you’re the kind of person who only cares about shedding some extra pounds before a vacation and not caring if you gain them all back, then this isn’t a problem for you and you can stop reading.
BUT, if you’re like me, you want to enjoy the delicious food on your vacation AND enjoy the way your body looks and feels when you come home!
The good news is you don’t have to choose between one or the other, there is a way to have BOTH. How?
The first, and most important step, is to choose your mindset!
Most of us don’t even realize we have a “vacation” mindset that associates vacations or traveling (in any form) with processed sugar and carb foods. It’s just a “given” that if we’re on vacation we’ll eat whatever we feel like and eat a lot of it.
Nothing wrong with this unless you don’t like the results it gives you.
For me, my brain starts sending me sugar/carb cravings and vacation-permission thoughts to feed EACH ONE of them the minute I step into the airport or local gas station to fuel up for a road trip!
“We’re going on vacation! Eat, drink and be merry! Starting with a big can of Pringles and king size bag of Peanut M&Ms for the plane!”
Listening to this part of our sugar-crave brain every time it makes a suggestion and follows it up with a “you’re on vacation!” justification, starts the sneaky process of throwing any pre-vacation health plan out the window.
So here’s the trick. BE ON TO IT!
What’s worth it, what isn’t?
Just plan on your brain doing this because it will. Decide ahead of time what’s worth indulging in and what isn’t!
For me, sipping a cold, creamy virgin pina-colada while watching the sunny waves lap onto the sand is WORTH it. A bag of chips and a candy bar at the airport terminal is not.
A hot homemade churro or freshly made gelato at a local island shop is worth it.
The packaged cookies, pretzels and goldfish crackers they hand you on the plane is not.
Save your sugar and carbs for where it’s worth it to you! Don’t waste them on stupid things you can get anywhere and any time. Make it special and make it count!
Does this mean you have to starve on your drive or the plane? Of course not. It means you plan ahead and bring or buy REAL food to nourish your body so you’re not as tempted to give into crap-cravings as I like to call them.
Pack or buy fresh fruit and veggies! Bring jerky, raw nuts, protein powder and low sugar protein bars. This way when the temptations come, you’ll have a back-up ready to go! I also take my favorite herbal tea bags with little monk fruit sweetener packets to sip something warm and delicious whenever I want.
When traveling in a car or plane, make sure you FUEL your body before the flight or during pit stops with healthy meals like a big protein salad so you’re not physically hungry or mindlessly snacking because you’re bored.
The same mentality carries over to your actual vacation, wherever you are! Focus on fueling your body with whole, healthy foods (you’ll find them if you’re looking for them) and you’ll naturally eat less treats and snacks throughout the day.
Make sure you fuel your body with nutritious food at each meal before having the treats and you’ll just want less of them. Before diving into the waffles, bread basket or lasagna, give your body a big, colorful present of veggies (raw or steamed if you can!) and healthy protein.
Just like a child you love and take care of, feed your body what she NEEDS to feel healthy first, and then go ahead and enjoy a treat when you decide to.
Decide ahead of time!
Decide each morning what’s worth it to you to eat that day and what isn’t! Decide how many desserts you’re going to eat and remember…drinking sugar and snacking on nachos counts as a dessert! All refined sugar, flour and processed food breaks down to glucose (sugar) in your body and the majority of it will be stored as fat.
So just choose ahead of time how many “desserts” you’re going to have that day, and be realistic about it! Don’t tell yourself you’ll have one if you really want to have three! Will having three dessert foods or drinks give you a different result on your body than one? Sure. But planning three and honoring your plan to stick to three is much better than not having a plan at all and mindlessly eating and drinking sugar and snacks all day long!
And when I say make a plan, I mean…literally…make a plan. As in write it down. In a notebook, your phone, or carve it in the sand. There is power in writing down your commitment to yourself! It becomes real when you write it. Otherwise it’s just a vague idea floating in your head that easily gets forgotten when something smells good.
Before you say, “Wait Jille! I’m on vacation! I don’t WANT to make ANY plan! I want to be FREE and do whatever I want!” let me remind you…you ARE free and you CAN do whatever you want!
If you want to overeat every day then you are totally free to do that! And it’s totally okay if you do.
But if you’ve been there and don’t like how it feels, you’re totally free to set some loving boundaries for yourself too. Boundaries that allow you to taste all the things you want to and still feel good in your body at the end of the day and at the end of your vacation!
Making a plan with your higher brain that cares about how you’ll feel tonight, tomorrow and next week is HOW you learn to enjoy yourself AND take care of yourself…in any situation!
My husband and I are very blessed to vacation somewhere warm and sunny at least once a year, so I’ve had some practice with this and have figured out a good balance for myself between loving the food on vacation and remembering to love my body!
I’m not perfect at it, but I practice every time I go and every time I get a little stronger and better at honoring my body while allowing myself to enjoy the foods I don’t normally eat every day!
I’m writing this at the beginning of our week in Grand Cayman so this is real time for me! I practice practicing what I preach. 🙂 To show you how I do this, here’s a sample of what my vacation food plan will look like this week:
My Vacation Food Plan:
I normally wait until lunch to break my fast, because I’ve trained my body to become fat adapted, so she isn’t hungry in the mornings because she’s eating my own stored fat for energy! (It’s amazing and your body can learn to do this too! But that’s for another post.)
BUT, I give myself permission to have breakfast on vacation if I decide to, just for fun. It used to be my very favorite meal of the day but after I built up my fasting period to noon, I’m literally not hungry until lunch time. (By the way, I used to WAKE UP thinking about what I’d eat for breakfast, so if I can do this, you can too!).
But on vacation I usually will have a light breakfast two or three times. If you eat breakfast every day, not a problem! Just follow the guidelines above to fuel yourself at breakfast and choose mainly healthy, unprocessed foods that keep your blood sugar balanced!
If I do eat breakfast, we’re normally at a resort buffet and here’s what I would normally plan to have:
- Fresh veggies (if they have them) and fruit
- Small bowl of oatmeal with cinnamon, sliced bananas, nuts and raw sugar (my favorite breakfat treat!)
- 1 or 2 slices of bacon
- Small cactus juice if they have it. I don’t normally drink juice because it’s straight sugar, but I’ll make an exception for fresh cactus juice! 🙂
- Water with lemon (great for digestive system, especially in the morning)
- Big green salad with all the colorful veggies and avocado
- Grilled or broiled shrimp or fish (if you don’t like fish, choose the grilled chicken & lean steaks!)
- Water with lemon
- One day on our vacation I’ll have whatever specialty burger the resort we’re staying at offers, if it looks worth it! Bun and all. At home I usually skip the bun and eat my hamburger with a knife and fork or lettuce wrapped, but if I’m having a special burger on vacation, I want the full experience!
- Virgin Pina Colada (or other frozen drink) – up to 2 large per day. (If we’re at an all-inclusive where the drinks are tiny, I’ll have 3).
- “Real” lemon or lime aid – I could drink pina coladas all day LONG, so to keep those super high calorie drinks to a minimum, I have a few of these throughout the day instead! When I’m home I’ll make these with monk fruit sweetener, but on vacation I allow some real sugar exceptions.
Ask the bartender to just mix equal parts lemon or lime juice with sugar and fill up with water or sparkling water if you like that. Otherwise they may give you “fake” lemonade, which to me is not worth the sugar!
- Tons of water! I know this isn’t a snack, but just throwing in here how important it is to drink a lot of water throughout the day! Staying hydrated not only helps you feel better in a hundred ways, but you’ll feel less hungry and less “snacky” when you are.
- Drinks are usually the only “snacks” I’ll have. Because I fill up on a healthy lunch, I’m not hungry until dinner, but if there is fresh pineapple or local fruit being served I’m down! We’ll also have fresh gelato or ice cream a couple of times when available, and if we’re on an excursion where fresh churros are being made, I’ll always get one!
- I’ve learned to skip the breads, pastries, rolls, muffins, bagels, cookies, tea cakes, etc. that are offered throughout the resorts (especially all-inclusives!) because bread makes me bloat and flour makes me fart. No other way to put it, it just does! LOL. And I don’t need to be bloated in my bikini and full of uncomfortable gas on date nights. 🙂 My husband is grateful for that.
- Green salad, skip the bread (unless it’s fresh sourdough – totally worth it to me to have a slice!)
- Grilled shrimp or fish with steamed veggies (salmon is my favorite and so good for you!)
- I usually ask for double veggies instead of the starch they offer. Less bloating and feeling “heavy”! But if I do get starch, I’ll go for rice. If they offer sweet potatoes I’ll definitely have some!
- Dessert – my husband and I will pick one that looks worth it and share! This is a great tip, even if you’re at an all-inclusive and the desserts come with the meal. It’s tempting to get your own, but by sharing, you get to experience it with half the fat!
- Buffet desserts – a side note on Black Hole Buffet desserts…they will suck you in! LOL! My brain lights UP at ALL the little pretty, colorful options of cakes, mouses, cheesecakes, cookies, tarts, etc. But the truth is, they usually aren’t very good. They just aren’t.
Unless you’re at the Bellagio, buffet desserts are usually cheaply made and they LOOK way better than they taste! So take a couple that look good, take one bite of each and decide which one is worth eating! If it tastes mediocre, skip it. Save your sugar for where it counts!
Enjoy Eating without OVEReating!
And lastly, I will always leave room to taste anything I want to try while traveling! Part of traveling to new places is sampling the foods and specialties we don’t have at home! But you can taste, savor and enjoy anything without overeating! You don’t even have to eat the whole thing to experience it! When you are eating mostly healthy foods, fueling your body first and drinking more water than sugar, your appetite will be smaller and you won’t have a ton of room left in your stomach to overeat.
As you can see, this vacation plan gives me a lot of flexibility to order different salads, proteins, veggies, fruits and still have room for daily indulgences! I just don’t go crazy and I feel so much better the next day! Not only that, but limiting my sugar intake keeps my cravings at a minimum and it’s much easier to get back on track when I get home because my brain hasn’t totally forgotten we eat healthy now!
Move your Body!
And one last Body Love Tip…move your body every day!
Walk, swim, snorkel, rent a paddle board, go for a bike ride or a hike, even hit the resort gym for 30 minutes! Join in the daily swim-aerobics offered at the pool or a volleyball game (unless you’re like me and can’t hit anything with a ball involved to save her life). The point is, find a way to move and your body every day in a way that you enjoy and feels fun to you! And remember to get plenty of sleep and relaxation! Give yourself total permission to spend the day doing nothing but laying on a beach chair reading a book if that’s what you want to do!
Follow these guidelines and when you get home you’ll feel light, energized and rested instead of tired, heavy and dragging yourself into the next week. The way we eat and move throughout the week has everything to do with how we’ll feel and function in the next one!
Here’s to loving your vacation AND loving your body at the same time!