By Jen Weiss
Have you ever gotten ready for a vacation with the best intentions to stick with your diet? Maybe you stay strong the first day, but by the second day you're washing down your breakfast pizza with a margarita. You then decide that the whole diet is ruined and make a deal with yourself to start over when you get home from vacation. Bring on the buffet, baby!
What if I were to tell you that there's a magical mystical place in between "Diet Beast Mode" and "Stuff My Face with All of the Food Mode?" It's an elusive place called moderation and it can be annoyingly hard to find because it doesn't come with the convenient rules of strict dieting nor does it include the reckless abandon of being "off the diet wagon."
This doesn't have to apply just to dieting. We tend to have a general eating routine and if we're health-conscious people, that routine will include nourishing foods that make us feel energized. But when we go on vacation, we feel a little lost. Our routine is disrupted and we struggle to find a balance between enjoying ourselves and uncomfortable overindulgences. It's during these times that focusing on a few nutritional fundamentals can be helpful—and allow you space to sprinkle on some pebbles of treats.
If you stick to some minimum standards you'll probably feel better, enjoy some treats and return home ready to get back into your routine. Here are a few things that I find helpful to focus on while on vacation.
1. Have Protein with Breakfast: I have to admit that this is an easy one for me because my tastes lean toward the savory side of things. Including ample protein with breakfast helps curb my hunger the rest of the day and keeps my energy up for whatever fun vacation activity is on the agenda.
2. Have One Salad Per Day (or one big serving of veggies): Maybe it's followed by a cookie or a beer, but I shoot for at least one hefty salad a day to know that I'm getting some vitamins/nutrients. It's so much easier to choose a salad if you know you can have whatever you want with it. As a side note, those veggies are full of water and fiber that will help curb your appetite.
3. Drink Plenty of Water: My water bottle comes with me everywhere on vacation. It is also helpful to start your day off with a glass of water—before the coffee and before the mimosa. Staying hydrated will help recovery as you travel home as well.
We tend to get stuck in an "all-or-nothing" mentality when it comes to nutrition. Approaching vacations with a small, easy plan can help keep you on track without deprivation. Finding a balance between those two things can be challenging, but also rewarding. It can set you up for a more intuitive style of eating and decrease your stress regarding your diet.
Jen Weiss is a personal trainer, nutrition coach and online coach based out of Burlington, Vermont. She helps women build their confidence through strength training, sane nutritional coaching and self-care. When she's not sharing her passion for health and wellness she's climbing mountains with her terrier Oz or strumming Beatles tunes on the ukulele. Learn more about her at her website, Ironbunnyfitness.com.