You’re going on a summer vacation. Good for you! This bubble of warmth and sunshine during the summer months is the perfect time for that exciting getaway you’ve been planning. This trip is your chance to relax, reconnect with family members, and indulge in all the activities you love, and none of the ones you don’t. There are, however, a few things to keep in mind.
Although 36 percent of people try to lose weight before they go on vacation, a third of all travelers find they have to start a healthy eating plan when they return, according to a study by TripAdvisor. Another third of those surveyed said that they always or often gain weight while traveling.
While eating healthy and staying active during vacations may be a struggle for most Americans, you’ll have a leg up when it comes to the challenge. This is your strategy for a healthy, happy, altogether rejuvenating vacation!
Step 1: Destination Matters
While it’s possible to be active and healthy wherever you go, it’s easier some places than others. Be sure to scope out your destination for fun, fitness oriented activities. These could be anything from a morning run on the beach, to a swim, to a spirited round of tennis with your traveling companions. Wherever you’re headed, there will be opportunities to fit in workouts. If you can make those workouts part of the fun activities you have planned for the day, even better. The important thing is to have a plan and to know your options.
Step 2: Prep with the Essentials
Wherever you’re off to, there are a few supplies that come part and parcel with healthy traveling. You know this, but it bears reiteration: Apply sunscreen, often! Not only will it save you from serious skin damage and complications down the road, it will also improve your vacation. Nothing ruins fun in the sun like a sunburn. These fiery red reminders of a day on the beach can often make you feel sluggish and unmotivated for your workouts.
Bring water. Where are you going? It doesn’t matter. Just bring water. Staying hydrated is part of being healthy and will also make you less likely to overeat or compulsively snack. So pack a water bottle, fill it up, and slap it in a super lame hip holster—do whatever it takes to keep it with you.
If you can bring food with you or make your way to a grocery store during your trip, do that. Buy fruits, vegetables, fat-free yogurts, and lunchmeat. Store anything that will provide you and your loved ones with a healthy alternative to the baskets of fries and all-you-can-eat-buffets you’re likely to encounter during your trip.
Step 3: Indulge Without The Guilt
Vacations are about doing the things we don’t usually allow ourselves to do. Every other day of the year, you stick to a routine. You head to the office instead of calling in sick. You try to eat healthy and you make time for your workouts. So, when you hop off the plane and into your very own alternate universe, one where your only worry has something to do with what time the hotel stops serving breakfast, it can be tempting to let everything go by the wayside. It’s tempting…but don’t. You want to feel good during this vacation and you want to continue to feel good after you get back. Neither will happen if you spend the week eating like you’re Katniss Everdeen gearing up for the Hunger Games.
Instead, make a decision ahead of time about what you’ll allow yourself to indulge in. Want fluffy pancakes drizzled with blueberry syrup for breakfast? All right, have them. They sound delicious! But spend the rest of the day making lean, healthy choices. Beware of the buffet, avoid drinking your calories, and make sure your workout schedule is set.
The most important advice I can offer to help you stay on track while traveling is this: Make your health a priority. Just thinking about the strategies you’ll use to stay fit and healthy during your vacation can be a large contributor to success. You’ve just read an entire article about doing just that, so you’re moving in the right direction! Spend a little more time before you leave crafting a foolproof plan for your vacation that includes your workouts and your eating. Once you’ve done that, sit back and enjoy the ride. Let your vacation rejuvenate you, inspire new goals, and be an opportunity to try something new!