I just got home from an eight-day vacation, and five of those days were on a cruise – a cruise with midnight buffets, twenty-four hour pizza stations, free ice cream with one touch of a button and nightly gourmet dinners with a bazillion options to choose from (or the option to choose ALL bazillion items). My friends warned me beforehand that when you go on a cruise, you gain 5 to 10 pounds just by stepping on board. I wanted to prove my friends wrong, and I did.
Here’s the deal: a cruise, like any other vacation, takes us out of our routine and pattern, and when food is available everywhere we turn, it can weaken our focused mind set striving for better nutrition. Just because we are tempted like Pinocchio with the Lost Boys (I did go on a Disney Cruise), it does not mean we have to give in.
It was so interesting to hear people around me say things like, “I’m going to regret this chocolate soufflé later” or “ I really shouldn’t be going for waffle number four.” Yet, they just kept on eating and eating. Why? Were they still hungry? No. Did they think the food was going to run out? No. Simply put, they made a choice that it didn’t matter. They were on a vacation not only from home, but also from their nutrition goals. I’m the first to admit that once in a while it’s nice to indulge, but eight days of indulgence can lead to the let-down of coming back from vacation with a tan and love handles.
You can still enjoy your vacation, great food, and idle lazy days without blowing your whole commitment to a healthy lifestyle. First, make the choice to workout every morning on vacation. Wake up a tiny bit early and fit it in. It sets the tone for the rest of the day, helps us feel energized, and kicks in those natural endorphins to keep us “vacation happy” (especially if traveling with kids)!
Next – the food. Whether it is a buffet or ordering off the menu, don’t let your taste buds rule – let your head rule. Choose the nutritious foods you love at home, eat the portion size you would eat at home, and top if off with a small dessert. Choose the local fish and veggies or grilled chicken and pork. No need to indulge in heavy sauces and soups, they will just leave you feeling sluggish and tired. In the end, you will feel full, satisfied, and happy that you didn’t over do it.
Last thing: walk whenever the chance arises. Take the stairs rather than elevators and escalators. At airports, walk rather than using the moving sidewalks, and move around rather than sitting waiting for your delayed flight. Be active, play, and explore your vacation site. You have plenty of time to sit on your long flight or car ride home!
What do you like to do to prevent vacation love handles?