Meet Jane. Since the new year, Jane has been working hard to create new lifestyle habits: making better food choices, eating less, and exercising regularly. Her clothes are fitting better and better, and if she has dared to step on a scale (though I told her not to,) the numbers have gone down. Down! This is amazing. She feels great! She has more energy. She is sleeping better, and yelling at her kids less. Even more: Jane is confident that by summer she’ll be feeling good in her own skin. (Totally different from last summer, or the summer before…)
This is all so good.
Except one small detail: Spring break is coming. Jane’s family is going on vacation.
And Jane? Is terrified.
Instead of being excited for special time with family and friends, seeing new places, and relaxing poolside, all she can think about is…
“What if I gain weight!?” “What if I blow it and undo all the progress I’ve made on this new lifestyle?!”
It’s sad, but true. And Jane is just one of millions of people facing spring break weight-gain phobia this year.
I’ve received a lot of messages from people just like Jane. People who have read my book and are so happy with their progress, but now that they are facing vacation, they want a little extra support. Some tips? A few secrets–ya know, (leaning over in a whisper–) things I might have left out of my book?
*wink* (Sorry friends: IT’S ALL IN THE BOOK! )
But no, really, I totally get it. And yes: I’m happy to help!
Vacations do bring on some unique challenges. Eating well can be hard when you are a guest in someone else’s home….or spending days on the road, or at an amusement park. (churro’s anyone?) We want to do all of the fun things and make all of the fun memories, (and enjoy an ice cream cone with our kids!) but we don’t want all of the regrets.
We desperately need a game plan.
So yes…let’s talk about it. I have a few ideas for you. Seven of them, to be exact:
- Remind yourself of who you’re becoming. If you’ve read my book you probably have created a picture in your head of the person you are becoming. This image helps you decide what to eat, how to act, and how to handle it when you don’t do things exactly how you want to. So now: Just imagine this person on vacation. How would she (or he) handle it? Would they go crazy and eat all of the junk they would not normally eat? No! Would they keep their head, enjoy treats in moderation, and push their plate away after a small portion? Yes! If you can keep the future-you in your mind throughout your vacation, you’ll be golden.
- Keep perspective! Remember, it’s just a vacation. Even if you blow it a few times, it really won’t hurt you in the big picture. The only way it will hurt you is if you come home and continue to blow it. So please trust me on this one: Don’t do a weigh-in before and after the trip. (What good would that do you?) Just do your best and focus on the fun of the trip. Everything will even out when you get home.
- Be mindful. Remember: There’s a big difference between being obsessed about your eating on one end of the spectrum, and being careless on the other end. Go for a “mindful” attitude–right there in the middle. Think ahead, have a few strategies in mind, but don’t over think it. I usually pack a few snacks on trips. Even if I’m staying with a family, if they offer me breakfast and I don’t feel like I need a full breakfast, I can just say “No thank you, I packed a nutrition bar and that’s what I usually like for breakfast.” No hurt feelings. No long explanation. Keep it simple. I also try to pick up some fresh fruit to have for snacks. Find a local farmers market or grocery store and have some fruit easy to carry along (apples are pretty perfect for this.) Being mindful is the key.
- Stay hydrated! Make sure to carry water with you and drink all day long. How many people have fallen victim to a Big Mac because they mistook thirst for hunger!? (I’m not kidding.) It’s easy to confuse hunger for thirst so just drink all of the water.
- Communicate! Just enough. Some of the emails I received were from people who said they just don’t want to “get into it” with their family or friends. Oh yes…The “diet” subject is so personal and can often make others feel intimidated or self-conscious. So don’t make a bigger deal out of it than it needs to be. Try a simple script such as: “I’ve been really working on some healthy lifestyle changes and I hope to come home after this trip feeling like I stayed on track!” No need to carry on. Then if you face a situation where you feel pressure to eat something you don’t want, you can follow-up with “Yea, that looks great, but no — I don’t want it right now. Thanks anyways!”
- There’s a time to ENJOY! Of course there will be meals where you just cannot find an escape route. Or you just want to enjoy the food! A treat with your kids, or a tropical drink with your guy. Remember that getting to our ideal weight is not about only eating certain things, or following any specific diet plan, it’s about moderation. Portion control. Burning more than you eat. So have some small treats, and then move on. I always enjoy special treats when I travel and I don’t think twice about it. (You can do it too.)
- Get some exercise! Vacations are a great time to get some exercise. Go for walks, hikes, or be up extra early to go for a jog or find an exercise class if it’s handy. Getting seem fitness in on vacation is such a treat! It’s a way to see new places and enjoy a little break from your travel companions (because let’s be honest… 🙂 ) Even a short bout of exercise will help you make better food choices and feel better throughout your vacation.
OK guys–I hope that something in here is helpful. If you haven’t read my book yet, then I’d be honored if you’d click over to my BOOK PAGE to check it out. It really does offer you everything you need to get on track, and stay on track with your eating. Every day of the year. (including vacations!)
Follow-up questions? Shoot ’em my way, in comments below! Also, I’d love to hear which of these tips is most helpful to you, or what area is the biggest challenge for you!
Most importantly, have a blast this spring break! Whether you’re road-tripping to see relatives, traveling across the country, or just catching up on Netflix at home, make it special. And for heaven’s sake, don’t let food get in the way of making great memories!
ALSO: If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll hop over to my newest instagram, @healthyhappyandfree for lots of encouragement, support, and occasional glances at what I’m currently eating (good, bad, or just a donut)! We have fun over there and sometimes I give away books. 🙂
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