Before my weight loss clients go on vacation, we strategize about how they can return feeling good about themselves instead of carrying five pounds that's not in their luggage. Time off and travel can wreak havoc with our willpower to stay on track with good health habits. Exciting and enticing new experiences await, as do exotic foods and libations.
Many of us are only able to savor one vacation per year and even then we don't dare unplug. Can't we at least "let go" by rewarding ourselves with Pina Coladas and luau feasts? It's so tempting to just lie on the beach and pig out for a few days. It's only when we're in that interminable TSA line headed home that we get that sinking feeling. The realization sets in that not only do we have to wait another 365 for our next vacation, but we have to brave the bathroom scale to assess the pomegranate margarita martini and chocolate soufflé damage. When we finally garner the courage to look at the dreaded number, it's time to re-up at Weight Watchers yet again. Want to avoid this scenario? It is doable with a little forethought and focus.
• Plan Your Time Around Fun Activities
Concentrate on enjoying the people, culture and unique activities that your vacation destination offers, rather than focusing on where to go to dinner. Before you leave home, scope out the restaurant offerings and select the healthier ones so you won't have to use so much willpower resisting caloric deep-fried, saucy offerings.
• Bring A Travel Scale With You
I have a mini-scale that I bring with me on vacation. Even if my hotel has a scale, I prefer to bring my own to get a consistent reading. I've been pleasantly surprised by how it keeps me on track.
• Set Some Rules For Yourself Before You Take-Off
You should loosen up a bit on vacation. The trick is to be "a little bad," but not cross the line into pure gluttony. You can justify a indulging a bit since you'll probably spend much of the day walking while sightseeing. Set some realistic mini-splurge rules before you shuffle down the jet way. For example, you may decide that at dinner you'll order a cocktail or a dessert, but not both. Or maybe you'll resolve to bring healthy snacks with you so you won't be continuously tempted by the local delicacies.
• Buddy Up
Making a pact with a like-minded travel buddy can make life a lot easier. You can support one another when you're about to succumb to the seafood diet. Agree on tactics and strategies to keep the unwanted pounds at bay and help each other stick to the program. Plan on small rewards for being good that don't involve exercising your jaw muscle.
• Book A Room With A Fridge
Rather than a room with a view, aim for a room with a fridge. That will allow you to have healthy snacks, breakfast options, and picnic lunches available and avoid gorging on huge restaurant portions. Scope out the location of the closest grocery store and stock up on healthy food and lots of water.
• Keep That Body Moving
Almost every hotel is equipped with a fitness room. Use it in the morning to get off to a healthy start. That will make you less inclined to undo your good deeds with super-caloric foods. If you'd prefer to be outside, go for a run or walk on the beach or rent a bicycle and see the sights on two wheels.