Staying On Track During Summer Vacations

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July 24, 2013 by mybattlebuddyfitness

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Well, we have somewhere between 6-8 weeks left of summer, depending upon where you live and when you decide Fall begins.  In Arizona, where I live, we have summer until October at least (meaning I could still be in the pool without having to heat it and sit out and get a great tan).  In other places, you might see cooler temperatures roll in as soon as September.  August is that last hurrah of the summer, before kids go back to school, before the weather gets icky, and the last trips of the summer are taken.  I personally am about to embark upon a 3 week adventure that will take me to Omaha to see friends, then to Fort Leonard Wood to do battle with my buddies, then to Boston for the Jay Z and Justin Timberlake concert, and then to DC to see my best friend from college and my brother before returning home.  I am both excited for and dreading this trip.

3 weeks is a lot of time to do a lot of damage to myself, healthy lifestyle wise.  I mean, when you see friends, you want to eat out and drink and not think about calories and fat.  It is going to be hot and summer sticky in the Midwest and the East, and sitting around a pool and having a couple of drinks will be a great way to stay cool, right?  When you stay in homes that are not your own, it is hard to maintain that healthy eating if they are not on board with that program (which lots of folks are not).  When you are on the road, it is tough to find gyms or even get to the gym.  You are supposed to be seeing people that you don’t get to see, so why would you spend time exercising (which you can do at home) vs. spending time visiting with them?

So you have to have a plan, a way to stay on track when you go on your summer adventures that won’t lead you to a place that you have to dig out of when you get home.  It is a vicious cycle, you get out of your routine, and then you get home and you say to yourself ugh, I lost all of this momentum, should I even bother trying to get back on track?  Of course the answer is yes, but it is hard.  I go back to my assertion: you have to have a plan.  Here are some tips for developing that plan:

1)      Let your friends know up front about your journey.  People are much more understanding than you think, especially when you are honest.  Tell them that you are trying to change your habits, that you are trying to get healthy, and you NEED their support to do so.  If they are your true friends, they will be glad to help.  It might even start a dialogue you were not expecting about why you are making these changes and will help them to make healthy changes too.  Or maybe it will be yet another group of people there ready to help you get to where you want to go.

2)      Make healthy food choices.  If you are staying with friends, make a run to the grocery store to stock up on some favorite items so when you go for a snack or a meal, you have something there ready to go so you won’t make poor decisions.  If you are staying at a hotel, buy those durable goods that you can have with you in the room so when the urge to go to the vending machine strikes, you have an alternative.  At restaurants, try to stick with your healthy eating plan whenever possible.

3)      If you can’t control what you eat (maybe your husband wants to go to pizza and burgers every night where there are no other options), control how much you eat.  Portion control will reduce the amount of calories that you intake, and while you might not continue to lose weight, you can hopefully maintain weight and limit the damage with portion control.

4)      Plan some cheat meals.  It is vacation, right?  You should cut loose and have fun.  Just do it with a plan and with purpose.  Don’t make every meal a cheat meal, make it meaningful.  And make it AWESOME!  Get the local favorite as your cheat (for example, I am for sure going to have a Boston Cream Pie and a lobster roll when I am in Boston).  And let the folks with you know about your cheat meals.  That way they can encourage you to stay on the straight and narrow, and then celebrate with you when you take a break.

5)      Make a plan to keep moving.  If you are with friends at their homes, then plan walks or hikes or swims where you can all exercise together.  Or try asking your friends if they want to go to the gym (hey, it can never hurt, they might be thinking the same thing and not wanting to say it out loud).  If you are at a hotel, then get up early or take advantage of afternoon nap time / down time to sneak off for a workout session.  It is much easier to stay on track when you are able to work out at least once a day.  You are on vacation, which means you have no work obligations, so it should free up some time to get in exercise on a daily basis.

6)      Don’t feel guilty about taking time for you.  Vacation has its own obligations, spending time with friends and family, but that doesn’t mean you don’t get time for yourself.  If people don’t want to join in while you exercise, that’s ok, but don’t eliminate it because you feel badly.  1 hour a day is less than 5% of your entire day, so you are not going to deprive anyone of your presence with just one hour away.

Happy Summer!  Enjoy it while it lasts!

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