How to Not Blow Your Health & Weight Loss Goals on Vacation

Vacation is a gorgeous thing. Bringing back a few pounds as a souvenir is not. Last week my husband and I took a week long cruise to the Caribbean. Do you know what the average weight gain is on seven day cruise? Take a guess. 10lbs. (yes, you read that right). 

Needless to say, I was concerned about not blowing all my hard work by letting one poolside Piña colada turn into a no-shower happy hour. Oh, and those buffets? They'll get you every time. But I did it! A week long trip with indulgences at every corner and I didn't gain a single pound. Yes, you can totally do it. No, you don't have to deprive yourself.

4 Tips to Maintain Health and Weight Goals on Vacation

There's no reason vacation can't be an escape from the 9-to-5 grind without sabotaging healthy habits. In fact, it might not be as difficult as you think. You’re relaxed (no stress easting!), you’re sleeping well, and you're more likely more to be active (exploring a new city vs. being chained to a desk for eight hours). The trick is to balance your usual healthy habits with a bit of extra indulgence. 

  1. Make Strategic Choices. Eating healthy is easier to do when you realize how you feel after indulging in junk. Seriously, think about the last time you drowned your sorrows in a pint of B&J or had one too many and then dragged your butt through that early WOD. The brain fog, bloating, headaches, lack of energy? They're real symptoms. Eating healthy is a form of self-respect.

    Does that mean depriving yourself of foods you love? Heck, no! The key is balance. For me, dinner with my husband on the cruise was a highlight so I chose that time to indulge. I splurged and had a glass of champagne (or two) most nights. Compared to my glass or two a week that was me living it up. If a dessert appealed to us, we ate it, but we split portions instead of face planting in a bowl of death by chocolate. Set goals. Each day I was strict with my breakfast and lunch choices. In the evening I indulged. Though, to be honest, when you're in tune with how foods make you feel, that bowl of pasta isn't so tempting.

  2. Walk Whenever Possible. Never underestimate the power of walking. If you're anything like me, you're at your desk for long periods of time during the week. Simply being on your feet will help keep the pounds at bay. Rather than sitting by your airport gate for an hour, walk. If you're headed to a nearby restaurant, opt for a stroll rather than a cab. If you're on a cruise, resolve to not take an elevator all week. Let me tell you, when they're are 16 floors and your cabin is on deck 5, you'll be amazed at the extra steps you take. Be mindful and look for opportunities to move.

  3. Use the Gym or Sign up for a Fitness Class. Whether you're staying at the Westin, living a life of decadence at a five-star resort, or cruising the high seas, a well stocked gym and or fitness class is always within reach. In fact, Westin, a pioneer in healthy travel, offers concierge services for running, tennis, golf, yoga, Zumba, cycling, and hiking at select locations. On our Norwegian Cruise Line sail I had Spin, Zumba, TRX training options, not to mention the gym, at my disposal. I'm crediting my lack of weight gain to three hours of spin. OMG.

  4. Bring Your Workout With You. You don’t need to spend hours a day working out. In fact, squeezing in just 15 minutes of HIIT exercise can give you the cushion you need to enjoy that extra appetizer or glass of Prosecco. Try our 15 Minute AMRAP, CrossFit Inspired Workout or the 7-Minute, Science Approved Workout. Both are guaranteed to get you sweating.

In summary, if you want to maintain health and weight loss goals while on vacation use balance. Pick one meal a day to splurge on calories. If you go crazy at the breakfast buffet one morning, eat sensibly for the rest of the day. If that creme brûlée is calling your name, save the champagne for tomorrow night and sip water instead. Most importantly, look for opportunities to be active. You'll sleep better, feel better, and won't worry about fitting into your jeans for the jet-set back home.

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