Close your eyes and imagine with me…..the warm beach, the sound of the waves, the taste of a great margarita or three, the salt from the chips and guac. Now let your mind wander to how you feel the next day or even the next week….the hangover, the bloated and gassy gut, the exhaustion. Weren’t you supposed to go home rested and rejuvenated? Ugh. As travel season is upon us, I am laying out a few realistic ways to help you stay healthy and feel your best, not only on vacation, but when you arrive back home as well.
We just got back from Florida and I came home feeling so much better than I typically do following a few days on the beach. I really started thinking about why….why was this vacation different? Here is what I did that reaped rewards for my energy and my gut even when I returned home.
Move every day
The last think I want to do is spend time in a hotel gym when there is a gorgeous setting outside. I might jump in a gym once during the week for a harder workout if it feels good to do that.
Movement is different than exercise. Movement is simply moving your body doing normal, every day things, like walking or cleaning or gardening (at home, not on vacation, obvi.). On vacation, simply focusing on moving your body every day. At the beach, all I want to do is walk next to the water every morning. And then usually again in the afternoon. Or we might book a zip line tour or fishing or rent bikes for the day or jump in a fitness class at a resort. Those all count as moving that beautiful bod to feel your best.
Keep two meals consistent and nourishing
The one thing I did this past vacation that made the biggest difference in how I felt is to keep my meals consistent as possible with how I eat at home. For example, my breakfast and lunch looked pretty identical to ones I typically eat at home (protein, veggie, beans and healthy fat) and our dinners were out at a fun restaurant each night and I ordered what sounded good. That usually included protein, veggies and some healthy fat, along with something that might be special to the area we were visiting. Make that third meal celebratory (you are on vacation after all) and pay attention to your hunger and fullness cues.
We also made it a point to try a different ice cream place out each night. While ice cream does not sit well with me (bloat city), I always snagged a couple bites and that was satisfying for me. I kept my goals in mind of how I wanted to FEEL the next day and after I got home. I wanted to feel nourished and not deprived, but also not bloated and regretful.
Limit alcohol to feel your best
I am really not trying to be a fun killer, I promise. I didn’t say DON’T drink, right? Here is what I did differently this vacation than in the past- I drank lots of water during the day and had one drink with dinner. That’s it. Simple. Typically, on vacation, I would have 1-2 drinks in the afternoon then another 2 drinks at dinner. That left me feeling pretty buzzed and then I would make choices at dinner that made me feel like shit and then I would sleep horribly. Wake up, repeat cycle, go home and take two days to detox from a “relaxing” vacation.
Focus on your surroundings
If you are anything like me, you might experience new cities and places through the food you eat and the drinks you drink. That’s always a highlight of any vacation. Sometimes, though, I become too focused on those things and lose sight of just being in the moment, exactly where I am at, experiencing a new city or beach or gorgeous mountains.
Try this your next vacation: get lost in those moments and taking in everything around you. It helps you to feel content and not fill that void with food and drink. And try putting your phone/camera down to just be in the moment. I loved this take on being present on vacation. My favorite quote about going on vacation, “We want to feel alive. When we return home, we want to feel that we’ve undergone a significant experience.”. Isn’t that the truth?
Have realistic expectations to feel your best on vacation
Do you ever go on vacation thinking you are going to finally have the time to workout and do all the things you don’t do at home? Please stop that thinking, because how many times do you actually do all the things? Set some realistic expectations and avoid the let down that comes from not keeping those promises to yourself. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t try, but be gentle and forgiving with yourself. And REALISTIC.
Being realistic means walking on the beach or through town most days is great. It also means that you might indulge a bit more than at home because….it’s vacation. In the end, though, keeping yourself focused on how you want to FEEL when you arrive back home should be the goal.
I don’t know how many Facebook or Instagram posts I have seen that declare they are home from vacation and now it’s time to detox. And that has definitely been me, too. Now, though, I know I don’t want to come home feeling worse than when I left. Vacation is for decompressing from stress, not adding to it with how we treat our bodies when we go out of town for fun and relaxation.
Next time you leave for a vacation, ask yourself how you want to feel and then do the things to achieve that feeling. When you get back home, you can do these 5 things to keep those good vibes going.
You can do it. I am cheering you on.