Today I head to the beach to celebrate my 40th birthday. I am so excited! Not only is the area beautiful and full of attractions, but I am really looking forward to the opportunity to take some real downtime to relax, refresh, and recharge. It is much needed! Side note: When is the last time YOU took some downtime?
One of the things that can be challenging about going away from home is keeping up your healthy routine. It is easy to go on vacation or even business travel and get so distracted that your exercise program and eating plan fall to the wayside. So what do I recommend?
I say the first thing you need to do is schedule a meeting with yourself and decide on your end goal. In other words, when your time on the road is over what do you want to have happened? Do you want to be at the same weight, have lost a little weight, or are you even okay with going up a few pounds (knowing that the extra pounds are a combination of water weight and your body's response to the heavy, salty, or sugary foods that you will be eating, not true fat gain)? By beginning with the end in mind it helps you define what you're going away plan should look like.
For example, if you want to maintain and you plan to enjoy some of the higher calorie foods, you now know that you need to make time for sufficient exercise to balance out your eating. This also means that you will still need to exercise some restraint, because we all know that you can't out exercise a horrible diet. You'll still need to get in your fruit and veggies, water, and lean meats as much as possible but will be able to indulge here and there as long as you exercise portion control.
If your goal is to lose weight, then you know that your eating and exercise habits are going to have to be "on point" just as they would be at home. This means you will have to be extra diligent in ensuring that you have what you need to get in your workouts - whether that is packing your DVDs or arranging a guest membership at a local gym. You may even need to get up super early to ensure it gets done before everyone else wakes up. You'll also need to resist the temptation to choose the "other foods" on the menu. Maybe even pack some health bars or fruit to keep you from doing so. In short, it's going to take planning, preparing and commitment - even more so than you would typically require at home.
If you are okay with going up a little, and I know that that might seem strange that I have listed that as an option, then things are little different. With this approach, what you are effectively deciding is that enjoying the food and company of the people you're with is most important. And here's where I may differ with a lot of experts: I am absolutely positively okay with this and make this decision myself on occasion! Life is to be enjoyed it can't always be so restrictive; I for one believe it's okay to live a little.
Why do I recommend beginning with the end in mind? Because thinking this through in advance means there will be no surprises or disappointment! You know exactly what to expect because you thought through the consequences of your actions before you took them. And because you weighed the options in advance - rather than acting impulsively or going on autopilot -you're much more likely to come up with a decision you can be at peace with not just in the moment, but down the road.
So which option did I decide on? For this trip I'm going with option one. I want to enjoy my time away but also not go up. I have some events coming up over the next couple weeks and want to look my best (yes even the pros have to work to maintain their look). Going up a few pounds won't ruin everything, but it will create a hole that I would need to dig myself out of. And getting out of that hole could take a week or two. I don't want to lose that much time, so I will endeavor to stay focused. The best part is knowing that if I get off track (yes it happens to me too) I know exactly how to get back on track because I've been in that hole so many times before.
That brings me to my last piece of advice: know that no matter what happens it will eventually be oka as long as you don't quit. Nothing is forever. Everything has the potential to change over time.
I'll check back on Monday to let you know how I did!
PS: Even with the "okay to go up" approach, you can't completely abandon ship and do nothing. You still have to get in exercise and get your 8 glasses of water for example. I don't ever recommend that you take a vacation from everything because it's so hard to get back in the swing of things when you do.
PSS: The above three are the only options. You cannot eat whatever you want and not exercise and expect to see no gain or weight loss, that is called delusion. And in case you're thinking "duh!", I hear you, but how many times have we acted as if we believe that? Stepping on the scale and hoping for miracle? More times then we would care to admit (publicly). So...just keeping it real reminder to keep you "on point" ;).
coach tam's Blog
40-something who loves food, fitness, and fun!