It’s almost officially vacation season! Woohoo!
I know what you’re thinking. “Aaahh….vacation…time to abandon all attempts at healthy living! Time to lounge and indulge and forget about what happens after!”
The trouble with this thinking is clear: you come back home with a “vacation hangover,” and I’m not even talking about anything you had to drink.
I’m talking about that feeling you have — the sinking feeling when you step back onto the scale or into the gym after a week of little more than sitting and eating. It’s the same feeling that makes people wonder, “Why should I even bother working out — I blew it all on vacation. I’m doomed.”
Here’s the good news: you’re not doomed. Even if you let it all go while you’re out, you rarely lose all the progress you’ve made.
The even-better news is this: vacation can mean BOTH relaxing AND staying healthy. You can even have fun doing it — promise!
First, let me put on my Captain Obvious cape and get a few tips out of the way:
1. Plan to workout, and promise yourself you’ll do it at least once during your first 3 days on vacation. Chances are, if you do it once at the beginning, you’ll feel so great afterward (and get such admiring adoration from your vacation-mates) that you’ll automatically want to repeat it.
2. Bring your workout gear. Pack the shoes, the space-saving and lightweight resistance bands, the iPod, and all the rest.
3. Check out available resources. Find out if the hotel has a gym; check maps to find a good place to run. You know the deal — these are the basics.
Now, let’s kick it up a notch — it’s mind over matter, and it’s time to change your mind.
1. Before you book your ticket, take a moment to think about WHY you work out in the first place. It’s more than just vanity, right? You feel strong afterward; you know that every workout adds quality and quantity to your life; you’re proud and grateful to be in ever-improving health. Exercise is not torture. If it feels that way to you, then you need to change it up anyway — exercise is a gift to yourself. Say it with me: “exercise is a gift to myself.” Working out is an indulgence, and when you think of it that way, every session feels like a special treat. What better time for special treats than on vacation?
2. Following that line of thinking, there are lots of indulgences that don’t add to your waistline — a workout is just one example. Forget about chocolate and wine — those aren’t really treats when they make you feel behind the 8-ball afterward. How about indulging in a massage? A facial or other beauty service? A quiet sunset? A date with your favorite person? You can indulge in a leisurely walk instead of a run, or rent a cruiser bike to feel like a kid again. Indulge in a hot bath or an extra hour of sleep.
3. Try something new. Novelty is more than just fun — it actually grows new connections in your brain, and can bring you closer to a spouse or partner who tries a new activity with you. If your only vacation indulgence is a slice of chocolate cake, I guarantee you’ll have forgotten about it by this time next year. But try something new instead, and it will become a favorite memory marking this vacation in your mind. Try beginners’ surfing lessons in Costa Rica! Sample real local flavor, like trippa in Italy – my friend Carmel will show you how! See the tulips (or the Red Light District!) in Amsterdam! The point is to do something completely new to you and unique to your particular vacation spot.