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Factoring in a vacation when you’re watching your weight

By Lisa Spodak (ResultsNotTypical@worldnow.com)
Provided by WorldNow

Week 18 Weigh In:

Change this week:  -0 lbs.
Change overall:  -43 lbs.

Week 19 Weigh In:

Change this week:  -2 lbs.
Change overall:  -45 lbs.

For anybody who noticed that I didn’t write last week (Hi Mom!), I skipped a week because I was on vacation!  Which ended up giving me a great topic to write about this week.

A big key to my success is routine and anything that throws that out of whack freaks me out.  So once I got over the initial (over)reaction, I started thinking about how to best prepare myself and get through the trip.

I knew eating well would be challenging.   Chain restaurants are often the safest bet because you can find nutritional information to help you stay “honest” – but who wants to eat at chain restaurants on a vacation?  For part of my trip, I’d be staying with friends – a prospect with its own pros and cons.  Pros:  freedom to hit the fridge and snack on healthy choices.  Cons:  limited to what my friends have on-hand and not wanting to be too picky or demanding.

I told my friends that I was trying to eat healthfully, so, any way they could help would be much appreciated.  When we went out, we chose a seafood restaurant so I could make low-fat choices.  And when we cooked, I helped so I had some semblance of control. 

That’s not to say I didn’t indulge! 

I’m a big proponent of approaching this whole thing as a “lifestyle change” and not a “diet.”  This means that I refuse to completely deprive myself of anything – because I don’t intend there to be an end to this process and there’s nothing I’m willing to give up forever.

So we also went out for a big prime rib dinner one night – and I had at least tastes of everything from the meat to the dressing laden salad to the mashed potatoes.

I knew I was making some “bad” choices, but, I also knew that the net result would not be devastating.  While it might be frustrating to see a post-vacation gain on the scale, I knew it would be temporary.

I was also concerned about exercise on my trip. 

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve become quite the regular visitor to the gym – and I didn’t want to jeopardize that habit by slacking on vacation. 

I was pleasantly surprised to find there was a workout room in the hotel I stayed in my first night (a more savvy traveler than I am might check ahead of time to make sure they stay somewhere with a facility!).  So, the first morning, I woke up early and worked out.  And the second day I had my friend drop me at a local location of my gym so I could work out while she went to the pool with her kids. 

The third day, I skipped exercising so I could go to the pool with the kids (again – I believe in some sacrifice to actually take advantage of the vacation!).  And the fourth and fifth days continued my break from the gym.  You know, vacation.

Overall I was pretty pleased with my choices.  I indulged, but I didn’t feel out of control.  I did some things that were good for me, but didn’t sacrifice so much that the vacation wasn’t a vacation.  And, surprisingly enough, I ended up losing two pounds for the week!

I think the most important thing about my vacation was what I did (and had known all along I had to do) the day the vacation ended – I fired up my browser, went to the Weight Watchers site, started tracking my day just like I had for the four months before I left.  And then I went to the gym.

If you’re going on vacation, here are a few tips to keep up your healthy habits away from home:

  • Control food. Plan food by packing snacks, researching restaurants (many have menus online) and talking to the people you’re vacationing with about your needs. Sure you want to indulge in some great local meals, but, for lunch? Maybe consider hitting Subway or eating light snacks of nuts, smoothies and salads.
  • Work in exercise. In a perfect world, you’ll be staying somewhere you can work out. Either a hotel with a fitness facility or an outpost of your gym. In the “real” world, that’s not always the case. Consider finding a local gym where you can pay a fee for a day or weeklong pass. You might also try some simple exercises that don’t require equipment (pushups, situps, lunges, etc.) Another thought – walking is often the best way to see a new city! Take a roundabout way to sightsee instead of the most efficient.
  • Keep it in perspective. Bottom line – you’re on vacation! If you really want to take a break from healthy eating and exercising, do it! Just don’t beat yourself up when you weigh in afterwards – and make sure that as soon as you get home, you get out of vacation-mode and back on track!


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