Vacations That Won’t Wreck My Weight Loss Progress

    

     My husband Tony and I recently sat down to plan out our available vacation time. I always become a little overwhelmed by the process. The time off is so limited and there are so many possibilities of how to spend it.

     One of our focuses this year is picking locations and activities that will encourage us to be true to our new healthier life style. Vacations are often full of challenges to the daily habbits of a healthier body. With that in mind we are going to make trips that include plenty of activity and aren’t food focused. No buffet-filled cruises with shows to sit and watch or chocolate tasting tours around Europe for us. We plan to move, sweat, and enjoy some inexpensive fun in the sun.

     We have chosen to make our first full week of vacation a camping trip for the entire family. Here we will have the opportunity daily to chose from activities like hiking, biking, paddle boating, canoeing, horse back riding, and swimming. We are planning to stay in a very basic rustic cabin, so no tv, internet, or even microwave oven. With so many activity options and so few modern distractions we are sure to get plenty of exercise and have lots of fun besides.

     Our second week will include an off-season adventure to an amusement park/water park. Off season will be less expensive and will allow us to spend less time in line and more time walking, riding, and playing around. We have chosen a park in an area we know well and have alrady made plans to eat our meals at near by resturants that are less expensive and more healthy than those found in the park itself. Since these resturants are in walking distance we will get in some additonal exercise making those trips.

     Recently we spent our first weekend mini-vacation traveling with our beautiful daughter to see our precious son and his lovely wife. It was an awesome time of fun and fellowship. It was my favorite trip in many years. Time is so precious! I am so grateful to my family for that gift!

Our precious son Tommy and our lovely daughter-in-law Destiny.

     I realized a few things about myself on the most recent trip that will be important to take into consideration as I plan and prepare for other summer travels.  Perhaps you will relate.

     First, the moment I close the door behind me to leave for my travels I start thinking about food. This is a lifelong habit. Road Trip = Eat Out.  As a child even, food was always a big part of the travel process. We would plan to hit the right areas for favorite restaurants for each meal. We would stop at convenience stores for frequent snack experiences. I was always excited to see what each store had to offer and would often indulge in several snacks at a time. If we were traveling to see family there were usually large family meals prepared in our honor once we arrived and favorite baked goods and snack foods always at hand. I am working against a lifetime of “food for pleasure” programming. How am I suppose to overcome that? I have some great tools in my arsenal these days but old habits die hard.

     One of the things that worked well for me on the most recent trip included packing a snack basket with yummy and healthy snack so convenience store stops would be less of a temptation. We still made a few purchases at gas stations but they were things like an energy drink, unsweetened or naturally sweetened iced tea, and flavored water. With low or no calorie beverages as the treat there was no “dieter’s remorse”. Having the snack in the car readily available helped keep us from getting overly hungry and becoming more tempted to make poor choices when we did stop.

     As for eating out we did some things right there as well. Our stops to and from our location were at chain resturants where we had healthy low calorie favorites to chose from. We purchased lean meat and veggie subs on wheat bread at Subway and Grilled Chicken selections at Chic-Fil-A, for instance. When we ate out with family my hubby and I allowed ouselves to be a little less strict on our choices but choose to share meals so we were getting plenty of flavor but in smaller portion sizes.

     Our son and daughter-in-law are both very good cooks and made a marvelous meal for dinner one evening. There too, we indulged a bit more than usual on the calorie end but tried to stick to healthy portion sizes. Portion control is so important in situations where the foods are that delicious. Four cheese Ravioli with homemade Alfredo Sauce! Mwah!

     One thing I will keep in mind for future vacations is that it IS a vacation and I will allow myself to live in a maintainace calorie range rather than a “diet” range for at least part of that time. It won’t be a “vacation” from making good choice because my body deserves the foods that make it feel energetic and well but it will be a time of being more free and able to enjoy new thing without as much emphasis on proper calorie counts and limitations. Proper portions of healthy foods are always a good idea.

     If you are planning a vacation in the near future I hope these thoughts and suggestions are helpful. I encourage you to seek out adventure and activity. No matter what time of year or area you chose there are options. My daughter Katie and I attended a Zumba retreat recently. We have friends who schedule yearly vacations around races they wish to participate in. Skiing makes a great winter vacation. There are even spa and crusise vacations designed around weight loss and fitness. Want to go to Europe? Hike across instead of tasting your way through.  Need more ideas? Check out Self Magazine’s article “Turn Your Next Vacation Into A Fitness Adventure” or Shape Magazine’s “Fit Getaways” section.

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