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How to Avoid the Temptation to Slack Off on Being Healthy While on Vacation

A vacation is a wonderful opportunity for you to relax, rejuvenate, and explore the world. While you might want to come home from your vacation with souvenirs and fond, lasting memories, what you don’t want to lug home are extra pounds. With a little planning and these tips below, you can enjoy your vacation without overindulging.


Research consistently proves that people who get adequate rest weigh less than their bleary-eyed counterparts. Don’t feel guilty about turning in early or sleeping in late — that’s what vacation is all about. Naps are also encouraged, just be sure to apply sunscreen before dozing off in your lounge chair on the beach.

Do you have trouble sleeping while away from home? Go easy on the caffeine, be sure to get some physical activity in each day, turn off all electronics at least one hour before you lay down, and pack some melatonin for when you can’t catch some ZZZs. Unlike many sleep aids, melatonin is a safe, non-habit forming supplement that won’t leave you feeling groggy the next morning.

Custom Order

Ask any of my family members or friends: They constantly tease me about not being afraid to “custom order” at restaurants. But don’t be embarrassed about asking to have your food prepared the way you want it because, according to recent research, more than 80 percent of restaurants report that their customers are more interested in customizing menu items to suit their tastes and dietary preferences now than they were just two years ago.

Ask for items to be baked or grilled instead of fried. Request steamed vegetables or a salad instead of fries or a baked potato. Ask for salad dressing on the side and only use half. Make vegetables the main focus of your meal. Ask to have creamy sauces or cheese left off. You get the idea! Simple swaps can slash calories.

Go with H2O

Traveling can definitely dehydrate you, especially if you are flying or if you are traveling to tropical destinations where the heat and humidity are off the charts. Be sure to stay hydrated — oftentimes you mistake thirst for hunger and end up eating when you really just need to down some H2O. Pro-tip: Buy a reusable water bottle that you can keep refilling during your trip. This will not only help you save money on expensive bottled water at the airport and hotel, you will do Mother Earth a favor by being more green.

BYOG Bring Your Own Gym

You may not have access to a gym on your vacation, but bring the gym with you! Bring a jump rope, resistance bands, arm weights or ankle weights, or an ab wheel. Aim to do at least 20-30 minutes of exercise in your hotel room each morning. Research has shown that starting your day with a healthy habit will make you more likely to stay on track with other healthy habits — such as smart eating — throughout the rest of the day. Plus, you’ll feel more energized throughout the whole vacay.

Don’t have room in your suitcase for workout gear or forgot to pack it? No worries. Simply use the exercise equipment you always have with you — your own body weight! Calisthenic exercises, such as push-ups, lunges, jump squats, planks, triceps dips, and the like can be performed practically anywhere.

Sign Up for Fun Activities

Signing up to do activities and excursions can not only be an incredibly fun way to explore your surroundings, it’s a fantastic way to stay physically active on vacation. Resist the urge to lounge by the pool all day and sign up for engaging activities such as a bike tour, snorkeling, a hiking trip, water sports, or even a family game of beach volleyball.

Imbibe Intelligently

There are tons of hidden calories in alcoholic drinks, but vacation is supposed to be fun, right? Imbibe intelligently by opting for cocktails with only one kind of alcohol (so not a Long Island Iced Tea) or request a wine spritzer. More of a beer lover? Opt for less-dense beers and enjoy them slowly. After each adult beverage, aim to drink at least two glasses of water. This will ensure you stay hydrated while you have fun and it’ll help you avoid going overboard on empty calories.

Choose Just One Splurge Food Each Day

Make a conscious effort to eat much like you do at home (hopefully healthy), but give yourself permission to indulge in one treat or splurge item each day. Be sure to eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins, and choose to indulge in one incredibly delicious, superior-quality, special “cheat” food per day. Make sure to savor the special treat slowly and stay on track with your healthy eating plan the rest of the day.

Pack Healthy Snacks

Regardless of whether your stop is a quick drive or a 4-hour flight, you’ll want to pack a stash of tasty, good-for-you snacks for when hunger strikes so you aren’t reliant upon heavily-processed, overpriced airport fare or gas station junk food. Pack a bag with fresh or dried fruits, nuts, seeds, beef jerky, granola bars, whole-grain crackers, peanut or almond butter, and tuna pouches.

The Bottom Line

Vacation is supposed to a fun getaway from everyday life, but don't use it as an excuse to throw in the beach towel when it comes to your healthy eating and exercise habits. Plan ahead, snack smart, stay active, don't drink too much, and get plenty of restorative rest.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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