We’ve all had those post-vacation blues when that week of relaxation you’ve been looking forward to for weeks or even months has passed, you’re home again, and you just feel gross from all of the eating out and indulging. I’m totally the type of person who likes to fully enjoy my vacation without a schedule and without any “rules,” but I absolutely hate the idea of coming home from a relaxing week having to stress about 5 extra pounds of bloat I acquired. So, I started to learn to stay active when I go away for both short and long vacations, and the feeling you have when you get home– feeling refreshed and energized– makes it totally worth it.
I’m just finishing up a week long vacation with my family in Colorado, and I thought I would share with you my tips about how I stay “healthy-ish” on vacation while still fully enjoying myself so that I come back feeling amazing!
1. Eat a Light Breakfast
I love decadent breakfast food: pancakes, french toast, waffles, you name it. Breakfast food is my favorite type of food, but I never eat that stuff first thing in the morning. When I eat a heavy, carb-loaded breakfast, I immediately feel sluggish and like I need to crawl back into bed. Morning is when you’re supposed to feel alert and awake and ready to adventure! Starting your day with something light, like a greek yogurt or banana with peanut butter, will keep you feeling energized and ready to conquer the day. Now, I’m not saying don’t eat the waffle. I would never say such a thing, but save it for brunch. Eat your breakfast food for lunch after you’ve had a light breakfast. Chances are you won’t over indulge at lunch after having a healthy, active morning.
2. Check (or take) the Jogging Stroller
Ever since I became I mom, I’ve taken my jogging stroller and running shoes everywhere with me. On road trip vacations and planes, and I’ve never regretted it. Many don’t realize that you get to check your strollers on most airlines for free! Even if you don’t plan on running, you can take long walks with little ones at local parks. It’s a free, fun activity that you can do anywhere, and when you get to those parks and see other parents running with their kids, chances are you’ll get the motivation to do the same!
3. Workout First Thing in the Morning or Before Dinner
First thing in the morning is my favorite time to workout because it makes me feel accomplished right from the start, and I don’t have to think about how I really should try to fit in a workout all day because I already did it! However, I know it’s hard to workout first thing on vacation. While I really try to, most of the time I wait until right before dinner. Why right before dinner? Well, I was going to take a shower to wash all of that suntan lotion off anyway, it wakes me up after a late afternoon nap or lounging session, and during my workout, I think about the awesome food I’m about to eat.
4. Eat at Local Farm to Table Restaurants
As a rule of thumb, my husband and I hate (most) chain restaurants. Usually when a restaurant becomes a chain, the food quality diminishes and the food is fresh out of the freezer. So, everywhere we go, we eat local. Local pizza, local barbecue, local everything. One of the newest trends is “farm to table” restaurants where local, organic ingredients are used whenever possible. On the menu, you can find fresh, seasonal dishes that are unique and different from the same old stuff you eat at home. Eating at these places will be a fun and healthy adventure!
5. Explore Healthy Dessert Spots
Speaking of healthy, on vacation, I eat dessert every night. It’s vacation, right? But I’ve made it a goal to find healthy dessert spots wherever I go. They exist! I swear! And they aren’t very hard to find with a little Googling. For example, in the summer, I love ice cream. It’s cold and refreshing, but dairy (especially ice cream) makes me feel super bloated and obviously it’s not very good for you. This week, I found an innovative “shaved ice” shop that sells absolutely delicious vegan, dairy free ice cream that was so fun to eat. Make it your goal to find spots like this!
6. Streak Before You Go
So this is something I unintentionally did prior to my latest vacation, but it ended up being the BEST motivation I could have had to stay active. I log my workouts on the computer, and I noticed before I left that I had (without even intending to) gone for a run of 2 miles or more for the past 12 days without a break. I was about to leave for vacation, but I felt the need to keep the streak going. Why? I don’t know– maybe because if I’m going to break a running streak like that, I need a good reason, and I didn’t have one. So, while away, purely for the sake of not breaking my streak, I ran at least 2 miles every day. So now, at the end of my vacation, I’ve got a 25 day running streak going. I don’t know how long it will last, but I’m so proud of myself for keeping it up!
I don’t know about you, but I can only sit on the beach or by the pool for a couple hours and then I get stir crazy. I need to DO something. I want to see the sights of wherever I’me visiting. Be active with your family. Go on hikes in local parks. Stay in a walkable area so you don’t have to drive everywhere. Explore the place you’ve come to visit, because I guarantee there is more to do than tan!
Staying active on vacation is the answer to coming home and feeling good! You can fully enjoy your vacation and indulge while still keeping your healthy habits (even if a modified version) so that you return as a rested, refreshed, and energized version of yourself!