Many people, despite working hard to lose weight, tend to fall off the wagon a bit when they go on vacation, making it hard to settle back into a healthy lifestyle once they return home. With new restaurants to try, plus the tendency to drink sugary or alcoholic beverages and slack off on exercise, it’s very easy to see how one can slip from their healthy habits while on vacation.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are many ways to plan a relaxing and fun vacation that can still support your weight loss goals.
Before rushing to book your location, take a few days to think about what you want out of your vacation. Are you looking to relax and cut loose? Interested in seeing the sights? Planning on visiting with family or friends?
It can be helpful to set a goal while doing this. Maybe your goal is to relax. It may be to get some much needed alone time or time to reflect. Think about your budget and the best locations for you to achieve your goals.
Once you have your location established, start thinking about where you’ll stay. If you’re planning a resort-style vacation, try to find a location with an on-site fitness center, or place where you can participate in physical fitness activities—like hiking trails, swimming pools or sports fields.
The easiest way to make healthier choices is to plan ahead. Check out the menus of nearby restaurants or at your hotel/resort. Look for the healthiest options, or look at how you can make your meals healthier. It can help to even plan out exactly where and what you’ll eat before you even leave. While it takes away some of the spontaneity out of the vacation, you’ll still enjoy the meal and you’ll be more likely to make healthier choices.
If you have access to a kitchen, you may want to consider cooking for yourself. It’s much easier to control what you eat when you prepare the food yourself. Scout out local grocery stores or markets and make sure to have an idea of what you want to cook. You may want to research local foods so you can prepare something that is unique to the region where you will be staying.
It’s important to prioritize exercise and activity while you are away on vacation. If the idea of spending time stretching or exercising indoors feels too much like home, take advantage of the beautiful scenery and your surroundings. Go for a walk on the beach or through your destination city, or tackle a hike through a nearby trail,
You can also research hotel room fitness for some ideas on quick workouts you can do right in your hotel room. There are a number of simple body weight exercises that you can do to keep you on track with your wellness goals.
You don’t have to add in an hour long run every day to fit in your workout. If feasible, skip the cab and walk whenever possible. There is no better way to see and explore a city than to walk around in it. You can also rent a bicycle and explore that way as well.
If you have any concerns about safety, take a few minutes to speak with the staff at your hotel about locations that you should avoid and ways to stay safe. It can also be helpful to stay in groups or public spots and get back to your hotel at a reasonable hour.
Some hotels and resorts are starting to design packages that make fitness and health the main priority. These wellness packages often feature special fitness activities, healthier meals and may even offer other perks that can help you relax and recharge. If you’re interested in this type of getaway, try looking for “wellness retreats” or “spa vacations” in your ideal destination city. It may help to be flexible about your destination in order to find the package that suits your needs.
Being well-stocked with healthy snacks is essential to staying on track. If you find yourself getting hungry while walking around or exploring, or even just relaxing by the pool, it is important to have a healthy snack handy so that you’re not tempted by the bar menu or local bakery. Have easily portable snacks that will stay good while you are on the run, like nuts, cereal or crunch bars.
While alcohol tends to make an appearance on many vacations, even if it’s just wine with dinner at night, it’s important to be mindful of what you are drinking and how much. A single piña colada averages around 245 calories, which if you only drink one each day, can easily add up in your caloric intake. Have two or three and you are easily drinking an extra 500-750 calories.
If you plan to drink alcohol, avoid beer and cocktails made with juice or other sweeteners, like soda. Stick to wine or spirits with seltzer for a lower calorie option.
Make sure that your plate is representative of the rainbow. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables helps ensure that you get all of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that you need. Making some easy substitutions can help:
Don’t forget about your travel time for getting to your destination! Flying on an airplane or going on a road trip can potentially lead to complications, such as a blood clot or dehydration. It is important to drink extra water and take the occasional stretch break. If you are on a plane, get up and walk the aisles, or if you’re not able, flex your toes upward and release them at least 10 times every hour. If you’re in a car, stop periodically and get out and walk around a bit.
That’s right, indulge, just not in everything, every time. Have a sweet tooth? It’s okay to plan a dessert or two at a special dinner. Prefer having a cocktail? Have one, but skip dessert and the breadbasket instead. It’s okay to indulge a little bit—you are on vacation, after all—but it’s important to balance everything out.
We hope these tips for how to plan a healthy vacation help you feel confident with your wellness goals. If you’re looking for other tips to prep for special events or create new routines and mindsets, continue to read our blog and TIPP Jar to discover other ways you can reach your overall health goals.