Sustainable Health Habits While on Vacation

The key to practicing healthy habits even while on vacation is to make lifestyle changes.

Sustainable Health Habits While on Vacation

Rather than jumping on the bandwagon for the next diet or exercise trend, make gradual changes to how you live so your habits are sustainable no matter where life takes you.

Laying the Ground Work

Intuitive eating, HIIT, keto, resistance training, cleanse, Tae Bo, paleo-- what do these words have in common? They’re some of the many buzzwords you’ll find in the fitness industry. While some of these describe sustainable actions, others are fads that soon fade.

Sustainable Eating Habits

How many people do you know who can successfully cut something out of their life and never think of it again? Many diets expect you to do just that. Whether it’s dairy, gluten, or sugar, trendy diets will have you believe that you can eliminate ingredients cold-turkey without looking back.

While there are long-term health benefits to reducing the consumption of certain foods, there are better approaches than a traditional diet. Ideally, you’ll work with a nutritionist or professional health consultant to develop sustainable, new lifestyle habits that support your dietary choices.

Add, Don’t Subtract

Before you start subtracting food groups or ingredients from your diet, try adding new things in. Add more vegetables, increase the amount of protein you consume, drink more water. Round out your nutrition and then examine what you can remove now that you have substitutes for the less healthful stuff.

Take Your Time

If you’re used to eating on the go, this can be a hard habit to break. You can start by eating more meals at a table than behind the wheel of your car. Build those extra ten minutes into your day so you can eat breakfast at home instead of at your desk or as you pull away from the drive-thru. Once you get comfortable with that, you might be ready to move on to the next step, which is meal planning, or bulk meal prepping.

Meal Plan

This doesn’t have to be overwhelming, especially since there are so many resources for making meal planning simple. You can order groceries online, allowing you to ensure you have all the ingredients you need to make healthful meals for yourself and your family. Or, you can subscribe to meal delivery services that send ingredients and recipes right to your door. 

Another way to save time and money throughout the week is to bulk meal prep. You might roast a whole chicken (or buy one from the store!) and use the meat for meals throughout the week. Plan for a salad topped with chicken one day, chicken fajitas another, or even chicken noodle soup for a third day. 

Spending a little extra time planning out your meals will help you balance out your nutrients and avoid less healthful options in a time crunch.

Eat Intuitively

What does it mean to eat intuitively? It means listening to your body, allowing yourself to eat when you’re hungry and eating what feels good. This may mean having a bowl of ice cream after a well-balanced meal. It may mean adding a dollop of peanut butter to your apple slices without feeling guilty about those “extra” calories. It may mean eating a greasy pizza for lunch instead of a salad. 

Intuitive eating may also mean you do remove some foods from your diet. If cheese makes your stomach upset, you’ll listen to your body and either eat less of it or none at all. If you’re enjoying a meal and realize halfway through that you’re full, intuitive eating means you listen to your body and save the rest of your plate for later.

The goal of intuitive eating is to make peace with food and to understand that there’s no such thing as “good” food and “bad” food. It’s all fuel for our bodies, and some is just more efficient fuel than others.

Healthy Eating While on Vacation

When you’re trying to adhere to a diet, it can be hard to stick to the rules when you’re traveling. If you’re used to making all your meals at home in order to avoid certain foods, it can make eating in restaurants tricky. However, if you can tune in to eating more intuitively, you can avoid the stress of not having access to your regular meals or supplements.

Whatever your philosophy about your nutrition, you can do some prep work to make it easier to stick to your goals while on vacation.
  • Research restaurants in advance
  • Stay in accommodations with a kitchen
  • Order groceries to be delivered upon arrival
  • Bring meal-replacement options on your trip (protein bars, smoothie supplements, etc…)
  • Pack snacks that fit your nutritional choices
Sustainable Exercise Habits

Did you know the key to maintaining an exercise routine is easy? Here’s the secret- choose an exercise you like! That’s it. The trick to creating sustainable exercise habits is to find a program, activity, or trainer you enjoy. That way it won’t feel like a punishment or a chore every time you exercise. 

Picking a form of exercise you like doesn’t mean it’s going to be ineffective. Studies show that even just 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day is a good baseline. This could be in the form of yard work, walking the dog, or swimming with the family. To increase the benefits of exercise, consider working with a trainer, joining an accountability program, or taking group fitness classes in your community.

Tips for Beginning a Fitness Program

It’s not easy for everyone to begin a fitness journey. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Don’t Give Up

If you attend a class or try an exercise format that you don’t like right off the bat, try it again! If after a couple of workouts you still don’t like it, don’t give up on exercise altogether. There are so many options that range from dance-based to resistance-based; you’re bound to find something that you like and offers results. Sometimes it’s just a matter of the teacher, and you can still enjoy a format with someone else offering instruction.

Stay Hydrated and Fueled Up

If you want to feel better while exercising, hydrate before, during, and after your workout. Depending on the form of exercise you like best, you might also need to fuel up beforehand so you don’t run out of steam halfway through. No matter what, it’s important to remember the food is fuel for your workout, and that working out is not a punishment for eating food.

Don’t Skip the Warm-Up or the Cool Down

Some people get so caught up in burning calories that they disregard the importance of a proper warm-up and cool down. Those are not wasted minutes! The warm-up is designed to help your body maximize calorie consumption, and can actually boost your metabolism. A cool-down can prevent injury so you’re less likely to miss a future workout.

Working Out on Vacation

Now that you’ve established a workout routine, don’t let a trip derail you! If you’re traveling for work or pleasure, be willing to try a different type of workout, or sacrifice a few minutes of sleep to fit it in.

Hit the Gym

If you’re staying in a hotel with a fitness center, make use of the space. If you’re staying at a rental home, see if a local recreation center or gym offers day passes so you can access machines, weights, or other equipment you regularly use.

Go Digital

If you usually attend group fitness classes, while you’re on vacation you could consider switching to an online class for a few days. Or, use an app that can curate a workout for you. Here are some highly-rated workout apps to try:
  • FitOn
  • Glo
  • Headspace
  • Jefit
  • MyFitnessPal
  • Peloton
  • Seven
  • Sweat
Many apps are 100% free, or they offer a free trial that you could utilize while on vacation, and then opt-out of when you return home.

The key to maintaining your habits while on vacation is to be creative and flexible. Continue to work on your relationship with food so you don’t feel guilty about enjoying new dishes or treats while traveling. 

Also, don’t forget to count the steps you take while schlepping suitcases as a jumpstart to your exercise routine while on vacation!