Vacation Damage Control–Diet and Exercise Edition

This past week, my wife and I made the round trip journey from Florida to Michigan for my little sister’s wedding. She married a great guy. and the weather for their beachfront ceremony really couldn’t have been better, so by all accounts the trip was a success.

The Bride and Groom

The downside of the trip, or any vacation/change in routine in general, was the disruption of my eating and exercise schedules.

To say that the foods at my parents house are a bit different from the food found at my house would be an understatement. There were multiple temptations present, but also a number of healthy alternatives due to the fact that their garden is producing like crazy this time of the year.

Being home was great, though maintaining the focus to eat well and fit in my workouts had to be something I focused on specifically while I was visiting with family, or it would have been too easy to eat things I shouldn’t and skip the workouts I needed to complete.

How to Stay on Track When You Go Out of Town

Vacations are meant to help you recharge your batteries, not wear you out even more than you already were. If you allow yourself to be too stressed out because of every dietary detour you take, your vacation won’t provide you with the recharge you probably need.

Instead of worrying about what you’re eating, learn to pick your battles.

Focus on one or two dietary issues you won’t compromise on, and don’t worry too much about the rest. For me, I kept my ban on sugary beverages monthly mission going strong, as well as my semi-new decision to avoid eating wheat.

Everything else from my normal eating habits went right out the window.

  • The potato chips at my mom’s house, rehearsal dinner, and at a family member’s house? I crushed them.
  • A bunch of peanut M&Ms and sour gummies while driving? Bring it on.
  • A second steak at dinner? You bet.
  • The pasta at the wedding? No chance!

By not using up my self control worrying about all of the temptations and small stuff I faced throughout the week, it was easy to ward off the few things that I was determined to avoid.

By picking my battles and not sweating the small stuff, I gave myself a chance for success.

What About Working Out?

When you are out of town, look for the positives and ignore the negatives. If you are the kind of person who likes to go to the gym for your workouts, vacations can be tough since the gym you frequent doesn’t come with you.

Image via Flickr by Pam Loves Pie

But there are options.

If you are creative, not only is it possibly to get a great workout using only body weight resistance, it’s actually quite easy.

And don’t forget to take advantage of the area you are visiting.

  • In the mountains? Go for a hike.
  • At the beach? Swim with the kids.

There are always options available to you, you just have to take the time to find them.

For me, this week was awesome exercise wise. I took advantage of the much cooler temperatures in Michigan for my longest run in over a year (15 miles). Instead of having to stop because of overheating (a typical problem with long summer runs in Florida), I actually got some great mileage in. I also added a 7 miler and a 3.5 mile run with 3 Fartlek segments for a 25+ mile week.

Not bad for only running 3 times.

I also managed to do core work twice, some body weight exercises, stretched often, and got reacquainted with my foam roller.

The Results?

All in all, as much crap as I ate last week, there really was no damage done to my waistline.

Sometimes you really have to remember that your health is the ultimate sum of all parts, and one week of activities rarely account for a major change in the big picture–good OR bad.

So the next time you go on a vacation, trip to see family, or anything else when your routine gets turned upside down, focus on the key ways to avoid a complete health meltdown:

  1. Pick Your Battles
  2. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
  3. Be Creative

If you can manage to follow these three principals, you can almost guarantee a healthy, happy, and relaxing time away.

And if you “happen” to have ice cream for breakfast a couple of times… Who Cares! You’re on vacation.

And you’ll be much more likely to pick up right where you left off when you get back to the grind. I promise you that.

Are there any other tips I’m missing that help you stay on track when you get out of your routine? Let me know below!


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