I hear and see it all the time. People gaining unbelievable amounts of weight after getting back from vacation. Even worse, they come back to the gym extremely de-conditioned. I realize these are the the few weeks you decided to relax and get away from it all. But do you really want to come back to your previous situation with the added stress of 10 extra pounds? What good is a clear mind if you've got a full belly?
Before you start laying in with the excuses, I've heard them all and I've got the answer to them in the following statements, so sit tight and read.
1. Pick Your Battles
There's all kinds of fun things you're going to be doing on your vacation...hopefully. And a lot of it is going to include food. I'm going to further assume these food choices don't include steamed vegetables and egg whites. Most likely they're going to be delicious but extremely calorie dense.
Knowing this, why not eat a bit healthier during the rest of the day? While in Germany I knew I was going to be doing touring the beer gardens, so I made sure to drink plenty of water to counter any possible hangover and to flush out the sodium of the giant pretzels I ate.
In New Orleans I ate very badly (Is there a choice?), so I made sure not to snack or eat many meals while there. So that when I did have a bad meal, it was one of the only meals I had that day. Which it was so calorie dense, they did more than did the job of keeping me going. On top of that, I made sure to get enough protein to maintain my muscle and keep my energy levels high as well.
2. Stay Active
You may love laying down all day, but your body doesn't.
I'm not saying you need to be doing barbell squats and deadlifts while on vacation, but it doesn't mean you need to just lounge around all day posting photos of your feet on Facebook. Believe it or not, there's this thing called a grey area.
While visiting my grandparents in Arkansas, I always stay active with a light workout. Usually consisting of running a few miles and/or a body weight workout. Pullups on tree branches, one legged squats, pushups, etc. A pair of dumbbells can take it further but aren't necessary.
A lot of my trips include activities with them. When I went to Germany it included me walking for miles around the cities and country, often including stairs and mountains. Carrying my 100 lb backpack definitely ramped up the workout as well. Not to mention casually biking Berlin and Munich to see everything it had to offer kept that Schnitzel from affecting my waste size.
When you're doing all of the mentioned activities you'll end up drinking lots of water without even thinking about it, and be working off all that bad food you're eating at the same time. The very definition of a Win/Win.
3. Have Fun
This is that stupid rule I read at the end of almost every list, but I had to include it. Because it's true.
Why go if you're just going to worry about your weight and feel guilty the whole time? I actually have had people feel so bad about what they did, they confess every little thing they did. There's no purpose of eating that extravagant desert or laying on the beach if you're going to hate yourself afterwards. Do it and make no apologies.
I had lot's of fun and never felt guilty because I chose my battles and stayed active.
I ate lot's of pizza in New York and Germany, pancakes and cookies in Arkansas, pub crawls and Schnitzel in Germany, fattening Cajun food in New Orleans, high calorie hipster breakfast in Denver, and had fun doing it. Because there was no guilt factor. I picked my battles and stayed active, which cancelled out all the negative of eating bad while I was out.
So follow these rules from now on when you take your vacation, and not only will you have fun, you'll come back in possibly better shape than when you left.