My family and I just got home from a beach vacation. It was a wonderful, rejuvenating, and much needed time for me and my loved ones. But it also came with some stress. For the last two months, I’ve been on what I call my sustainable fitness journey. I’ve been working on creating fitness habits that are good for both my physical and mental health — habits that I can successfully keep because I enjoy them, and because they aren’t overly restrictive. The result of this work is that, days before vacation, I reached the milestone of 10 pounds lost! I was thrilled.
Of course, my excitement quickly disappeared when I realized I was leaving for vacation soon, where I am … shall we say … prone to indulgence. I was certainly not going to destroy my vacation by obsessing over my fitness goals. But I was also not going to just undo all the progress I’ve worked so hard to achieve. So, I made a plan for how I would enjoy my vacation while still sticking to my fitness goals. I am utterly shocked to tell you that I came home weighing exactly what I weighed the day I left for the trip. Here are a few of the things I did that helped me to not gain weight on vacation.
#1. I brought my scale with me.
I know, I know! I KNOW you hate hearing that. Listen, I hate the scale, too. I loathe the fact that I own one. But right now, I am in a season where keeping track of my weight matters. I’m experimenting with my diet and exercise to see what works for losing weight and keeping it off. The goal is to nail down a sustainable fitness plan that keeps my weight where I want it so that I can eventually ditch the scale. Point being — the scale is a necessary evil for me right now. I brought it with me not so I could be shackled to it through my whole vacation. I brought it as a data point, something that could let me know if I was veering too drastically off course. I knew I might gain a few pounds and I set my expectations accordingly. I just knew I wasn’t going to let it go beyond that. I weighed myself every morning and forgot the scale existed for the rest of the day.
#2. I did daily workouts with the Peloton App
I ride my Peloton almost daily, so I was a little unsettled about leaving it behind for a week. But what I absolutely love about Peloton is that it has an app that can be used even if you don’t have the Peloton Bike, Tread, or Row. The Peloton app offers coached classes ranging from outdoor running/walking, HIIT (high intensity interval training) cardio, shadow boxing, strength, yoga, Pilates, and more. My daily workouts varied each day. I chose workouts that required no equipment, so mostly HIIT cardio and body weight strength workouts. I never worked out more than 30 minutes a day, and some days I worked out as little as 10. I wasn’t focused on doing hard-core workouts that left me sore and exhausted. I just wanted to get my heart rate up, sweat a little, and remind my brain that I live an active lifestyle even when I’m on vacation.
#3. No alcohol except for after dinner
It’s so easy to drink too much on vacation, especially when you’re at the beach. But alcohol is a really fast way to add up empty calories, and for me, drinking also comes with snacking. By making one simple rule for myself that I wouldn’t drink until after dinner, I significantly limited my caloric intake. After all, there’s only so much you can drink between the hours of 8pm and bedtime. Plus, as an added benefit, I found that I enjoyed this vacation more than any of them from my past. Being free from the lethargy, the bloating, and the occasional hangovers that come with vacation-drinking left me free to enjoy the trip to its fullest.
#4. I incorporated exercise into our fun
The beach is a great place to disguise exercise as fun! My kids loved being in the ocean — especially floating around on their inter tubes and riding the waves. They’re still small, so they needed me in the water with them. I took the opportunity to go about knee-deep in the water and walk against the current. I watched my Move ring on my Apple Watch and saw that this was a major calorie burner! I was out in the sunshine, enjoying time with my kids, hardly putting any effort into the work, but still burning calories. One afternoon, my husband and I took a 3 mile walk on the beach. It was a wonderful time for us to connect. We took it slow, didn’t rush it. Just enjoyed the weather and the conversation, and got our steps in for the day.
#5. Meal prep, meal prep, meal prep
The first day of our trip, I spent just an hour or two in the kitchen prepping foods that I could enjoy that would keep me out of the snacks and treats that everyone else was eating. I made a huge container of chicken tenderloins, lots of cut up fruits and veggies. I brought some of my favorite Quest protein bars and some Atkins chocolate peanut butter cups that come dangerously close to tasting like a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup. I made protein pudding, which lasted me the entire trip, and made sure I had lots of high protein goodies stocked up in the fridge. It’s amazing how little interest you have in junk food when you are nice and filled up on nourishing foods that stick to your ribs.
#5. I took the stairs whenever I could
Our condo was on the fourth floor, which was a manageable walk. I decided to take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever I could. I figured why not get a few more steps in when I could?
#5. Jordan’s Skinny Mixes
I brought several of my favorite flavors of Jordan’s Skinny Mixes and used them often. I use them in my waters, in my mixed drinks, in my coffee, and even in my yogurts at breakfast. They are sugar free and carb free, and somehow still loaded with flavor. Yes, they do have the synthetic sweet taste that comes with artificial sweeteners, but that is not a taste that has ever bothered me. So, I really enjoy them. They help me feel like I’m eating something decadent without loading up on calories. For those of you who are interested, my favorite flavors are Pistachio Latte, Mermaid, Peanut Butter Cup, and Blueberry Lavender. These links are to Amazon, and you’ll get them very fast … but you’ll also pay a lot more than you would on the Skinny Mixes website where they are significantly cheaper. The downside of ordering directly from Skinny Mixes, though, is that it takes a very long time to get your order. So, choose whichever option makes the most sense for you!
#6. Stocked the car with healthy foods for the ride
The car ride is one of my biggest snack traps. I love stopping at gas stations and fast food restaurants to load up on comfort foods while I drive. This time, for the drive to our destination and back home, I stocked the car with healthy foods. I brought a small cooler with water, salad, chicken filets, and a few of my other healthy snacks. I also brought protein bars and low-carb chips for when I was feeling peckish. Loading the car with snacks not only kept me from binging on empty calorie junk; it also reduced the number of times we stopped, helped us save money, and got us to our destination faster.
It was such an incredible feeling to get home and see the same number on the scale as I did the day I left. I didn’t feel like I robbed myself or my family of any fun — we all had a wonderful time and made plenty of memories. I just didn’t have to come home with the regret and anger at myself that I would have if I’d undone all my months of hard work in a single week. So, if you’re heading out for vacation this summer, don’t be immediately discouraged about your fitness goals. There are ways to stay on track without ruining your good time! Give some of these a try and see what you think.