It’s that time of year again! The week marked ‘vacation’ on my office calendar is in clear view, and it’s not too early to start counting down the days. I’m ready to start a packing list, I’ve got an ongoing note of books I’m itching to read, and it’s taking a lot of self-restraint to not throw up an ‘out-of-office’ message already. It’s also about this time that thoughts of a vacation diet start drifting through my mind.
In years past, a vacation diet meant some type of crash diet in a vain attempt to lose a few pounds. Think lemon cleanses, fruit juice fasts, and extreme calorie deficits. New flash: that’s not the right way to do it! I would throw myself into a panic about my weight, wage a war with my swimsuit and spend the weeks ahead of vacation miserable and hungry. The most likely scenario included crashing and burning before the time was up. Who wants to spend their summer feeling like that?
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look and feel your best before a vacation, big trip or special event, but it’s important to do it the right way. Over the years, I’ve come up with a few lifestyle tweaks that can help to set me on the right track before vacation; bonus, they’re also good for getting back on track after a week away! It’s really not a vacation diet at all, but a reminder of a few healthy habits that anyone can stick to.
The Non-Diet Vacation Diet
– Start off each morning with a mug of warm water with a squeeze of lemon. Hydration is so important to helping us look and feel good, and adding lemon juice is an added bonus. Benefits include: better skin; keeping things moving in the digestive tract (you know what I mean), gentle cleanse and boost for the liver, helps us to feel full. Drinking water throughout the day also encourages our bodies to flush water, so drink up!
– Focus on portion control and mindful eating. Don’t eat in front of the tv, computer, etc. When we focus on what we’re eating, our bodies can register that we are full. It’s also important, even with healthy foods, to watch our portions. Believe it or not, you can overeat quinoa and hummus. Check here for some healthy recipe ideas!
– Cut back on excess carbs; focus on lean protein and healthy fats. This is the ratio that just seems to work for me- everyone is different! Extra carbs make my stomach a little puffier, while lean protein and a little healthy fats (think chicken or fish with avocado) fill me up and keep me satisfied. Some find that keeping dairy to a minimum has the same effect.
– Less salt. I try not to use too much to begin with, but watching sodium intake helps to de-bloat our tummies as water clings to sodium. Eating a clean diet of fresh, whole foods is an easy way to go about this. If you’re eating processed foods, you’ll want to check the label for sodium content. (Even canned veggies are a culprit!) Do NOT cut out salt altogether. Our bodies need sodium, about 500-800 mg per day.
– HIIT cardio and strength training. High intensity interval training (HIIT) is the most efficient for burning body fat because it gets our heart rates up in the least amount of time. Combining high intensity cardio with strength training helps our bodies to get leaner, faster; think circuit or boot camp style exercises. (I’m currently using the 30 Day Shred throughout the week combined with running.) If you can, make a little extra time in the mornings for a short walk to get your metabolism going for the day!
– Relax. It’s almost vacation time, after all. Set some time aside to chill out, have a glass of wine and enjoy the summer!