It’s time to get away. You’ve worked hard and you’ve moved “vacation plans” to the top of your to–do list. As you browse through travel guides, daydreaming about your itinerary or your beach cottage, your thoughts turn to…F O O D!
No surprise, there. “Getting away from it all” isn’t a popular phrase for no reason, and all too often, exercise and healthy eating are left at home, along with professional and personal stresses.
So pack your bags and leave your worries behind, but don’t let your vacation put an end to all the progress you’ve made toward achieving your goal weight, improved fitness, and optimal health.
I’m not recommending perfection, nor do I believe it’s possible. My strategy for vacations is brief: planned, moderate, and healthy indulgence.
How to do that? Simple, really. Those of you who know me, either personally or through this site, won’t be surprised by my answer: put pen to paper and make a plan before your vacation.
Example: You’re going to Paris and you love the bread, cheese, sauces, and pastries. In fact, your list of favorite foods, gourmet shops, and restaurants is as tall as the Eiffel Tower. What’s a “foodie” to do?
Pick a few “must have” experiences, and enjoy them, but forgo unplanned, health– harmful choices. If you must have a pain au chocolate, find the very best one and savor it (just that once!) without guilt. And if you have a favorite restaurant, skip bread and dessert (taste your companion’s), and enjoy the main course of your choice (remember portion size, please). The rest of the time, stay on the Pritikin plan. Enjoy the gorgeous produce in salads or as snacks! Let the wonderful flavor of grilled fish, and a glass of wine, satisfy you body and soul, by eating mindfully and remembering that without your health, you wouldn’t be able to travel!
One qualification: do NOT select foods that adversely affect any health condition you have. If you have hypertension, don’t decide to eat salty foods; if you have high cholesterol, do not chow down on triple crème cheeses. And if you are a “sugar junkie” skip the pastries. Similarly, if going off plan leads you astray so you’ll never return, don’t deviate or you’ll be back to your pre–Pritikin self in no time. You know yourself, so please treat yourself with respect so you can enjoy many more years of vitality, free of the diseases of affluence.
And don’t forget to take your resistance bands and walk the city. If there’s a fitness facility in your hotel or nearby, great! Mix it up. Don’t let “all or nothing” thinking ruin your resolve to exercise or eat well.
If you plan your indulgences and build exercise into your itinerary (put these in writing), the only extra pounds you’ll have will be the purchases packed in your luggage.
Bon Voyage et a Votre Sante,
Susan E. Grober, Ph.D.