Ahhhhhh summer. Beautiful weather+unpredictable schedules=diet disaster. Right?
*If you prefer to watch...scroll down for the video below
I get it. Every summer I used to go completely off the rails (TBH that includes last summer, where I gained 10 lbs). Sitting outside on a patio with a cocktail and some chips and guac is my idea of heaven. I don't like having to cook once it gets hot, which means more convenience food. Plus, when I'm on vacay I just want to treat myself.
Maybe you feel the same way? If so, that's totally 100% completely & utterly normal!!
The trick is, how do you honour summer, have a blast, eat the easy foods, maintain that vacation mindset and STILL stay on track? It's actually not THAT difficult. Here are my top 3 tips:
- Be realistic. If you've been eating really well for your body lately, staying away from all of the processed carby goodness that's out there, drinking all the water and actually enjoying it, that's great! But...that's probably not going to continue on vacay. If you go into it with that all or nothing mindset, you'll be setting yourself up for an epic fail. If you expect perfection, then can't maintain the perfect willpower to stay away from the authentic Italian pasta, or the Pubhouse Ale, or the AMAZING Ramen, then not only will you have an occasional not so great meal, you'll also go into a guilt spiral, because you didn't set up the right expectation. That will most likely result in a ton of other not so great choices, because, "I've already ruined it...might as well go all out and then start again when I get back to real life".
- Set the expectation. If you KNOW pasta doesn't do good things for you, but you LOVE it, then obviously you'll want some while on vacay. So BEFORE you go, sit down and set the expectation. How many nights are you going to give yourself permission to have pasta? 1? 2? Every night? There isn't a right answer here....it's up to you. But if you set the expectation that you're going to have it a certain number of times, it will give you the power to say yes happily when faced with that decision. No guilt. No shame spiral. Just amazing pasta and then back to the foods that make you feel best.
- Pick your poison. Just because you're on vacay doesn't mean you need to have dessert crepes for breakfast, ice cream every afternoon and then a massive pasta plate at dinner, topped off my gelato on the way home. What do you actually love that you normally wouldn't have? What doesn't do all that much for you? For me, carby sugary breakfasts aren't exciting. A big plate of waffles piled with maple syrup and fruit and some strange chocolate sauce doesn't excite me, so you'll never see me having one of those types of breakfasts. The way I'll feel afterwards isn't worth the taste. BUT a big bowl of Ramen with Pork Buns? Even if I pay for that the next day by feeling bloated and tired...it's totally worth it to me! So to make sure I feel great while on vacay, I make sure to set myself up for the treats. I have my regular old breakfast (or the closest thing I can find) and a lunch that I know works for my body, because I want to feel great while I'm away. Dinner though, is where I give myself permission to eat whatever the hell I want to and not feel bad about that, because I LOVE epic dinners out.
So, Laura, you might be thinking, that's all well and good, but how do these tips hold up in real life?
Well, last week I was in NYC (you know...the food capital of the world), and for the first time I took my own advice and did exactly this. You want to know what happened? For the first time EVER I didn't gain weight on vacation. Not a single pound.
Would it matter if I did? Of course not! It's no big deal because once you know how to eat for your body, you know how to get right back on track. The point is that giving myself permission to enjoy my vacation made me actually want to stick to the way I eat, because it makes me feel better. I had two dinners that were way carbier than I would normally have (Ramen and Sushi with a LOT of rice). Oh, and one ah-mazing ice cream sandwich that consisted of cream cheese ice cream between two red velvet cookies. That was it. I ate them with zero food guilt and moved on.
So the point? You need to learn to eat for real life. No strict diets that have a beginning and end point. Real life includes curveballs like vacations and work trips and weddings and other places where you won't be set up to eat the exact best foods for your body. Go with it. Decide what's worth the treat and what's not. Then eat the treats and enjoy the hell out of them before going back to real life for your next meal.
P.S. If you need a little help getting back OUT of the vacation mindset, join my FREE 5 Day Challenge and run through it once you get home. It involves 5 easy, actionable steps to get rid of the vacation induced carb cravings and back to feeling great!!