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By Brunilda Nazario, MD
I love to travel, and I love staying fit – but doing both at the same time can be a challenge. And if you’re new to a healthy lifestyle, it can be especially hard: how are you supposed to enjoy a carefree vacation without ditching your newfound discipline and losing all of the progress you’ve made?
After logging lots of miles and experience over the years, I’ve learned that you really can do both – it’s just a matter of balance.
Here are a few tips to help you stay on your fitness journey and still enjoy your fun getaway:
Plan well. Vacations shouldn’t be regimented, but if there were ever a time to say “planning makes perfect,” this is it.A backpack loaded with your favorite healthy snacks, fruits, and drinks can really help keep you on track. Here are some of my favorites travel goodies: beef jerky, skinny popcorn, tuna packets, instant oatmeal packets, dried cherries, and almonds.
Enjoy the local cuisine. Eating out is one of the best parts of the vacationexperience – both in the enjoyment of delicious, and maybe unusual, food and also the social aspects of sharing a meal with friends and family. Don’t deprive yourself – after all, you’re on vacation!My advice: don’t automatically reach for the healthiest thing on the menu …you’ll be left unsatisfied, unhappy, and hungry!Eat the foods you like, but be mindful of your portions. Most places serve large portions, so consider sharing a dish with someone or ask for a doggy bag to remove the excess calories.
Drink Up. Drinking water is part of a healthy lifestyle, so before grabbing a cool margarita, hydrate!
Here’s my tip : Set your smartphone timer to remind you to hydrate. The added bonus is that, if your water is icy cold, your body burns off calories as it increases the temperature of water to your body.
Making conscious decision are part of a healthy lifestyle. Whether its drinking or eating, the excess intake of calories is always done mindlessly.
Leave the gym mentality at home. It’s vacation time! Discover your playground! Be a kid again, be imaginative, and find ways to just move.You really don’t need a gym to work-out. Get creative – your surroundings might offer some unconventional exercise opportunities. I recently traveled to the deserts of the southwestern US. There was no weight room, treadmill, or stair master machine. But the desert did have miles and miles of sand – so I grab a saucer, walked up the dunes, and slid down… welcome to sand boarding! Cowabonga!
Sleep. It’s tempting to stay up late when you’re on vacation, but being tired results in poor decision making. I try and stick to my regular sleep routine when I travel. After all, a well-rested vacation makes for a great traveler.
Going on a vacation doesn’t have to derail the healthy lifestyle you’ve been working so hard for. With a little planning and flexibility, you can find a balance that will allow you to fully enjoy your vacation while still being true to the commitments you’ve made to yourself. And if, despite your best intentions, you do end up throwing healthy choices to the wind while you’re away, don’t despair – there’s always a fresh start waiting for you at home.
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