Niha Zubair, Arivale Clinical Research Scientist, PhD
Half the fun of vacation is the anticipation and planning. As you consider the new places you’ll explore and the relaxing places you’ll stay, keep in mind you won’t cease to be a human being with basic needs like eating, moving, and sleeping even when you break free of your typical routines.
While you may be excited to try new things, there’s something to be said for maintaining your personal daily rhythms for eating and moving to avoid losing your wellness momentum when on vacation. It’s the context, not the concepts, that change when you’re out of town.
Eating with intention and attention
Eating with intention – as to when and why you’re eating – and attention – as to what you’re eating – are beneficial habits you can bring with you on any vacation.
Remember: Meals are so much more than food. You may not have time to experience meals like this at home, so use the slower pace of life on vacation to enhance your connection with your mealtime experience.
Here are six eating tips that can act as guardrails during the time away from your typical routine or food environment.
1. Breakfast of champions
Stop by the grocery store where you’re vacationing to pick up a few quick and easy breakfast items – such as fruit and nonfat Greek yogurt – so you can always start the day off with protein and fiber within the first hour of waking regardless of what the rest of your day ends up looking like. (Here are some breakfast recipe suggestions from Arivale’s expert nutritionists.)
2. Two out of three
Follow the “two out of three” policy when dining out, picking only two of three options – appetizer, dessert, drink – to go with your meal.
3. Don’t forget the fruits and veggies
Set a goal for how many fruits and vegetables you want to eat each day and focus on counting your colors rather than your calories.
4. Avoid a scarcity mindset
It can be a good idea to bring some high-protein or high-fiber snacks along to prevent a scarcity mindset from setting in when your meal times aren’t strictly scheduled. When you know you have a go-to supply of almonds, roasted chickpeas, or edamame, you can calmly remind yourself that enjoying the freedom of vacation schedules and nourishing your body consistently throughout the day are not mutually exclusive.
5. 80% full, 100% satisfied
You may be eating out a lot more than usual, so make it a practice to step away from the table or your plate when you’re 80 percent full. Allow the conversation and the experience to occupy the last few minutes of the meal and allow your mind and stomach communicate the sense of being 100 percent satisfied.
6. BYO(w)B: bring your own water bottle
If you carry your own water bottle around and continue to fill it whenever you have the chance, you’ll be more likely to drink water throughout your trip. This companymakes great collapsible water bottles that travel easily and allow you to fill up wherever you can find a water fountain. (Here are a few more tips on increasing your water intake and why it’s important.)
Exercising a new routine
If exercising regularly isn’t something you typically have time for, vacations can be a great opportunity to try something new. Your business-as-usual routine is already being redefined, so you can start to experiment with workouts you might previously have avoided due to the constraints of your regular schedule. Here are three tips to get you started.
1. Keep space in mind
When travelling, it’s easy to dismiss workouts and associated gear as yet another thing to pack – both metaphorically in your schedule and physically in your bag. You may need to consider what resources are available for your workouts during your trip, whether it be a backyard, nearby park, hotel gym, or neighborhood to run around.
There are plenty of online workouts (fitnessblender.com and 12minuteathlete.com, for example) and apps (Nike Training Club or 7 Minute Workout) that provide options that vary in time, intensity, equipment, and space required.
2. Pack your workout clothes
Space is limited in your carry on, so your running or workout shoes can double as your comfy walking shoes. You can also channel your inner lazy teenager and re-wear your workout clothes. For example, if you’re gone two days you only need one set of workout clothes. If you’re gone more than that, you can bring two pairs and alternate between days while one is being cleaned.
Even better, if you are staying in a hotel like Westin ask the front desk about renting workout gear. That’s one less thing you have to pack!
3. Focus on less sedentary time
Unless you’re specifically training for an event, vacation may be a time when you change your goals for fitness to be focused on reducing sedentary time rather than specific exercise time. Wear your FitBit and aim to get 2,000 more steps per day than you usually get at home. Or, challenge yourself to spend the majority of your day outdoors.
Planning ahead can help you prepare for what you’ll need to maintain your rhythm on vacation. It’s natural for there to be lapses in your health journey as you navigate new environments and experiences, but these tips can help keep you on track.