We’ve all seen this movie.
We go on vacation or take a quick weekend trip. We enjoy ourselves in our travels, only to come back feeling heavy, tired and discouraged. We adopt a doomsday mentality and decide we lost ALL progress by enjoying ourselves on vacation. Then we start to panic anytime we go on a future vacation. All of sudden, traveling becomes more anxiety-ridden than exciting.
This is NOT how it’s supposed to be, and I don’t want this for any of you! So I’d like to present some valuable nuggets of info about enjoying ourselves AND staying on track when traveling, as well as what we can logically expect upon return.
Enjoy myself AND stay on track? IMPOSSIBLE!
Well… not really! This is what balance is all about—and ideally, it’s the same balance you’re able to strike in your everyday routine at home. So why does traveling need to be any different?
With my 1:1 nutrition clients, I generally always encourage them to avoid tracking their calories and macros altogether when they travel. While I fully believe in macro-tracking as an incredible tool to accurately meet your goals (and lean on it heavily in my 1:1 coaching business),
I ALSO believe there’s a time and place to ditch the tracking app and take a break.
No matter how long or short, vacation falls into that bucket. Macro-tracking in this case can hinder your ability to truly enjoy yourself, which is NOT the point of vacation.
Rather than tracking, I simply advise my clients (and all of you) to not overthink things. Just be mindful of the healthy habits that non-vacation tracking efforts have fostered to date. These include:
- Identify a protein source at each primary meal
- Get in some vegetables when possible
- Pack some travel snacks for fuel in a pinch—jerky, a stash of ONE bars, plantain chips, and trail mix are my personal faves
- Drink some water
- Get in some daily movement—even if it’s just taking the stairs or walking to lunch
- Avoid unnecessary restrictions!
I’m not the nutritionist that recommends you dodge the novelty slice of Chicago deep dish or avert your eyes from the famous donut shop down the street from your hotel. In fact, I want you to seek out those items and savor every single bite without a shred of guilt. Don’t let food guilt or shame cloud the joys and flavors of your vacation!
What can you expect when you return?
Some amount of water retention and fatigue are almost always inevitable post-travel. But here’s the thing: IT’S OKAY! And it in no way indicates loss of progress.
Post-travel lethargy doesn’t need to be scary. It’s usually just a product of water retention as a result of eating more sodium-rich foods. (This probably isn’t news to you, but most restaurants/food vendors are heavy-handed with salt… it makes things taste good!) And since hydrating is often neglected when we’re on the go, we’re far more likely to retain water and bring it back with us. Not to worry though—that extra water should flush within about a week of resuming your normal routine and staying hydrated.
Unfortunately, water retention will show up on the scale, too. So if you choose to weigh in upon your return and see a fluctuation greater than normal, do not freak. Better yet, if you tend to get in your own head when it comes to the scale, don’t feel compelled to step on post-travel.
Give yourself 7-10 days to get back into your routine for a more accurate scale reading.
Accepting the logic behind these realities might be all you need to remove any travel-related fear or anxiety. Relax and enjoy yourself! Practice some healthy habits. Eat the donut (but make sure to ‘gram it first). Drink some water. Order a fun cocktail. Anticipate some fatigue upon your return. And get right back into your routine.
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