Did you overindulge on your vacation? Don’t worry, it happens. It’s easy to feel like once it happens, that’s it and all your work on healthy habits was for naught, but you can always get back on track. Here’s some advice about how to do it.
“First, don’t beat yourself up,” says certified fitness trainer Dempsey Marks. “We all need to indulge from time to time.”
Feelings of guilt, shame and hopelessness can be a big roadblock for people after indulging on vacations and getting off track from their healthy habits, says Rachel Fiske, NC, CPT-NASM, who serves on the advisory board for Family Living Today.
“Looking at health and wellness as being ‘on or off the wagon’ can really set you up for failure,” she says. “Instead, look at your nutrition, exercise, and overall wellness as a day-to-day journey, with natural ups and downs. We’re all human and some room for flexibility and leniency is important, as well as the occasional indulgence.”
She adds that accepting this and not beating yourself up can actually make it much easier to get back on track.
Physiologically, after a period of eating a lot of sugar or simple carbs, which is what many of us tend to indulge on, Fiske says your body might do well with a sugar detox, “since sugar is very addictive in nature.”
She suggests trying to go one to two weeks with zero sugar – no candies, cookies, cakes, sodas, etc. – and also considering eliminating white flour products, such as pasta and bread.
“Focus on filling up at least half of each plate with non-starchy veggies, a portion each of protein and healthy fat, and one small serving of a complex carb, like half [a] cup of whole grains or baked sweet potato, for example,” Fiske says. “This can help break that cycle of sugar cravings that can sometimes linger after vacation.”
Marks says her overall strategy for getting back on track is to start small. She waits about a week before weighing herself and hydrates with lots of water to flush out salts and toxins.
“Make a trip to the grocery store a priority and stock up on healthy foods,” she says. “I don’t believe in dieting, so I like the approach of returning to a more healthy lifestyle, as well as a good detox.”
She also recommends toning down your social calendar by avoiding eating out or partying for a week after getting home from your trip. But her favourite tip is to plan your exercise schedule for the week – she likes to start off with group exercise classes.
Last, but not least, make sure you get plenty of sleep, Marks says. “It makes a difference in how your body functions and resets.”
For your next trip, Marks recommends maintaining some form of exercise while you’re travelling, but to also remember it’s okay to let go and enjoy your vacation.
“My fitness philosophy is all about balance. …Try to keep it in perspective. And everything in moderation. … Remember that vacations are for relaxation and fun! You earned it!”