Why I’m Finally Enjoying My Vacation

July 3, 2013

In the past, I’ve always viewed time up here at the lake or other trips as “time off”.

I’d often workout the first day and then after too many glasses of wine and late nights, I’d say, “I’m on vacation, dammit. I deserve a break and to just enjoy my time off.”

This lead to arriving back home feeling puffy, exhausted and guilty that I had gotten so far off track. I’d come home really mad at myself and wish I’d done a little better. I knew most of the weight I’d gained was water from too many carbs and too much booze. I knew several days of copious amounts of water and green veggies, no sugar or wine, lots of lean protein, a few nights of sleep and the majority of those extra pounds would be gone.

But even knowing that, I felt disappointed in myself.

Wasn’t I someone who “lived the life”? Why didn’t my fit persona go on vacation with me?

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Being able to shed the water weight didn’t help the fact that my lack of integrity with myself made me feel bad. I always came home from vacation depressed and feeling like, “Why did I do this to myself?” I’d try to answer with, “Because you were on vacation! You just wanted to enjoy it!” Truth was, I didn’t really enjoy it. But I’m enjoying the heck out of this one!

And here’s why:

  1. I’ve exercised all 4 days since I’ve been here because it sets my tone for the day. I’m reminded that this is who I am – a fit, healthy woman. I know that the exercise off-sets or mitigates more dietary indiscretion. It helps me avoid some of the puffy, water weight I always bring home. And ask my husband, I’m just nicer when I workout – so everyone is enjoying their time here more 🙂 Whats more, daily exercise is just a habit I have now. It’s not negotiable, just like brushing my teeth.  There’s little angst, little deciding, I just do it.
  2. I know which nutrition rules I break and which ones I honor.  I have of course remained gluten-free (a rule I always honor) but I’ve had more wine than normal, because a glass of wine on this dock, watching a sunset is something I really want! I have had more sugar and carbs than normal, I’m not really paying too much attention – this is the rule I’m choosing to break. I start with a protein and veggie breakfast, have salad and protein for dinner and similar for dinner – but I’m not paying much attention beyond that. This is looser than when I’m at home but feels very relaxed and low stress for vacation and I’m sticking to my guns on the rules that matter the most to me and my metabolism.
  3. I’m employing some Dr Brooke advice: If you can’t do everything, don’t do nothing, at least do something. I’m not driving into town and getting a week pass at the local gym so I can do my exact workout for my current 4-6 week plan (although I could). I’m using my TRX, valslides, body weight, a few pieces of deck furniture and a hill to sprint up. It’s not perfect, but it’s way BETTER than nothing. Sure the neighbors are staring at me a bit, I’m Ok with that.

I’m not eating perfect, I’m enjoying a couple Upstate treats that I have once or twice a year such as regular ice cream and salt potatoes. But I’ve stayed away from my real downfalls because I panned ahead of time what rules I’m willing to bend and which ones I don’t break.

When I hear patients in my office say they’re going away for a vacation and I offer up a few on the go diet and exercise tips they always say, “I don’t want to worry about that. I just want to enjoy my time.”

If we did just enjoy the time, that’s fine!

Your body is not made nor broken in 7 good or 7 bad days

But many times they come back and say, “I wish I’d just done a little better so I didn’t feel so off track now that I’m back!” That’s how I always felt, “Why didn’t I at least do a little bit better?” And worse, I always feel too sluggish, depressed and tired – and a little sad that I didn’t enjoy my vacation as much as I could have because I knew I was creating a mess for myself. I’ve been going on vacation and saying, “I just want to enjoy it!” for a long time. My anxiety would mount half way through as I realized vacation was coming to an end and I was headed back to a hell of my own making.

This time? That daily workout has made me feel really relaxed about eating less than perfect. I feel better in my bathing suit (which ups the enjoyment factor big time!) and I have zero anxiety to returning to normal life next week.

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So as you enjoy this 4th of July Holiday, know which nutrition rules you shouldn’t break and which ones you’d like to bend while enjoying your holiday.

Hint: pick ones that have less trickle down. For me eating gluten has way too much trickle down. I feel depressed and sluggish, which makes me really crave carbs. I get really puffy in the face which makes me feel really bad about myself – and when you feel bad, it’s hard to make good decisions.

And when it comes to exercise on vacation, at least do something!

Happy 4th everyone!


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