I hated the challenge of maintaining a diet while I was supposed to be relaxing. But I've learned that if I want to continue to fit into my jeans, a little motivation and planning go a long way.
By Tina Haupert
I used to think that vacation was the perfect excuse to indulge. But I quickly realized that was a bad idea when, a few days into my trip, I regained all the pounds I'd spent weeks losing. My bad habits began before I even left the airport. While waiting for my flight, I'd seek out greasy sandwiches and humongous pastries—what better time to splurge than vacation, right? I hated the challenge of maintaining a diet while I was supposed to be relaxing. But I've learned that if I want to continue to fit into my jeans, a little motivation and planning go a long way.
Watch what you wear on the plane
I used to stick to baggy sweats for long plane rides. Sure, I was comfortable, but this type of clothing made me so relaxed that I forgot all about my healthy habits. And since I could barely see my body, I had no problem snacking throughout the whole flight—I couldn't see my tummy expanding! Now when I travel, I make sure to wear formfitting, stylish clothing that makes me feel confident about myself. For me, wearing an attractive outfit is a constant reminder to stay on track with my healthy habits.
Pack smart snacks
I used to think that people who brought their own food on vacation were uptight control freaks, but I've learned that with a little advance planning, eating on the road doesn't have to be burdensome. It is vacation, after all, so I'll splurge on something fun at the airport—like a soy milk Misto—to pair with a Lärabar or homemade peanut-butter-and-jelly on multigrain bread. And since I sometimes confuse thirst for hunger, I bring a big bottle of water and stay away from sodas and alcohol. If I'm taking a road trip, I always make sure to stow a cooler in the backseat with low-fat cheese and whole-grain crackers or fresh fruit.
I also pack a couple of emergency snacks for my weeklong trip. In the past, I've gotten myself in a lot of trouble by waiting until I was in the middle of an emergency hunger situation. I'd spend the afternoon sightseeing and then, starving, I'd come across a fast food restaurant that didn't offer many healthy options—and suddenly a large order of fries sounded really appealing! So if I know that I have a full day ahead of me, I make sure to pack nutritious snacks to control my hunger. And if I have to settle for something that's not on my “healthy list,” I remember that I can still control the size of the portion.
Focus on the experience
Instead of obsessing over the food, I focus my attention on my entire vacation experience, including the sights, sounds, and people on my trip. And instead of spending money on overpriced, high-calorie foods, I save my dollars for nonedible souvenirs and beauty indulgences (hello, hot stone massage!).