By Brandon Lee, D.O.M
August is synonymous with two things in the U.S., back to school and the obligatory pre-back to school vacation. Yes its time to pack up the station wagon and hit route 66 with the kids in tow on the way to some good old family fun! These days the way we vacation has evolved from the Griswold style of old but one thing that hasn’t changed is our propensity to let it all hang out and eat everything in sight, blowing your spring and summer long hard work and setting yourself up failure during the holidays. But this year it doesn’t have to be that way. Let’s take a look at a few strategies that you can employ to stay svelt while you go explore exotic places…
- Pack Your Hiking Boots: When most of us think vacation we think of passing the day lounging by a pool somewhere the locals don’t speak English, sipping on exotic fruit cocktails and ordering coconut shrimp with green mango sauce with reckless abandon. And while this makes for a great photo, it really gets boring really quickly. What’s the point of just laying around and eating? Besides packing on pounds, there really isn’t one. Skip the mindless eating this year and go out and explore the world around you! Ecotourism has become a booming industry with local guides around the world offering hikes through jungles, floats down rivers, snorkel and dive tours, tree top canopy tours…you name it! Besides just getting out and getting some exercise you will get to know your destination in a more intimate and appreciable way than just being waited on hand and foot. You will also avoid mindless snacking and the grinding hangovers that come from sun, alcohol and sugar overdose!
- Pack a Healthy Snack: When you are out and about you often forget about eating, which is good compared to the over-eating that so often occasions itself on vacation, but can be bad because too much time between meals increases insulin levels, leaving you hungrier and more likely to make poorer food choices when you do eat. So before you step out on your exciting excursion or tour, make sure and pack yourself a healthy snack into your bag. The best would be something with a nice balance of protein and carbs to keep you satisfied yet giving you energy such as yogurt, nut butter and fruit, protein bars etc…but anything is better than nothing!
- Skip the cruise: Cruises can be an appealing way to vacation, with cruise companies these days churning out behemoth ships offering every spectacle under the sun and expanding their routes to formerly un-cruised ports in sun-drenched locations around the world. These floating cities, akin to Las Vegas at sea, have something to dazzle all of the senses, and your taste buds are no exception. Truthfully cruising is mostly about eating and drinking because you spend much more time aboard the ship than off and even when you are off most cruisers simply look for a place to go and eat. It can be a gluttonous blur by the time it is all over with all-night buffets, specialty dining restaurants, bakeries, and bar food at every turn, leaving you feeling bloated and wondering what happened as you submit to using the next notch down on your belt. If you want to keep it healthy, look for a different way to vacay.
- Finally, and this seems obvious for other reasons, try and get as much sleep as possible. Science is showing that a lack of sleep is being revealed to be a major player in the weight gain arena. People who don’t get enough sleep make poorer food choices more often and consume more calories on average than those who get enough. There are a lot of reasons for this but the point is when you get away this August, make sure and pack in plenty of restorative sleep. It may be your only opportunity to do it for a while!
All in all the purpose of vacation is to get away, de-stress, have some fun and refresh yourself but we often go about it all wrong, leaving ourselves in a worse state than before we set off. Over-eating, laying around and partying all night may be fun for one night but it isn’t the way to do it if you are looking to get back home feeling like a newer, better version of you. How many Americans come home complaining of “needing a vacation from your vacation”? This year you have the option to do it better and stay slimmer with a vacation done the right way!