Summer’s around the corner, and you’re likely busy planning your summer getaways. Probably most of us meticulously research where we’ll stay, what things we’ll do, and the most economical ways of traveling and enjoying our vacation. What might not get too much thought is how you’re going to stay on your medical weight loss plan and keep your motivation up when you’re away from home and your usual routine. But vacations don’t have to be diet-busters! Use these four tips to keep you sane, healthy, and successful on your summer vacation.
- Watch Portion Sizes. The number one diet breakdown on vacation? Huge portion sizes at restaurants, on cruises, and in hotels. Managing portion sizes away from home is likely the most critical element of staying on your medical weight loss plan. If your vacation will include lots of restaurant meals, make sure you have access to a fridge in your hotel room or vacation house, or a cooler in your car where you can stash leftovers. Then make a family rule that you’ll all box up half your order and eat it at the next meal or the next day. You’ll all save money, and be healthier, too!
If you’re planning on preparing most of your meals (either in your hotel room’s kitchen or in the house you’re renting), remember that the dinnerware you’ll use is different than what you’re used to at home. As portion sizes have swelled, so have the size of plates, bowls, and utensils. The solution? Make or buy a set of bowls with the portions already marked, and use them to stay on track. (You can make your own before you leave by simply filling a bowl with ¼-, ½-, and ¾-cup servings, and drawing lines at each mark inside the bowl with a dishwasher-proof marker.) This will ensure you’re only getting a cup of cereal in the morning, or ¾ cups of rice for dinner no matter where you are.
- Stay Busy! You probably can’t wait to ‘do nothing’ on vacation, but long stretches of relaxation may lead to snacking and—yes—overeating out of boredom. The solution is to build in a short (but sufficient) period of relaxation each day, and then keep your schedule busy with fun activities that’ll keep your mind off food.
When you do have downtime, have a strategy to manage it: If you’re going to be in the car for long stretches, bring some books on CD to listen to – the more suspenseful and captivating, the better! If you love to read on vacation, do it on the front porch or in the backyard, where you’re less tempted to head into the kitchen. Keep a large water bottle with you to sip on while you’re reading. And consider bringing your earbuds and listening to the music you hear when you’re working out—it’ll be a good reminder of all you’ve accomplished and why you’re committed to staying on track.
- Bring Equipment. A vacation from your fitness plan is something you may feel you’re entitled to this summer. But fitness on vacation doesn’t have to be long or involve heavy equipment. Consider investing in some rubber resistance bands —they’re easy to pack and use. Fillable travel dumbbells are also available: They’re light and empty when packed; you simply add water and they turn into great 3- or 5-pound weights. Complete a quick 15-minute routine in your hotel room before heading out, or do some easy exercises at the beach or poolside.
- BYOF. This is a food spin on tip #3—when in doubt, pack your own! Heading to the lake for the day? Buy a cooler and label it with your name, then pack it only with food that you like and won’t be tempted to overeat. (Let your kids and friends have their own stash.) Then, instead of worrying about eating unhealthy foods that could compromise your medical weight loss plan, you can focus on summer fun!
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Find a center near you to schedule a consultation with a CMWL doctor.