After putting in long work hours and squeezing in those extra squats, it’s finally time for the PK's to take a break - wooooooooooo!
Whether you’re relaxing on the beach or exploring a new city, a time out from the normal routine can be wonderful thing. But it can also make it tough to stay fit—all those meals out and indulging in a few (OK, a lot of) cocktails doesn't exactly help either. All that fun means you might return home feeling less than refreshed.
“I really need to detox after that trip.” Who hasn’t uttered some version of this phrase at some point after a particularly indulgent vacation?
The good news is feeling healthy during and post-vacay is totally possible. Making just a few smart choices will keep you active and energized and help you get the most out of the trip—and looking forward to the next one.
1. Keep Hydrated
From start to finish keeping hydrated is super important. If you are flying somewhere make sure you have plenty of water on the plane, and whilst soaking up the sun make sure to keep your water intake high. We tend to indulge a bit on the finer things in life (ahem, like cocktails with little umbrellas.. yum yum...) when we travel, and staying hydrated is key to not spending your trip dehydrated or sick. Take a bottle of water with you to the beach, or pool or sightseeing, and make sure if you are in the full sun to take in more water than you would normally.
2. Commit to at least one healthy meal per day
I am a sucker for the All Inclusive Buffet - I love to eat lots of different little things and always come back with far more food than I really need... with an extra side of chips. MPK told me that he going to try to be more healthy on this holiday, and cut back on the crispy bacon... my advise was perhaps to pick either crispy bacon or a doughnut for breakfast rather than taking on both each morning! If you are All Inclusive navigate the buffet carefully, pick a section to try each day rather than tackle all the sections everyday!
Try to eat mindfully, and whilst there isn’t anything wrong with experiencing all the amazing dishes a new city or country can offer, having several heavy meals a day can be hard on the body! Curb the big heavy meals by planning for at least one meal a day that is healthy and you know will make you feel good.
Many places you visit will have outstanding local markets where you can pick up fresh local produce, meats, grains, and seafood. If you’re staying in an apartment, an Airbnb, or even a hotel with a small kitchen, try to prepare fresh dishes with ingredients from a local market for a night or two. Of course, cooking isn’t an option on every trip so for those times when you’ll be eating in restaurants regularly, opt for vegetarian meals, choose grilled options over fried, and work in the occasional salad. This can all make a big difference even if it’s just one meal a day, and it will make it much easier when you come home, not only to do up your jeans but also to return to your normal eating habits.
3. Make sure to move
If you are an avid gym goer, most hotels these days do have gym - so pack your trainers and get in there and make use of the equipment they have. Even a 10 min row, or a quick cycle will keep your body in check. Failing that, get out of the hotel and walk on the beach, take in the scenery or take a bike ride. Try to set aside 30mins a day where you can move more than from the sun bed to the bar and this will ensure that your muscles arent sent into complete shock when you do return home and get back in to the gym, plus exercise boosts the mood so you will be left feeling even more refreshed. So go ahead and take that stroll after dinner, swim in that beautiful hotel pool, or drag the hubby out on that early morning hike!
Dedication to training and nutrition is a great attribute, but the truth is, some time off from training can be beneficial for recovery purposes. However, if you're not going to train while traveling, you still need to keep the balance equation of "calories in versus calories out" in the back of your mind to keep yourself from overeating.
4. Give your mind a break
You are on holiday! Put down that mobile phone and relax and embrace the sunshine. Try to keep work away. It’s a holiday, remember? Resist the urge to check work e-mails and focus on having fun. It will keep your mind clear and allow you to decompress. If you do need to work, set a time for email checking each day, and let your office know that is when you will be available. This will help you to get the most out of time off, and manage peoples expectations, thus limiting the stress. Doing activities that you enjoy, keeping your mobile off, and sharing time with friends and family (or alone time!) ensure that you’ll get the most fun out of your holiday.
If you can - free your mind. Meditating for just a few minutes each day can help relieve anxiety and stress. Bonus points if you can find a beautiful space to do it in.
5. Take SNACKS
I am such a snacker - I love energy balls and coconut bites and most importantly crisps! Rather than chow down on a family size bag of crisps at happy hour every day pack snacks that you know you love and you can take these to the pool or on a trip and know you aren't having empty calories and help to keep you away from unhealthy options. Let's get serious, sometimes you just need that plate of crepes and so you should, but snack in moderation and try to keep to the type of foods you would normally eat at home. The question to ask yourself is are you actually hungry or are you eating because the food is there....?
I always take snacks for flights - this keeps me sane. I hate inflight "dining" so I stock up before I go on all my favourites and then always buy smoothies and fruit pots from Pret to take with me. In most cases eating airplane food is a choice, not a necessity.
6. Get enough sleep
Most of us go on holiday to relax but we also might like to dabble in the nightlife, which can lead to you coming home more exhausted than when you left! Late nights, late boozing and disrupted sleep patterns, coupled with getting up early to fit in as much sightseeing as possible can lead to a miserable homecoming where you feel like you need another holiday to get over the one you just had. Sleep deprivation is also linked to weight gain, this is because those who do not sleep enough tend to be hungrier, consume more calories and get less physical activity.
Inadequate sleep has also been linked to lower metabolism, so if you do have a heavy night make sure to counterbalance it with a siesta and an early night!
7. Choose your drinks wisely
Is a holiday even a holiday if you don’t have a piña colada? At home I am usually the one with a cocktail in my hand, but as soon as we get away MPK gets straight on the Sangria and White Russians - ah the joys of not being the designated driver! Give him any cocktail that is cream based with a cookie in and he is happy! Don't get me wrong I will of course be dabbling in the odd bright coloured delicious drink, but unfortunately, many of us massively increase our usual calorie intake on holiday with alcohol. Be conscious that there are a lot of calories in drinks and choose wisely.
Healthy Alcohol swaps says:
A mojito instead of a margarita - containing lashings of tequila, sour mix, triple sec, lime and sugar, a margarita is one of the worst offenders on the cocktail menu at a jean-squeezing 550 calories. Ask for your mojito without sugar for a much lighter drink between 130-140 calories.
A piña colada cooler instead of a piña colada - made from coconut-flavoured rum, pineapple juice, sparkling water and a dash of low-fat coconut cream, a piña colada cooler contains around 165 calories instead of the staggering 500-600 in a regular version.
Shandy instead of beer - swapping a full beer for some diet lemonade takes your drink from 250-300 calories to a mere 60 calories a glass.
Spritzer instead of wine - try adding lemonade or, if you’re super good, soda water to your wine to reduce the calorie intake drastically from 150-220 calories to just 50 a glass.
8. Protect your hair and skin
Ok - we all have been there - super excited to get that new tiny bikini on, laying out for a good cook...only to get back to the room to find you are red all over, or worse broken out in a heat rash. I am very susceptible to heat rash, and swear by good quality sun cream (especially Ultra Sun - it is amazing and has glitter in it!!)
Spending all day in the sun tends to dry out your skin and hair, so in addition to drinking loads of water there are other ways to combat weathered skin. The hot weather can cause breakouts and flaky skin. The heat also causes hair to be more easily damaged, with split ends and breakages. you can combat this by upping your intake of foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, walnuts and chia seeds, to keep the skin and scalp hydrated.
Sun cream is the best guard against the sun's potentially harmful rays but admitted the body does need a healthy dose of vitamin D. It's important to get some level of sun. Just be sensible and get to know your bodies limitations, cool down often with a dip in the pool or sea and make sure to keep reapplying the lotion. Wearing one of those cute floppy hats will protect the top of your head.
It is thought that eating blueberries because their concentrated pigmentation has SPF qualities that can protect against the sun's harmful UV rays.
If you do get burnt, don't let it ruin your holiday. Make sure to pack the Aloe Vera and keep yourself covered up and in the shade for the next day. Another TOP TIP is to put ACV on the affected area and it will take the sting out of it!
9. Return to normal
When you get home take a moment to appreciate how wonderful your holiday was and the memories you have made, do not dwell on the fact that your jeans might feel a bit tighter. Get back to your normal eating and moving habits and your body will quickly adjust to the change. Please try not to be tempted into juice cleanses or detoxes to shift the holiday pounds, as this is not a long term solution and your body will end up hating you for it. It just doesn't work.
I think the best way to recover from an indulgent vacation is to be consistent with your diet. Try to eat as healthily as possible in order to keep your body on track. Eat breakfast within the first hour of waking up and don't skip meals. Before you know it you will be back to normal.
10. Don’t worry. Be happy.
Finally whilst all of these tips can help you eat healthy food and keep a healthy mind whilst traveling, the most important thing you can do throughout your trip is to not stress about food imperfection. In fact, one of the number one causes of digestive distress is stress. This means, you could be eating the most nutrient-dense, pristine diet there is, but if you’re stressed, you’re not only impairing the breakdown and absorption of your food, you’re also suppressing your immune system and increasing your likelihood of experiencing a reaction to a gut or food toxin. This is especially challenging for us “type As” as perfectionism and the all or nothing mentality typically reigns supreme. In the end, however, that mentality will only do more harm than good.
So enjoy yourself and the opportunity to travel and be on holiday. If that means bringing your own desserts, then go for it. But don’t miss out on exploring all that new cuisines have to offer.
Check out my insta from Saturday (30th October) for regular pool updates and delicious food shots!