My husband Nate, and I returned from a 10-day road trip last Sunday evening. We had too much less-than-healthy food and not enough (zero) exercise, despite my having packed workout clothing and sneakers. Before going to bed that evening, I set my intentions for my first week back to reality, which included clean eating and going to the gym five days that week as I usually do. It was a good week, and I’m now preparing for this week to be similar, if not better.
Interruptions to my daily routine tend to make me feel uneasy. I’m careful to stop it there, before feelings of guilt flood my head, because, as I shared in a previous post, guilt is counterproductive and dangerous. As time passes since my weight-loss journey began – and as I experience more and more of these interruptions – the more I can embrace and enjoy my vacations. That’s because I know that I’ll bounce back to my lifestyle. Understanding that comes with experience, though.
If my going on and returning from vacation seemed daunting to me, it may be daunting for some of you, as well. Here are three ways bouncing back from vacation is easier than you thought. I hope that you’ll find comfort in these!
Don’t starve yourself.
Restricting calories is counterproductive – and unhealthy – for three reasons:
- Causes you to gain more weight from overindulging than you would if you were eating a healthy calorie range for your body composition;
- Causes your metabolism to slow; and
- Triggers eating disorders.
Instead, follow a clean-eating regimen. Our digestive systems know how to process and use whole, unprocessed foods to fuel our bodies better than processed foods.
Engage in physical activity that you enjoy.
Behavior-change theories state that attitudes predict behaviors, which impacts values. For example, if you approach healthy eating and exercising with a positive mindset (ex. “I can,” “I want to,” “I will,” etc.), you’ll likely eat healthfully and exercise, stick with it, see results and the importance and, therefore, make it a lifestyle.
If you enjoy your fitness regimen, you’ll be likely to stick with it. This creates consistency, which is integral to long-term positive health outcomes – including emotional health! When I discovered the exercises that work for me, the positive attitude I developed regarding exercise overflowed into other areas of my life with which I wasn’t happy at the time: work, my relationships and, of course, ME!
Additionally, it’s important to stay goal-oriented, but be sure to keep your goals positive. Focus them on the positive attributes (ex. live longer, more energy, lower blood pressure, overall health, etc.) rather than what you don’t like about yourself.
It’s time that we start looking at exercising as a privilege and not a punishment. I often commend my RPM students for making an effort to do something that isn’t easy and making themselves a priority. In the same breath, I tell them that being able to take a high-intensity interval training cycling class is something that we should be thankful that we’re healthy enough to do!
Living a healthy lifestyle still allows you to live a little.
Yes, this is a lifestyle, which means being committed for LIFE. However, life is meant to be lived, and avoiding all unhealthy foods isn’t the answer for two reasons:
- Relaxing your diet a little every now and then can replenish your glycogen levels, give you extra fuel, and amp up your metabolism; and
- You’re more likely to binge if you restrict yourself from certain foods, rather than teaching yourself sustainable tactics like moderation.
In sum, your over-indulging and under-exercising on your vacation doesn’t have to destroy your healthy lifestyle – and can’t. While this is comforting to know, it confirms the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.