Ah yes, an experience shrouded in mystery. What does it mean? Can it even be done? Some say it doesn't exist.
Personally, I am of the firm belief that to deny yourself pleasure on a vacation is to miss the whole point of the venture. Food is fuel, but it is also a pleasurable experience! Especially if you're traveling internationally, you'll want to enjoy the food that region is known for.
I was recently away on a vacation in England that lasted nearly a month. Yes! I know. Lucky me. No, sadly I did not meet the Doctor, but I did manage to do some broom flying (Skip the featurette and go straight to me flying at 2:03).
But for real realz. If I had gone hog wild under those circumstances, I could have done a lot of damage in just three weeks. I wanted to try some English candy, cream tea and Cornish pasties. If I had eaten that every day, I would have done a lot of damage, so I set some ground rules before I went. Before you say, "Anne, I thought you were on a vacation and that you didn't want to forgo pleasure," just hold your fire! The reason I set these rules was so that I could take an honest look at what I was doing and make a real decision to eat and enjoy the foods I wanted while also making a decision to do some portion control and make sure I got in plenty of activity and veggies. That way I wouldn't be set up for a distressing failure when the fun was over and I wouldn't have to feel guilty every time I had a desert.
Without further ado, here are the 10 rules I set out for my vacation diet!
- I do not have to eat Paleo when we eat out, but when we cook for ourselves, it should be a Paleo meal. That was basically it. I also decided that I wouldn't have pasta for dinner and that I'd focus on meat and vegetable meals in the evenings. I got to take advantage of the delicious seafood on the Cornish coast.
- Alcohol consumption is approved for this vacation. Cider during the day. Wine with dinners. This was a special treat because I normally don't drink alcohol. It's not that I think it's bad or that I have a problem. I'd just rather spend my cheats on things I enjoy more.
- There are three meals in a day. Fish fingers and custard was tempting, but I completely eliminated the snacking demon. 'Nuff said.
- Try to get in at least 5 or more miles a day. Sometimes that meant going for extra walks around the house that we rented in the countryside. There were lots of nice public foot paths. I even took an extra jaunt when we blew a tire. I could have just sat in the car, but every moment is an opportunity to make an active choice. Mom was helping dad with the tire. I was just an extraneous set of hands.
- If something looks like an adventurous physical challenge, do it! Climb mountains, find a waterfall, explore the countryside. Make your activity level an extension of the vacation. I crawled through Merlin's cave, climbed the side of a cliff that was off the coastal trail at Tintagel, and I ran along coast of Guernsey. Nothing was as intense as what I'd normally do at home, but it was a chance to see how far my body had come and how much easier it was to enjoy those physical challenge impulses I've developed over the past year!
- Deserts should be limited to fancy dinners out. If I'm going to have a desert, it's going to be at the best possible opportunities. The one time I cheated on this was at our friend's house in Guernsey. She made a fresh tart and strawberry sorbet from scratch. It was easily one of the better deserts I had the whole time. Sorry I'm not sorry.
- More is not always better. If you are full don't keep eating just cause it tastes good. I had my far share of chips on this vacation. However, after I had 12 (yes, that's an actual serving of fries!), I would salt, pepper or give them away so I didn't keep eating beyond what had filled me up.
- Eat vegetables! Just because you're able to eat some junk here and there doesn't mean you should leave out essential nutrients. I ate them in salads or sauteed with dinners out. I even got steamed spinach at a steak house because I felt like I was going through withdrawal from veggies. Yeah, that's a thing. Listen to your body! It wants to be healthy. It's our minds that get in the way.
- Bring truvia for tea and coffee. There were a few times I forgot my packets at breakfast, but luckily most places had a British sugar substitute and a few times I just used some real sugar, but it was very limited. This was probably where I failed the most out of all of my rules just cause I never thought to bring my purse to breakfast.
- When vacation is over it's over. This has been SUPER HARD. I've been adjusting back to Primal (only one serving of whole wheat bread or dairy a day outside normal Paleo constraints). Hopefully I'll get back to full Paleo in the next week or so. I do dream of delicious sandwiches and baked goods but I know that stuff is out there waiting for the next vacation adventure. That's what keeps it special!
I am pretty happy with how I did. My clothes still fit great and my work pants STILL fit (which was my greatest concern since they have been on the tighter side since I went down a size!). It's definitely time to get my booty back in gear, but I feel pretty good about my choices. It could have been a lot worse and I pretty much stuck to the guidelines I set for myself with very few exceptions. Have you faced any vacation diet challenges? How did you tackle them? Please share with your fellow Slayers in the comments!