Thursday, September 5, 2013

10 Tips for How to Diet on Vacation

Sherlock Holmes and Curious Case of the Vacation Diet.


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!
  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. There are three meals in a day. Fish fingers and custard was tempting, but I completely eliminated the snacking demon. 'Nuff said.
  4. 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. 
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  6. 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!
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  8. 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. 
  9. 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. 
  10. 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. 
  11. 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. 
  12. 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!
IMG_0268I 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!

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