How to Stick to Your Nutrition Goals (Even When You’re on Vacation)
“I'll just make it a cheat day.”
“I really shouldn’t eat that, but since we’re on vacation it’s fine.”
“I’ll get back to eating clean after our trip.” Ever found yourself saying one of those?
Here’s the thing: it won’t necessarily hurt you to do that occasionally. BUT, if you are constantly compromising your nutrition because it’s a special occasion, you’re putting your body into a detrimental cycle. One day you’re feeding and nurturing it, but the next you’re overloading it with unhealthy foods. This will manifest not only in weight fluctuations, but also in harm to your overall health.
The problem is your body doesn’t care that you’re on vacation. It can’t change its functions or reactions to foods because it’s a holiday.
It’s not easy to stick to your nutrition goals, especially during vacations and holidays. But moving beyond this idea of “vacation eating” is crucial, if we want to prioritize our health for the long term. What it requires is a mindset shift.
3 Mindset Shifts for Sticking to Your Nutrition Goals
Think about the WHY. Why are you committed to eating healthy? Is it just because you want to lose a quick 5 pounds? If that’s the case, then it’s time to reframe. Eating to lose 5 pounds, then going back to eating however you want afterward, is perpetuating a lifestyle of dieting to lose weight. In the long term, this pattern is not going to serve your overall health and wellness. Instead, try to dig a little deeper for the why. Is it because you want to feel good and avoid food-related issues you’ve dealt with in the past? Do you want to model a healthy relationship with food for your children? Your why needs to have staying power, so make sure you think long-term.
Pay attention to how you feel. It’s easy for us to get caught up in how we look or what the scale says. But taking note of the way you feel when you’re sticking to your health commitments can be an even better motivator for staying on track. Do you feel more energized and less bloated? Do you have less joint pain? On the flip side, take note of how you feel when you DON’T stick to your plan. Do you wake up sluggish and swollen? Do you have indigestion? By noting the differences in how you feel, you can make an informed decision when you’re faced with an opportunity to eat things you know your body doesn’t process well. You can ask yourself, “Is it worth it to do this now, knowing how I’ll feel later?”
Focus on what you are doing FOR your body. If you’re thinking of nutrition in terms of what you CAN’T eat, then you’ll always feel like you’re restricting or depriving yourself. Instead, focus on what you ARE doing for your body. You’re providing it with the nutrients it needs to thrive. You’re giving yourself energy for the day ahead. You’re feeding yourself in a way that will help you feel good, instead of feeling sluggish or sick.
Need more help building a healthy mindset about nutrition? I’d love to help! Book a consultation with me here.
Stick to Your Health Goals by Planning Ahead
Having the right mindset about your nutrition goals is crucial—but it’s only the first part. You also need to have a plan so you don’t get derailed. Here are a few ways to plan ahead:
Are you traveling to your destination? Plan the route ahead of time. If you know there won’t be any healthy restaurant options along your route, then make sure you pack plenty of healthy snacks and drinks to hold you over.
Will you be going out to a restaurant with your family or friends? Check out the menu ahead of time to see what your options are. If you can’t find anything you want to eat there, then eat beforehand and just order a drink or a side salad when you’re at the restaurant.
Always be sure to drink plenty of water during your trip. Bring your reusable water bottle and make sure you’re filling it up as much as you would if you were home. It’s easy to get dehydrated when you’re out of your normal routine.
If you’re going to a cookout or dinner at someone’s house, reach out to the host ahead of time. Ask them what they’re making and what you can bring. That way, you’ll know you can at least eat what you’re bringing. You can also use the information about what they’ll be making to plan any adjustments you’ll need to make (IE, maybe you can eat a burger without the bun or the cheese).
Plan for your return trip home. In the busyness of the vacation, it’s easy to forget the return trip! Remember to stock up on healthy snacks like you did for the initial trip, and plan ahead for any stops you might need to make.
If you’re worried about what people might say or think about these decisions, remember this: your nutrition is about YOU, not anyone else. Will people make comments about your decision to not eat certain foods or to just order a drink at a restaurant? Quite possibly. Just remember, those comments are about the person making them, not about you. You aren’t responsible for people’s responses to your choices.
I hope these tips help you stick to your health goals throughout the year, and especially during vacations and holidays. If you’d like to work one-on-one with a nutrition expert to create your own plan for sticking to your goals, I’m here to help! Schedule your consultation here.
The content found on Integrative Counseling and Nutrition Consulting platform is not intended to be a substitute for professional therapeutic advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your psychiatrist, therapist or other qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding a mental health condition.