Although my routine at home is pretty strict, when I go on vacation, I allow myself to go. On. vacation. I don’t work out. I don’t focus at all on my diet. I drink more alcohol. and I don’t sleep as much.
However, despite all this, I almost always lose weight on vacation. Not a lot – but I notice the slight change in how my clothes fit. My body feels better, I’m usually less bloated, and have more energy.
Why? Sounds fake right? Well, I’ve narrowed it down to a couple things that I always do on vacation that I have now been trying to incorporate into my normal life as much as possible.
- Constant movement. Although I don’t do any formal workouts, I do a lot of walking. Like minimum 6 miles, all the way up to fifteen miles of walking sometimes. Additionally, I almost never spend more than two hours at a time seated. I walk after all my meals and start the morning off walking. This movement is energizing for my body but the low-stress nature of a huge amount of walking also allows my body to digest and function properly rather than struggling through a contorted seated position most of the day.
- Real Food Only. I eat out a lot on vacation. Nearly every single one of my meals is eaten out rather than homecooked. And it’s not all healthy either. On this most recent trip, breakfast usually consists of a chocolate croissant and dinners were filled to the brim with meat, potatoes, and sangria, only to be washed down by churros or gelato afterward. The important thing to note is that all of this food was freshly made. I bought none of it pre-packaged. This means, even though I was eating chocolate pastries like they were going out of style, I bought them from the bakery which means my intake of chemicals and preservatives was minimal. Almost no prepackaged foods were consumed during vacation which really decreased bloating and improved my energy despite the fact that not all the restaurant food was healthy or even close to it.
- Stress Management. When I go on vacation – I really go. I don’t look at my emails. I allow myself to completely detach from maintaining my routine and productivity. The only focus is the hour by hour decisions while in transit. This usually means my skin clears up and I’m able to be calmer for longer. I’ve allowed myself to abandon my normal decisions and worries and focus on something completely different. And since I usually am a low maintenance traveler, there are lots of little decisions and problems to figure out on a trip. For example, on this trip, our power blew out in the airbnb in Lisbon. Something as simple as finding the breaker box and successfully resetting the power was a problem I don’t encounter in daily life and even though it’s a tiny success, the feeling of accomplishment for figuring out something that was actually crucial to our stay was more rewarding than the problems I’d been facing at home lately.
- Back Sleeping. One of the airbnb’s we stayed at, I stayed on the pull out couch and it was firm. I ended up falling asleep on my back and when I woke up the next morning, I felt incredible. I usually sleep on my side with my shoulders all scrunched together, but accidentally falling asleep on my back made me realize how important sleep position can be to the rest of your day. If you fall asleep on your back, your shoulders pull away from your chest and your spine can usually stay in alignment. I realize back sleeping isn’t for everyone, but I’ve been trying to fall asleep that way more and more in an effort to preserve that amazing posture I felt after that first night.
This can be hard to incorporate when at home in the routine of it all, but there are little things I try to do. I walk wherever I can. I really utilize my standing desk, especially after lunch. I try and home cook as much as possible and don’t purchase pre-packaged foods. I compartmentalize my stress and look for more rewarding problems to solve throughout the day.
I realize most of these things sound super tiny. And doing any one of them, or all of them, won’t make you a super fit/super healthy person. But that doesn’t have to be the goal. The goal can just be to feel good on a daily basis. It can be to incorporate a little bit of vacation living into the mundane of the everyday.