It’s about still having some sense of self-control.
EDITORIAL DISCLAIMER: Any advice or recommendation given in my writing is what works for ME and may not be the best regimen for you based on your psychological or physiological makeup and stability. Please consult a doctor when making decisions about your health.
I’m currently writing this while on vacation, so I’m living this in the moment. This is currently day 5 of an 8-day vacation, and I’ve worked out EVERY SINGLE DAY of being on vacation so far.
I shared this in this article that was published a few weeks ago because I just think it’s immensely important to maintain some semblance of continuity and consistency in your daily routine even while you’re on vacation.
This helps mentally to keep you in the right state of mind as it relates to being focused on your goals and achieving amazing things. It also keeps your fitness goals intact, as how you feel physically is often related to how you feel emotionally and mentally.
While on vacation, there are three things that I never change about my daily routine.
One, I always write, which I’m doing right now. Two, I always work out each morning, as shared above. And three, I still keep my diet restriction somewhat intact during most of the day.
For me, to go completely off the reservation while on vacation is just not something that I’m comfortable doing.
Therefore, I have a rule that I allow myself one meal per day that I would consider a “vacation” meal. The other meals are still within my daily and weekly caloric restrictions.
What that means is that I still skip breakfast to intermittent fast and my lunch stays between 300–400 calories.
The only difference is, for dinner, I pretty much treat it like my weekly cheat meal and enjoy myself tremendously with any restrictions.
This approach is something that has worked for me for two primary reasons.
It allows me to enjoy my dinners more
When I think about the concept of cheat meals, they are something that you shouldn’t be able to enjoy all the time. For me, part of what makes a cheat meal so enjoyable is the fact that I know it’s not something that I wouldn’t partake in regularly.
Therefore, if I treated every meal on vacation like a cheat meal, then it would lose its specialness a bit. I would find myself not really looking forward to it in the same way, and that would take away my ability to enjoy it.
By working out in the morning and getting my metabolic rate going, I begin to burn calories for the day. Then, by keeping my caloric intake to no more than its usual 300–400 calorie clip for the next meal, usually by the time dinner comes around, I am pretty hungry.
Usually, my wife and I do a bit of research and try to find a local restaurant that is known to have the best type of local cuisine for that part of the world and then attempt to get a reservation or order from there.
Our thought process is typically our lunches can be a mix of anything that is available in the area, but for dinner, we want to have a special experience that is unique to whatever geographic region we are visiting.
My mindset is that I am getting ready to experience something that I could never get back home in Atlanta, so the goal is to save as many calories as possible for that specific meal.
If this is going to be some of the best food in the region, I want to make sure I’m able to eat as much of it as possible.
This allows me to enjoy it without feeling too guilty that I am completely destroying my diet and overindulging. This leads me to the second and final reason that I still adhere to some restrictions while on vacation.
It doesn’t give me so much to come back from when I return
Look…I get it.
While on vacation, we want to feel like we are getting a reprieve from our daily and weekly responsibilities.
We want to feel like we can just not think about all the things that are typically important in our lives and just have fun and relax all day.
And while this is definitely a proponent of why taking some time off from working is a good thing because it recharges our batteries and gets us ready to go back to work, completely forgetting our diet may not have the same effect when it comes to getting us back in the gym.
When it comes to our successes or failures in life as it relates to our goals, it often comes down to our habits. What we are used to doing every day will be a good indicator of what our future will look like.
When we go on vacation and create a habit of eating terrible food all the time and have no discipline, our minds will begin to think this is the norm.
Therefore, we have to continue to keep our body in positive habit-keeping mode by keeping some semblance of our routine and commitments. This is why NOT working out is not an option for me.
As it relates to our diet, we don’t want to have to completely re-engineer our minds to get back into the habit of making good decisions as it relates to what we eat every day. Therefore, by putting some restrictions on ourselves, it makes it easier for us to fall right back into our normal routine and not miss a beat when we get back.
The other practical reason that we don’t want to go crazy as it relates to eating on vacation is that if we eat whatever you desire and do not work out as much as you usually do, we are inevitably going to gain weight…LOTS of weight.
With this being the case, we are going to want to make sure that we don’t give ourselves too much of an uphill battle when it comes to having to shed those vacation lbs.
It is much easier to come back and shed 5 lbs from a week vacation than it is shed 15 lbs, so why not give ourselves less work when we get back by continuing to stay focused on being somewhat disciplined during the day and then eating whatever we desire for dinner.
And while I can’t promise that you still won’t come back from vacation feeling a bit overweight and bloated, you’ll at least make sure you set yourself up to shed that extra weight quickly and get back that pre-vacation body to look good on your next vacation.
(Article update: I weighed myself the Sunday we got back from vacation, and after eating like an absolute animal for 8 days in Hawaii, I had only gained 1.7 pounds from when I left. The proof is in the pudding! 💪)