How to Enjoy Your (Less) Healthy Vacation

By Erica Willick, @sisinshape


Summertime is in full swing and that means for many of you, vacations are part of your plans this month. If you have a vacation on the horizon, here’s a question to consider: How healthy do you plan to be on your vacation? This isn’t a trick question!

It may surprise you to find out that as a nutrition & fitness coach I don’t necessarily recommend you stick 100% to your healthiest plan on vacation. As you know, we believe in moderation and that also includes moderation on how strict you are with yourself. Unless you have a very special event that requires a top physique (you wedding day, competition etc.) coming up in a month to 6 weeks from your vacation, you don’t need to stick to your “plan” in order to still stay healthy.  I actually encourage my clients to be a bit (less) healthy on vacation!

When you go on vacation, one of the main benefits is rest, relaxation, and a time to get away for a while. Even with the best of intentions, if you decide to stick to your healthy plan in a regimented way, that won’t leave you as much time for spontaneous fun or the downtime that vacation is great for. Read on for my key tips on how to have a (less) healthy vacation this summer.

Should You Work Out?

The first question to ask yourself when trying to decide how healthy you need to be on vacation is often if you need to “workout”. While there’s no need to put pressure on yourself to follow your specific plan each and every day, getting movement and staying active is key to avoiding the ick factor that comes with being sedentary for a week. There’s no need to hit up the gym every day, instead think of doing active things like jogging along the beach, hiking, or swimming to keep your activity level up without throwing you off completely. As fit women, our lifestyle includes working out and eating healthy. If you completely throw that out the window during vacation you won’t feel good and it’s that the key to this whole lifestyle? But, if you don’t allow yourself to enjoy your vacation with less rules, you won’t experience the benefit of the vacation either. Plan to workout when you can, but don’t make any commitments to being in the gym every day if that won’t allow you to enjoy your time with friends and family.  


What To Eat

When it comes to eating on vacation there are two extremes to avoid. First of all, throwing all caution (and health) to the wind and indulging all-day-every-day is not going to be good for your health or wellbeing. When was the last time you over-indulged and felt great the next day? It just compounds if it’s a weeklong binge.  That doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in some things that you love though! In fact, we would recommend that you do splurge a little because it is a vacation after all! Here are a few thoughts on when to splurge and when to keep to your healthy routine.

Should you drink alcohol?

If you’re someone who enjoys an adult beverage here and there, your vacation is the perfect time to do so! There’s no reason why you can’t have a beer or glass of wine if you enjoy it, and it helps you relax. Of course, binge drinking for an entire night won’t help you feel good either. The key is to do an indulgence in moderation, so that you will feel good not only the day you’re partaking, but the next day as well (because who has a great day after a night of binge drinking?)

Determine your indulgences ahead of time

What is it that you just love? Is it ice cream? If so, plan to have it once or twice on your vacation. Do you crave a hamburger and fries? Make that part of your vacation plans. By setting your indulgences up in advance it will help you to say yes to healthier choices throughout the rest of the vacation. There’s no reason to deprive yourself of all the fun treats your family is enjoying throughout the vacation, but if you plan ahead, you won’t completely derail your progress either.

Have a kitchen available if possible

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One of the greatest ways to set yourself up for success when on vacation (especially if you have little ones) is to have a kitchen available. This allows you to create healthy meals and have some of your staples available at all times, but doesn’t mean you can’t go out and enjoy a meal on the town when you feel like it. By having some staples like fresh fruits and veggies, and the ability to cook healthy meals, you won’t have as many situations where you need to indulge in less than healthy food when you may not even want to.

Breakfast can be your staple healthy meal

If you keep breakfast as your healthiest meal of the day, you will find that it sets a good for the rest of the day. Bring things like almonds, fruit, shakes and other items that are part of your healthy at-home routine to maintain some balance. Breakfast is a great choice for this healthy meal because it will set your day up to be a healthy one, instead of weighing you down with a lot of unhealthy carbs or sugars first thing in the morning.

Remember, a healthy breakfast includes: protein, carbs, healthy fats and fiber!

Have a “Recovery” Week Plan

When you get back from vacation it’s often a good idea to avoid indulgence completely for a week and get back to your “normal.” This can include having a cleanse day, avoiding all treats and alcohol, and getting back to your regular workout routine. By being a little strict with yourself the week you return from vacation you will be able to easily get back on track and back to your healthiest self.


What do you think? Will you have a (less) healthy vacation this summer and see it as all part of your amazing healthy life?