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Old 08-11-2011, 01:11 AM   #1
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Default Staying on plan for vacations

I think it's amazing when people stay within their calorie range or stay on their plan during vacation, because I'm not even considering trying. I'm going to do my best to make little changes, but I only go on vacation once and year, and frankly I love food. BUT I don't want to come home 10 pounds up either! These are some things I've thought of to do, and would like any advice or words of wisdom from those who have experienced this problem! (I go on vacation in a little over 5 weeks.)

-NO BINGING. I have a major binge problem, even though I know it makes me feel gross and full during and especially after. So, although I'm going to let myself eat what I what, I'm not going to stuff my face until I feel sick, as if it's the last time I'll ever see that food again, as if it's my last meal.

-I don't really care for breakfast foods, so I'll use that as at least ONE meal I can be smart about. While everyone else goes to the resort restaurant for big breakfasts' (I'm going with my husband and kids but a lot of my extended family will be there also), I'll just have a little fruit in my room. No point in wasting calories on food I don't even want.

-Luckily our place has a full kitchen, so there is NO reason for me to try to force down a whole restaurant meal when I can easily bring half home and have it later as another meal.

-We have a 16 hour drive, and I will only pack healthy snacks for the ride. Don't want to go crazy before we even get there!

-I'm not going to let myself feel that I have to have fun blended drinks fill of calories just b/c I'm on vacation. I prefer wine, which is much lower in calories, so that's what I'll drink! And that's DRINK, not guzzle!!

I'm fully expecting to put on 4-5 pounds during this 7 day vacation. Sucks, but I also don't want to be eating the same stuff I eat at home all week either. I still associate food (especially restaurant/bar food) with fun and happiness- maybe that's wrong but unfortunately it's where I'm at right now.

So, any tips on other little things I can do? Any experiences to share about vacations and how much you lost/gained?
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Old 08-11-2011, 01:29 AM   #2
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I think it's amazing when people stay within their calorie range or stay on their plan during vacation, because I'm not even considering trying.

I still associate food (especially restaurant/bar food) with fun and happiness- maybe that's wrong but unfortunately it's where I'm at right now.
Whaaat? C'mon... you gotta try! It sounds like you will, those are some good ideas. Something I do is plan indulgences, if I'm going to make them. That way it's still totally in my control and I'm still being intentional about my decisions. I decide what's worth it and it helps me maintain that mental focus, even when I'm not necessariy expecting to be losing weight. I also am sure to get my workouts in, do a lot of walking during the day and choose to do active things if available.

I would also use this as an opportunity to do some work on the food=fun mentality. Try to appreciate all of the other wonderful things going on around you- the familiy, the relaxation, the scenery, the activities, or whatever is good at the moment. Not that this is going to change over night, but we all have to start somewhere . This is something I have really worked on and it's helped me a lot to get over the feeling that I'm missing out on something if I don't indulge in treats at whatever event I'm at.

Hope you have an awesome time!
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Old 08-11-2011, 01:57 AM   #3
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You have some great ideas already! If it helps, bring a little notepad along to write these reminders in or keep track of foods. Sometimes just seeing that list of what you've already eaten in the day can help keep you in check. I agree with you about breakfast - it's good to eat out once in a while for breakfast but it's so greasy and I'd much rather have a burger at lunch or a nice plate of pasta at dinner than blow 1,000 calories at IHOP on eggs and pancakes
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Old 08-11-2011, 01:58 AM   #4
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thanks and you're right. I need to focus on other 'real' enjoyable moments: swimming, Disney, sitting out on the balconey, getting sun, having all of us together with no commitments....

Unfortunately my family (there are like 20 of us going) is VERY food oriented. Pretty much everyone is overweight and they love going out to eat and snacking constantly. There will be NO active parts of our vacation since everyone is sedentary, but I'll try to change that by getting in a few walks. No gym at the resort, wish there was

But seriously, you brought up a good point- who goes home after vacation thinking, "D*&n, I should have finished that burger! I should have had dessert with everyone else that night! I should have eaten more Doritos!" LOL.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:15 AM   #5
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I don't know if your plan includes exercise, but I'm going to use exercise on my weekend trip with a friend next week to offset my indulgences. (I fully plan to eat pizza - GOOD pizza - for the first time in a month! lol) Our hotel has a gym and a pool, so my friend and I are going to exercise while we're there. Plus, we'll be walking around all day that Sunday in an amusement park. Ultimately, I hope that exercise will help me MAINTAIN during the vacation.

I'm going to pack my usual breakfast - Special K protein bars - in a cooler, so I'm not tempted by free donuts at the hotel. I'm planning to make healthy choices for lunch that Saturday. Sunday will be trickier because we'll be in an amusement park. I found ONE restaurant in the entire place with a healthy alternative - a salad bar - so we're going to eat there for lunch at least. As long as I don't go overboard with the pizza that Saturday, I think I'll be okay.

Good luck to you! Food is one of my favorite parts of vacation as well, so I can understand your plight.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:57 AM   #6
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I have been on a journey to making lifestyle changes that lead to weight loss and weight maintenance. Staying OP during vacations is just my lifestyle. I don't stop bathing or brushing my teeth so why do I need to stuff myself with unhealthy food and gain weight? You are equating vacation = overeating and weight gain. Vacation should = relaxation, fun, and fresh foods in season with planned treats within our plan.
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Old 08-11-2011, 11:09 AM   #7
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I've also discovered something that helped me on my last trip to stay within my calories....

At mealtimes, I talked. A lot.

It's amazing how when you're doing all the talking, you really can't eat. It helped me control what I ate, made me focused on when I was full (and to not overeat), and to make healthy choices (i.e. salads, rather than the pasta).

My problem is sensing that if I am traveling, then it means I can eat whatever I want. Obviously, it's not true. I shouldn't. But it's hard to get that mentality out of my head. I tell myself that I can overindulge at home too, so not to do it here (on vacation).

The last thing I also tried was that I wouldn't eat the things that I don't eat at home. In other words, I never order dessert when I am at home, so why would I do it when I'm traveling?!
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Old 08-11-2011, 11:54 AM   #8
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We just got back from a 5 day vacation and I gained 5 pounds...and I contribute most of that to 1 meal, (Mexican restaurant -HUGE portion platter) and 1 snacking overload (a medium and a mini Blizzard)...Other than those 2 times I lost control, I ate pretty sensibly. I can't imagine how much more I would have gained if I had decided to "live it up" at every meal and every time someone pulled the snack bag out. I'm actually pretty happy about the "only 5" because I have had up to a 10 pounds fluctuation in the scale in one day before.

We did a lot of walking and tons of stairs and climbing and touring, but not my usual work, but like you are planning, I made sure that I ate a healthy 300-400 calorie breakfast each morning. I took along my oatmeal packs I like and some Greek yogurt and ate fruit from the hotel breakfast. I pretty much didn't count the rest of the day except when habit forced me too....and I ate some darn good food.

Anyway, this morning I was down 2 of the 5 and I'm hoping by Monday I'll be all back to normal. I will not feel guilty and a small gain will not be the "end" of my healthy "diet". I did not fail and I'm back on the wagon as of yesterday. That is what is important.
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Old 08-11-2011, 11:55 AM   #9
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DH and I go to Disneyland several times a year, and I've finally conquered not gaining weight on our trips. I'm usually up a few pounds from water weight, which always happens when I go anywhere, but they disappear in a few days. A couple of my tricks:

*pedometer. I track how much exercise I'm getting (on average, we walk 7-8 miles a day in the park)
*counting calories. Normally, I keep to a pretty low/healthy carb plan at home. I don't worry about the carbs while we're on vacation, but I do track everything, and try to keep them evened out, somewhat. Surprisingly, I ate close to whatever I wanted this last trip, and stayed within my calories every day but one. (travel day- fast food dinner killed me) But, even with the overage, I had gone under every other dya, so it evened out.
*one treat per day. I'm not going to do to Disneyland and not have any ice cream, or a cookie, or whatnot. But, I can limit myself to one per day, or skip it entirely for a day if I feel like it.
*bring out own breakfast. It saves money, and starts off my day with a healthy, filling meal. (usually a ww breakfast sandwich and a banana for under 300 calories)
*split meals. DH and I usually split our meals in the park- we find that we're fine without needing a whole meal to ourselves, and it helps the wallet too.

I have to admit that I agree with you- I love my vacations, and I do feel okay with having that be an "off plan" time, but I refuse to let myself go crazy. I also find that veering too far from the path makes me feel sick, and lowers my enjoyment of the trip. Good luck and have fun!
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Old 08-11-2011, 12:00 PM   #10
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I think it is reasonable to relax a bit while on vacation, espcially if it is a rare treat.

However, this should be an overall lifestyle change, so what is there to get crazy about? You can still sample your favorite dishes, go out to eat and enjoy yourself on vacay...without blowing your healthy eating habits out of the water.

Overeating and indulging is not "normal", even though we have been trained to think that way. Maybe you could focus on a healthy breakfast and lunch and treat yourself to dinner with just a few bites of your fave dessert?
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Old 08-11-2011, 12:02 PM   #11
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who goes home after vacation thinking, "D*&n, I should have finished that burger! I should have had dessert with everyone else that night! I should have eaten more Doritos!" LOL.
LOVE that perspective! I'm going to remember this for later . I get such a strong, I-must-have-that-right-now feeling in the moment, but it's nothing I'm ever going to remember after the fact!

Hopefully you can find some ways to be active. You never know, maybe you can rope someone in your family into taking an evening walk with you or something. I'm sort of infamous for this in my family. I'm always talking people into hiking/biking/running/swimming/walking/miscelaneous adventuring and I usually get someone to bite! I mean, after all the eye rolling, that is
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Old 08-11-2011, 12:19 PM   #12
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Overeating and indulging is not "normal", even though we have been trained to think that way. Maybe you could focus on a healthy breakfast and lunch and treat yourself to dinner with just a few bites of your fave dessert?
Indulging and gluttony have been around since the ancient Romans and biblical times. People have been indulging as far back has history has been recorded... I think it's pretty "normal". The difference between then and now is there wasn't a restaurant/super walmart on every street corner. The indulging was fewer and farther in between. If the ancients would have had our modern conveniences, they would have been fat too. Even wild animals overeat when food is available.

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Old 08-12-2011, 10:10 AM   #13
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I agree that food is a big part of vacations. If you are driving 16 hours to Disney, I am guessing you don't live in Florida. Why not take the opportunity to try some new, healthy foods. Check out the grocery stores there and go to the produce department. They have beautiful fruits that we in the midwest only dream about and even the "regular" ones are usually fresher and tastier. If you like seafood, use it as an opportunity to enjoy some boiled crab or shrimp. Just skip the fried platters and french fries.

I completely get wanting to eat on vacation, but make sure you're using those calories for foods you don't have at home. Going out to Olive Garden and eating all the breadsticks you want (an example of something I would do) is just silly. You can do that at home anytime. If it's a restaurant that you have at home, eat like you were at home.

If there is a particular treat that you want that you can only get in Florida, great - go for it. For me, that's key lime pie. I pick the restaurant that I want it from, order it and savor it.

So, prioritize the local treats that you want, find some new local healthy foods that you don't get in your home state and stay away from the junk that you have at home also.

Have fun!!
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Old 08-12-2011, 12:24 PM   #14
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I'm on vacation right now AND in weightloss mode. Not something I would have done had I planned better but there I am signed up in a Biggest Loser challenge so I have to try to be smart. What I would probably do if I weren't in a challenge would be to eat at maintenance level and throw in some exercise irrespective of whether anyone wanted to come with me.

I know what it's like to be in a family of non-exercisers or healthy eaters and sometimes you just have to take an hour and do your own thing, go for a brisk power walk and enjoy the resort scenery or a jog or swim laps in the pool, for an hour or so a day. If you're a calorie counter, up your calories to what would constitute maintenance level for you (you can guesstimate this with a BMR calculator) and continue to count. You can eat fries and pizza but be accountable to yourself. There are lots of calorie counting apps for phones and iPods that will tell you even offline how mny calories are in different major foods. There was a welcome party on the 1st day of my vacation and I tracked and found out I ate 3100 calories. That's horrible but at least I know! And have done better since. You can still make good decisions. Eat what you like but eat only half of it. If you have the option between grilled/barbecued or fried, don't choose fried... things like that. You've already decided not to waste calories on an extravagant breakfast you don't care for and that's excellent! If you're going to splurge, make sure it's something you'll enjoy. Don't eat food just because it's there. Ultimately, enjoy your vacation. It doesn't have to be miserable. Make your goal not to gain weight. But at the same time, even if you do gain weight, it's not a failure unless you don't pick yourself back up when you get back. It's not that tragic. Weight gain doesn't have to be chronic. Thank goodness, it's not permanent or the end of the world!
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Old 08-12-2011, 12:44 PM   #15
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Thank you so much for all the replies and advice ladies! I like the idea of taking advantage of the fresh produce and seafood. And not wasting calories eating at places I can eat at at home! And my husband said we'll try to make a point of taking long walks on the beach every night.

My main goal is to stay in control and be aware. Even if I eat a big junky meal, I want to be aware of every bite and not just blindly scarfing it down just because it's in front of me. I'm a big binger, so keeping this control will be a big step for me, even if I do consume a lot of calories.
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