I am very excited to share with you how you can stick to your weight loss goals and enjoy your vacation too! For those of you who have vacations planned between now and the end of the year, this is your chance to grab a notepad and start creating your own vacation plan today! You want to enjoy your time off and not come home disappointed and 5 digits further away from your goal.
My clients who create and follow vacation plans are amazed when they return home not having gained a pound or even having lost a few. Formerly, they approached their vacations as an escape from life and work and a time to retreat from mundane activities of daily living. Often this escape included “deserved” indulgences and de-stressing with food.
What you think, feel and do in relation to any situation, will determined the results you achieve.
Seeing your vacation as a time of renewal and connections with friends, family and nature, and being present with joy, will give you a very different experience than if you think of your vacation as a time to let loose, and eat, and drink with abandon. .
If you are retired, vacation may not be about getting away from work, as much as it may be an opportunity to see a different part of the world, break up your routine or share time with friends and family. Maybe you want to try new activities such as swimming, hiking or biking. It could also be sitting at the beach reading trashy novels.
Whatever you’re planning for your next vacation, it is crucial to look at your goal and examine your expectations for yourself and the time you have.
What if you started your vacation with a vision of the day of your return? You arrive home, open the door, drop your bags and flop on the bed. You feel tired but really good. You didn’t overindulge, as a matter of fact you ate incredibly healthy.
You exercised more than you expected and can truthfully say this was the best vacation of your life. Why? You connected to people, connected to yourself and treated your body with respect. You didn’t suffer due to over drinking, overeating and pushing yourself to take one more portion or spoonful. Instead you decided to walk a little more, jump into the cool ocean, or sit under a waterfall or around the campfire with your grandchildren singing songs, not necessarily eating smores.
That can be your vacation experience this year. Here’s how to accomplish it.
4 Tips to Lose Weight on Your Vacation
First, start with a vision, a mental picture of your return home. What is the result you want to see?
Second, create a plan that you can intentionally practice each day on vacation. Here’s six essentials for putting your vacation plan together:
The 6 Essentials of a plan:
Essential #1: What is your goal? Lose weight? Return home the same weight? Manage your sugar and alcohol intake? Continue to eat the same as when you are not on vacation? Do you want to plan for exceptions and have dessert or drinks?
Essential #2: Decide what you will eat and drink. Depending on your vacation, you will need to decide what to eat. Are you staying with family and cooking yourself? Traveling to the US South? Traveling to Europe? Do some research to see what kinds of food are common and available to you. Select whole foods that you will enjoy. Commit to using your food journal and decide what you will eat 24 hours in advance, to the best of your ability. Allow for exceptions if that is what you want. Just plan them.
Essential #3: Review what kind of beliefs and thoughts you need to practice in order to confidently choose activities other than eating that keep you engaged in the life around you, instead of indulging in overeating.
Examples of disempowering beliefs:
I need a break from everything healthy
I deserve to eat and drink whatever I want
I can always get back home and go on a diet
I have to eat all the different foods offered to me
Why bother to try to control myself on vacation
Vacations are supposed to be filled with indulgences and letting go
What is the point of denying myself anything on vacation?
I try to be good all year, I can be bad for a brief time
I want to stop thinking
I don’t want to control myself
Examples of beliefs for success:
I am looking forward to being with friends and learning new things
My goal is to relax while taking good care of myself
I will attempt new activities
I choose to eat for fuel
I will return home proud of myself
I will feel better when I choose real food in the right portions
This will be a learning experience
I choose to eat on plan
I choose to eat whole, healthy foods
I will include some exceptions in my plan
I will eat for fuel not for entertainment
Essential #4: Consider the obstacles you can count on that will challenge your plan. Aunt Mary’s Lasagna? Annual pie eating contest with your best friends? Hotel living? Family dinners centered on an overabundance of food and drink?
Essential #5: Create a strategy for each obstacle. Let your best friend know that you won’t be participating in the pie eating contest. If you are triggered by your sister comments, you can plan on her pushing some buttons. How will you respond this year? If you are staying in a hotel, request a refrigerator and pack breakfasts. Staying with your family, let them know what you need or plan on cooking. Fresh fruit; salads; grilled meats - Don’t make it complicated!
Essential #6: Create a list of things you want to do that aren’t centered around food. Learn about the culture of the place you are visiting. Get to know someone better. Be willing to let someone know more about you. Jump into the ocean, even if you are tentative. Think of things you enjoyed doing as a child and seek out light-hearted fun.
Third, review each day and see what is working and what can be improved. For example, if your emotions are triggered by your sister, use the model and come up with thoughts you could truly think about her that are loving and funny and true. If you can broaden the way you look at a person or place you may find better feelings along with the negative feelings. Allow both to live side by side. Create a loving space for everyone to be imperfect, including you.
Fourth, evaluate the trip. How did you do? What did you learn? What surprised you? Were some strategies effective, while others were not? Celebrate your wins and see what you can learn about where you missed the mark.
If you use deliberate practice to design a different kind of vacation, you can come home refreshed, healthy, and empowered.
Life is to be lived and to learn from your experiences. If you struggle with losing weight in your 50s and 60s, a vacation can be an opportunity to learn real self care and you can leave self-sabotage behind.
Deliberate practice does that. As you learn something new, you are also building and expanding your capacity to do more for yourself and plan more efficiently.
Losing weight on vacation can be just the beginning. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle in your 60s and 70s in a strong body and healthy mind and with joy and purpose is available to you.
Pat Beaupre Becker is a Master Certified Weight and Life Coach. She coaches women over 50 who have struggled with overeating for most of their lives. She teaches them how to lose weight, stop overeating emotionally and learn to love their life today and create excitement about their future. She is absolutely sure It’s Never Too Late To Lose Weight.