Ep #20: A Break for Your Mind, Not Your Diet


I used to find going away for the weekend a real struggle in terms of maintaining a healthy diet. You know how it is when you go away for a few days and you’re surrounded by decadent foods you wouldn’t normally eat – temptation can be too much to bear. We build momentum in the run-up to a vacation to look our best, then all that hard work is undone in less than a week.

You might be thinking that this cycle is just inevitable, but if you suffer from this, you’re going to want to listen closely. Since I’ve been managing my weight and my mind, I’m always giddy when I come back from vacation and have not gained any weight pretty much effortlessly. Whether a vacation to you is laying on the beach, exploring a new city or even climbing a mountain, there is something in here for you.

In this episode, you’re going to learn how a combination of your values, planning, and mindset will mean you can take your dream vacation and not fall off the wagon. It’s not going to be an easy concept to wrap your head around, but if you can plan other aspects of your life with purpose, why not your rest and relaxation too?

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Listen to the Full Episode:

What You'll Learn from this Episode:

  • How the activities you do and the company you keep express your values.
  • The virtues of planning an inner rulebook.
  • How to exercise your right to choose how you consume, even while trying lots of new things.
  • Why planning every aspect of your trip makes moderation more possible.
  • Why having a view of the big picture is essential to planning your trips.
  • A checklist of what to plan for a healthy break, wherever you go.
  • The difference between planning your meals and planning your vacation around your meals.

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to It's Never Too Late to Lose Weight, a podcast for women approaching 60 who have been successful at everything but reaching their weight loss goals. Tune in each week for tools and strategies to help you lose weight, create a strong body, and support a healthy mind. Here's your host, certified weight and life coach, Pat Beaupre Becker.

Oh my god, hello, my dears. As this podcast is being launched, I have hit a fantastic milestone; 65 years on this planet. And episode 20 is going to mark the end of season one of It’s Never Too Late to Lose Weight. This feels like such a huge marker for me on my personal adventure and journey and I look forward to the next chapter.

So I just went to a wedding of a very close friend’s son in the Jersey Shore. We had a wonderful time and I saw people I hadn’t seen in 30 years. It was amazing. Now, on this little journey, I had to buy some clothing and shoes in order to be ready for the wedding. Now, if you know me, you know that I love shoes; I mean really, to a distraction.

But I did need a pair of shoes for the wedding, so I went searching for a pair of shoes and found the most beautiful heels. But I thought, you know what, I’m taking a risk because when I used to wear heels I would always get pains in my knees. And I ended up giving away all my shoes that had heels to a friend of mine who moved to Washington DC.

So anyway, I was like, I want these shoes. They were so amazing. I thought I’m going to buy them and if my knees hurt then that’s just going to be the way it is and I’ll take off my shoes and I’ll dance, but they are really worth it.

Well, what I discovered is – you know I’ve been going to the gym, doing lots of squats? Well what happened is, the process has strengthened my knees. And guess what, I wore my new shoes with little heels; I danced the night away without pain. Oh my god, the gym – another benefit of going to the gym.

I was so happy and now I get to wear these shoes again. So maybe I’ll post a picture of them somewhere. But today, we’re going be discussing adventures in travel and continued weight-loss, or maybe you want to maintain your weight. I have loved, since I have been managing my weight and my mind, that I come home from vacation and I’m always surprised and giddy about the fact that I haven’t gained any weight. I don’t have to really change anything once I come back from vacation.

Now you have a choice when you go on vacation, yes? You can go on a fabulous vacation and come home at the same weight or l lose a pound or two. Another option would be, you can embark on a cruise and eat everything in sight and then come back feeling less than stellar. And isn’t it amazing how poorly we can make ourselves feel with eating and overeating and then convince ourselves that we’re having a marvelous time? Now, vacations are, for us, and opportunity to change up the routine, right. We could kick into low gear. Sometimes, vacations serve as a moment just to catch your breath. For those who seek physical adventures, vacations could mean climbing a mountain or sailing the bay or cycling across France.

Now, there can also be negative aspects to vacations, right, because sometimes we use them to overindulge in food and alcohol. And consequently, this a kybosh on any weight-loss plan and in the end the vacation can have a negative impact on our health. Why? Well we come home and then we try to catch up, right. We lose the momentum we had built before the vacation and then we are just ready to throw in the towel and we give up.

Now, if this is a lifestyle cycle that you have acted out over the years, you may think and declare that it’s impossible to go on vacation and stick to any weight-loss plan. Well, that is actually not true. If you have spent years in this cycle and you haven’t been able to attain your weight goal, you may decide now might be a time to try something different.

So, ladies over 60, if you want to enjoy your vacation and stick with your healthy habits, listen up. I want to start with an overview; the big picture. And then we’re going to work our way downward to the ground level with how-tos and tips for travel and planning. So I like to look at mindset, right. Mindset is always really important. So let’s just say that your actions follow from your big picture values and beliefs. Because what you spend time doing and who you spend time with expresses or shows the world your values. And we know that our life can be lived consciously, right, consciously choosing our values or unconsciously – just kind of going along with the plan. Now, for example, if you value family, time spent with family is a priority. If you value health and fitness, well healthy food shopping and exercise are definitely going to be on your calendar.

So what if you thought about your values and consciously created a sort of inner rulebook about major aspects of your life, including how to spend your vacation? Now, you could use this in a rulebook, right – it could be a helpful guide to check in to see if your life is being consciously lived and if you’re on track. This inner rulebook could provide a GPS so you can adjust as you look at your time and your values and see if they’re in sync.

So let’s say you value travel and vacation. So you want to ask yourself, what are you expecting or looking for from your vacation? Is this an opportunity to relax? Is it an opportunity to take a break? Or is it an opportunity to learn about other cultures, or perhaps an opportunity to connect with people, to view historic places or nature’s physical beauty?

Lord knows, the United States, we have such beautiful state parks and such beautiful physical beauty in our world right here, but of course, all over the world. Now, you can also use vacation as an opportunity to be physically challenged. Now, I’ll tell you, if you plan to eat your way through Italy, what will your experience be like?

You have a choice; you can enjoy a variety of fresh good food, or you can overindulge in an overabundance of desserts and, let’s not forget, the gelato. So to create a good vacation, I want you to create a good plan. And that’s one that’s going to serve your long-term goals. And let’s say that includes health and weight maintenance or weight-loss.

So the guidelines that I’m talking about are going to include – again, we determine, what is it you want from your vacation? That’s the big picture, right. Maybe it’s either taking a breather or challenging the limits of your physical strength. Once you know the goal, then you have to ask yourself, what actions will get you that result?

So a couple of years ago, I went on a working trip and a vacation to Ireland, and here’s how I prepared; here is my plan. So first, I rented an apartment and then I located shopping markets all the way from my California living room, right. I was on the internet and I was able to find the neighborhood where the apartment was and where shopping markets were nearby.

I made a decision that I was going to eat breakfast and lunch in most days and I was going to have dinners out, because I didn’t really want to cook for dinner, but I did want to be able to have my own breakfast and my own lunch. I also planned some day trips right. Avoca was a place I wanted to go to, Newgrange and then I did a tour of Dublin. I went to Cork and Kinsale; really did a lot of reading beforehand and decided where it was I wanted to go.

Then I planned some evenings for listening to local traditional music. This was another thing I wanted. But I followed my normal food and drink plan. I did my shopping for my breakfast and lunches and I planned all my meals at least a day in advance. I knew what was going to happen the next day in regards to my food.

Then I also was able to go online and research nearby restaurants and look at the menus. I wanted to get lots of exercise which, for me, is very easy because I love walking. And especially when I travel, I can just walk and walk and walk.

But I also wanted to enjoy time with friends and family and I planned to have a journal. I had a special journal where I would write each evening and kind of talk about my adventures, what went well, what I liked, what I didn’t like and how the plan for the next day was going to go.

Now, I have had other examples of trips, when I rented an apartment in Paris for a week and similarly we researched the restaurants nearby, we knew where the shopping was. And then there was another time I traveled by train around many cities in Italy. It was a little bit more challenging, but we had hotels or Airbnbs when we were traveling, so we were able to do some research.

And then I went on a tour in Sicily – one of my favorites – and there we had a tour guide. I was able to communicate with that tour guide all of the things that I needed for food and he was able to communicate that all along the way. Even recently I took a trip to Upstate New York where I was able to do food shopping and, again, make a plan for the next day at least the day before; always making a plan. Always being ready to do food as kind of just a basic – you know, I brush my teeth, I plan my food. And therefore, it’s not a big deal.

So if you go on vacation with the expectation of giving up on your dreams of a healthy weight and then, of course, we want to manage our emotional life because how much are we eating because we’re stressed, we don’t like travel or we don’t like the stress of flying and then we are actually eating through stress.

Well that is really doing ourselves a disservice. But if you consider your big picture goal and your desire, right, by looking at that inner rulebook and adding your vacation plans to it, then what you’re doing, you’re positively taking your focus off of your weight, but you’re including eating merely as a part of the picture.

So when you have this big picture in place, a vacation is simply a shift in activity and not a shift in values, not a shift in practices and plans because I want to tell you that discovering different foods in different countries or different areas of this country, it doesn’t have to become the sole focus of your trip.

So what are the elements that you usually consider on a vacation? You usually think about where am I going, the people and the places. Where am I going to stay? What’s my lodging? Is it a hotel? Do I need to arrange for a refrigerator? Is it an apartment?

And then, of course, there’s all the meals. What’s the food of the area? How will you get what it is that you need for food? Where will you go? Will you eat in or will you eat out? You always plan about transportation, how you’re going to get around; these are key elements. And then there’s adventure and play.

This is where I really want you to focus your planning as well because the joy of vacation is in the adventure and in the play. It’s that breaking of the routine. So do your homework and make a plan. Don’t put your vacation before your life; put your life into your vacation.

So I want to summarize here with a couple of travel tips. So before you go, let’s say you’ve rented an apartment in Paris on Airbnb, right. Maybe you have rented it with friends. Find a food market nearby online in advance because it’s really surprising how different countries have food, right, how different the markets are. So it’s good to familiarize yourself in advance.

You can decide what meals you’re going to eat in and what meals you’re going to eat out, like when I was traveling in Paris, I know my husband loved to go out and sit and have his coffee at the café, whereas I like to eat my breakfast in.

Decide what adventures and sites you’re going to visit in your plan. So again, your focus is going to be about the vacation; about the goal which is going to be – depending on what it is – whether it’s to just lay out on the beach, right, or maybe it is to walk around Paris and cover all of the different sections. That’s all before you go, right.

Now then, you get to travel day. A lot of people get really stressed out about the plane. You could consider missing a meal on your travel day. You will not die; you will not starve, but that’s a possibility. Another option is to pack a meal or two for the plane ride. I find it’s easy to do that by putting one meal in a yoghurt container, right. I put my vegetables, I put my protein, I put my salad, I bring a piece of fruit.

And then always make sure you have some healthy snacks because sometimes the plane gets delayed. Some airports are fantastic and you can find great meals, but other airports, and depending on the time, you could really be hungry walking around looking for something to eat.

So always carry something that you can have that would be healthy. And then, once you’re there, remember, you want to plan your days around adventure, not food. Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t include your meals in the plan because I do think it’s very important to not just be walking for seven hours and have no idea what you’re going to eat or where you’re going to eat it.

It’s always important to include your meals in the plan and you can do that by researching nearby shops and restaurants. Another option is to find a concierge or a local who can advise you on how to get the food that you want.

I know when we went to Paris, we actually took a street food tour and at the start of that vacation, it really got us familiar with the area and the kinds of foods. And then we had this person that we were able to talk to and ask about various restaurants and the kinds of food that I needed.

And again, menus are all online and you could always call restaurants in advance and find out what it is that they have that you can eat. Remember, preparation, preparation, preparation. That’s going to save you from over indulging and over-hunger and coming home with no regrets.

So I want you to make a decision that you’re going to find a way to continue to eat on plan, no matter where you are. You’ll, of course, take into consideration the different foods in different areas. But you’re going to come back from vacation and dive right back into your life, sharing your adventures and not needing to start a new diet or purchase a new wardrobe.

So now, I want to talk about my favorite thing, but really, my favorite thing is a very simple one on traveling. And I love walking – I love looking at the different architects, the different homes, the different way people live and kind of fantasize, “Oh, what would it be like to live in this place or that place?”

So for me, one of my favorite things when I travel is really walking around different neighborhoods. So I want to thank you so much for listening to season one of It’s Never Too Late to Lose Weight. As I head into the next season of my own journey, I look forward to sharing it with you because one thing I know, ladies, it’s never too late. Talk to you soon.

Thanks for listening to this episode of It's Never Too Late to Lose Weight. If you liked what you heard and want more, head over to never2late.info/guide, to download your quick start guide to jump start your weight loss plan and begin creating an amazing life you love.

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