Ideally, vacation eating and “regular” eating are not that
different – our goal should be that whether we vacation in Hawaii, Paris, or the
Australian outback ( I wish!), our nutrition needs remain very similar, so our
eating should remain approximately the same. The exception is if you are
normally sedentary and you are going on an outdoorsy or active vacation, like
camping, hiking, skiing or Disney World, plan to drink more water and eat more
than usual, especially if the climate is hot and/or humid.
I think the key to appropriate vacation eating is to “treat” yourself all year round, so that your cravings don’t ever swell to unmanageable proportions. Eating foods you enjoy no matter what the season means that vacations don’t force you to indulge because it’s your only opportunity.
Vacations are called vacations for a reason… they are not supposed to be the same as staying at home. Vacations are a time to travel and enjoy the sights and events in another location, and a time to rest up and recuperate from the stresses of daily life. But if we can import some of the vacation feel into our home lives, we may ultimately be able to enjoy our vacations more, since we arrive calm and rested instead of frazzled and strung out. The same concept applies to vacation vs. home eating. So does that mean we should all be eating like we’re on vacation every day? No, not exactly. We should eat every day to fulfill our bodies’ needs to be nourished, as well as our spirit of adventure and our need for satisfaction with the small things in life… these needs apply to vacation days AND home life. If we can let vacations be more regular, and regular days be more like vacation, then no matter where you go, your weight and health stay the same.
If the idea of eating normally on vacation takes some of the wind out of your sails, you may want to reconsider your goal in taking a vacation. If the main reason you choose, say, a cruise, over a resort is the round-the-clock buffet, that says a lot about how restricted you feel at home. Take the cruise, but then take the cruise mentality home with you – having the foods you like available at home and taking time for meals with family and friends.
Restricting at home and overdoing on vacation – whether in
eating, drinking, sleeping, or fun – is a lot like bingeing and purging.
Since most of us can’t indulge in vacations all year round, it makes sense to
improve both sides of the equation for a healthier and happy life.