Last week I was in Ocean City, MD on a family vacation. To make a long story short, my dad passed 10 years ago, and he grew up in Salisbury MD. He spent summers in OC as a kid. When I was a child, he would take us there every year, so we go there to honor him and keep the tradition alive!

What I have heard from you so many times is how hard it is to stay healthy when traveling or on vacation. I get it. You work hard at life all year round. There’s the kids, work, trying to eat well and exercise, chores, and much more. Vacation is a time to let loose, have no worries and be carefree! So, why wouldn’t you have the mentality of being care free when it comes to your food choices while away. After all, it is only one week or so right? While all of that is true, it sets up a very black and white mentality where you’re either “on” or “off.” What I want to talk to you about is that middle ground! How can you live a “normal” social life, and still make progress towards your weight loss goals? Or at least maintain the progress you have made while you are away on vacation.

Practice balance. Let’s say you know that dinner is the time where you gather with the fam to go out. If you anticipate that being your heaviest meal, try to choose lighter options the rest of the day. For example, instead of waffles at breakfast, try eggs, fruit and avocado. Instead of a sandwich at lunch, opt for a salad with tons of protein. This way, when dinner comes, it won’t be an overload of unhealthy foods the entire day, just one meal.

Another thing to do is checks and balances. “I am going to skip the bun, so I can have fries.” Or, “I am going to eat a healthy meal with less carbs, so I can have a glass or two of wine and some dessert.” Quick tip: if you’re going to drink a few drinks, or if the entire trip will consist of an abundance of alcohol, try to eat mainly proteins, veggies, and fats. Stick to lower carbs.

Stay active! I know lounging on vacation always sounds like a good idea. And..I want you to do that! It is important to take time out to relax and rejuvenate. However, I like to take some time on vacation in the morning before the day gets started to exercise. Whether it’s stretching, cardio, weights, whatever is available to you. This will help your mood and in turn help you to make better food choices in the day. And, if you decide to have some indulgences, at least you got an extra calorie burn right?

Back on that all or nothing mindset. Just because you decide to have an ice cream cone, does not mean you have to then go eat pizza, candy, cookies etc. I would encourage you to fully enjoy that cone, and move on. No guilt, no shame! Making a conscious decision to enjoy a treat is a great thing, because you planned for it, and can fully enjoy it. When you take that and decide you’ve “ruined the day, and you should go eat whatever the heck you want, and start again tomorrow,” rarely will you enjoy the other things you’re eating, you’re just doing it because you feel the need to “get it all in.” There is room for ALL foods in your diet!

I am not saying this way of balanced eating and thinking is easy. If you have dieted your entire life, then this way of thinking is going to take time, patience, and practice. But if I was able to master it, I know you can do it too! If this way of eating is difficult for you, and you struggle with the black and white mindset, LET’S TALK!