How many times have you booked a vacation while you were on a health kick? And how many times have you stayed on that healthy lifestyle during vacation? And how many times have you continued to lose weight while on an all inclusive trip? For most of you, the answer is zero, zip, zilch! But can I just say…..I DID IT!
Now before you stop reading, I know I’m the girl you want to slap right now because you just came back from vacation and gained back all the weight you worked so hard to lose, right? Yep, I get it, but I’m still proud of myself, and I wanted to share with all of you how I did it and how you can do it too.
I recently returned from a week long all inclusive vacation to Cuba and as we all know, all inclusives are not known for making you healthier. More relaxed…yes. Healthier….no. No one I know has ever managed to resist the all powerful buffet! But let me tell you how I lost 2lbs and felt great through my whole stay in Cuba.
Step 1: Make a pact with yourself that you will make a plan and stick to that plan.
Step 2: Make a plan. For me this plan was already done a week prior because I had created a health protocol for myself and my workout partner. It helped to have a workout partner who I knew would be sticking to the plan while I was away and I couldn’t come back heavier, I had to come back the same or lighter because I knew she would’ve been working her butt off while I was sitting on the sand.
Your plan doesn’t have to include a detailed protocol like me, but even something simple like cutting out processed sugars, desserts, and wheat products while including whatever your weekly exercise goal is. I recommend if you are like me and have weight loss goal, that you write it all down in a journal. Write down your workout schedule, what you are eating every day and figure out how many calories you need to take in to lose 1-2 lbs a week. (If you don’t know how, this is a service I provide!)
Step 3: Get a map of your resort and plan out a good hotel room workout just in case they have no gym. Most resorts have a small gym, and of course there’s always the beach and the ocean for added activity.
Step 4: Go on vacation! and commence operation stay healthy!
Step 5: When you enter the resort on your first day, relax! Enjoy a drink in a comfy beach chair, go for a swim, and then check out the resort. Where is the gym? What time is breakfast? etc. Make your plan for your days. Eg. Wake up, claim beach chairs, go to breakfast, go to gym, go to beach, lunch, pool, dinner, evening activities….you get my drift.
How to deal with the food situation! When you go to a place like Cuba, you don’t generally expect great food. So perhaps this wasn’t as challenging for me as it would be in say….Hawaii, but that doesn’t mean you can’t apply this to every resort that has an all inclusive set up. There is usually a salad bar section, bread section, a cold seafood section, desserts, and then the hot food stations. This is the order in which I filled my plate every time: 1) half a plate of salad, fruit, and cold veggies 2) find a protein (in my case usually pork, chicken, a hard boiled egg, or fish) 3)a starch which for me was plain or purple rice or a mixture of both. I stayed away from most of the pastas, and anything with cheese or looked deep fried. If there is one thing Cubans do well, it’s rice! 4) I chose a dessert at dinner (like fruit). For me it was banana a flambe or fruit with a brownie square which I didn’t always finish entirely. By filling my plate in this order, it was pretty difficult to fill up on the bad foods because there just simply wasn’t room on the plate. And naturally you DO NOT go back for a second helping.
Trick #1: Always include a protein with each meal to stay full. Do not fill up on bread and wheat products because you will be bloated and unsatisfied later as well as hungry. And no, more food in the stomach does NOT soak up alcohol, in fact it creates more material that your body can convert to bad fat.
How to deal with the open bar situation! Yes, we all love and appreciate a good swim up bar. But no one appreciates a beer belly or excess body fat stuffed into a bathing suit that is itsy bitsy teeny weeny. And YES I saw FAR too much of that for my liking. While it made me feel better about myself in my conservative swim gear, and it motivated me to eat well and drink less, it made me realize once again why I’m in this health business. There are so many people who want to look smokin’ hot in a bikini and just don’t know how. So okay, we know there’s a swim up bar and a never ending supply of Rum….but how do we control ourselves? And why do we want to? Good questions! By bringing your own beverage container and alternating between alcoholic beverage and water, you have taken a giant leap in a healthier direction. Stay away from alcohol until at least noon….I know, it’s always noon somewhere and you are on vacation, but your body is dehydrated in the heat of the beach, and needs water. Then have a drink! Then have two bottles of water….then a drink! Then two more bottles of water and repeat for the rest of the day! This generally limits the drinks to 1-2 during the beach day, and 1-2 at night. Next, you want to pick drinks that do not contain crazy amounts of sugar. Alcohol is all your body can handle, by adding cups of sugar, you are adding on the pounds. So have a rum on ice, or orange juice and alcohol of choice because in these places the fruit juice is almost always fresh and has less added sugar. But having a fruity drink with an umbrella will have added sugars that you don’t want. Even beer is a better choice in the long run as it will actually settle an upset stomach if you have travellers stomach. (Don’t go using that as an excuse to drink more beer though!)
Okay, now we’ve talked about the food and the drink…what about the gym?
Going to the gym can feel like work…but really, what else do you have to do that day except sit in a chair sipping an ice cold beverage and reading a book? Have you ever noticed how much more pleasant you are after your gym session? Well if you haven’t, I guarantee your friends and family have, and so to ease any tensions of traveling with children, spouses, friends etc and being confined to a tiny hotel room 24/7, go to the gym, or get a form of exercise in. We all need our space and traveling with those we love is awesome, but also annoying after 7 days or so. I will not believe you if you tell me you have never been annoyed by being in someone’s presence every hour of the day for 7 days straight….it’s not possible if you are awake and a human being. So to curb those drink calories, and to reduce any travel tensions, and also to keep a healthy digestive routine, lace up the runners and just get it done!
Eat breakfast first because you will have more energy for the exercise, and it will encourage you to eat healthy since no one likes to go for a job, swim, bike etc on an overfull deep fried stomach. Grab a couple hard boiled eggs and a banana at breakfast for the road and snack after the gym to stay full. Do your choice of cardio for a minimum of 30 minutes and then add in some body weight exercises like squats and push ups for added benefit. Get in a good yoga stretch and you’re done! Phew! it’s now 10am and you are free to spend the rest of the day chilling in a beach chair! The feeling you have of health and vitality after the workout will then make you feel more inclined to eat a healthy lunch as well which is a double bonus.
So there you have it! Healthy All Inclusives! Yes, it’s possible because I just did it myself and proved it can be done!
Now for a shameless business plug. Tomorrow Wednesday April 23, 2014 at 7pm at the Milton Hawthorne Cafe Living Green Nutrition will be starting it’s April Weight Loss Group which will run for 8 weeks every wednesday night. This group is not only for people who wish to lose weight, but for those who just need to learn some healthier lifestyle and eating habits. We will be doing things like food demos, meal planning on a budget, healthy lunches, desserts done the healthy way, exercise routines, and how to make goals and journal properly. I will be taking you through every step of the process personally and will provide all the worksheets and materials to keep you going. If you are looking for a permanent health fix, not just a fad diet, then come on out and get some encouragement from others just like you! You can find more information about this group at www.livinggreennutrition.com , by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 416-992-1586, or finding us on facebook at Living Green Nutrition! You can sign up online, or just show up that night! All are welcome.
The Living Green Girl