Today's post is all about getting back on track after vacation.
After all, spring (break) is definitely in the air.
If you’re planning on traveling in the near future, maybe you’ve been living life a little more clean, while the words “swimsuit ready” echo in your ears.
And if you just got back from vacation, maybe you’re trying to undo everything you did while you were away from your regular routine of healthy food and exercise. Margaritas and chips. Burgers and fries. Hours spent by the pool, while the running shoes gathered dust in the suitcase.
Or maybe you just enjoyed a stay-cation, and managed to eat and drink all of the things because you were in vacation mode.
No matter what a week off looks like, vacation can be a lot! No wonder a week of skipped workouts and drinking too much can have people googling “fat loss pills” or “keto diet” when they get back.
Vacation: the good, the great… and the I-wish-I-hadn't-eaten-all-that
Here’s the thing: vacation is amazing and we love it… but it can really disrupt our healthy habits, right?
It always seems to work out like this: just when we’ve started hitting our stride — we’ve finally nailed our workout schedule or lost our holiday season weight or gotten more vegetables onto our plate — it’s time for vacation.
And as much as we look forward to a break, there’s also a part of us who doesn’t want to give up our regular routine, especially if it has been working for us. We're afraid of the hole we'll have to dig ourselves out of when we get back.
We think about how hard it will be to be healthy on vacation. Then we worry about making healthy choices while dining out. Finally, we worry about how out of shape we’ll be when we get back, and how hard those first post-vacation workouts will be.
However, for most of us, this kind of anxiety tends to dissipate when we leave town — out of sight, out of mind!
And that’s okay. Vacations are meant to be a break from the regular routine. A chance for us to let our hair down a little. A hall pass to enjoy ice cream two days in a row. Or twice in a day.
But when we get back, all that forgotten anxiety can come rushing back, and we beat ourselves up for being so “bad” on vacation.
My spring break story
I was reminded of this cycle of good-bad-good upon returning from my own spring break vacation… to Hong Kong. Yes, Hong Kong! Normally, we head to sunny California, but this year we decided to get more adventurous. A lot more adventurous.
We had a great trip — so many interesting sights to see! So much exotic food to eat! But when we got back, I was definitely feeling the effects of being away from my healthy habits for an extended period of time.
The food in Hong Kong is amazing — though definitely not what I normally eat here at home.
Starting with a walking food tour the second day we were there, my vacation turned into an endless stream of gluten-laden dim sum, noodles, and steamed buns — as well as fried rice and all sorts of sweets and treats. Nary a kale salad in sight! And then, as if that wasn’t enough, I decided to cap off the trip by getting Doritos in the airport. I know, right? Doritos. My kryptonite.
But here’s the good news: we walked our faces off, averaging 20,000+ steps a day.
And I was able to start my day off with chia pudding from local coffee shops — a welcome taste (and fiber fix) of home!
So, from a healthy lifestyle standpoint, I guess the trip wasn’t a complete sh*tshow. So that's good. It's definitely an improvement over years past, when I saw vacation as a total free-for-all.
Living healthy is a practice, not a destination
So why am I sharing my spring break confessions?
For starters, I believe that transparency and authenticity is best. After all, I don’t want you to think I’m a dietary angel 100% of the time.
More importantly, I don’t want you to think that you have to be a dietary or healthy lifestyle angel 100% of the time to be healthy. And I don’t want you to feel bad or guilty or bummed about what you may or may not have done while on vacation.
Today’s post is meant to remind you that living a healthy lifestyle is a practice. Not a destination, as in a place we reach at the end of a journey… or leave behind. It’s a daily practice, a set of habits and behaviors that keep us anchored to our overall goal of feeling strong and vital and empowered in our bodies.
And because living healthy is a practice, it’s something we can do right when we get home from vacation. Or right after eating (or drinking) something we wish we didn’t.
We can choose something healthy in the present moment, instead of worrying or feeling guilty about the past.
Which brings me to this present moment. This moment right now.
What do you want to choose next? What sounds good to you — to the healthiest, most aspirational part of you — right now?
Is it a healthy smoothie?
Or a yummy salad?
Or maybe a delicious and healthy soup you can cozy up to tonight?
And for exercise, what would serve you best? A walk in the fresh air? A strength training class with your workout buddies? Or maybe a sweaty cardio workout for a more intense detox vibe?
Coming back to the present moment — and really checking in with what your body needs right now — is a powerful way to get back on track after a vacation or indulgent phase.
More tips for getting back on track
Here are a few more of my tried-and-true tips for getting back on track after vacation…
Hydrate: When you wake up in the morning, drink 12-16 ounces of water to activate your digestive system, flush out toxins, nourish muscles and tissues, and plump up the skin. Then, keep sipping water throughout the day. For a target, divide your body weight in half and drink that number in ounces. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, try drinking 70 ounces of water throughout the day.
Eat your leafy greens: Try to get at least 3 servings of leafy greens a day. For example, enjoy a green smoothie for breakfast, eat a big salad for lunch, and have a side salad with your dinner. All of the fiber, antioxidants, minerals, and natural water content from those green beauties will sweep the toxins from your body, support your immune system, and leave you feeling like a rockstar.
Sweat it Out: Nothing ramps up your superpowers like sweating it out with a good workout. Revitalize your body — and your resolve — with your favorite sweaty workout. It doesn’t have to be super intense or brutal. Instead, choose something you actually like, and do that a few times a week. And if you haven’t been working out much lately, start with light workouts. After a week or two, you can increase the intensity if you like.
Find a New Reward: Overeating — and cravings for unhealthy “comfort” food — are often triggered by an emotional need. We often “eat” our emotions because we’re bored, lonely, stressed, or because we feel we “deserve” it (aka because vacation). Now that you're home, instead of “rewarding” yourself with your favorite sweet treat (or a drink), try giving yourself a non-food/non-drink reward. Ask yourself this question, filling in the blank: “If I had more time, I would ______________.” Chances are, doing that one thing — reading a good book, enjoying an epsom salt bath, booking a massage — is the reward that your body and soul is yearning for.
Sleep it Off: In other words, get yourself to bed early. As in lights out before 10pm. Try to get 8 hours of sleep, even if it feels like a total luxury in our over-scheduled, over-committed culture. Bonus alert: getting ample sleep can help diminish cravings, and it can also speed up your metabolism. It can also boost your immune system, which is handy if you're been exposed to germ-ridden airport bathrooms and airplane tray tables.
Healthy recipes for post-vacation re-entry
As for recipes, here are a few ideas to get you started.
All of these recipes — except for the salad dressing — include plenty of antioxidants, fiber, and natural water content to help you get back on track after vacation.
New video and recipe: Overnight Quinoa Cups
This week on More Good Day Oregon, I made Overnight Quinoa Cups. These protein-packed parfaits offer a sweet and creamy way to use your leftover quinoa.
For example, let’s put our meal prepping hat on for a minute. Let’s say you make a big batch of quinoa on Sunday, and you use it for taco or buddha bowls. And then you have some quinoa left over.
You could use that leftover quinoa in a salad, of course, such as my Quinoa and Black Bean Salad. Or, you could just throw a scoop on top of your favorite salad greens.
Or, you could use the quinoa to make a delicious breakfast parfait.
These Overnight Quinoa Cups combine that leftover quinoa with some plant-based milk, coconut yogurt, and a few other ingredients to make a delicious and satisfying grab-and-go breakfast.
Maybe it's something you'd like to try as you get back on track, and reconnect with your healthy habits.
I hope today's post and recipes help you get back on track — and feeling like your normal healthy self — after vacation. Or any other time you need a healthy kickstart.
Let me know how things are going by connecting with me on Instagram. I'd love to hear from you!
Bonus! Get your free Healthy Meal Planning and Prep Guide
Life is busy, and weekends can be super busy, whether you’re doing errands, having fun, or dedicating your entire weekend to youth sports LOL.
However, if you make the time for meal prep, you won’t regret it. Especially when you realize it takes you only 15 minutes to make dinner during the week, instead of the usual 30-60.
Here’s even more good news: I created a new freebie for you! It’s my downloadable and totally printable Healthy Meal Prep Guide.
Inside, you’ll find more details about my approach, as well as:
- Shopping and meal prep strategies.
- A blank meal planning template.
- Sample meal plans.
- Downloadable and printable shopping list.
- Weekend prep session checklist.
Ready to download the guide?