We sweat and burn to get fit, toned and body confident for our holiday. We eat healthily, staying away from the biscuit tin, promising ourselves it will all be worth it when we are laying on that beach. We work so hard for it, and finally when vacay-day arrives we’re feeling proud, confident and full of achievement....
So why then, do we suddenly begin to feed our bodies with unhealthy foods and completely change our lifestyle? We’ve all felt the post-holiday bloat, witnessed the gained pounds, and felt the struggle to get back into our workouts with the post-holiday guilt blues. But what if it didn’t have to be that way?
If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know that I am trying (and succeeding!) to incorporate healthy choices into my lifestyle so that they are a seamless, unconscious part of my life. The results have been incredible. I’ve gone from forcing green juices down whilst longing after burger and chips and dreading the punishment of the gym, to craving and indulging in healthy foods and being genuinely excited about my morning workout. So when I went on holiday this year, I thought: why should anything change? I am healthy at home, so why shouldn’t I be healthy while away?
I decided then to challenge myself to have a healthy happy holiday. Here’s how to stay healthy while on vacation whilst having a happy holiday, and what I found while trying it out…
1. Begin the day right
What to do: Just as I do at home, I started my day with a workout. I wore trainers and sports leggings on my flight, packed tiny resistance bands and did a 15 minute HIIT workout every(ish) morning using a tiny patch of patio for squat jumps, kickbacks, lunge jumps, rows and so on. Another day I found a hill close by and ran 10 x hill sprints. You could head to a local park, or explore by going on a gorgeous morning run full of novel new sights. It doesn’t have to be long. Just get your body moving and keep your head in the game.
What I found: A workout on holiday I hear you scream? Yes, but hear me out. My workouts were very short – just 15 minutes or so HIIT, but it did three things. 1. It got my heart pumping and maintained my fitness levels so that the gym was not a struggle physically when I got home. 2. It kept my head in the game so that the gym was not a struggle mentally and I didn’t dread it on my return, or feel the procrastination that guilt can so often impose. 3. It made me feel great. I felt so body-confident in my bikini for the rest of the day knowing I had taken 15 minutes to invest in my fitness, plus I didn’t regret any treats the day had in store.
My Fiance James Farrar didn't even bring trainers - he worked out barefoot doing press-ups, mountain-climbers, and swimming. Here he is, post workout in Cyprus
2. Embrace the local cuisine
What to do: Why order burger and chips when you can taste the local cuisine? A countries traditional cuisine will often be locally sourced. I was in Cyprus where the meat, vegetables and seafood was all reared, grown and caught on the island. Grilled meats and fish with salad, flatbread and meze is typical cuisine. You can’t get much healthier! If you’re in New York, why not seek out the best healthfood café in the city? In Italy? Choose the local fresh pasta, cheese and meats with beautiful locally grown vegetables. Make healthy choices by exploring and indulging in the new cuisine.
What I found: Eating the local cuisine is more often than not ultra healthy, especially if you are heading to a Mediterranean or coastal destination. Even if it’s not thought of as particularly healthy, for example, pasta; local handmade fresh pasta, in the portion sizes that are served, are not unhealthy, but nourishing!I found I craved the beautiful colourful salads, the incredible seafood blew my mind, and I felt full but never stuffed. The best bit? I was never bloated as I went for local foods, rather than processed imports which never fail to make my tummy blow out. Why work so hard to feel great only to be bloated on bland burger buns? No thanks! Pass the olive oil!
Healthy happy choices! Me, enjoying the local speciality - locally caught seabass fish meze
3. Treat yourself
What to do: You’re on holiday after all! Embrace the treats, whether that’s a big beautiful scoop of gelato or a whole day lounging in the sun with a good book. This is your holiday, you deserve a rest, and one huge obstacle for healthy happy bodies at home is stress, and holidays are the perfect antidote – so indulge in the rest, recovery and a little indulgence that we don’t embrace at home.
What I found: I LOVE ICECREAM! And why not, it’s lovely. Plus, having embraced healthy local foods and kicked off my day with a body confidence boosting mini-workout, I didn’t feel one ounce of guilt indulging in the odd dessert, baklava, and a few cocktails! Life is for living and I could feel the stress dropping away from me with every spontaneous icecream. The one thing I did do? Listen to my body. Did I really fancy dessert? No. But another day I’d have an icecream before lunch, or a mid-afternoon cocktail. Because I had kept hold of my healthy mindset in other areas with small fitness sessions and embracing local healthy food for meals, I genuinely did not want some treats (this is called the transfer effect), whereas other holidays I have gorged on holiday indulgences just because I had switched off from my healthy lifestyle in every other area. I stayed in touch with my body and listened to what it wanted, enabling me to stay healthy in this area too.
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