How to Stay Fit on Vacation


Vacation time-ah! Don’t you love it? I have seen a lot of people getting in their last minute trips and some planning fall trips to Disney, etc.

I love a good long weekend/vacation too, but sometimes I can come back feeling bloated and sluggish. After my last 2 trips to Nashville and DC though, I felt okay because I gauged my eating and I walked a ton. Here are my tips for making sure you don’t put on any extra lbs. during vacation:

Eat the local fare

Sure, you can indulge a bit on vacation. We weren’t going to Nashville and not having barbeque, but we would follow that up with a side of veggies and keep the carbs (potatoes, fries) smaller or non-existent since the meat was very filling. I also opt to have just the meat with a side or two of veggies or on a taco vs. bun since the bun can be really heavy.

The bream in Nashville.

The bream in Nashville.

Another idea is to try something new! We went to a restaurant that served a fish I had never had called “bream”. It was out of Hawaii and delicious and not covered in grease, (greasy and fried foods make me ill). It also came with veggies and I had a salad to start, which leads me to:

Eat a small salad at least 1-2 times per day

There was one day in Nashville where we had a large, late brunch. We actually split the macaroni and cheese, (only because my hair stylist had raved about it) and a Cobb salad. We still didn’t finish it all! By the time we got to dinner at Adele’s we weren’t starving, so we ordered an appetizer that we split and a salad each since we couldn’t stomach eating pasta (the main entrée). We had come to Adele’s for dinner because Michael Symon raved about their coconut cake, so we saved room for that instead and didn’t feel overstuffed which is why I say:

Split a meal!

Macaroni and Cheese at Merchants in Nashville, (P.S. I never eat Cheetos, this was an exception).

Macaroni and Cheese at Merchants in Nashville, (P.S. I never eat Cheetos, this was an exception).

I have found myself doing this a lot more lately, especially with heavier, richer foods. As I said above, my husband and I will order an appetizer and then a salad each and split an entrée. In DC, my father and I went to a restaurant with my cousin and her boyfriend and it was more of a small plates/sharing menu, which was perfect since my father’s appetite hasn’t been huge lately. Plus, you’ll try more things and get adventurous with your palette!

Cook in a few times (if it makes sense)

I love renting Airbnb’s because you get a kitchen and at the very least, you can eat breakfast there. We made breakfast nearly every morning when we were in San Francisco last year (saves money too)! I have also used meal delivery services such as Icon Meals and Cornerstone Nutrition in Florida to keep me on track for breakfast and lunch. If you are going to be somewhere for a few days to a week and the kitchen is stocked with basic cookware and spices, this can be very economical, especially for a family or a group of people.

Walk or find a place to workout!

If I am in a city, I tend to walk a lot since I want to sight-see. I know when I was in DC in June; we walked quite a bit, so I wasn’t worried about exercise too much. When I go home to Florida, I don’t really sight-see and we usually end up negotiating passes at a local gym. I have vacationed on the east coast where many of the beach towns offer different day pass options for tourists.

Workout location in WI, not bad!

Workout location in WI, not bad!

Maybe there is a local yoga studio you can rent a mat and check out! I did this when I went home with my Dad after DC in Chadds Ford, PA. Last year in Colorado, my husband, my aunt and myself did a workout that is entirely designed on a rodeo fence that I had seen on Shark Tank. Earlier in the summer, we were in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin and did a body weight workout outside by the lake. The possibilities are endless!

Overall, be mindful

We know as we age, our metabolism slows down. I will fully admit that when we went to France in 2015, I ate bread and cheese and had a glass of wine everyday. I was also logging a ton of steps and as we know, Europe has higher expectations of the food they serve from farms and I didn’t gain any weight. Never be afraid to ask how something is prepared. If I hear the words “fried, creamy” or if it’s “sautéed in butter”, I think twice. Vacations are for you to relax and enjoy…and not fret about weight gain when you get home!

Laura Thomas