Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Planning Vacations

Recently someone on E*Diets reported she was on Day 3 of Atkins and doing well, then mentioned her upcoming vacation in August where "everyone (would be) eating pasta and drinking wine" and wondered how she'd deal with that. Here's a reply I wrote to help her, having gone through that myself - in more ways than one - during my own journey to drop 40 pounds; perhaps it can help you plan for your upcoming vacation, too!

"Hi Jazzee*,

You are right to think about the trip and vacation with everyone else eating pasta and drinking wine. Now is the time to develop a plan that works for you and that will deal with that. If you are very strict with the induction and continue til vacation time, including increasing your exercise a little bit each day (and taking a rest day or two per week so you don't feel you are killing yourself), plus drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water, you will have more leeway in what you can do while on vacation.

I would suggest the following:

1. Make a plan to ensure you get enough water per day THAT YOU CAN DRINK and work on a plan that will ensure you DO just that.

For example, if the tap water is not drinkable, can you buy bottled water for each day or the entire week or so that you are gone and label them for each day so you can keep track without having to think about it while on vacation?

If you CAN drink the tap water, do you have a system in place for vacation-time that helps you keep track of how much you drink without having to work too hard at it during vacation? I find - must be the golfer in me :) - that I cannot count past 3-4 and remember. With things that "look the same" in my memory (like the same bottle or glass), this holds true anyway.

So, I buy 32-oz gatorade bottles and either save the gatorade in a pitcher for my son or others, or empty it, so that I have a good wide-mouthed container which fits in MY van's cupholders (not my fiance's SUV unfortunately) easily.

I started needing to drink 3 per day and am down to 2-1/2, tho I am trying to up that to 3 since I am trying to lose weight (10 lbs I regained falling in love and the effects on all three areas with time constraints mostly).

2. Food - do you like chicken or steak Caesar salads? These, and those with meat/cheese primarily and caesar, blue cheese, ranch, and some italian dressings are easily found at italian restaurants (tho I can't speak for Italy itself if you're going there!). Chicken wings, meats, eggplant parmigiana, etc, can work well ESPECIALLY if you can FORGO the pasta itself.

Italian restaurants did me in back in January, starting at New Year's Eve and going to 3 such places within a month. The first one I did pretty good at, but then I gave in to the pasta.

3. Find a way to exercise daily - 10 min of stretching in the morning, racing (for you) up and down flights of stairs for 3-5 minutes at some point during the day (or just walk an extra one til your heart or breath feel it, then maybe one more if you can), and then 15 min of stretching at night.

If you can turn on a song and dance like it's 1999 thru the whole thing (i.e., full gusto of joie de vivre involved, no matter which beat you choose), try that once a day too.

If you can go dancing, do that and choose water to drink instead of alcohol.

4. Try to limit your wine to 6 oz of red wine per day, enjoying it thoroughly while you do. There are heart benefits to this, even tho it's verboten during induction. Only 4 carbs for red wine - more for the others.

5. Game plan alternatives to staying OP (cause we all know you won't, the above are ways to LESSEN the effects):

a. goal is to maintain weight loss (no gain)

b. goal is to say the heck with it, and start over when you return (remember day 3 of Atkins is the hardest, but you will eventually beat the cravings).

Remember, we do this so we can enjoy the things that matter the most to us. Weigh each bite against the enjoyment obtained with the work it will take to get that off again, assuming you want to work it off, too. Some things are worth it; some are not.

Have a great time! When do you leave?"

*Name changed.

Another thing I did not mention in my reply to her - because she had not mentioned it in her own post - was dealing with car trips, where boredom on the road can lead to road munchies and crunchies (my favorite are Carb-heavenly Combos and Gummy Bears). I learned that I needed NEW MUSIC to keep me entertained. With a child in the car, that means (s)he might need headphones so the adult(s) can play their own music without listening to whining, too. Always have back-up water sources in the car, too, in case of highway stalemates that come up in the middle of nowhere and lead to road/block parties for 1-2 hours or more. Plan for potty breaks as well.

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