Vancouver has officially entered phase 3, which means we can now freely travel within our province. 2020 will be the year of staycations for most of us. Thankfully we have a beautiful province and country to explore. With upcoming trips and summer time comes the dilemma of what to do with our nutrition: do we count macros on holidays, or do we give it a rest and enjoy beers on the patio?
“I am off to the cottage for two weeks, should I take a break?”
Quite often, this question is a sneaky way to ask your coach for permission to take time off. And let me tell you that you never need my permission. You already have my permission to eat what you want. I want to be clear here that taking a break, whether it be at the cottage or at any other time you want is 100% okay. Conversely, it is also perfectly fine to pack your scale and continue to track while on holidays. Only you know what’s right for you. Nonetheless, a few things come to mind:
- What are your true goals? Weight loss? Health? Performance?
- How solid are your eating habits?
- If you don’t track, does it mean you eat and drink like an asshole?
- If you come home and the scale is up will you have a mental breakdown? Or do you prefer making memories over maintaining your weight?
- If you bring your scale on holidays and obsess over every macro will it feel like a holiday? How will this impact your family?
- Are you stuck in the all or nothing mindset?
This is not my first go-around on this subject, I wrote about summer holidays and traveling in the past and you can find the previous blogs here. Worth revisiting for sure.
- Summer Days. https://powerupnutrition.ca/summer-days/
- Traveling successfully. https://powerupnutrition.ca/travelling-successfully/
- Our best travel tips. https://powerupnutrition.ca/our-best-travel-tips/
- Dieting, vacation and macros. https://powerupnutrition.ca/dieting-vacation-and-macros/
You need to be clear on what you want and make sure that your goals align with the life that you want. This is always going to be my number one point. I bring this up a lot because we often don’t understand what we truly want and what it takes to get it.
For me, I pack the scale quite often. We have a second scale in Whistler and on top of that, I also own a small travel scale. I like to keep on top of my habits most of the time because they make me feel good. That’s the bottom line. I like to eat and live my life in a way that makes me feel good inside and out. Weekends and holidays leave me refreshed, rather than hung over and feeling like I need to restrict myself to make up for them. There is a big difference between showing some restraint versus restricting yourself, and I can assure you that I never feel restricted.
That being said, even though I weigh my food often I don’t actually track my macros all the time, especially on holidays . It’s more to make sure that my portions are consistent. The reason this works for me is that I eat pretty much the same when on vacation as I do at home. Over time I’ve developed eating habits that are really consistent and that keep me feeling good and performing well. On holidays, we most often pick places with our own kitchen and we do some research to find where to workout and where to buy food. I enjoy dining out and treating myself, but I enjoy it even more when I don’t have to do it for every meal and can still eat some home cooked meals. The goal for me is consistency, not perfection.
Chasing perfection is very restrictive. Restriction is well researched to lead to binge eating. What I see most often though is strict dieting before a holiday, and binge eating/drinking on holidays. We continue to want to buy into the quick fixes because we don’t really want to do the work and change our habits year round.
If it seems obsessive for you to eat similarly on holidays or weekends, there is a good chance your diet is too restrictive.
If it seems obsessive for you to workout on holidays, there is a big chance you are not doing something you love.
Yes, we all need breaks sometimes, and there is nothing wrong with taking time off from the gym and eating indulgent meals. But if I seem obsessive to you, there is a good chance that you have not aligned your goals with a lifestyle you enjoy and you are being overly restrictive.
Ultimately, it’s really not about 2 weeks at the cottage or a weekend camping, it’s about developing a lifestyle that works for you during the rest of the year. It’s about doing the things you love. Your lifestyle and daily habits need to be something that you can maintain throughout the year. Remaining consistent in both good and bad times is what ultimately brings the kind of longterm success that can finally end the cycle of yoyo dieting. You need to be able to fall back on your habits and lifestyle all the time. When life is great and when life is stressful. When you are living at home. When you are on holidays. When life is super busy. When you find yourself bored. The intensity dial might get adjusted up or down based on the seasons of your life, but the foundations must remain.
On holidays, we might dial down a bit and enjoy more flexibility, and that’s all good. You go home, bring the dial back up a bit and fall back onto your habits and routine. How you eat. How you move. It’s something that you need to enjoy & value. Do what you love and eat in a way that you enjoy. Build a lifestyle that you can sustain. Long weekends might include pizza take out one night and a drink or two, but they also include gym time, family hikes and salads for lunch. So that ultimately, on Monday mornings you don’t feel guilty or want to be overly restrictive.
Not sure where to start? Hire a coach and spend some time developing those habits. Make sure your goals are in line with the lifestyle you want. And let go of the unrealistic expectations that you might have placed on yourself. I hope the summer months bring you some quality time somewhere pretty and peaceful, and maybe a s’more or two by the camp fire.